Churches Face Mounting Religious Liberty Threats

Perhaps the most significant of these threats is the deceptively named Equality Act.

Alliance Defending Freedom is not a political organization. We are, however, dedicated to protecting religious freedom and countering threats as they arise – from wherever they originate.

Unfortunately, President Biden has promised on his campaign website to make the proposed Equality Act an immediate priority:

“Biden will make enactment of the Equality Act during his first 100 days as President a top legislative priority. Biden will also direct his Cabinet to ensure immediate and full enforcement of the Equality Act across all federal departments and agencies.”

The Equality Act was passed by the House in February, which brings it one step closer to becoming the law of the land.

If passed, the Equality Act would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to many existing federal non-discrimination laws. This could negatively impact many areas of life including employment, athletics, housing, public and private schools, businesses, and more. These changes violate the religious beliefs of millions of Americans, harm women and girls, and contradict the common good.

The Equality Act would fundamentally threaten American freedoms.

Each of the following issues impacts you, no matter where you live:

The Equality Act Shrinks Protections for Churches and Ministries

The Equality Act does not include any religious exemptions. It could directly impact churches and ministries by preventing them from being able to live out biblical beliefs about marriage, sexual morality, and the distinction between the sexes. It could force churches to open sex-specific facilities to members of the opposite sex. It could compel ministries and Christian business owners to pay for health coverage that includes procedures that go against their deeply held convictions such as “sex reassignment” surgeries. It could even forbid houses of worship from ensuring that their employees abide by their doctrines or beliefs about marriage, sexual behavior, and the distinction between the sexes.

To make matters worse, the Equality Act would not allow religious individuals and organizations to use the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to defend themselves from the threats it creates.

The Equality Act Violates Women’s Privacy and Ends Opportunities

The Equality Act could mandate that men who identify as women be allowed to compete in the female category for women’s athletic titles, and women’s scholarships. It could also violate women’s privacy and dignity by forcing women’s-only shelters and other private, intimate spaces, like locker rooms and dressing rooms, to be open to men.

The Equality Act Violates Doctors’ Oath to Do No Harm

It could force doctors, counselors, and healthcare practitioners to violate their conscience by prescribing puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and “sex-reassignment” surgery to otherwise healthy children who are struggling with their gender identity, even though such treatments cause grave and often irreversible harm. It could even force pro-life hospitals and doctors to perform or facilitate abortions.

The Equality Act Aims to Force Religious Adoption and Foster Care Providers to Close

It would harm the over 400,000 children in our nation’s foster care system by punishing faith-based adoption and foster care providers who refuse to contradict their belief that God created men, women, and families such that children thrive best in homes with a married mother and father.

The Equality Act Threatens Financial Aid for Faith-Based Colleges and Universities

It would deny federal financial aid to students at faith-based colleges and universities unless the schools abandon policies and practices reflecting their sincerely held beliefs about marriage and sexuality. It may even forbid religious educational institutions from admitting only students who share the school’s beliefs. The Equality Act will also cut off federal tuition assistance to students at single-sex institutions of higher education – and may even make such schools illegal.

The Equality Act Threatens Religious Creative Professionals

It would target people of faith, including photographers, videographers, floral artists, and cake artists, who willingly serve people from all backgrounds, by forcing them to promote messages and celebrate events that conflict with their religious beliefs. State and local laws similar to the Equality Act have been used to punish creative professionals like Jack Phillips, Barronelle Stutzman, and Blaine Adamson.

The Threat is Significant

The Equality Act imposes a new sexual orthodoxy and punishes those who do not agree. It undermines fundamental freedoms. It is dangerous.

If the Equality Act is passed, you can be assured that Alliance Defending Freedom will go to court on behalf of the American people – for years if necessary – to best protect our freedoms.

What Can You Do?

As church leaders, you can understand the threat of the Equality Act and numerous state and local laws that threaten religious liberty and you may consider ways in which to prepare the local church.

To protect the church that you help lead, we encourage membership in ADF Church Alliance and use of its benefits which are available to all member churches.

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ADF Church Alliance Member Benefits

Membership in ADF Church Alliance provides you with a variety of legal benefits to help protect your church’s religious freedom.

Governing Document Review

We review your church constitution, bylaws, employment documents, and policies from a religious liberty perspective. Then, we make recommendations on how you can provide additional protection to your church. Whenever you make changes to your documents, we are available to review them.

Access to Attorneys

Whenever you have legal questions, you can consult directly with an ADF attorney. When legal issues arise threatening your religious liberty, you can have peace of mind knowing we will help you navigate them.

Legal Resources

You can access a members-only website with on-demand video trainings, sample documents, legal guides, trending news on cases, and more. Members also receive e-newsletters with legal updates that are impacting the Body of Christ.

Pro Bono Representation

Your church, and Bible-believing churches like yours, can have the legal representation you need when facing areligious liberty threat. If necessary and appropriate, we can represent your church in court at no additional cost to you.

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Freedom Takes Investment

Don’t wait for a religious liberty legal issue or dispute to arise before you consider how best to protect your church. By then, it may be too late. Investing in ADF Church Alliance membership is a cost-effective way for your church to best protect its religious freedom, so the Gospel can be freely preached and your faith can be freely lived.

Investing in ADF Church Alliance membership also enables Alliance Defending Freedom the resources to provide legal help and representation to other churches whose freedom is challenged. If the Equality Act is passed, we will need all the help we can get to provide a robust defense of your religious liberty and the religious liberty of ministries across the country.

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