Two pieces of proposed legislation in Pennsylvania are of utmost importance to Christians, says the Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN, www.papastors.net).
First, State Rep. Paul Schemel is working toward legislation that would cut taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood in Pennsylvania. According to LifeNews.com, Schemel says that the Affordable Care Act allows women to obtain the same services offered at Planned Parenthood at their general doctor’s offices. Schemel added that he was partly influenced to craft the legislation by the recent videos showing Planned Parenthood’s top executives haggling over the cost of aborted babies’ body parts and discussing ways to alter procedures to obtain organs for harvesting. Rep. Schemel is still working on the bill, which has not yet been introduced formally.
Secondly, legislation before the Pennsylvania General Assembly puts religious freedom at risk, according to the Pennsylvania Family Council (PFC). The proposed “Fairness Act” would create a special status in Pennsylvania law based on a person’s “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.” Therefore, PFC reports, SB974 and HB1510 would unfairly punish good people and ministries for holding to traditional beliefs on human sexuality and marriage.
“This summer, perhaps no two issues have affected Americans more deeply than attacks on the sanctity of life and religious freedoms,” said PPN Executive Director and Vice President Gary Dull. “Now, here in Pennsylvania, these issues have truly hit home, as we have the chance to support a lawmaker who is working to defund Planned Parenthood, as well as voice our opinions to legislators about a proposed ‘Fairness Act’ that is anything but fair.”
Added PFC, “While many supporters of this legislation are well intentioned and claim it will increase tolerance and limit discrimination, the experience in other states with such a law has proven the opposite. It increases intolerance and discriminates against people of faith.” PFC also provided the following points regarding the law:
- Such a law would force Christian schools and ministries to hire employees that are opposed to church teaching on sexuality, marriage and gender.
- Such a law would force religious adoption and foster care agencies to either violate their beliefs and place children in homes with same-sex couples or go out of business.
- Such a law would persecute and prosecute bakers, photographers and wedding-business owners who only serve weddings that include a man and a woman. In states with similar laws, such people have faced ruinous fines, government-ordered retraining and the closing of their businesses.
- Such a law would empower lawyers to bring costly lawsuits against those (ministries, businesses) who choose to live by their belief that tells them marriage is the union of a man and a woman.
- Such a law would create confusion and concerns regarding privacy in public restrooms, dressing rooms and school locker rooms requiring access to people of the opposite sex who self-identify differently.
“Pennsylvanians are fair, and Pennsylvania is already a tolerant state,” PFC reports. “Forcing people to violate their religious beliefs is not the way to make a better Pennsylvania.” PFC also encouraged Pennsylvanians to “stand for true tolerance” and oppose Senate Bill 974 and House Bill 1510 by sending an online message to state lawmakers.
Added Dull, “Our church leadership should be the first to stand on these two important issues. Christians will be the ones to lead our country out of its dire state, and the first step will be making a concerted effort to ensure our voices are heard.”