The Pennsylvania Pastors Network is educating Pennsylvanians, and the faithful around the nation, about a dangerous proposed bill that will strip the freedoms of those with religious convictions.
The Pennsylvania Family Council (PFC) has been alerting residents about the proposed “Fairness Act,” an amendment of the state’s current Human Relations Act, which is before the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The 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.
“Laws like this are directed threats to the church, Christian schools, ministries and those who hold professional licenses,” said Gary Dull, PPN executive director and vice president, and also a board member for the American Pastors Network (APN, www.americanpastorsnetwork.net), of which PPN is a state chapter. “It’s now up to churches and pastors to help educate Pennsylvanians about how this law will affect them directly. Make no mistake—freedoms will be restricted. And as Christians, we must all stand now and take action to ensure that these harmful bills are not passed.”
Added PFC in its communications, “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.
“Those concerned with any sort of religious liberties protection in Pennsylvania should contact state legislators to let them know that the Fairness Act is anything but fair,” Dull added. “Our lawmakers must be educated about how strongly Pennsylvanians feel about this extremely unfair law, and take action to stop the further stripping of constitutionally given religious rights in our country.”