Evangelical leader Dr. James Dobson is grateful that legislation frequently dubbed as California’s “anti-Bible” bill – which was designed to ban the sale of anything opposing the homosexual agenda – has been withdrawn after not receiving enough votes to reach Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D-Calif.) desk.
“Saying America needs the ‘best mental-health decisions,’ James Dobson … is praising the demise of California’s ‘must stay gay’ bill,” WND reported.
Calif. Christians safe … for now
Known as AB 2943, the bill – which was backed by virtually all Democrats forming the majority of California’s Assembly and Senate – was withdrawn from consideration Friday when it fell only one vote shy of drawing the pen of the state’s ultra-left leader, Gov. Jerry Brown, and many Republicans and conservative Christians are ecstatic about its demise.
“The author of a California bill to declare gay conversion therapy a fraudulent business practice has abandoned his effort for this year after a fierce outcry from the state’s religious community and unexpected dialogue and collaboration,” ChurchLeaders.com reported. “California Christians are calling it an answer to prayer.”
Many Christians throughout California are gasping sighs of relief, understanding the ramifications of the passage of such an anti-Christian piece of legislation.
“In the state that already bans counseling against same-sex attractions for children, it would have made ‘consumer fraud’ anything that would have opposed the pro-homosexual, pro-transgender social movements,” WND’s Bob Unruh explained. “It would have made it a crime to offer a seminar counseling against homosexuality if the consumer needed to buy a ticket, [and] it would have made illegal the sales of books – possibly even the Bible – if they counsel against the homosexual lifestyle.”
After the announcement that the bill was dropped, Dobson – the founder of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, Family Talk and Focus on the Family – was quick to show gratitude to other pro-family organizations for standing up against the pro-LGBT legislation sponsored by Calif. Assemblyman Evan Low – as many of them asked the pro-LGBT backer of the bill to drop his problematic plan.
“I am very grateful to all of the pastors, counselors and our families in California and across the country who spoke up and made their voices heard,” Dobson proclaimed, according to WND. “It is incumbent on us to make sure we still have the right to make the best mental-health decisions for our children, our loved ones, and ourselves and that parental rights are protected now and for generations to come.”
One of the most influential organizations leading opposition to the policy was Dobson’s Policy Center, which warned about the consequences of the bill if it had been signed by Brown and enforced as law in the Golden State.
“The statute would have applied to all individuals in all life stages – including consenting adults who wish to address unwanted same-sex attraction or to abstain from same-sex behavior,” officials at Dobson’s Policy Center explained, according to WND. “Since AB 2983 first passed through both chambers of California’s state legislature, many feared the bill’s potential chilling effect on freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion.”
The reasoning behind the stiff opposition to the bill was elaborated on further by the center led by Dobson – a bestselling author who is also the co-founder of the Family Research Council and Alliance Defending Freedom, and is currently serving as a member of President Donald Trump’s Faith Advisory Board after having counseled five United States presidents.
“Since [the] bill would have designated the sale of all ‘goods and services’ as consumer fraud, AB 2983 could have banned the sale or dissemination of many Christian books if they espouse traditional beliefs about human sexuality, marriage and gender, including perhaps – even the Bible,” the center’s statement continued. “Because of this, the James Dobson Family Institute encouraged faith-based, concerned citizens to actively fight against AB 2983’s passage.”
Concerted opposition wins out
Other Christian leaders opposing the bill, including California Family Council President Jonathan Keller, were also grateful for all the dialogue over the bill that led to its eventual demise.
“We are inexpressibly grateful to Assembly member Low for meeting personally with faith leaders over the last several months and sincerely listening to our concerns,” Keller expressed, according to ChurchLeaders.com. “AB 2943 would have tragically limited our ability to offer compassionate support related to sexual orientation and gender identity – and even to preach Jesus’ message of unconditional love and life transformation.”
Kevin Mannoia, the chaplain at the Azusa Pacific University – a private Christian university in Southern California – vented his fears over concerning the bill in an op-ed, which Low and the LGBTQ Caucus evidently took to heart and responded to last week.
“[Mannoia] demonstrated good faith [with the concerns he expressed in his column],” Low stated before he proposed a compromise down the road, according to ChurchLeaders.com. “Could this be an opportunity for transformational change, in which you can get outside of the typical culture wars and come together and work with them to craft language that they might be able to support?”
In his response to Low, Mannoia was confident that something could be worked out in the future.
“Trust can be built,” the Christian chaplain told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s well on its way. Communication can happen. Collaboration can happen.”
This appeared to be a breakthrough, considering Low’s deep immersion in the LGBT lifestyle.
“Low – who is openly gay – has asserted that these programs expose participants to damaging psychological abuse,” ChurchLeaders.com’s Bob Ditmer explained. “He said in the statement that carrying the bill was deeply personal – because the confusion that he felt as a young man trying to understand his sexuality.”
Low opened up about how he endeavored to see the other side of the issue through the eyes of the faith community.
"I knew this was an emotionally charged issue, so I spent the past few months traveling up and down the state meeting with a wide variety of faith leaders," Low expressed in a statement posted on his website, according to CBN News. "I was heartened by the conversations."
He apparently made many attempts to keep the conversation going to thoroughly understand how Christians could be detrimentally affected by the passage of his controversial bill.
“After meeting personally with pastors, professional counselors and former homosexuals who lead ministries to others in the LGBT community, the Assembly member decided to continue the dialogue beyond this legislative session,” CBN News informed.
Low finally conceded late last week on Friday that his legislation would not move forward, after all.
"With a hopeful eye toward the future, I share with you that – despite the support the bill received in the Assembly and Senate – I will not be sending AB 2943 to the governor this year," Low concluded in his statement.
However, on the other side of the issue, it was argued that the bill was simply unconstitutional – essentially working to squash Christians’ free speech.
“Religious groups vigorously opposed the legislation, which they considered an attack on their First Amendment freedoms,” Ditmer added. “Some churches and other faith-based organizations offer programs that they say help individuals to overcome unwanted same-sex attractions.”
But the controversial pro-transgender bill is not expected to go away any time soon.
“Assemblyman Evan Low said Friday that – after meeting this summer with faith leaders – he would instead try again next year with a new version of the proposal [that] they could feel more comfortable with,” Ditmer noted.