A showdown between religious freedom and transgender privileges is underway in Texas, where six pro-LGBTQ bills are targeting the constitutional rights of Christians.
The magnitude of the latest wave of pro-LGBTQ legislation is so severe that one conservative columnist argues that the left is attempting “to ban Christianity in Texas.”
Bracing for the worst
While LGBTQ activists across the Lone Star State are confident that the upcoming state bills will enhance the so-called “gay rights” of Texans, many conservative pastors in the state are fearful that the proposed laws – that would add gender identity and sexual orientation to Texas discrimination laws – will diminish their right to express their faith.
Texas Pastors Council President Dave Welch believes that it is absurd that the ultra-left is now arguing that a person’s decision to believe they are the opposite sex is given the same recognition and precedence as a person’s natural-born ethnicity.
"The mad dash by some Democrat House and Senate members to push false narratives that sexual behavior is the same as skin color and that mental illness deserves the same honored status as religious belief is ominous evidence that the criminalization of religious faith and common sense are on the horizon," Welch warned, according to CBN News.
This view is shared by one conservative critic, who is concerned that half a dozen bills set out to silence Christians will make living out one’s faith much more difficult in one of America’s most populous states – and its largest conservative state, for that matter.
"They want to ban Christianity in all but name,” The Resurgent’s Erick Erickson asserted. “This continues a long line of thought first advocated by the Obama Administration, which sought to restrict the 'free exercise' clause of the First Amendment to a 'freedom of worship' standard. In other words, be a Christian in church on Sunday, but nowhere else."
Two-thirds of the bills would directly target the livelihoods of business-owning Christians throughout the state.
“Four of the Texas bills – numbered HB 224, HB 254, HB 850 and SB 151 – would force Christian business owners to affirm homosexuality and transgenderism with their business practices, Erickson says,” as reported by CBN News.
Erickson elaborated on the extent to which the bills would basically force small businesses to support transgenderism and self-professed sexual orientation by making them provide their goods and services that could be used to bolster their pro-LGBTQ cause.
“All for-profit businesses would have to allow men to use women’s bathrooms,” Erickson alerted Texans in his column. “And contractors who take business from the state would have to give up their deeply held religious views if those views do not affirm transgenderism.”
The remaining third of the proposed legislation takes aim at the medical profession, essentially forcing doctors statewide to accept LGBTQ dictates when it comes to human sexuality – instead of their biological sex, which would trample Christians’ sincerely held biblical beliefs.
“Two other bills take the LGBTQ activism straight into the health care field,” CBN News’ Benjamin Gill informed. “HB 517 forces Christian counselors to affirm transgenderism, and SB 154 would force doctors to violate their conscience by creating retroactive birth certificates with new gender identities for patients.”
Resurfacing decades-old ideas …
LGBTQ activists have been trying for decades to bolster privileges for the LGBT community at the expense of Christians’ religious freedom, and many have used the “hate crimes” card to push for more so-called LGBT rights in the name of civil rights.
“Since 2007, Houston Democratic state Rep. Garnet Coleman – and others – have tried in vain to get just five words into Texas' hate crimes law: ‘or gender identity or expression,’" a report from the pro-LGBT KUT.org explained. “Victims of crime motivated by race, gender, sexual orientation and religion have been protected by the state's law, which was spurred by the 1998 murder of James Byrd Jr. in Jasper. State lawmakers passed a bill in 2001, but protection based on gender identity has been absent in the law's nearly 20-year lifespan.”
Coleman has blamed discrimination in the Texas capitol of Austin as the reason why more pro-LGBTQ laws are not currently enforced across the state.
"I think there's still a bias against people who are transgender,” Coleman told KUT. “There's still a bias against people who are gay and lesbian. There's a bias."
Changing the law for all for a select few
It is conceded that only a minute fraction of so-called “hate crimes” are directed at people because of their unnatural sexual orientation(s), and the state of Texas started specifying in its records back in 2014 whether victims of violence were targeted because of their self-professed gender identity.
“From 2014 to 2017, an average of 2 percent of hate crimes in Texas were motivated by gender identity, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Universal Crime Reporting data,” KUT’s Andrew Weber noted. “While the U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t officially measure population on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, an estimate from the Williams Institute at UCLA suggests people who identify as transgender make up less than 1 percent of Texas' population.”