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COVID-19, Non-Discrimination, and Religious Freedom

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I follow Jesus. Like you, I want to do what Jesus wants me to do. I want to submit to the Holy Spirit in every area of my life. My relationship with Jesus is primary. Everything else flows from my relationship, to include my purity, my behaviors, my acceptance, my family, my career – everything.

Because my relationship with Jesus is secure, I truly have no fear of illness or death. The COVID-19 fear that has swept across our globe only affects me because I want to be responsible toward others. That means that I want to respect the decisions of our governmental agencies to try to contain the virus and to prevent those who are most susceptible from coming down with it. Of course, being over 60, I’m apparently in a high-risk category. My 34-year-old daughter, because of her compromised immune system, is also at high-risk. I’m glad that we both know Jesus.

Other news:

The state legislature was considering a hearing on a statewide LGBTQ non-discrimination law. These laws are also known as “SOGI” laws, which stands for Sexual Orientation Gender Identity laws. Many local communities in Kansas have already passed similar city level ordinances. Plans changed however when the legislature canceled all hearings and began to concentrate on essential business so they can end the session early because of COVID-19. However, it is still good for you and your church to understand the impacts of these types of laws since they are not going away.

So… what is the big deal? Isn’t non-discrimination a good thing? Why should you and your church care? Here are a few thoughts:

These laws:

  • Expose vulnerable people in spaces they should feel safe. The laws require that most businesses and government buildings allow individuals who are biologically male to use the same restroom as girls and women. This puts women in an extremely uncomfortable situation, requiring them to defend their right and need for privacy. Our government should proactively protect women in restrooms and other intimate spaces. In many instances this includes school locker rooms. Women shouldn’t have to surrender their right to privacy just because they enter a public bathroom.
  • Criminalize everyday business owners. The effects this has on business owners isn’t hypothetical – we’ve seen business owners across the country targeted for their faith. Even local ordinances have been used to force local business owners out of business for simply refusing to speak a message they disagree with and for living out their faith. Religious freedom exceptions in the ordinance do NOT protect business owners from being fined daily or from having to go to court to defend their rights, incurring expensive legal and court costs. We wouldn’t require a person who is black to create a cake or t-shirt celebrating a KKK event, so why would we require a person of conviction to make a cake or t-shirts celebrating a same sex wedding or other event?
  • Silence freedom of thought and free speech. SOGI laws empower the government to use the force of law to silence or punish Kansans who seek to exercise their God-given liberty to peacefully live and work consistent with their convictions.
  • Restrict the ability of your church members to live out what you preach from the pulpit. These laws come between you and your church members, by constricting their ability to live out the biblical sexual ethic you preach from the pulpit and that is found throughout Scripture.

What can you do?

  • Pray. Enough said.
  • Engage. This is great opportunity to engage your church members on this difficult topic. Our culture is less and less willing to talk about sexuality from a biblical perspective. This is great reason to engage on this topic.

Let me know if I can help. God is on His throne!

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