Lots of trends begin in California – not only in culture, but also in public policy.
That’s why it’s wise for all Americans to be aware of an alarming new push from the California legislature.
Remember when California politicians tried to keep pastors from counseling about biblical sexuality? Well, the legislature is at it again, with a twist. Last year, the legislature tried to pass a bill that would have made it a consumer-fraud crime for nearly anyone to communicate in a way that 1) encouraged someone away from homosexuality or transgenderism, and 2) involved a financial transaction. A huge groundswell of opposition helped stop that bill.
But now the legislature is attempting to silence pastors again through a strongly worded resolution. The resolution (ACR 99) browbeats churches and religious leaders to get on board with the LGBTQ agenda.
Specifically, it badgers the Church to avoid efforts to influence a person’s sexual orientation, including their “sense of identity based on attractions, related behaviors and membership in a community.”
In doing that, the state is essentially telling the Church to avoid the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul specifically described homosexuality and other sins as disqualifiers for inheriting the kingdom of heaven, but then immediately followed that with these hope-giving words: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (I Cor. 6:11).
Yes, this is just a resolution – a statement of the legislature with no force of law. But last year’s bill (authored by the same legislator) would have had the force of law, and it nearly passed. In pushing the resolution this year, the LGBT lobby may have paused its push for enforcement. But the language of this year’s resolution is even more pointed, making the long-term intent of the LGBT lobby very clear: Silence the Church on matters of sexuality.
The resolution implies that the state knows best what pastors should be saying from the pulpit and in counseling sessions. It is a false compassion that the Church must resist.
This sort of resolution could set the stage for a law similar to the 2014 Houston subpoenas that required pastors to turn over sermons that mentioned the Houston sexual orientation and gender identity ordinance (SOGI). The mayor of Houston eventually backed down on her request, but the sentiment that drove it is alive and well.
In Canada, a pastor was actually arrested this month for preaching publicly against homosexuality – even though he repeatedly expressed Christ’s love for all. Is this where these sorts of bills are headed? Either agree with our definition of love or else?
If you live in California, please contact your legislators. There will be a hearing on this resolution today (Tuesday, June 18th), and your state senator and assembly member are likely to face votes on it soon. Let them know that the Bible should not be censored. Pastors should be able to speak freely about sin, the Gospel, and the power of Jesus in changing lives.
If you don’t live in California, be aware that this is where the LGBT movement is headed. The right to freely live out our beliefs is daily under attack. We need to be prepared.
As Peter said in Acts 4:20 after being rebuked by the Jewish leaders, “As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” The Christian message is that ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but that God in His grace and love has provided a path to salvation and redemption. This is the message of love and compassion that we bring to the world – not the message that the state of California wants us to preach.
Speaking in grace and truth,