California Assemblyman Evan Low and more than 30 other state lawmakers are pushing a resolution in the Assembly Judiciary Committee that aims to pressure religious leaders in California to denounce their Biblical beliefs about homosexuality, as well as restrict Christian therapists from providing Biblical counsel to those who wish to seek help for unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria.
Assembly Concurrent Resolution 99 (ACR 99)—which does not carry the force of law—calls on “counselors, pastors, religious workers, educators” and institutions with “great moral influence” to cease from preaching and teaching that there is anything wrong with LGBT identity or homosexual behavior.
The California Family Council reports that ACR 99 also “condemns attempts to change unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion as unethical, harmful, and leading to high rates of suicide.”
Brad Dacus, president of the Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute, called ACR 99 “an outrageous violation of the state deciding to pressure what pastors teach and preach as they minister to individuals who are struggling with same-sex attraction or gender identity issues.”
“This resolution should serve as a red flag, a warning bell, to pastors as to the intentions of the government of California,” he added. “[California lawmakers] are trying to … radically intimidate and force everyone to throw away their Christian beliefs.”
While a few liberal pastors have chosen to back the resolution, many conservatives are speaking out against it. In fact, a coalition of professional counselors, doctors, attorneys and faith-based nonprofits has circulated an open letter describing the dangerous threat ACR 99 poses to the religious liberty of Californians.
The letter expresses “grave concern that Assemblyman Low’s resolution … privileges sexual and gender minorities of so-called ‘progressive’ values and goals at the expense of those of traditional values and goals. It is unconstitutional to strip any person of any First Amendment freedoms, and it is inhumane to prohibit individuals from addressing their own personal pain and desire for healing and change.”
Last week on The Todd Starnes Radio Show, David Gibbs Jr., founder and president of the Christian Law Association, said: “We believe that the Scriptures absolutely take a stand on this issue, and we cannot change the stand that the Bible takes. They’re trying to make it where the churches and religious groups are being held up as the problem why LGBT people feel like they do. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
“There is an opportunity in California,” Starnes said during the show’s conclusion, “… if people of faith would stand up and engage the political process there.”