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Texas Non-Discrimination Bills Would Effectively 'Ban the Bible,' Faith Leaders Warn

On Wednesday, Texas Values Action warned Texans about eight different non-discrimination bills that would codify sexual orientation and gender identity in state law, effectively outlawing traditional Christian views on sexuality. Texas Values Action argued that these bills would effectively ban the Bible because they stigmatize Christian views based on clear Bible teaching.

"These 'Ban the Bible' bills at the Texas Legislature shock the conscience and must be stopped. Creating more government control and threatening Christians with jail time or fines does not create a tolerant society," Nicole Hudgens, senior policy analyst for Texas Values, said in a statement.

"Any inclusion of men in women’s private spaces is a gross violation of their privacy and safety. It is the job of every legislator to protect Texas women and we strongly oppose these 'Ban the Bible' bills," Ann Hettinger, Texas state director for Concerned Women for America's Legislative Action Committee, added.

The bills "allow the government to criminalize people of faith and effectively ban the Bible," Texas Values Action argued. "These bills highlight a growing national trend to punish people of faith by forcing them to celebrate LGBT viewpoints or values and reject their own sincerely held religious beliefs on marriage, human sexuality, and life."

LGBT activists claim that laws against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI) are essential to protect an embattled minority, but these laws penalize dissent on sexual issues. Texas Values warned that such laws "create new government power and protections which ban the free expression of Biblical beliefs, especially its teaching on marriage and sexuality." Those who refuse to follow and celebrate LGBT identities "will face fines, possible jail time, or other criminal charges."

Texas Values pointed out eight different pieces of legislation that were filed between November 12, 2018, and January 23, 2019.

A trio of very similar bills — H.B. 244H.B. 254, and S.B. 151 — would issue broad SOGI protections. The bills would amend the Civil Practices and Remedies Code, the Labor Code, and the Property Code, to add three new protected classes involving "sexual orientation," "gender identity," and "gender expression." Any violations of these laws would be a Class A misdemeanor and result in a $100 penalty per day.

These bill would also force people to "support" someone undergoing a gender transition, force businesses and owners who believe marriage is between one man and one woman to participate in and celebrate same-sex weddings (as in the case of Jack Phillips), force government contractors to endorse LGBT stances that may violate their consciences, force religious shelters, colleges, and universities to allow biological men in women's shelters or dorms, and force people to give biological men access to women's showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms, and vice versa.

Each of these provisions is made to sound inclusive — "welcoming transgender people," not "discriminating against gay people" — but they amount to enforcing an LGBT ideology that overrides the religious beliefs of citizens. Furthermore, there are many lesbians and radical feminists who oppose transgender identity and warn against the dangers of transgender activism.

Yet there are more bills where those three came from. H.B. 188 would amend the Property Code to add protected classes based on "sexual orientation," "gender identity," and "gender expression," which would force homeless shelters, colleges, universities, and property owners to stop segregating shelters, dorms, showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms on the basis of sex.

H.B. 517 would allow the government to punish counselors, marriage and family therapists, or psychologists who work from a Christian perspective. If these mental health providers discourage homosexual behavior or transgender identity — even if at the request of the client — they would face disciplinary action. This bill would also force a therapist to disclose private counseling details in the name of opposing "conversion therapy."

H.B. 850 would make "sexual orientation," "gender identity," and "gender expression" protected classes under the Labor Code, forcing Christian businesses to pay for same-sex benefits and forcing Christian business owners to allow biological men in women's private facilities.

S.B. 154 would force doctors to pledge their support for issuing new birth certificates and official documents based on gender identity, even if it violates the doctor's conscience and religious beliefs. The bill would also open up other legal issues regarding fraud, escaping criminal prosecution, disruption of records, proof of identity, and obtaining of licenses, passports, and Social Security numbers.

S.J.R. 9 would repeal the Texas Marriage Amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman under the Texas Constitution, an amendment for which over 75 percent of Texans voted.

Last year, California very nearly outlawed anti-LGBT books on the basis that advertising stories of freedom from unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion constituted fraud. That law could have even banned the Bible, because the Bible promises the ability to overcome sin in Jesus Christ and defines same-sex sexual activity as sinful.

LGBT activists market these bills as "accepting," "progressive," and open-minded, but in reality they enshrine LGBT identity in law, rendering opposition to such identities illegal, even when it's based on Bible teaching and should be protected by the First Amendment's protection for religious freedom. In a way, these bills really do "Ban the Bible," and Texans should oppose them.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.