California Moves to Ban Anti-LGBT Books

The California State Assembly is expected to vote on a bill that would effectively muzzle orthodox Christian teaching on sexuality, banning books and counseling presenting the Christian views that gender identity should conform with biological sex and that sexual activity is reserved for marriage between a man and a woman.

Assembly Bill 2943 (A.B. 2943) would amend the Consumer Legal Remedies Act to ban as “unfair or deceptive acts or practices … the sale or lease of goods or services” that promote “sexual orientation change efforts.” If enacted, this law would enable any LGBT person to object to any good or service promising freedom from unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria (the persistent condition of identifying with a gender opposite your birth sex) as “fraudulent.”

The Consumer Legal Remedies Act, passed in 1970, banned unfair commercial practices in order to protect consumers who had been duped or misled. As A.B. 2943 explains, “Existing law authorizes any consumer who suffers damages as a result of these unlawful practices to bring an action against that person to recover damages, among other things.”

The new bill would add “sexual orientation change efforts” to the list of banned practices. A.B. 2943 defines these efforts as “any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”

This over-broad definition smuggles transgender identity into the “sexual orientation change efforts” by including “gender expressions.”

“California has a compelling interest in protecting consumers from false and deceptive practices that claim to change sexual orientation and in protecting consumers against exposure to serious harm caused by sexual orientation change efforts,” A.B. 2943 states. “This bill would include, as an unlawful practice prohibited under the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual.”

While this later language suggests that A.B. 2943 would only ban direct engagement with an individual, including the ban on “sexual orientation change efforts” as part of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act would extend to any form of “advertising” such efforts, including writing in a book that same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria could be reversed by divine intervention.

“Claims that sexual orientation change efforts are effective in changing an individual’s sexual orientation may constitute unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business practices under state consumer protection laws,” A.B. 2943 states.

Such a law would effectively ban any book or counseling encouraging traditional Christian ideas on sexuality. Following the Bible, orthodox Christians believe that homosexual activity is sinful and unnatural (Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:8-10, Acts 15:29). They also believe that God made humans male and female (Genesis 1:27).

Furthermore, the Bible promises Christians a new identity in Christ (Mark 8:34-38, Revelation 2:17, 2 Corinthians 5:17), and that identity should overshadow any earthly identity. Christians should acknowledge the struggles of people with same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria, but the Bible clearly teaches that with God all things are possible, especially following God’s laws (Matthew 19:26).

Jesus condemned even looking lustfully at a woman as adultery (Matthew 5:28), calling His disciples to love God with “all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:36-40). This implies that freedom from same-sex attraction is possible with Christ.

In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul wrote that Christians will be resurrected with Jesus, and given imperishable bodies (1 Corinthians 15:42-53). This provides an ultimate hope that God will conquer the struggle of gender dysphoria, in a much more effective way that transgender identity. In the meantime, people suffering with gender dysphoria should put their hope and identity in Christ, not a false hope of transgenderism — with hormones and surgery that often leave people scarred.

Many Christians struggling with same-sex attraction live celibate lives honoring God, and some of them have indeed married members of the opposite sex. Many followers of Jesus who have struggled with gender dysphoria have rejected transgender identity, finding their hope in God instead.

Christians need to preach this hopeful message, and welcome with open arms people who suffer with same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria. While the Bible does indeed oppose LGBT “pride” and identity, Christians need to avoid a moralistic and sanctimonious position on the issue, as that merely feeds the misconception that Bible believers “hate” LGBT people.

In spite of the hopeful Christian message, the LGBT movement seems dead-set on avoiding the possibility that ex-gays and former transgender people actually exist. A British university rejected a research proposal into the lives of former transgender people. Theresa F. Latini, a pro-LGBT seminary president, was unceremoniously fired when activists discovered that she had once led a ministry to help those struggling with same-sex attraction and help them change their sexual orientation, if possible.

Now, the most populous state in the union is considering a law to silence any dissent — a law that would effectively ban books or counseling from a traditional Christian view of sexuality.

If A.B. 2943 is enacted, it would not immediately ban books, but it would encourage LGBT people to find Christian books or professionals who teach biblical sexuality and bring them to court for “fraudulent practices.” California law would officially endorse LGBT ideology, and tip the scales against anyone who disagrees.

Progressive leaders seem likely to support this kind of push against free speech and religious freedom. After all, Leftists across the country oppose Jack Phillips, a conservative baker who refused to bake a cake specifically designed for a same-sex wedding. California is currently defending before the Supreme Court a law effectively turning pro-life pregnancy resource centers into “abortion referral centers.” Recently, two influential progressive leaders praised California as the model for how the Left will win America’s “civil war.”

Bills like this should remind liberals why many conservatives who may not like or even support President Donald Trump will not be defecting to the Democratic Party any time soon. So long as Leftists and Leftist states like California are willing to use the force of law to silence those who disagree with LGBT orthodoxy, social conservatives will continue to oppose them, even if it means backing a president with a checkered moral past.