Dear Christian, it is the Christian’s duty to defend the Word of God and the Church when directly attacked, not to act is to be disobedient. We will be judged for both our actions and our inaction at the Bema Seat of Christ.
from the Family Foundation
I wish I had better news for you on Valentine’s Day of all days, and that the title of this email was an exaggeration, but we really have found ourselves in a dire and urgent situation in Virginia, and we MUST act now to save Christian churches, schools, and non-profit ministries from the destruction the new Democrat majority is plotting for them.
HB 1663 (D-Sickles) and its Senate version SB 868 (D-Ebbin) place far-reaching special protections for “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” (SOGI) into virtually every part of our law, and EVERY TIME it creates a direct conflict with people of faith (typically Christians) who hold to a Biblical and historical view of marriage, sexuality, and human nature – including churches, private schools, and non-profit ministries.
These bills virtually guarantee that churches, private religious schools and non-profit ministries, and Christian-led businesses who will not abandon God’s Word and His design for male and female will be targeted, sued, fined, bankrupted, and ultimately shut down. (Read some of the ways below.)
Yesterday, our team sought to engage the House General Laws Committee when SB 868 came before them, and Democrats on the committee absolutely shut down discussion and ignored the concerns raised. (Watch for yourself here.) Notably, consider this exchange:
[TFF Lobbyist] “We found that there are a number of things in [the bill] that really don’t provide protections for religious entities in particular – churches, and so forth. There are some exemptions in the bill, but they are pretty narrow.
As for the punitive damages, there is no limit on the punitive or compensatory damages. There’s also an award of attorney’s costs and fees – only to the Plaintiff if they prevail, but not to the Defendant. In addition, there are fines that are pretty hefty. In totality, this makes it a Plaintiff attorney’s DREAM, to go suing everyone and everything.” [cut off at this point]
[Delegate Simon on the Committee]“I’ve actually looked at the [unlimited punitive damages] language…and I think it’s actually doing exactly what we intended for it to do. If you don’t want to be subject to unlimited punitive damages, don’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
I mean, this wasn’t meant to be a non-punitive bill. We created a private right of action for a reason. And so I think that the bill accomplishes exactly what it’s intended to do in the form that it’s intended to do it. And so, at this point, I would move that we report the bill.” (To which all the other Democrats “seconded” in unison and voted to pass the bill.)
There you have it: It is absolutely their intention to destroy ALL opposition to their twisted, anti-scientific, anti-Christian sexual dogma. They’re openly admitting it.
And we shouldn’t be surprised, either. After all, that was from the same Delegate who, just two years ago, when speaking in favor of a similar bill and responding to similar SOGI concerns of religious groups and universities, said: “There are certain sincerely held religious beliefs which are so discriminatory that we don’t give them the protection of the law, and this is one of those cases.”
For them, this isn’t just about commerce or fairness or tolerance. They’ve made it abundantly clear time and time again that they intend to punish and even destroy ANYONE – even churches, schools and religious nonprofits – who will not bow the knee to the god of sexual “freedom.” We’re here doing everything we can to stand in their way, but we cannot do it without people of faith all across this Commonwealth expressing their opposition in the strongest terms.
Please TAKE ACTION NOW while there’s still time to amend this legislation, so that at a minimum, churches, schools, and faith-based ministries are not the obvious target of destruction for the LBGTQ mob and its henchmen within our government.
(For more evidence of the Left’s intentions, watch Delegate Dave LaRock’s floor speech against HB 1663 and the subsequent reaction.)
Below are just some of the impacts these bills will have, unless they are amended to provide better protections for religious entities. Download the Full One-Pager PDF HERE to better understand many of the ways Religious Entities will be impacted.
“Places of public accommodation”
- Makes churches a “place of public accommodation,” treating them the same as any other businesses when it comes to “SOGI,” thereby impacting their privacy policies in sex-segregated facilities, their abilities to perform and host some weddings/ceremonies and not others, carrying out church discipline against its members, and even the church’s ability to limit its own membership and church leadership roles on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, or even religion!
- Many Private Christian PreK-12 schools and universities would be considered a “place of public accommodation,” subjecting them to the same types of restrictions as any other place of business.
- Faith-based foster care and adoption agencies would be prohibited from giving preference to homes with both a mom and a dad, thereby forcing them to close. (As has happened in other states)
- Faith-based homeless and women’s shelters will also fall under this, opening them up to lawsuits by “transgender” persons, as has happened in other states.
- Virtually every Private Business will be considered a place of public accommodation, meaning that they will not be able to enforce sex-segregated facilities such as bathrooms, showers, and changing areas.
- Christian business owners connected to the wedding industry will be directly harmed, as in other states (including cake artists, photographers, wedding venue hosts, florists, caterers, etc.).
“Unlawful employment practices”
- All employers will likely be prohibited from enforcing any sex-segregated policies such as in bathrooms, showers, changing areas, and even separate male/female dress codes – even if they believed someone was abusing it, with no exemption for religious employers.
- All employers will likely be compelled to actively use an employee’s preferred pronouns even if different from their biological sex, with no exemption for religious employers.
- Would likely require all employers to include gender reassignment therapies/surgeries in their employee health plans, with no exemption for religious employers.
- While religious entities would still be allowed to hire individuals of the same religion, this would NOT protect religious employers’ ability to hold their employees to a standard of conduct consistent with their doctrinal faith if the conduct was outside of work.
- Businesses and organizations will most likely have to create training procedures on SOGI nondiscrimination for all their employees just to prove they’re not violating this law.
Civil actions by Attorney General and Private Parties
- “Mark Herring’s New Seek-And-Destroy Power”: Gives the AG broad new powers by bringing civil actions against virtually anyone he “has reasonable cause to believe … is engaged in a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of any of the rights granted” by the Virginia Human Rights Act.
- Any church, religious non-profit, or business who doesn’t embrace the LGTBQ+ ideology can now be targeted by the AG.
- Any private individual can join in the AG’s suit and receive damages, or they can initiate a suit of their own.
- Penalty of $50K fine for first offense, and $100K fine for subsequent offenses!
- Provides for payment of complainant’s (but not the Defendant’s) attorney’s fees and costs, as well as award UNLIMITED compensatory and punitive damages!
- This will force non-profits and small businesses out of business! They will be pressured into an unfavorable settlement just to try to avoid the possibility of a far harsher penalty if they lose.
- These remedies incentivize lawyers to look for every possible opportunity to sue vulnerable people/entities/businesses because the potential payout is so lucrative.
SOURCE: FAMILY FOUNDATION