Senate vote expected soon on bill threatening workplace religious liberty
The Senate is poised to vote on S. 815, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013. Under this bill’s provision, it is illegal for organizations or businesses to “fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise discriminate against any individual […] because of such individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.” All employees are entitled to dignity and respect, but ENDA provides special protections for particular behaviors that Scripture and Christian tradition consider sinful.
Also: Read a letter Dr. Russell Moore, president of the ERLC, sent to senators expressing opposition to S. 815 November 1, 2013. (PDF)
Further, we are deeply concerned about the impact of this bill on religious freedom. Religious freedom is divinely bestowed on humanity by the creator God, and is above government interference. It is a bedrock constitutional value, prized by our nation at its founding, and as relevant today as the day it was enshrined in our Constitution. The First Amendment assures that.
Nevertheless, S. 815 undermines the Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom by preventing many employers with religious objections to homosexual or transgender behavior from conducting their businesses in accordance with the dictates of their faith. While the bill exempts religious organizations covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it does nothing to protect religious employers whose businesses fall outside of the government’s list of approved organizations.
Additionally, we are concerned by language in the bill which is so broad that it opens the proposed law up to numerous claims of violation that will burden faith-based businesses not covered by the law’s narrow exemption. We believe the bill creates the possibility that a person could claim their legal protections have been violated by the mere presence of a Bible on an employer’s desk. We are deeply concerned by the potential chilling effect this language will have on the ability of religious employers to conduct their personal lives and their businesses in accordance with their faith.
If you agree that government should not be dictating when a faith-based employer can exercise his faith in conducting his business, your senators needs to hear from you today. Simply call and ask your senators to vote against S. 815, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013.
You can contact your senators by calling their state or D.C. office. The Capitol switchboard (202-224-3121) will help connect you. You can also email them by visiting their website. If you don’t know who your senators are, you can locate them here.
This is an opportunity to steward our citizenship well. We care about this legislation because we love our neighbors and desire to see our communities flourish. Let’s model Christ-likeness in our interaction, treating each elected official with respect and dignity. And as always, let’s uphold our public servants with prayer (1 Timothy 2:1-2).