Two prominent Christian groups are backing the addition of sexual orientation and gender identity as categories to federal nondiscrimination law in exchange for religious exemptions, a move that is dividing Christians.
The boards of the National Association of Evangelicals and the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities have both recently approved motions as part of a long-term effort to preserve religious freedom, World magazine reported Wednesday.
In October, the NAE passed a motion called “Fairness For All” which asks Congress to consider laws that regard human beings as made in God’s image and that sexual relations be reserved for the marriage of a man and a woman; that long-standing civil rights laws and First Amendment protections guaranteeing the free exercise of religion be supported; and that no one should be discriminated against, face harassment or violence because of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
The Council of Christian Colleges and Universities also voted on a similar motion. CCCU President Shirley Hoogstra told member presidents in August that the board would vote on the motion, but did not make that announcement public.
“As Christian higher educators, we are increasingly persuaded that the most viable political strategy is for comprehensive religious freedom protections to be combined with explicit support for basic human rights for members of the LGBT community,” wrote Houghton College President Shirley Mullen, who serves on both the CCCU and NAE board, in a position paper provided to NAE board members.
Seventy-five Christian leaders have publicly rejected the “Fairness for All” measure, signing an opposition statement titled “Preserve Freedom, Reject Coercion,” among them Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the only NAE board member to do so. Seventeen other signers of the opposition statement are linked with CCCU institutions.
Denny Burk, a professor of theology at Boyce College called the motions “a disaster.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter