Austin, Texas passes ordinance that threatens religious freedom

by Matt Slick
12/11/2018
 

Uh oh, on November 15, 2018, Austin Texas moved to guarantee the rights of people who are covered under categories of sexual orientation and gender identity. But in so doing, the wording of its ordinance can threaten the expression of the Christian faith. Let's take a look.

  • "This policy is established upon the recognition of the inalienable rights of each individual to work to earn wages and obtain a share of the wealth of this City through gainful employment; and further that the denial of such rights through considerations based upon race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, or disability is detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the City and constitutes an unjust denial or deprivation of such inalienable rights which is within the power and the proper responsibility of government to prevent."1
    • "RELIGION means all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief, unless an employer demonstrates the inability to reasonably accommodate an employee's or prospective employee's religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer's business."2

So the obvious problem here is that inalienable rights include the right to work without being discriminated against based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The reason this is dangerous is that Christians follow the inspired word of God, the Bible. The Bible calls homosexuality a sin (1 Cor. 6:9-10). Furthermore, basic Christian theology teaches that God made man and woman, two genders (Gen. 1:27). And, according to Titus and first Timothy three, women are not to hold the office of being a pastor or an elder.

So, what is to stop a transgender, or homosexual, or fluid-gender identity person who's an atheist from applying for a pastorate position at a Christian church and then if the person is not hired because it would violate clear Christian principles, files a lawsuit for discrimination? That is the danger, and the wording of the ordinance does not protect the free exercise of the Christian religion.

Amendment 1

Now the First Amendment of the United States says

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So Congress shall not make a law that prohibits the free exercise of religion. Now Austin Texas is not the Congress of the United States. But the first principle that is fundamentally built into our amendments is a protection for religious freedom and its exercise. States and cities are not to pass laws that contradict the amendments of the United States by which they are governed. Therefore, we have a problem because Austin, Texas has worded an ordinance (cited above) in such a way that the religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment is now threatened.

Danger

As I have already stated in the article, the danger is that the free expression and exercise of the Christian religion can be seriously undermined by the legal protection offered to people based upon sexual orientation and identity over the expression of religious beliefs. In my opinion, this is nothing more than a manifestation of the ultra-left, anti-Christian movement that is increasingly prevalent in politics. The far left seeks to enforce their version of fairness and righteousness while undermining the first amendment guaranteed to us by the United States Bill of Rights. I can only conclude that such people are antagonistic to the free expression of religious beliefs, do not take the first amendment seriously, and will ultimately penalize Christians for their beliefs.

 

 

 

  • 1. library.municode.com/tx/austin/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT5CIRI_CH5-3DIEMGE, underline added
  • 2. ibid.
 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.