The First Amendment Defense Act, or FADA, was reintroduced this week in Congress by Utah Senator Mike Lee and 21 other Republicans. This bill was also introduced in 2015 (sponsored by now Attorney General Jeff Sessions) and again in December of 2016, when President-elect Donald Trump said he would support the legislation.
Lee says that the bill is “designed to prevent the federal government from discriminating against individuals or institutions based on their beliefs about marriage.”
In other words, this group of Republicans wants it to be okay for people to discriminate against the LGBTQ community.
We’ve been hearing about this for years, most notably in the infamous “cake cases,” in which bakers have refused to bake wedding cakes for LGBTQ couples (but they have no problem baking them for straight couples, whose marriages will statistically end in divorce, something Jesus certainly did mention.)
They are fighting for business that want to refuse services to anyone not following a traditional marriage between a man and a woman.
Since 2015, when same-sex marriage was legalized in this country, there have been many attempts to lessen the impact of the Supreme Court decision. The problem is, this legislation opens the door in a direction that the “Christians” pushing it might not want.
There is no recognized religion in the US. This bill would open the door to many different religious groups, as well as a significant portion of the population that does not believe in God, to decide that they want the right to discriminate. We have Christians of many different Protestant denominations. We have Christians that are Catholics and those who are Orthodox and Mormon. We have Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists.
What if one of those groups decides that they wanted to refuse service to another group, because, you know, their beliefs prevent them from doing so.
What if the Hindu hotel owner decides he doesn’t want Christians staying at his business? What if an atheist coffee shop owner decides that serving a Christian is just something he can’t do?
What if Catholics decide that they don’t want to serve any Protestant denomination because they don’t go to Confession?
If the business that are so adamant about not serving same-sex couples dare to serve someone who is divorced, they are the ultimate hypocrites. After all, Jesus mentioned this specifically many times. How about an adulterer?
Jesus spoke the most against hypocrisy, pride, impurity, and indifference to human need. He spoke against those who make their good deeds known so everyone would know how great they were. He railed against those who turned their religion into a status symbol.
He did all this while never refusing his services to anyone, regardless of their sins.
The evangelicals of this country have turned two topics into their ultimate rallying call – same-sex marriage and abortion. These issues seem to be the only two sins they recognize anymore and they turn up the amplifier every election.
Evangelicals have given themselves over to a man who had admitted to assaulting woman and bragged about grabbing them. He has most likely paid off the porn star he cheated on his third wife with. He has mocked the poor and disabled and rolled back protection on the meekest in this country.
Most people don’t think that FADA will be passed, but I wouldn’t be so sure. The House and Senate are Republican controlled, and Trump has said he would sign this if it passes. With the imminent Blue Wave that appears to be coming in November, I wouldn’t be surprised if the GOP does anything they can to appeal to the base that put Trump in power.
Acceptance of the LGBTQ community has been dropping rapidly since Trump took office and the US Census Bureau has decided it does not want to know how many LGBTQ people there really are in the country. After all, if there aren’t any numbers, it is easy to pretend something doesn’t exist at all.
Never be quiet when liberties are attacked, no matter how small the attack appears at first. Before you know it, legislation is passed and laws are enacted. People are labeled and…well, the rest is certainly a history we should remember all too well.
Stand up, be heard, and vote.