Advocates for Religious Freedom Split on Views of LGBT Issues

Orthodox Christians and liberals harbor different views on gay rights.

Influential conservative Christians in the United States, comprised of leaders from almost 90 churches, evangelical seminaries, ministries and publications, of both Orthodox and Catholic clergy, have signed a statement which rejects any kind of legal efforts to protect Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or SOGI. They believe the proposed SOGI laws threaten basic freedoms. The writings were part of the campaign titled “Preserve Freedom, Reject Coercion” by Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

Advocates for Religious Freedom Split on Views of LGBT Issues[/tweetthis]

The conservative state of affairs was fiercely opposed by LGBT activists and faith leaders who are concerned about the present state of LGBT protections and conscience rights. They want a debate on the legislation required to balance competing interests. These activities are not the only ones who seek a consensus from the time the U.S. Supreme Court legalized marriage within the same sex in 2015. Infighting exists within the scholar community and also among the policymakers and lawyers. They have, at one time, worked together in their role of religious freedom advocates.

According to Robin Fretwell Wilson, of College of Law, University of Illinois, different visions of right exist, but they all concur that protections of non-discrimination must not overwhelm all other values. She holds the post of director, family law and also policy program at the university. She heads what is colloquially named “Fairness for All” group. The latter works with lawmakers all over the United States to enact laws. One of the laws is Utah Compromise. This law balances SOGI anti-discrimination laws. The law has a number of exemptions to protect conscience of religious business owners and faith communities. Opposition to SOGI has been from orthodox marriage supporters and prominent scholars like Russell Moore of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of Southern Baptist Convention and Princeton University's Robert George. They want robust freedom laws and not “Fairness for All” laws.

At stake in the SOGI dispute are local, federal and state laws governing whether the businesses owned by individuals having faith or religious institutions should serve LGBT people despite convictions on gender and sexuality. When the Utah Compromise was accepted in 2015, Andrew Walker of Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission termed the step as a “well-intentioned” one. He however had problems with the “arbitrary threshold” through which a number of entities enjoyed religious exemption within the policy. The conservative group have explained their stance in a public letter, with the “Preserve Freedom, Reject Coercion” title.


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