On Monday, lawyers for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a federal lawsuit against the Iowa Civil Rights Commission in an effort to stop the government’s attempt to censor a church’s right to teach about Biblical sexuality. The lawsuit, a “pre-enforcement challenge,” also demands that the government not be allowed to force the church to open restrooms and showers to people of the opposite sex.
The commission apparently believes that the Iowa Civil Rights Act directly bans churches from expressing their views on human sexuality if, “they would “directly or indirectly” make “persons of any particular…gender identity” feel “unwelcome” in conjunction with church services, events, and other religious activities. The speech ban could be used to gag churches from making any public comments—including from the pulpit—that could be viewed as unwelcome to persons who do not identify with their biological sex. This is because the commission says the law applies to churches during any activity that the commission deems to not have a “bona fide religious purpose.” Examples the commission gave are “a child care facility operated at a church or a church service open to the public,” which encompasses most events that churches hold.”
The ruling could have disastrous effect across the state of Iowa, and, depending on how a federal court rules, across the country. ADF lawyer Christiana Holcomb argues that the commission has crossed a Constitutional line. “Churches should be free to teach their religious beliefs and operate their houses of worship according to their faith without being threatened by the government. That is a foundational First Amendment principle. Churches have always been protected from government intrusion, and they still are. They have a firmly established freedom to teach their beliefs and set internal policies that reflect their biblical teachings about marriage and human sexuality. One can hardly imagine a more obvious unconstitutional invasion of the state into the internal affairs of the church.”
ADF Senior Counsel Steven O’Ban added, “Americans, including church leaders, have the right to challenge unjust laws. We don’t have to be punished or thrown in jail before we seek justice. The government should never have the unchecked power to violate foundational, constitutionally protected freedoms.”
Brace yourself, folks. Attacks on our religious liberty are becoming more and more commonplace, and we are losing more and more of these battles. A day is soon coming when our right to practice our faith as we see fit will be a second-class right and subservient to the cultural attitudes of our rulers on the left. If you’re not ready to fight now, tomorrow may be too late.