Scott Slayton | Contributor to ChristianHeadlines.com
In the last few months, two major Christian organizations endorsed principles that would make sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) protected classes under federal anti-discrimination laws. The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) both passed motions affirming the need for SOGI legislation and argued that this is the only way to ensure the preservation of religious liberty.
WORLD reported that Shirley Mullen, who is President at Houghton College and sits on the boards of both organizations, wrote in a position paper for NAE board members that, “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.”
The NAE’s motion called for federal legislation in keeping with three principles. First, they say that “We believe that God created human beings in his image as male or female and that sexual relations be reserved for the marriage of one man and one woman.” Second, they say they support, “long-standing civil rights laws and First Amendment guarantees that protect free religious exercise. Finally, they argued that “No one should face violence, harassment, or unjust discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”
Dr. Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said that while the goals of the motions are laudable, they are mistakes. His main issue with the motions concerns the meaning of “unjust discrimination.” He commented, “No one would be against a prohibition of unjust discrimination. But everything hinges on what exactly is meant by these words. And that points to a very deep problem. These kinds of compromises or at least apparent compromises, they are actually predicated on a moment in political history in which you have two sides that are facing off and they each agree to a common language, but in reality, in all honesty, they hold to two very different understandings of what the words mean.”
Russell Moore, who serves as the President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention said SOGI legislation would hurt the country. He argued that “Placing sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in this kind of legislation would have harmful unintended consequences, and make the situation worse in this country, both in terms of religious freedom and in terms of finding ways for Americans who disagree to work together for the common good.”
Mohler further argued that while a compromise seems like a good idea, evangelical institutions have no guarantees that those pushing for SOGI laws will honor compromises. He said, “When you are looking at this kind of compromise in a society in moral motion you have to say how long could such a compromise last anyway.”