Our Orange County press conference denouncing the Assembly Bill that would take away choice was held this week at the Ronald Reagan Federal Building in Santa Ana amidst the noisy efforts of LGBT protesters who refuse to accept that God can change lives.
This bill’s hostility toward consenting adults who have chosen to live a life in accordance with their faith and identity as a Christian will prohibit them from purchasing supportive books or from obtaining supportive counseling for their unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion.
During the press conference, we heard from several compelling men and women of varying ethnicities who are former homosexuals, former lesbians and same-sex attracted. They told about their own life-changing experiences and how, through the love and support of the church and the power of the Holy Spirit, they have benefited by the very services AB 2943 intends to ban.
One such young man was Florida Pulse Nightclub survivor Luis Javier Ruiz, who told us that, instead of living with pain and depression, he has found joy in the love of Jesus Christ and freedom from homosexuality! Another was 28 year old Southern California seminary student Neal Hardin, who says that his identity is more than just his sexuality. “My identity is that I am a Christian!”
View the video to hear Advocates attorney, Robert Tyler explain why this dangerous and unconstitutional bill must not be allowed to become law. Watch as black, brown, and white former homosexuals and church leaders representing over 700 pastors from throughout California speak out against AB 2943.
Plainly put, Assembly Bill 2943 (Evan Low, D-San Jose, LGBT Caucus) violates free speech, promotes viewpoint discrimination and denies the right to choose. It is scheduled to be heard by the State Senate Judiciary Committee on June 12, 2018.
If you’re in California and you don’t want to live in a state that makes it illegal for someone to seek help from books and counselors of their choice – a state that denies Christians the right to choose their identity in Christ, not their sexuality, please take a moment to find your State Senator and call and ask them to vote NO on AB 2943.
Please Click Here to Donate so Advocates for Faith & Freedom can continue to preserve our churches, our Bible and our religious liberties by fighting bills like these. Especially so we’ll be able to help those who are in emotional and spiritual crisis through the loving support of the church and the healing power of the Lord.
As a national defender in the fight for religious freedoms and parental rights, Advocates for Faith & Freedom has increasingly seen pastors back away from teaching biblical worldviews from the pulpit, primarily because of their perception that their congregants don’t want to hear it. This has resulted in a growing disconnect between Christian conservatives and their pastors.
Interestingly enough, a new survey titled “What God’s People Want to Know,” commissioned by WallBuilders and the American Culture & Faith Institute shows conservative Christians actually want to hear more about political issue-related teaching from the pulpit. The fascinating survey asked moderate and conservative Christians about the types of issue-related teaching they wanted to hear from their pastors during the 2014 and 2016 elections.
Contrary to the notion of many pastors that religion has no place in the public square, the findings demonstrate that Christians who hold politically conservative views believe that churches should be more involved in the political process—the opposite message we hear from progressives and the media.
Two out of three respondents said they want more information from their church about what the Bible teaches in relation to current social and political issues. At least 80% of the respondents indicated their greatest need for information related to the following six issues of “high importance”: Abortion (91%); Religious persecution/liberty (86%); Poverty (85%); Cultural restoration (83%); Sexual identity (82%); and Israel (80%).
Sadly, the survey also found that one out of every five conservative pastors did not even encourage their congregants to vote in November 2014. It is also alarming that one-quarter of conservative pastors did not teach their congregants biblical principles
about important social and political issues during the six months preceding the election.
The results also underscored just how tone deaf the media and political candidates are when it comes to the issues most important to conservative Christians. Topics frequently pushed by the media, such as healthcare, foreign policy, immigration reform, jobs/unemployment, taxes, gun rights, military spending, and campaign finance reform, did not make the list of issues that mattered.
What does all this mean and why is it important? The survey reinforces what we have already seen in our legal defense ministry: There is a correlation between the declining spiritual and social health of America and the lack of engagement of our pastors. In the words of the survey summary, “The nation has been demonstrably worse off ever since pastors chose to disconnect faith from politics and governance. America urgently needs cultural direction from those whom God has placed in positions of spiritual leadership. One way of providing such leadership is by shaping the thinking of Christians by teaching them foundational biblical principles related to pressing social and political issues of the day.” To that, we say Amen!
So, what can congregants do to encourage their pastors to preach on what the Bible says about social and cultural matters? Try telling your pastor the following:
- You’re interested in learning what the Bible teaches on the topics and would consider them appropriate subjects for the pastor to teach from the pulpit.
- You have appreciated the times when the pastor has addressed current issues from a biblical perspective, and you hope to experience more of that kind of teaching on a broader range of issues.
- You believe learning about what the Bible says in relation to current issues of importance – beyond abortion and same-sex marriage—would be a significant contribution to the body of Christ.
I believe that pastors have more than an opportunity to teach on these matters; they have a responsibility and calling to do so. While pushback from some congregants is likely, especially those who are more theologically moderate, addressing these issues may serve as an impetus to developing a more biblically centered worldview among many people in the congregation.
We at Advocates for Faith & Freedom are holding free seminars for pastors, administrators, and other non-profit ministries to equip them in leading the Church to positively impact social and political issues. (Check our website at http://www.faith-freedom.com/events for upcoming details).
If you would like more information on what your pastor or church can legally do in terms of speaking about political issues from the pulpit, we have numerous resources available on our website, including the handout “Pastors & Politics: What is Legal and Illegal” and a 10-page booklet, “The First Amendment in Crisis: The Intersection of Church and State.” You can access this information at http://www.faith-freedom.com/learn/church-and-state/.
Thank you for your financial support! We have much to accomplish to change and shape the moral culture of our communities, but we can only move forward with your help. Please continue to hold our attorneys up in prayer as they continue protecting our cherished religious freedom.
In February, we told you about an earlier ruling in favor of Bakersfield, CA bakery owner, Cathy Miller.
And now last week’s final ruling in California Superior Court Read More
Last week, AB 2943 passed out of California’s State Assembly with an overwhelming Democrat majority vote.
In another attack on the freedom to live our traditional values, this bill would make it illegal for anyone to sell books, videos, counseling and other services that might help a person overcome unwanted same-sex attraction or gender identity confusion.
Despite claims to the contrary by its author, California’s LGBT Caucus Chair, Evan Low, this bill’s language is broad and presents a glaring case of viewpoint discrimination because it allows therapy if the patient and therapist want to confirm the same-sex attraction, but if the attraction is not desired the patient will not be able to receive restorative therapy.
Section 1 (c) “This bill intends to make clear that sexual orientation change efforts are an unlawful practice [emphasis added] under California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act.”
(i) (1) “Sexual orientation change efforts” means any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex. [emphasis added]
(2) “Sexual orientation change efforts” does not include psychotherapies that: (A) provide acceptance, support, and understanding [emphasis added] of clients or the facilitation of clients’ coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices; and (B) do not seek to change sexual orientation.
Falling under the State’s consumer fraud law, this bill would make it a violation for a pastor to sell books or literature from the church bookstore that address sexual issues from a traditional values perspective, which could quite possibly include the Bible, because it teaches sexual morality and the importance of sexual purity within the confines of marriage between a man and woman.
CLICK to hear Calvary Chapel Chino Hills Pastor, Jack Hibbs, warn of the dangers this bill could present to pastors and churches.
AB 2943 would legally deny an individual struggling with unwanted feelings — for instance, a heterosexually married man or woman with children or someone whose goal is to reduce their same-sex attractions or behavior — to seek the therapy they desire. It would also be illegal for someone with unwanted gender identity confusion to receive counseling to discover their heterosexual potential.Advocates is already gearing up to fight, should this become law! Our traditional family values are at stake! The freedom to practice our Christian values is at stake! Our churches and pastors could be targeted!
We ask for your support, first with prayer and next, if you are able, with your donations. Please partner with us as we prepare to fight for hurting individuals who deserve the freedom to seek help from whomever they choose!
If you would like to sign the petition for AB 2943 please go to this page.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you
and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
School policy-makers are running amok, insisting we teach our children a politically correct, secular, and sometimes inaccurate philosophy
on sexual behavior, sexuality, and gender.
Twenty-nine-year-old Nada Higuera stood in the courtroom last April, her growing belly an accessory to her case briefs and plea binders.
As an attorney with Advocates for Faith & Freedom—a California-based non-profit law firm dedicated to protecting religious liberty—Higuera was once again in Riverside County Superior Court Justice Gloria Trask’s courtroom to challenge the Reproductive FACT Act, or AB-775 (see “Free Speech vs. Forced Speech,” page 12). The statute, hailed by NARAL
Pro-Choice America as “historic,” and “set[ting] a precedent for the nation,” forces pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) statewide to advertise taxpayer-funded abortion and birth-control programs in their waiting rooms, signage and communications.
Signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October 2015, the FACT Act was immediately decried by the pro-life community. Every Golden State PRC would have no choice if AB-775 became law but to tell clients not only that free or low-cost abortions might be available, but exactly where and how to obtain them. In other words: They would be forced to violate their own missions and moral convictions while providing free advertising for the opposition.
Higuera took the case because it was, in her words, Read More
Is it time that Christians speak up on transgender issues? I believe it is. After meeting with parents at Rocklin Academy Gateway School, Read More
There’s so much good to report!
At Tuesday’s U.S. Supreme Court hearing about free speech, life, and religious liberty, the question was whether a law passed in California could force pro-life clinics and crisis pregnancy centers to advertise for the state’s free abortion program… in up to 13 languages, no less!
Although a lawsuit to stop the statute was struck down by the Ninth Circuit, you may recall back in October 2017, Tyler & Bursch’s pro bono attorneys, with funding from Advocates for Faith & Freedom, prevailed against this law on Free Speech grounds in Riverside County Superior Court in Scharpen Foundation v. Kamala Harris.
Still, California’s Attorney General persisted on defending this discriminatory law all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where non-profit legal defense law firms from across the country took the lead. Advocates for Faith & Freedom’s research and amicus brief played a significant role in its opposition and was mentioned by three Justices at Tuesday’s hearing.
According to the Daily Signal, Justice Anthony Kennedy asked whether an unlicensed center ran a billboard that read “Choose Life,” would it have to include the disclosure in the same font and in multiple languages? Wouldn’t that be an undue burden?”
A Courthouse News Service article quoted both Justice Alito and Justice Gorsuch. “If you have a law that’s neutral on its face, but… when you apply all the exemptions, what you’re left with is a very strange pattern, and, gee, it turns out that just about the only clinics that are covered by this [law] are pro-life clinics,” Alito said. “Do you think it’s possible to infer intentional discrimination in that situation?”
While Justice Neil Gorsuch commented that the California law required pregnancy centers to “do the state’s job” at a significant cost to what Advocates for Faith & Freedom’sresearch set out to prove, are mostly nonprofit, pro-life facilities. “Well, but if you’re trying to educate a class of persons about their rights, it’s pretty unusual to force a private speaker to do that for you under the First Amendment,” Gorsuch said.
Commenting right after leaving the Supreme Court hearing with our client, Scott Scharpen, Tyler & Bursch attorney, Robert Tyler was optimistic, saying, “Based on the arguments, it certainly appears that victory is awaiting!”
Unlike Planned Parenthood, non-profit crisis pregnancy centers exist to support women who face difficult or unplanned pregnancies and receive no money or support from the government. It was apparent the Justices recognized the state’s majority pro-abortion lawmakers targeted these groups.
It was only through your prayers and financial support that Advocates was able to contribute the research and provide the pro bono legal services that we feel certain made a big difference in this case!
Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw His
unfailing love from me. ~ Psalm 66:20 (NLT)
In our neighborhoods, young Girl Scouts and their mothers are setting up cookie sales tables outside local grocery and retail stores. Teenage members of a church girls’ youth group offer these traditional family-favorites for sale from a colorful Girl Scout cookie booth in the church courtyard after Sunday service.
But, several years ago, an uncomfortable rumor began circulating over social media that a portion of Girl Scout cookie sale proceeds was donated to Planned Parenthood. Girl Scouts of America denies this rumor and says that no proceeds from cookie sales have ever been donated to Planned Parenthood.
Their official statement is, “Girl Scouts does not take a position on abortion or birth control. We believe these are matters that are best discussed within the family.” We’re good with that statement.
It was also rumored that Girl Scouts of America promotes and supports organizations with less than Christian social values, so raising money for them goes against our principles. Although local Girl Scout troops will tell you that one hundred percent of the net revenue raised through their cookie sales stays with them. The individual troops set goals on how to spend their proceeds.