Opinion

Proposed California Law Will Mean Banning the Bible

California is about to enact a law that will ban any form of speech or written material that is critical of same-sex sexuality. The following is from Robert J. Gagnon:

The bill in question is California Assembly Bill 2943. It would treat as a criminal violation of the state’s consumer fraud act “the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer” that consists of “advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual.” Don’t be misled into thinking that this bill bans only professional counselors from trying to alter same-sex attractions. It goes well beyond that.

The new law would outlaw anything that states that same-sex sexuality is not innate. It would deny anyone from saying or counseling that people choose their sexual actions. This would include counseling someone who wants to leave the same-sex lifestyle or offering them literature to that effect.

Is this an exaggeration? Not according to what the bill proposes:

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“‘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.”

The bill in its present form is draconian enough. Wait until the courts get their hands on it and start extrapolating on all the implications of such prohibitions. Dr. Gagnon offers a peek into the future of what such a law would mean:

To sell any materials or offer any counseling for a fee that present homosexual practice and transgender identity as wrong or a sin, including all commentaries on the Bible and theological or exegetical treatments that affirm the biblical position on these matters (perhaps even the Bible itself) is to incur criminal sanctions in the state of California.

What kind of books and articles (whether in print or online) can be banned? Books by me, Robert P. George, Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson, Tony Esolen, Nancy Pearcey, Maggie Gallagher, Andrew Comiskey, Jennifer Roback Morse, Denise Shick, Denny Burk, Edith M. Humphrey, Rosaria Butterfield, Michael L Brown, Anne Paulk, Karen Swallow Prior, Andrew Walker, and anyone else that anywhere suggests the value of a “change of behaviors or gender expressions” away from homosexual practice and transgenderism. Any books or articles that indicate that the Bible and the church have a role in encouraging people not to engage in such behavior or self-identification can be banned.

Consider Rosaria Champagne Butterfield who “was a tenured English professor at Syracuse University, a skeptic of all things Christianity, and in a committed lesbian relationship. Her academic specialty was Queer Theory, a postmodern form of gay and lesbian studies. Today Butterfield is a mother of four, a homemaker, and wife of a Presbyterian pastor named Kent. They live in Durham, North Carolina.”

What made the difference? It came by way of a letter in response to an article she had written in a local newspaper. The letter was written by Ken Smith, then-pastor of the Syracuse Reformed Presbyterian Church.

Would Ken Smith be punished under this new law since he engaged in a discussion of same-sex sexuality that resulted in Rosaria leaving the homosexual lifestyle? Would Rosaria Butterfield’s books The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert and Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ be banned in California? Would she be prohibited from speaking in California on the subject of homosexuality?

The answer to all these questions is “Yes.”

The Bible itself could and most likely would be banned. First, because it is very clear that the Bible teaches that same-sex sexuality is a sin and not a “gift from God.” Second, the Bible shows that people in the early church left the same-sex sexuality lifestyle when they were confronted with God’s Law on the subject and the hope they encountered in the Gospel’s message of forgiveness and redemption:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God (1 Cor. 6:9-11).

We’re seeing more direct attacks on Christians and the Bible, especially when it comes to the subject of same-sex sexuality. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) is the latest example. The churches in California better get on the stick. For years they’ve stayed out of politics, but now politics is about to bite them.

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