New California Bill Puts Christians’ Free Speech and Religious Liberties in Grave Danger
Leading Pastor and College President Dr. Paul Chappell Says Christians Must Recognize Threat of Future Proposed Laws That Attack Our Faith
LOS ANGELES—One of the nation’s most influential pastors and leaders of one of the largest churches on the West Coast is warning that a proposed bill in California would be detrimental to free speech and religious liberty.
Dr. Paul Chappell, senior pastor of Lancaster Baptist Church and president of West Coast Baptist College, says that AB 2943 should be of grave concern to Christians who believe in a traditional and biblical view of marriage, human sexuality and God-given gender identity.
According to coverage of the bill by the Daily Signal, the proposed measure would make traditional views on sexuality illegal by adding so-called “sexual orientation change efforts” to a list of banned practices, which could include counseling, speaking, or the publication and sale of certain materials. The bill claims to protect LGBT people, but “actually limits their personal choices, censors speech and infringes upon religious freedom.”
Last week, Chappell was interviewed about the bill by Fox News’ Todd Starnes, when the two discussed that California Christians are expressing deep concerns over the proposed law that could also outlaw speech by ministers, licensed counselors and authors on issues ranging from homosexuality to gender identity.
“This is an encroachment by the state,” said Chappell, who is also the author of multiple books about cultural concerns, including marriage and parenting. “It’s time for Christians all across America to recognize it’s an attack on our faith. Soon, it could be illegal to stand up for what we know is true in the Bible, for defending God’s design for human beings, their sexuality and gender, and His plan for marriage. Every Christian in every state should be very seriously concerned about this bill, and others like it that could soon be on the horizon.”
The Daily Signal further reported that the expansive law would impose widespread censorship that could “implicate authors, speakers, counselors, colleges and universities and even religious leaders seeking to address unwanted same-sex attraction or gender identity confusion,” such as by these specific examples:
· Religious leaders who maintain that sexual activity should be limited to marriage between one man and one woman.
· Religiously affiliated counseling services that counsel patients who do not wish to act upon their same-sex attraction for legitimate personal reasons.
· Speakers who, when in California, advocate for a traditional view of marriage and human sexuality.
· Bookstores, including online platforms, that sell books that challenge gender identity ideology.
· Religious colleges and universities that maintain codes of conduct requiring students to live consistent with biblical views about sexuality.
The law could be triggered when a transaction occurs—a counselor’s payment, an attendance fee, the cost of a book or a pastor’s speaking fee, the Daily Signal added. Those offended by the speech or content could file a lawsuit against a minister, counselor, author, store or educational institution, which could professionally and financially devastate them. Ironically, the broad nature of the bill “also fails to consider those LGBT individuals who may seek help in their efforts to refrain from acting on certain inclinations. These individuals would be denied professional and personal help under AB 2943.”
Read more about Lancaster Baptist Church, West Coast Baptist College and Dr. Paul Chappell here, or visit paulchappell.com or www.lancasterbaptist.org; connect via social media on Facebook, Twitter or the church’s YouTube or Vimeo.