Tag archives: Equality Act

On International Women’s Day, Let’s Challenge Agendas That Fail Women

by Mary Szoch

March 8, 2021

Today is International Women’s Day, which always brings to my mind Pope St. John Paul the Great’s Letter to Women. In this beautiful letter, as Pope John Paul II thanks women in every walk of life, he remarks, “Women’s dignity has often been unacknowledged and their prerogatives misrepresented; they have often been relegated to the margins of society… This has prevented women from truly being themselves and it has resulted in a spiritual impoverishment of humanity.” 

Pope John Paul II wrote this letter in 1995, but his words remain relevant today. Men and women—though equal in human dignity and value—are different. If we ignore these differences and prevent women from being themselves, we do so to the detriment of our society.

Part of the reason International Women’s Day exists is to call upon humanity to counter “gender bias,” sexism, and stereotypes in the workplace. But so often, instead of creating a work environment that is actually welcoming and accommodating to women, these well-intentioned efforts nevertheless force women to sacrifice the differences that make them unique in order to fit a status quo better suited to their male counterparts.

The so-called “Equality Act” promises equality for women—but only if women sacrifice who they are. If passed, the Equality Act would redefine sex to include “gender identity and sexual orientation,” thereby eliminating biological distinctions between men and women. Our society cannot truly empower women if our laws eliminate what it actually means to be a woman.

Furthermore, the Equality Act would redefine what constitutes “sex discrimination,” resulting in what is effectively a right to abortion. It would require abortion to be taxpayer-funded and covered by insurers. As Erika Bachiochi pointed out, this would incentivize businesses to “prefer abortion for their pregnant employees over far more costly accommodations for parenting.”  

We cannot recognize the dignity of women if we continue to create a culture where women can only excel if they deny their very being. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is another piece of legislation supporters claim will uplift women. But in reality, it is an effort to enshrine abortion-on-demand in all 50 states, once again implicitly signaling to women that if they would like to be successful, they must check their fertility at the door.  

This is, as Pope John Paul II writes, an example of the gift of motherhood being “penalized rather than rewarded, even though humanity owes its very survival to this gift.” Passage of the Equality Act and the Equal Rights Amendment would create a world where women will be further exploited, marginalized, and devalued.  

Pope John Paul II offers an alternative:

I am convinced that the secret of making speedy progress in achieving full respect for women and their identity involves more than simply the condemnation of discrimination and injustices, necessary though this may be. Such respect must first and foremost be won through an effective and intelligent campaign for the promotion of women, concentrating on all areas of women’s life and beginning with a universal recognition of the dignity of women.

If we truly want to “Choose to Challenge,” as the theme of International Women’s Day suggests, we should do as Pope John Paul II says—choose to challenge “systems to be redesigned in a way which favours the processes of humanization which mark the ‘civilization of love.’” Choose to challenge society to actually value women—value their opinions, their unique voice in the workplace, AND their fertility. Choose to challenge workplaces to develop policies that allow women to be moms, not policies that force women to choose between their children and their livelihood. Choose to challenge the idea that women and girls need abortion on-demand in order to succeed by supporting pregnancy resource centers. Choose to challenge the lie that men and women are exactly the same and instead celebrate the God-given differences that allow our society to flourish.

On this International Women’s Day, let’s join Pope John Paul II in thanking “every woman, for the simple fact of being a woman!” and pray the world recognizes that, through their “insight, which is so much a part of womanhood,” women “enrich the world’s understanding and help to make human relations more honest and authentic.”

The Equality Act Demands Conformity to Moral Anarchy

by David Closson

March 1, 2021

Last week, the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, legislation that supporters say is necessary to protect those who identify as LGBT from unjust discrimination in employment, housing, education, and other areas of American life. The bill passed by a 224-206 vote; only three Republicans joined Democrats to support it (down from eight who voted for it in 2019).

While some praised the passing of the bill in the House as a step toward ending discrimination, a careful analysis of the bill reveals that the Equality Act would codify into law the most extreme demands of the moral revolution while stigmatizing anyone who dares to dissent from the new orthodoxy.

On paper, the Equality Act proposes almost 60 amendments to nearly 10 different laws including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Civil Rights Act of 1968, and the Fair Housing Act. While eradicating discrimination is a commendable goal, it is clear the Equality Act will do nothing to end discrimination. In fact, if enacted into law, the bill will accelerate discrimination against tens of millions of Americans whose beliefs on marriage and human sexuality are informed by science and religious convictions.

While the implications of a bill as expansive as the Equality Act are difficult to calculate, the most immediate effects are clear. For starters, the Equality Act would dramatically expand abortion access, remove religious liberty protections, virtually end women’s and girls’ sports, and threaten Christian seminaries, universities, and colleges.

On the issue of human life, the Equality Act effectively creates a legislative right to abortion. It does this primarily via changes to Title II of the Civil Rights Act regarding “Public Accommodations.” Health care would be added as a “public accommodation” and “sex” would be added as a protected class. “Sex” is redefined to include “pregnancy… or a related medical condition.” Courts have ruled that “related medical condition” includes abortion. Further, the Equality Act has no conscience protections for health care providers who morally oppose abortion or restriction on taxpayers funding of abortion.

The Equality Act also severely undermines religious liberty. First, by expanding the definition of a public accommodation to include any establishment that provides goods, services, or programs to their communities, churches that operate food banks, homeless shelters, and the like, could be compelled to comply with the Equality Act’s requirements in how they run these programs. They would no longer be allowed to have sex-segregated services and programs or private facilities when operating these services and programs. While ministerial exemptions will continue (for now) to protect churches from hiring clergy who openly identify as homosexual, churches could be required to hire people for non-ministerial positions who do not agree with the church’s beliefs on marriage and sexuality. Second, the Equality Act explicitly exempts itself from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which passed unanimously in the House and 97-3 in the Senate before President Bill Clinton signed it into law in 1993. If a religious individual believes the Equality Act has violated their beliefs, RFRA is no longer a claim they can bring in court; if they are sued for non-compliance, RFRA is not a defense they can raise.

Third, the Equality Act virtually ends women’s and girls’ sports. Already, biological male athletes are winning athletic competitions against biological females in places like Connecticut that allow athletes to compete based on their gender identify. For example, since 2017, two biological male runners in Connecticut have won a combined 15 girls state indoor or outdoor championship races. By redefining “sex” to include the contested category of gender identity, competitions reserved for women and girls would have to admit biological males who identify as female. Not only is this unfair to the tens of thousands of female athletes who have little to no chance of beating male athletes, it is also unsafe in high contact sports because biological males are naturally faster and stronger. Therefore, another consequence of the Equality Act is erasing scholarship and recruitment opportunities for female athletes.

Women’s safety and privacy are also sacrificed on the altar of political correctness by requiring the admittance of biological males who identify as female into bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and changing facilities reserved for biological females.

Additionally, if enacted into law, the Equality Act would threaten the existence of Christian seminaries, universities, and colleges that receive any form of federal financial assistance, potentially including federal loans which many students use to pay tuition. By amending Title IV of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a “catch all” non-discrimination provision on all federal funds, the Equality Act would require schools that receive federal funding to comply with its sexual orientation/gender identity (SOGI) requirements, including admissions and housing standards. The financial impact of this would be devastating for Christian colleges and many would be forced to shut down.

Given its House passage, the bill now moves to the U.S. Senate, where Democrats also have control. It is alarming that a bill which denies the reality of womanhood, expands abortion, and guts religious liberty is this close to becoming law. But hope is not lost—Senate passage is not a foregone conclusion, and Americans should mobilize to ensure it is defeated. Family Research Council has resources that people can use to educate themselves and others about the bill. Additionally, people can contact their senators and inform them of their opposition to the Equality Act.

As those who believe that all people are made in God’s image and possess inherent value and dignity, Christians should oppose discrimination. But despite its clever name, the Equality Act does nothing to advance equality or stymie discrimination. Instead, the legislation would mandate conformity to an ideology antithetical to core tenets of the Christian worldview and codify a host of harmful social policies (detailed above) that touch on nearly every facet of life. Therefore, it should be opposed vigorously. 

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