|For Immediate Release
July 23, 2015
Manassas, VA– The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) opposes new legislation that would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in a way that undermines the broad and balanced Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which was signed into law in 1993 by President Bill Clinton.
“After last year’s inquisition against pastors by the City of Houston and the recent crusade against RFRA in Indiana, it is no secret where the powerful 'gay' and 'transgender' lobbies intend to go with this new legislation,” said Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB. “Their agenda will simply not tolerate Americans who wish to live out their faith in everyday life.”
The so-called Equality Act, sponsored by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes in numerous sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“The Equality Act is a misnomer. It makes a mockery of equality as it threatens to minimize religious liberty—a right expressly recognized and protected in the Bill of Rights—to merely a practice relegated to houses of worship and to elevate select groups of people to an untouchable status,” Dr. Johnson stated.
Apparently intending it to be used as a sword against people of faith, the bill would specifically eliminate any appeal to RFRA in lawsuits. RFRA provides a necessary balancing test to ensure deference to the constitutional right of religious liberty unless there is found to be a “compelling government interest” achieved by the “least restrictive means.”
In addition, while the religious liberty provisions adopted in the Senate-passed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in the last session of Congress were insufficient, the Merkely/Cicilline bill excludes even those religious liberty protections in the relevant section of this new legislation.
Dr. Johnson continued, “This egregious intolerance for a fundamental value of the Bill of Rights is astounding and alarming.”
The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is a non-partisan, international association of Christian communicators whose member organizations represent millions of listeners, viewers, and readers. Our mission is to advance biblical truth; to promote media excellence; and to defend free speech. In addition to promoting standards of excellence, integrity, and accountability, NRB provides networking, educational, ministry, and fellowship opportunities for its members. Learn more at www.nrb.org.
Proclaim, the annual NRB International Christian Media Convention, is the largest nationally and internationally recognized event dedicated solely to assist those in the field of Christian communications. The dynamic Exposition consists of around 200 companies and is an active marketplace for those seeking tools and services to expand their organizations. Proclaim 16 will be held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, TN, February 23-26, 2016. For more information, go to www.nrbconvention.org.
National Religious Broadcasters
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