Welcome to G3 Weekly—a summary of this week’s top news stories on Christianity and the public square.
This week, lawmakers reintroduced the Equality Act in an attempt to codify protections for homosexuality and transgenderism in federal law. The Presbyterian Church in America decided to issue a rare nationwide rebuke over the issue of so-called sex-change operations for minors. Meanwhile, a series about the works-based religious movement in which the Duggar family is involved quickly became one of the most popular shows in the history of Amazon Prime Video.
Democrats Reintroduce Equality Act
“When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2).
Lawmakers proposed the Equality Act, which would add protections for “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the Civil Rights Act, after similar legislation failed two years ago.
The Equality Act was introduced by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Mark Takano, both of whom are Democrats from California, as well as House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat from New York. The bill would effectively reverse the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, provoking criticism from attorneys who advocate for religious liberty.
“The promise of democracy means a great deal to me personally because I have felt the sting of its denial. As the first openly gay person of color to serve in Congress, I am acutely aware of the impacts lawful discrimination has on our marginalized communities in the United States,” Takano said in a press release. “I’m proud to reintroduce the Equality Act as a long-overdue guarantee to all members of our community that we, too, benefit from explicit civil rights protections and the full promise of American democracy.”
A similar version of the Equality Act filed two years ago passed the House of Representatives but was not approved by the Senate. Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal advocacy group, contended in a statement at the time that the bill would pose “a deliberate and unprecedented threat to free speech, religious freedom, and the progress that women have made toward true equal treatment under the law.”
PCA Petitions Government over Transgender Surgeries
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).
The Presbyterian Church in America passed an overture calling on the conservative evangelical denomination to denounce child sex-change surgeries in communications with lawmakers.
Attendees of the fiftieth general assembly of the PCA, not to be confused with the theologically liberal PCUSA, voted in favor of informing civil magistrates that “it is scientifically impossible for a male to become a female or a female to become a male.”
“We who love our nation, in the name of God who alone is sovereign in his good and perfect design of men and women, call upon you to renounce the sin of all medical and surgical sex change procedures in minors by the American healthcare system because they result in irreversible harm,” a petition to government officials reads. “The obedience to God, which places us in subjection to your rightful civil authority, requires of us to humbly, boldly and prayerfully proclaim the counsel of God as it bears upon the same God-given authority.”
The exact wording of the petition will be amended by a commission and will be sent to President Joe Biden, Chief Justice John Roberts, majority and minority party leaders in the House and Senate, all governors in the fifty states, and party leadership in the state legislatures.
Amazon Show about Duggar Beliefs Draws Instant Fame
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
A four-part docuseries about the religious beliefs of the Duggar family instantly became one of the most popular series ever published on Amazon Prime Video.
Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets chronicled the beliefs and controversies of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, a nondenominational Christian entity which hosts seminars across the United States and advocates certain stringent rules with respect to modesty, child-rearing, and obedience. The series interviewed a number of individuals who were once part of the movement that considers the Duggars, a reality television family with nineteen children, some of its most prominent members.
Vernon Sanders, the head of television for Amazon Studios, said in an interview with Variety that the show has been producing viewership “multiples higher than what we anticipated.”
The series, however, has faced criticism from Christians for neglecting to distinguish between the Institute in Basic Life Principles and forms of biblical Christianity that would reject legalism as the basis for their faith. The show, which also broadly denounced Christian homeschooling and political engagement, largely interviewed disaffected members of the movement who are now secularists rather than former adherents who have since found the biblical gospel. Jinger Duggar Vuolo, the sixth child of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, for instance, wrote a book on how she “learned to embrace true freedom in Christ.”