Welcome to G3 Weekly—a summary of this week’s top news stories on Christianity and the public square.
This week, the State Department vowed to work with foreign governments to advance the LGBTQ movement around the world. Republican lawmakers in North Carolina overrode a veto to pass a twelve-week abortion ban. Meanwhile, a new survey showed that doctrines against homosexuality and transgenderism are a core reason why Americans switch faith affiliations.
State Department Advances the LGBTQ Movement
“For their vine comes from the vine of Sodom and from the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of poison, their clusters are bitter” (Deuteronomy 32:32).
The State Department officially commemorated the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia, and Transphobia, contending that adherents to the LGBTQ movement are “entitled to recognition of their universal human rights.”
The most recent nod toward the movement comes one year after State Department officials provoked backlash for flying the rainbow pride flag at embassies in locations such as the Vatican City. President Joe Biden has directed the federal government to seek an end to so-called “conversion therapy” across the world, asserting that the practices can “cause significant physical and psychiatric harm.”
“We reaffirm the importance of ensuring access to evidence-based healthcare without discrimination or stigma regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics,” the State Department said in a press release. “We recommit to opposing the criminalization of LGBTQI+ status or conduct, which can drive the pathologizing of LGBTQI+ persons and the practice of so-called conversion therapy.”
While some so-called conversion therapy practices can indeed center on physical mistreatment, the term has been leveraged to oppose Christians who seek to peacefully call individuals in sexual sin to repentance and faith in Christ. Members of the Canadian Parliament unanimously passed a ban on “conversion therapy” last year, effectively threatening Christians with as many as five years in prison if they attempt to preach the gospel to those in sexual sin.
North Carolina Enacts New Abortion Regulation
“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8–9).
Republican lawmakers in North Carolina overrode a veto which had attempted to prevent new restrictions on abortion beyond twelve weeks gestation.
North Carolina Democratic Governor Roy Cooper had vetoed the bill and contended that “Republicans are unified in their assault on women’s reproductive freedom” after supermajorities in both chambers of the state legislature overrode the veto. The new law prohibits abortion after twelve weeks, but allows abortion between twelve and twenty weeks in the cases of rape or incest, and permits abortion before twenty-four weeks in the case of a “life-limiting anomaly.”
Enactment of the bill, which did not introduce criminal penalties for mothers who knowingly seek to murder their preborn babies, comes two years after an amendment to the North Carolina Constitution failed to advance in the state legislature. The equal protection proposal filed by Abolish Abortion North Carolina noted that “a distinct and separate human life begins at the moment of fertilization” as a matter of “indisputable scientific fact.”
The measure would have therefore codified that “any person who willfully seeks to destroy the life of another person, by any means, at any stage of life, or succeeds in doing so, shall be held accountable for attempted murder or for first degree murder.”
Americans Leave Faith over Views on Sexual Ethics
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us” (1 John 2:19).
Many Americans who renounce their former religious convictions cite “negative religious teachings” about homosexuality and transgenderism as a core reason for their decision, according to a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute.
While some 56% of respondents to the survey said they merely “stopped believing in the religion’s teachings,” some 30% said they disagreed with the religion’s doctrine with respect to sexual ethics. Those who are now religiously unaffiliated and non-Christian were the most likely to cite the latter scenario, which was more prevalent than factors such as growing up in families which were “never that religious” or “scandals involving leaders” in their former religions.
Roughly 20% of Protestants who belong to a racial minority group said they are “thinking about leaving their current religious tradition or denomination” while 15% of white evangelical Protestants and 14% of Hispanic Protestants said the same.
The survey from the Public Religion Research Institute noted that disruptions in church attendance from the lockdowns and social movements which swept through the nation over the past three years have had salient impacts on patterns of religious adherence.