A statement from Bishop Malesic regarding the bill known as the Equality Act that was recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives
The Book of Genesis in the Bible reminds us that we are all made in the image of God. As such, we all deserve to be treated with respect, dignity and compassion. Our diocese and our Church have a long history of providing charitable service without regard to race, religion, or any other characteristic precisely because as Catholics we believe in the inherent dignity of each and every person. That we are all made in God’s image is also basic to the belief that we need to honor every person’s right to worthwhile work free of unjust discrimination or harassment and to the basic goods that people need to live and thrive. However, it also means that people of differing religious beliefs should be respected and allowed to live and act in accord with those beliefs.
Considering its name, one would think that the Equality Act, which will be soon be voted on in the United States Senate, would promote respect and dignity for all. Ironically, the act in many ways would do the opposite of what its name suggests and needs to be opposed. Instead of respecting differences in beliefs about marriage, sexuality, and the nature of the human person, the Equality Act would discriminate against and punish people of faith. The Equality Act would:
- Exempt itself from the bipartisan Religious Freedom Restoration Act, in an explicit and unprecedented departure from one of America’s founding principles, thereby infringing on religious freedom and making it more difficult for individuals to live out their faith.
- Force religiously operated spaces and establishments, such as church halls, to either host functions that violate their beliefs or close their doors to their communities.
- Require women to compete against men and boys in sports and to share locker rooms and shower facilities with men and boys.
- Force faith-based charities that serve all people to violate their religious beliefs and threaten the welfare of thousands of beneficiaries of charitable services, such as shelters and foster care agencies, by forcing a multitude of them to be shut down.
- Jeopardize existing prohibitions on the use of federal taxpayer funds for abortion, likely pressuring or even mandating the performance of abortions by health care providers in violation of their consciences and ultimately ending more human lives.
- Hinder quality health care by forcing health care professionals, against their best medical judgment, to support treatments and surgical procedures associated with “gender transition.”
I urge you to contact your elected officials today to oppose this bill. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has made this simple and easy to do. Simply click HERE, fill in the blanks, and click “send message.”