Americans Could Face Federal Penalty For Holding Their Religious Beliefs: This is the greatest threat to religious liberty and free exercise of religion ever in American history. This bill is taking and regulating your religion, forcing Americans to face a federal penalty for holding their religious beliefs. It’s the most outrageous and intrusive religious act ever introduced into America.
Air Date: 06/05/2019
Guest: Amber Haskew
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith And The Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always doing that from a Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective.
We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker and President of WallBuilders, and my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator, national speaker, and author. Today’s issue is no different. It’s an issue that’s just passed the House of Representatives. It’s headed over to the Senate, and it’s an issue that will affect your life. So pay attention to today’s program. Whether you’re in business are you are in the pulpit or you’re in education or whatever area the culture you’re engaged in. This is a piece of legislation in Washington D.C. that is going to impact you and it can impact your church.
Check out websites, WallBuildersLive.com and WallBuilders.com for more information about us.
The Worst Piece of Legislation in American History
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So check that out at WallBuildersLive.com, and then also at our main site, WallBuilders.com.
Later in the program, Amber Haskew will be with us from Liberty Council. We’re gonna be talking about this piece of legislation I was just referring to.
David, Tim, we’ve actually talked about this piece of legislation a few times, people will know the name of the Equality Act. We, of course, around here, know that it’s anything but equal. It’s actually creating major discrimination, in fact, constitutional violations, I would argue, of our freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion. All these things we hold dear, this one piece of legislation goes after it.
The Equality Act is Anything but Equality
When you look back over our history in the last 40-50 years, we’ve had several initiatives by the federal government to attempt to federalize major areas.
Immigration used to be a state issue, and the courts said, “No, that’s going to belong to us. We’ll take it all over.”
We’ve also seen what happens with the bailout 10 years ago or so, where they kind of federalized real estate at the time, and so now so much of what happens in real estate is under federal regulation. What happens with private properties come under federal regulation, because of federal acts they pass that that allow them to take—even desert, so they can take that, or call it swamp lands and take that our American heritage sites, and they can take your property.
So we’ve seen that we saw even with the Affordable Care Act the federalization of health care the Equality Act is just as far reaching, but really it’s the federalization of your religious beliefs. I think that’s probably the best scope to put it.
In the federal government, the Democrats are saying, “Oh, we’ve got some religious beliefs we don’t disagree,” and they put those religious beliefs higher than what we believe.
“So we’re going to federalize all religious beliefs, and you’re going to have to believe what we believe on sexuality issues, and if your religious beliefs are different, you have to get in line with our religious beliefs on sexuality,” which is not Biblical at all.
They call them religious beliefs, by the way.
“You’ll have to you’ll have to face a federal penalty if you don’t agree with what we want to tell you your religion must be.”
The Most Far Reaching Anti-Freedom Act We’ve Ever Seen
So this is the biggest, the most far reaching, the most intrusive act ever introduced in America that I know of historically. I don’t know of any religious act that is more intrusive than this one is, to take and to regulate your religion even when you had state established denominations like in Virginia, and South Carolina, and you had Great Britain, etc. There was nothing as intrusive as what this federal act is right now. This is unprecedented, and it’s the greatest threat we’ve had to religious liberty and free exercise of religion ever in American history.
So, now, Amber is from Liberty Counsel—
Now, by the way, David, before you introduced Amber, you made that statement, and you’ve followed thousands and thousands of pieces of legislation at the state and federal level, that is a huge statement you just made. People need to pay attention to this program. Go ahead.
Well, we’ve also followed in history as well, including before we even had a constitution, and certainly in our constitutional area. There’s been nothing this far reaching, and even before that, when we had kings, when we had sovereigns ruling, there was nothing this mandatory and far reaching.
So the penalties with this are bigger than anything that’s ever been proposed in America. And of all the organizations out there that were great friends with, Alliance Defending Freedom, and First Liberty, et cetera, Liberty Council is an organization that is a premier constitutional defense organization. They have been following this as well.
While we’ve looked at the Equality Act from the other perspectives, now let’s look at it from a constitutional perspective on what the consequences will be. And that’s what Amber Haskew has.
Amber Haskew from Liberty Council, when we return on WallBuilders Live.
We Want To Hear Your Vet Story
Hey friends! If you have been listening to WallBuilders Live for very long at all, you know how much we respect our veterans and how appreciative we are of the sacrifice they make to make our freedoms possible. One of the ways that we love to honor those veterans is to tell their stories here on WallBuilders Live. Once in awhile, we get an opportunity to interview veterans that have served on those front lines that have made incredible sacrifices have amazing stories that we want to share with the American people.
One of the very special things we get to do is interview World War II veterans. You’ve heard those interviews here on WallBuilders Live, from folks that were in the Band of Brothers, to folks like Edgar Harrell that survived the Indianapolis to so many other great stories you heard on WallBuilders Live.
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Amber Haskew on the Equality Act
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us today! Amber Haskew is with us from Liberty Counsel. Amber, thanks for coming on.
Thank you so much for having me today, Rick.
Well, tell Matt and the whole team, “Thank you for all that you guys do.”
We appreciate all the battles that you fight on the front lines in the courtrooms, but also the way you keep us informed out there, and we really wanted your take on where we stand on the, quote, “Equality Act.”
I hate even using their language. Is this really the Inequality Act, and the “Let’s Discriminate Against Christians” act.
But just wondering where you think we stand on it, and where you think the danger is if it was to pass.
Well, first of all the bill that we’re talking about today is really, as you described, it’s misnamed the Equality Act. It’s very similar to how they passed the Affordable Health Care Act, and then we all saw what happened to are the prices of our insurance premiums. That’s the same type of equality that we’re talking here, it’s really inequality. This bill would have an incredible impact on everything from employers, houses of worship, schools, bathrooms, shelters, professional counselors, even on the relationships of parents with their children, landlords, and small businesses. There’s almost nothing that this bill doesn’t impact.
What we saw was, on May 17th, it passed the House of Representatives and there was two hundred and thirty six that voted for it and one hundred and seventy three that voted against it.
The support that it got in the house was a full eight Republicans that decided that this bill was something that they wanted to support.
Pushing the LGBT Agenda in Churches and Schools
The bill has been automatically assigned to the Judicial Committee in the Senate, and it’s awaiting getting scheduled at that point. Liberty Council has been really fighting this bill from the beginning when it first came down, and I started reading the bill and I just started realizing the breadth of impact that this bill is going to have.
It really blew me away, because we’re talking about churches having to perform same sex marriages inside of their sanctuaries. Pastors are being forced to officiate those ceremonies. Schools would lose their accreditation if they don’t just completely bow to the LGBT agenda in every aspect from their bathroom policies, to their housing policies, to everything in between there.
In the past, Amber, they’ve they’ve at least had some sort of religious exemptions in bills like this, where they’ve claimed, “Hey, this will affect so-and-so and so-and-so, but it’s not going to affect churches. So churches will be able to be exempt.”
They don’t even have that in here, do they?
Not that it would be OK if they did. Not that that would mean the end of itself. I’m just saying they did, but they don’t even care about that anymore.
Right. The Bill explicitly says that the free exercise their rights and protections are not allowed to be used to defend against a case that’s brought against a religious individual or to be used to have their own claim. It very explicitly target individuals of religion and people of faith. This is something that is very egregious, and even when it was in the House Committee they brought an amendment to just take out this ban on the use of their religious free exercise clause.
No Religious Exemptions
And the Democrats that were in the majority looked at that and said, “No, we want complete and total control.”
One of the greatest concerns is, not only does this throw open the door for the persecution of people of faith, of Christians, and pretty much all of the major religions, but it financially rewards those who walk through those doors, because the types of civil cases that it would enable people to bring against churches, against religious schools, or religious shelters, etc. would then turn around and reward the people bringing those cases with financial losses privileges and financial or damages.
So those are the things that deeply concern our organization, and it’s one of the reasons that we’re fighting this bill so strongly. So we have basically a three part step as to what we want to see—
Hey, wait, Amber, let me ask you real quick, before you talk about how to push back against this, because this would apply if I want to make sure understand this right.
I heard some common sense a week or two ago, and it shocked me, but it was the whole weight lifting association, or whatever they call them.
Some guy had claimed to be a girl at the last minute so that he could win all their you like 10 different awards, and in a few days and the Association basically said, “Okay, look, this is ridiculous. We’re gonna put you in the class that you are physically part of biologically, because this is obviously not fair. It doesn’t make sense to have a man competing with the women.”
And then they went on to explain that their bodies are made different. That’s why we have two different competitions and all those things.
6,500 Differences Between Men and Women
It made perfect sense. OK. Finally, somebody is using some common sense here and it’s a national organization.
If this bill were to pass, I’m assuming that organization would be subject to a lawsuit from this guy that claims to be a girl saying, “No, you have to let me compete in the women’s competition and take home all the trophies—” literally all of the trophies.
Am I reading that right?
Not only does it disadvantage women in weightlifting and on all of their sports, but it also disadvantages them in bathrooms locker rooms where these same physical attributes put them at a physical disadvantage to the men that are just throwing open the doors and welcoming them into these private spaces for women.
One of the studies that our organization is promoting is that the differences between men and women goes far beyond what you think are actually there. They studied about 20 different genes, and at a gene level they found 6,500 differences between men and women.
This is not something that a certain hormone injection or mutilation of the external body can change. It’s really who we are as God created us to be. It’s throughout our entire body, and that’s just something that cannot be changed.
Well, you sound like you’ve got common sense. The question is, “Does Congress have common sense? Will the Senate kill this?”
That was a significant margin in the house. I’m assuming we’ve got the votes in the Senate, but I don’t wanna make that assumption. We need to be encouraging people to call them.
You were about to give me your three step plan and I’ll cut you off. So tell me, what are the three things you’re asking people to do?
Call Your Senator and Get this Bill Stopped
Well, what we want to do is, right now in the Senate, they have 47 individuals that have already pledged their support towards this bill.
47 have already said yes they’re for it?!
Yes, they have one sponsor and 46 co-sponsors in the Senate alone. I do not want people to have this sense of complacency, because it really is something that’s a lot closer than we might want to think about. First would have to go to the Committee of the judiciary. There are eleven Republicans and nine Democrats, so they would just need two extra votes to both get it scheduled and through the committee.
Our first goal is we have sent a petition to the committee, to the Senate leaders, asking them, “Do not even schedule this.”
If that fails, we will fight it in the committee, and if that fails, we are trying to force a 60 vote majority requirement to stop the debate. Those are the three steps that we are trying to do, and how people can help us fight this is to go to lc.org/HR5 and you can sign a free petition. They just add your name saying, “I am fighting this,” and we are also working on faxing so people can go to the lcaction.org/hr5 and send a fax directly to the Representatives or their Senators, and then I’m just asking people to please spread the word. Help us to get the word out there, because the media is not talking about this outside of our friends and people that already understand that this is a huge challenge to our way of life and the freedoms that we’ve had up to this point.
47 Senators Already Pledging to Back This Bill
Yeah. Now and it’s easy to think you know this is so outlandish surely. Surely this thing wouldn’t pass in the Senate yet. Here we are 47 already on board and it was a significant margin in the House are these steps definitely need to be taken in. What’s the best link that we can give people to be able to you know learn more from you guys to be able to take these steps.
Yeah. lc.org is our home page and if you just go to lc.org/hr5, that will take you to a wonderful resource where we have print outs we have past resources articles videos everything that people need to go ahead and make a difference and inform others leaders and friends in their community.
Alright, we’ll have links there at our website today WallBuildersLive.com and we’ll make sure that we get the word out. Amber, thanks for all you guys are doing at Liberty Council. Give your whole team a thumbs up from the WallBuilders team. We love you guys, we appreciate all that you do and just think Matt’s a champion for us, and really appreciate what Liberty Council does to lead the way on all these issues.
Thank you. We really appreciate your organization. You guys do great work.
That’s Amber Haskew from Liberty Council. Stay with us folks, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton on WallBuilders Live.
Hi, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders and I want to encourage all the pastors out there with a unique opportunity that we’re presenting it WallBuilders. We’re doing a special tour just for pastors that you can come and learn more about the spiritual heritage of our nation. Not just seeing the sights but understanding the significance of what they are and what they represent.
We get to go to the Capitol at night. And, we get to see the spiritual heritage of our Founding Fathers, of who we are as a nation, where we came from. We bring in congressman that will tell you about current legislation, about our religious liberties and freedom, and what’s going on in Washington, D.C.
If you’re a pastor or if you want to recommend your pastor for this trip, you can go to our website at www.WallBuilders.com. And, there’s a link that’s for scheduling. If you click on that link there’s a section for pastor’s briefing. There’s more information about the dates, when it’s going, and how it’s going to happen. If you want to know more about our nation, our religious liberties, our freedom, our spiritual heritage, this is a trip you want to be a part of.
American Tradition: Religious Exemptions
We’re back on WallBuilders Live. Special thanks to Amber Haskew for joining us from Liberty Council. We’re back with David and Tim Barton, now. and David, you said at the beginning of the program. This is one of the most dangerous—I think you said most dangerous piece of legislation that we’ve ever dealt with, and that you’ve ever seen, especially with regard to our freedom to even think, and act, and believe the things that we hold dear as Americans, and to even call it the Equality Act is fooling a lot of people.
Obviously there’s momentum for it. The House passed it with a pretty good margin.
Yeah, they did pass it. And the key thing here, Rick, you were saying that this bill doesn’t have religious exemptions, and basically, in other bills, it says, “Look, if you’re sincerely held religious beliefs contradict what this act mandates, you don’t have to follow this act if you have a religious man.”
And let me point out, this is a longstanding tradition in America, that we respected the rights of conscience and the convictions of people. If you go down the line, there’s some famous movies that have come out recently, Hacksaw Ridge being one of them.
You had a conscientious objector who said, “It’s against my religion to pick up a gun and shoot somebody. I can’t do that.”
This Bill Would End That
We have long held in America that we should respect the rights of religious conscience. If somebody’s conscience says, “I can’t do that,” you shouldn’t be required to do that.
If you have a religious group and they say, “I want to do everything I can to help save life,” and then some states says, “Well, now part of medical doctors if they’re going to have to do physician assisted suicide so you’re gonna have to help kill people or you’re gonna have to help do abortions,” and you go, “I don’t believe in abortion.”
We’ve always held in America that there are exemptions for people if your religious faith says you shouldn’t do that. Whether it was the Amish, who they believe that, after eighth grade, the kids were now adults and they should get a job.
Well, that’s what they did.
Or maybe Jehovah’s witnesses, who say, “We don’t say the Pledge of Allegiance because we think you only should pledge allegiance to God, not to a flag, not to a nation.”
We’ve always had exemptions.
Now, for there to be a bill that says, “We don’t care what your belief is. We don’t care what your faith is. You’re gonna do whatever we tell you to do.”
That’s why this is a terrifying bill, because there’s no room for any religious conviction to disagree with what the government is now saying. This was part of the whole reason America separated from Great Britain all the way back at the beginning, when the king was dictating thoughts and beliefs and religious convictions, and the founding fathers said, “OK, that’s not how we play that game here in America. We’re not going to do that.”
We Separated From Britain for the Same Reasons
We separated from Great Britain. Part of the thought was we want to be able to have our own convictions, and our own conscience, and not just have a King tell us what to do. Well, now we’re having government do the same thing in America. They don’t respect the rights of individual conscience.
That’s why Rick, as you asked in the interview, why this matters so much for us. If there’s no exemption, what does that mean for our family? What does that mean for our business, or our church, or our youth group? This impacts us on an incredibly real level. That’s why it’s staggering when you saw eight Republicans join with all Democrats, and they’re saying, “Nope, we think the government should control this. Totally.”
Just because you give it a title that says equality doesn’t mean it’s equality. It’s like saying, “Well, socialism means we should share with people.”
That’s not how socialism works. That’s the same thing with this bill, just because you’re saying it’s equality doesn’t mean it’s actually equality. This is dangerous and discriminates against people of faith.
And you mentioned it affects business and everything else. Let me take you back just in the last couple of years to major victories we have had at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Hobby Lobby, for example, is a business. Can Hobby Lobby be forced to fund things that violate their beliefs as a business? In this case, can be forced to fund abortion?
Hobby Lobby a business, not a religious organization.
How This Would Affect Business
This was the same thought with Little Sisters of he Poor, where this was the government trying to force nuns to provide for abortions. Nuns who are celibate too. It’s crazy. But this was the same thing with Hobby Lobby. It was the same thing of government trying to force you to provide something, or to do something, that went against your religious beliefs, whether it was as individuals as nuns, or their organization of nuns, or if it was a business like Hobby Lobby, it’s still that same government compelling you to do something that violates your beliefs.
Well, then last year we had the case with Jack Phillips, where the Jack Phillips said, “Look, I do all sorts of creative work. I have a great creative talent and I use it and baking things but I’m not going to use my creative talents to bake a homosexual wedding cake. I do not believe in that be savior. I’m not going to support that.”
The court said, “Right. A religious objection, you don’t have to participate with this.” You had a decision last year where that the police went into a woman’s home and said,
Removing Religious Exemptions and Penalizing Religious People
“You’re not allowed to pray in your own home.”
The court said, “No, no, no. She’s got a religious exemption, she can do that.”
So you look at all this, and what this act does is it takes all of those Supreme Court cases and said those are no longer apply. You can no longer claim that you have a sincerely held religious belief that keeps you from doing what we tell you to do. So all of those things that we’ve won in the Supreme Court would not be won now if this bill becomes law, because this becomes the equivalent of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It trumps all other exemptions, excuses, whatever.
You can’t say, “Hey, my religious conviction is that races aren’t equal and therefore I can discriminate against you in housing.”
No, you can’t, because that’s what the 64 civil rights law says. That’s the way it would do with religion. You law no longer have a biblical reason to say no. If you say no, you can be fined, you can be imprisoned, you can have all sorts of penalties. So this is an extremely, extremely corrosive act.
And here’s the deal, the key word you guys used to describe this, Rick, Amber said, “It would force pastors to do weddings and their own churches they don’t agree with, it would force Christian colleges to do things on campus they don’t agree with, and the key word here is “force”.
It’s not that you can say, “I object to this.”
They now say, “We don’t care what you object to or not. You will do this.”
How This Affects You
Yeah. Imagine if, at your church, if you’re having a guy’s sleepover. Or you’re having a girls Bible study or sleepover, and maybe so the girls are having a sleepover with some youth leaders.
Now if a guy says, “Well, I want to be with the girls.”
You’re not allowed to tell the guy no because that’s discrimination.
Even at your church.
Right. For a church event! Because that’s discrimination and therefore now you can be sued. It’s a big federal issue. This is why we used to give exemptions, because sometimes, even though the spirit of the law was trying to correct a legitimate problem, the application of the law was over applied in places it shouldn’t be.
That’s why religious organizations were given exemptions to say, “Hey, we’re not trying to force you to do something it’s your belief system.”
That’s changed under this.
This is saying, “Nope, even religious organizations. You have to abide by the standards we’re now setting and you can’t just follow your religious beliefs. You’re going to do what we tell you.”
This is a complete federal takeover of all religious beliefs, and any religious belief that does not conform to what the federal government now says you’re going to be punished for.
Stand Up, Write Your Senator, End The Equality Act
Now, the good news is it has passed the House, but not the Senate.
As Amber pointed out, this can be stopped. They just need to hear from people. They need to hear from citizens.
The Senate needs to know that, even though there’s 47 co-sponsors on this thing, it’s going to stop right there because we’ve heard from so many of our constituents we’re not going to sign on to this bill.
I know for sure that a lot of House members and a lot of Senate members do not understand the implications of how far reaching this is. Some do, some don’t. But that’s where they’ve got to hear from us in those three steps that Amber pointed out. That’s where we can weigh in and make a huge difference and stop this bill dead in its tracks, which this bill needs to be totally dead.
Federal Penalty on Religion? Find Out More on WallBuilders Live!
And those calls count. It makes a big difference, it lets them know that there’s something going on out there a lot of people are riled up and upset about it, because they’re beginning to realize what this thing can do.
So if that senator is assuming or doesn’t realize all the dangers that are in the bill, you can be one of the ones that wakes them up to that. So make those calls send those e-mails. Get on lc.org and follow the advice of Liberty Counsel on how to fight back against this horrible piece of legislation. It absolutely can be stopped in the Senate if the people will speak up so make sure that your voice is heard. We’re out of time for today folks. You can find out more at WallBuildersLive.com and WallBuilders.com. We ask you to, at either of those websites, consider making a one time or monthly donation.
As a listener supported program we greatly appreciate all of our listeners that support in that financial way. Thanks so much for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.