Christian leaders warn bill threatens religious freedoms
Warning the Equality Act represents an attack on religious liberty and doesn’t do what its name promises, Christian leaders decried the act’s passage in the U.S. House of Representatives Feb. 25. Among the top concerns are loss of religious freedom, expansion of federal abortion funding, diminished protection for women, and the impact on hiring practices by Christian organizations.
The act, known as H.R. 5, which would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the classifications protected in federal civil rights law. The bill goes to the Senate next, but its approval there seems less certain. Passage in the Senate would require a super majority of 60 votes to break a filibuster and bring it for a vote.
Lawmaker reintroduces ‘Fairness for All’
Utah Congressman Chris Stewart (R) reintroduced his Fairness for All Act after the U.S. House’s vote on the Equality Act. The measure prohibits anti-LGBT discrimination and also includes protections for people of faith. But some religious liberty advocates previously opposed the legislation, including the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission which cited its “vague and indirect” religious freedom protections.
Conservative Methodists announce plans for new denomination
Theologically conservative United Methodists plan to form the Global Methodist Church upon separating from the United Methodist Church (UMC) next year. The denomination, which has had a long-standing debate over homosexuality, is expected to debate and possibly approve a separation plan at next year’s General Conference in Minneapolis.
Newly branded ‘Potato Head’ drops the Mr.
The Hasbro toy company announced last week its iconic Mr. Potato Head will lose the honorific before his name and become simple “Potato Head” in a new line of toys to be released this fall. The new branding, Hasbro said, is designed “to promote gender equality and inclusion.” The manufacturer later announced the new line will include a “modern look for modern families,” with two adult non-gendered potatoes, one baby spud, and a variety of mix and match accessories.
Celebrate Recovery founder remembered for faith amid flaws
“God can use anybody,” Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren said after his friend John Baker died unexpectedly Feb. 23. “God uses imperfect people because if only perfect people got used, nothing would get done.” Baker founded Christian support group Celebrate Recovery out of Saddleback in 1991, after fighting his own battle with addiction. The ministry now has 35,000 groups meeting around the world.
Sources: Baptist Press, Illinois Baptist, ERLC, Christian Post, Religion News Service, ChurchLeaders.com