Fight the Good Fight: A Pastor’s Perspective on the Equality Act, Abortion, & Religious Freedom
Part 3 of an investigative series by Calvary Chapel Magazine on the pending Equality Act, HR 5
By Carmel Flippen and Christmas Beeler
President Joe Biden has sworn to see the Equality Act become law within his first 100 days of presidency (April 28). Touted to protect the rights of LGBTQ, the Equality Act (HR 5) destroys religious freedoms for Americans of faith and also decimates the rights of the unborn. Religious leaders urge believers to call their senators and ask them to reject HR 5, as the bill is one vote away from becoming law in the U.S.
Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman, explained, “This outrageous so-called ‘Equality Act’ will make abortion a federal right from conception to birth and will override every state law. It will force health care providers, pharmacists, hospitals, and crisis pregnancy centers to provide, participate in or make abortion referrals. The bill will require state and federal funding of abortion and force employers and insurance carriers to cover abortion. There is nothing about equality in this bill that [actually] revokes religious freedom and federalizes the killing of the most helpless infants” (lc.org).
CC Magazine interviewed Pastor Derald Skinner of Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor, HI, a long-time advocate for the unborn in Hawaii. He spoke about the proposed Equality Act and its impact on pro-life centers, children, and people of faith.
Q: If voted into law, how would the so-called “Equality Act” affect pro-life crisis pregnancy centers? Didn’t you already win this battle in 2018?
Pastor Derald: Yes. Our battle in 2018 was that the State of Hawaii asked us to put up an abortion referral sign in our [pro-life pregnancy] center. If someone entered our facility and we did not point them toward the posted sign, or hand them a small piece of paper with the same thing printed in many different languages, they could report us, and we would be fined. They would fine us $500 for the first offense, and $1,000 for every offense after. We were not going to do that.
Q: How did you see God intervene in the outcome?
We thank God for NIFLA (National Institute of Family and Life Advocates) and ADF (Alliance Defending Freedom), who did a phenomenal job defending us in court. … Ultimately Hawaii lost the case and had to pay our attorney fees because it was a great overreach. The courts ruled in our favor because the [proposed] law was an infringement of free speech. Instead, it was [considered] controlled speech, where the government is telling people what they can and cannot say in their business. … Now that’s exactly where the proposed Equality Act will take us—whether in our pregnancy center, our church, or our Christian school.
Q: How will the Equality Act affect Christian schools?
They want Christian schools to hire homosexuals and transsexuals. At our Christian school, we adhere to Christian doctrine regarding sin and sanctification. Because of our religious beliefs, we don’t hire people whose lifestyles are contrary to God’s Word. We wouldn’t hire adulterers; we wouldn’t hire pedophiles; why would we hire other people who are completely opposed to our beliefs? Similarly, we have a statement of faith and a code of conduct for our students. If the law passes, we can no longer have that. Whatever lifestyle a student wants to have, whether homosexual or transgender, the state would step in and force us to support it.
Q: How would you respond to those who say the Equality Act is about protecting individual rights?
[According to the CDC], only .6% of adults in the US population identify as transgender. Yet [on behalf of] such a small percentage of our society, they are making this law that is discriminatory towards a much larger population. … When we look at the rights of individuals, we have to include the rights of boys and girls. We have to protect their innocence and purity. The Bible says, He created them male and female, and blessed them (Genesis 5:2a). If you’re born a boy, you maintain that DNA into adulthood. If you’re born a girl, you have the DNA of a fine young lady. Then God brings male and female together in holy matrimony. This is all biblical; we cannot bend on it.
Q: What danger do you see for the Church in this bill?
Really, this [bill] is about trying to shut down Christianity in America. It’s a matter of wanting us to adhere to [the government] rather than God’s Word. They want to be our god, tell us what we can do and what we can say. The next step will be into our pulpits. When we preach God’s Word, they’ll say, “You have hate speech; adhere or shut down.” Basically, this law allows for a state-run religious system such as in Communist China.
Q: What is our responsibility as believers in this issue?
It’s important for Christians to be salt and light in these last days (as Jesus taught in Matthew 5:13-16). Salt preserves and purifies righteousness; light brings forth and reveals God’s truth about how He wants us to live. There is a righteousness we must stand for; we have to hold the line. Otherwise, our society engages in corruption, disease, and death. We must stand up for what is right when the laws are wrong. We don’t want people to go the pathway of destruction and suicide. We hate no one, but If we don’t stand up, who will?
Q: How would you urge Christians to respond?
As Christians, we have to be a voice heard loud and clear in these last days. Proverbs 31:8 says, Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die. My encouragement to my flock and to all Christians is that we have to get involved in the process. We need to become proactive instead of being reactive all the time. We cannot surrender to the [wickedness] of these last days, to the spirit of antichrist. Politically, the one thing we can do right now is to call our senators and encourage them to vote against this bill.
Q: What should believers do if the bill passes?
If it does pass, once again we will have to go to the Supreme Court to defend our First Amendment rights. Be praying for the Supreme Court justices that they will stop this ungodly, un-American bill that contradicts both the Bible and the Bill of Rights. Hopefully it will be defeated solidly at the Supreme Court level. … We need Christians running for office—all the way from our local school boards to the state and federal level. We need Christians to become lawyers and judges. We need to be on fire in every arena of life, and pastors must encourage their flocks to [live out] the Book of Acts. If we don’t, we will all be affected, and the effects will be devastating. The Lord told us that all believers will be persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and for His name’s sake. Especially pastors. We have to fight the good fight no matter what.
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12
What You Can Do:
Email your U.S. Senators (senate.gov)
Call the U.S. Capitol at 202-224-3121
All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.