MILLS: The Moral Imperative Of HB 707

On Tuesday, Donald Verrilli, the Solicitor General of the United States, representing the Obama Administration, confirmed what Christians have long suspected: if the U.S. Supreme Court issues a 50-state same-sex ‘marriage’ redefinition, attacks upon religious freedom will accelerate and intensify!

Proof of this charge was revealed during Tuesday’s oral arguments for the Obergefell v. Hodges marriage case before SCOTUS. Justice Samuel Alito asked Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, “[I]n the Bob Jones case, the Court held that a college was not entitled to tax-exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same-sex marriage?”

General Verrilli responded by saying, “You know, I—I don’t think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics, but it’s certainly going to be an issue. I—I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is—it is going to be an issue.”

What does the above exchange between Alito and Verrilli mean? It means that “[I]f churches, religious groups, schools, or nonprofits don’t surrender their beliefs on marriage, the government will make it hurt… a lot. (…)”

If the Supreme Court finds invisible ink granting a “right” to same-sex “marriage” in the Constitution, it will be a declaration of war on principled objectors. Any non-profit that holds to a natural definition of marriage – the same definition our own President held three years ago – would have a target on its back. This is a huge problem considering Louisiana has at least two-thousand religious non-profits.

General Verrilli’s statements reflect a trend to suppress religious speech that has accelerated under this Administration. Every Christian expression of faith has been targeted: The Ten Commandments, The National Motto on our currency, ‘Under God’ in the Pledge, prayers ‘In Jesus Name’ in public ceremonies, the right to communicate one’s faith when delivering humanitarian aid, and now a sincerely held religious belief that marriage may only be defined as one man and one woman. It was the Catholic apologist Father Richard John Neuhaus who warned of a naked public square–bereft of any moral underpinning. As Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins explained, “People around the world served by Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army, Samaritan’s Purse, World Vision and countless others who depend on the generosity and efficiency of their programs would feel the pain.”

These threats to a basic right to communicate the Gospel necessitate the passage of HB 707–the Marriage and Conscience Act–in Louisiana.

What is at stake is the very constitutionally protected ability to live the Great Commission of Matthew 28 in the public square and in the marketplace! HB 707 is an essential shield to protect against adverse state action! Rep. Mike Johnson is right about the need to pass HB 707. We cannot be complacent about Louisiana non-profits or the ability to share our faith in the public square. The most important thing you can do is pray, participate in LFF’s call to action and partner with LFF until we see this threat dissipate.

While a future federal marriage and conscience act may address a politicized IRS, only HB 707 will prevent Louisiana agencies from punishing the faithful. HB 707 is a key part of Louisiana’s answer to the war on religious freedom being waged in this country.

Currently HB 707 has been assigned to the Louisiana House Civil Law and Procedure Committee, but no hearing date has been set. I hope that you will ask the committee’s chairman, Rep. Neil Abramson, to allow this bill to be heard. Each Legislator on this committee should be encouraged to allow HB 707 to receive a fair hearing and an up or down vote.



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