The Equality Act is making its way through Congress, and all good Catholics need to oppose it. Many rejoice in seeing that the Catholic bishops are urging Congress to reject the bill.
However, strong opposition comes from strong reasons that motivate people to write, call and protest. Weak reasons inform weak reactions. To be effective, people need to see the full impact of things on their lives. They need to see how things endanger the things they love most. When something threatens the Faith, it provides a vibrant and powerful reason for opposition.
The Expectation of a Strong Reaction
Thus, the Catholic reaction to proposed legislation like the Equality Act needs to be strong and uncompromising. Traditional Catholic social teaching provides the foundation for categorical condemnations. Far from indisposing people, this clarity attracts them to the Church and guarantees successful action.
In the case of the Equality Act, the bishops should discuss all of its implications. They should address the entirety of its moral dimension. Bishops need to speak of sin and how the legislation will facilitate acts that offend God gravely. No one should be surprised by the moral tenor of these condemnations since it is part of the office of the bishop to warn the faithful of these dangers, “in season [and] out of season” (2 Tim. 4:2).
A Need for Passion, Focus and Clarity
However, liberal Catholics disagree with Saint Paul and deem strong rebukes and condemnations anti-pastoral. Progressive clergy claim it is far better to couch messages with qualifiers, ecumenical inclusivity and requests for religious exemptions.
Thus, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s official statement outlining their opposition to the bill is correct and praiseworthy. However, its points lack the passion, focus and clarity to mobilize the tens of millions of Catholics under their care. The statement contains no threats of sanctions or excommunication against the large number of Catholic legislators who will vote in favor of the Equality Act with utter unconcern for their eternal damnation.
The bishops’ declaration accurately claims the Equality Act would force Americans to pay for the killing of unborn babies and “discriminate against people of faith.” It would further “inflict numerous legal and social harms on Americans of any faith or none.”
However, their approach is a defensively limp one that laments the lack of “respect for differences in beliefs about marriage and sexuality.” It claims the “bill is well-intentioned but ultimately misguided.” There is no rising convocation for Catholics to fight with all their might, to pour into the streets in a heart-rending, legal and peaceful protest against this all-out assault on the last remains of the Christian order. There is no mention of God’s Law.
The bishops have framed the debate as an unfair pro-abortion bill that will discriminate against vaguely labeled people of faith (or even those who have none). While the bill is pro-abortion, this aspect is a secondary effect of its provisions. When the bishops mention “gender” ideology, they do not propose any form of serious spiritual counter-thrust against the aggressively subversive LGBTQ+ agenda. Instead, they merely ask to be left alone.
Opening Doors that Will Change Every Aspect of American Life
The bishops do point out that the Equality Act opens doors that will affect every aspect of American life. Some of the areas targeted include:
- The designation of schools, churches and healthcare organizations as “public accommodations,” which could be forced to accept the government’s beliefs and mandates about sexual orientation and “gender” identity.
- The opening of bathrooms, locker rooms, prisons and shelters to persons who identify as members of the other opposite sex.
- The teaching in schools of students of all ages, including those in primary school, that sex can be a matter of choice. The act would facilitate sex-change treatments, even without parental consent.
- Christian and religious groups and institutions would lose their right to hire people of shared faith and mission.
- Health care professionals will lose their rights of conscience by which they can refuse to participate in procured abortion or gender transition treatments such as hormone-blocking, cross-sex hormones or surgeries.
- Government can use the act as a tool to deny or threaten accreditation to religious, educational institutions that fail to follow sexual orientation and gender identity norms in dorms, sports or even curricula. The availability of federal student loans and grants might be withdrawn.
Incredibly High Stakes
Thus, the implications of the Equality Act are immense. That’s why it is so important that resistance to this nefarious act be strong, laser-focused and prayerful. It requires bishops and faithful, the entire Church, to go on the offensive, legally and peacefully. The act will exert much pressure on Catholics to betray Church teaching. Not only will this endanger their sanctification, but millions will be enticed to apostasy.
The bishops must warn the flock about all these spiritual dangers. They should put the full weight of their influence (and canonical sanctions) into defeating this existential threat to the Faith. Indeed, the greatest target of the radical left when implementing this law will be the Catholic Church. More than any other institution, the Church’s teaching opposes the sinful practices that the Equality Act empowers. The act will validate and codify the LGBTQ+ agenda throughout society.
The highest reason for opposing the act is its creating of a climate favoring sin. This theme is found in the Fatima Message but not the bishops’ statement. God is offended by humanity’s sins, especially those offenses against purity—the sin that sends the most souls to Hell for all eternity. At Fatima, the Blessed Mother called for penance and reparation. The love of God demands a rejection of all that is contrary to His Law.
This message decrying sin is tragically missing from the bishops’ statement. It is the most compelling reason for all God-fearing Christians to oppose the Equality Act’s Senate approval—resolutely and victoriously.