Presbyterian Church USA Denounces Religious Freedom Protection

Members of the Social Justice Issues Committee asserted religious freedom has the means by which individuals “discriminate against or impose one’s views upon others.”

This view echoes what LGBTQ organizations and abortion rights advocacy groups have been saying. Instead of siding with religious freedom, as many U.S. religious bodies have, the PCUSA has sided with sexual progressives. Ironically, in the early 1990’s, the PCUSA endorsed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but the liberalized denomination, which has since abandoned its previously orthodox stance on sexuality, has backtracked on religious freedom. 

 

The governing body of the fast declining 1.4 million-member Presbyterian Church (USA) last month passed an overture concerning religious freedom. The document denounced religious freedom protections for persons “[depriving] people of their civil and human rights to equal protection under the law”, using “’religious freedom’ to justify exclusion and discrimination.”

Presbyterian commissioners gathered for the biennial General Assembly June 16-23 in St. Louis. On the agenda were topics like gun violence, racism, and other social justice issues. Also present was the topic of human rights in relation to religious liberty. Members of the Social Justice Issues Committee asserted religious freedom has the means by which individuals “discriminate against or impose one’s views upon others.” In the resolution drafted as a response, the committee wrote “’religious freedom’ has become a weapon aimed at excluding, marginalizing, and discriminating against a vulnerable population.” The PCUSA has come to understand that the Church is “to be opposed to discrimination on matters of gender orientation and identity, and in support of freedom of the conscience in matters of reproductive rights.”

This view echoes what LGBTQ organizations and abortion rights advocacy groups have been saying. Instead of siding with religious freedom, as many U.S. religious bodies have, the PCUSA has sided with sexual progressives. Ironically, in the early 1990’s, the PCUSA endorsed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but the liberalized denomination, which has since abandoned its previously orthodox stance on sexuality, has backtracked on religious freedom.  Clearly secular individualism and autonomy are, for the Presbyterian Church (USA), taking precedence over both historic Christian teachings and traditional respect for conscience rights.

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