This is a special weekend in Pennsylvania. All over the commonwealth people of faith are standing up to affirm their belief that fairness and equality should be the norm for all people, including transgender, bisexual, lesbian, gay, and queer people. While some states have been limiting and downright slashing the rights of LGBTQ people, Pennsylvania lawmakers seek to increase rights through the PA Fairness Act.
The bill is gaining bipartisan support as it seeks to extend protections to LGBTQ people. According to Senator Larry Farnese’s blog,
The legislation (Senate Bill 974 and House Bill 1510) would update Pennsylvania’s current nondiscrimination law – originally written in 1955 – to ensure that all citizens regardless of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, sex, national origin, disability and now – sexual orientation, gender identity and expression – can participate in and contribute to the state’s economy.
It is currently legal in Pennsylvania to fire someone and deny them housing or business services solely on the basis of the person being gay or transgender.
Equality Pennsylvania has been working hard to get this bill passed, and this weekend has organized the effort to have people of faith voice their support along with messages of faith that support LGBTQ equality and liberty. They asked me if I would do a video on the topic.
As a Bible scholar, I hate it when some people use the Bible as the moral authority to deny people rights. It is one thing if someone is opposed to LGBTQ advancement and visibility in the world, but to do so insisting that scripture sanctions discrimination is an inappropriate use of the text.
Similarly I do not believe we need permission from the Bible to treat our neighbors, loved ones, co-workers, and employees with dignity and respect. In my video I stress that in making our secular laws, we need to keep the Bible out of it (even as I quote well-known universally accepted wisdom that appears in it!)