While the country was preoccupied with riots, Virginia passed a sneaky new law.
The state plans to declare an “open season” on Christians who stand up for the Bible.
And the new law will have the following five devastating effects on Virginia’s believers.
On July 1, a new set of laws and codes went into effect across the state of Virginia.
Since these new laws were merely “additions” to existing laws, they didn’t seem like huge changes—but they’re sneaky ways of punishing Bible-believing Christians.
These legal changes focus on “sexual orientation and gender identity” and purportedly offer widespread protections for “LGBTQ” individuals in workplaces all over the state.
That may sound innocuous, but when those workplaces include churches, ministries, and faith-based schools, the issue gets tricky.
The state of Virginia now has the power to fine religious organizations up to $100,000 for excluding or refusing to put “LBGTQ” individuals in positions of power within Christian organizations.
“The message is clear—Virginia will crush you if you disobey,” writes Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a pro-Christian legal ministry standing up for religious freedom in America.
And ADF has exposed five devastating effects of these new “sexual orientation and gender identity” laws.
1. Religious ministries can be sued for refusing to hire “LGBTQ” individuals.
The new Virginia laws allow religious organizations to prefer applicants “of a particular religion,” but it doesn’t clarify the extent of this power.
When asked to clarify exactly how far this power extends, Virginia’s General Assembly offered only vague guidelines that are worrisome in their lack of clarity.
ADF writes, “If a ministry makes employment decision based on [LGBTQ] behavior, it could be subject to a lawsuit.”
That doesn’t sound like religious freedom!
2. Religious schools can be sued for requiring students to profess Christianity.
Virginia’s new laws suggest that it’s wrong for schools to require students or their families to profess a certain religious belief in order to be a part of the school community.
“The ability for schools to remain religious is challenged when the law says schools cannot make admission decisions based on student conduct or their families’ religious beliefs,” ADF writes.
“This is in direct opposition to the ethos of so many religious schools, because such a large part of the special environment of a religious education is dependent on the students’ peers and the community as a whole.”
And many faith-based schools would never be able to pay the $100,000 fine exacted by the new law!
3. Religious ministries can be forced to ignore biological gender.
The new law requires that religious ministries who offer housing to those in crisis allow “transgender” individuals to access spaces not intended for their biological sex.
“The new law requires that housing providers allow males who identify as female be allowed to access sleeping spaces intended for women,” ADF writes.
This blatant violation of biological norms goes against the Bible. But ministries who stand up for God’s design could face fines, lawsuits, and even closure—no matter how much good they do for their communities.
4. Religious individuals in public spaces can be sued for exercising free speech.
Virginia lawmakers wrote a provision about pronouns for “LGBTQ” individuals into the new law, stating that anyone who refuses to address them by “preferred” pronouns can be prosecuted for harassment or similar speech crimes.
“People may be forced to refer to customers, employees, and co-workers by pronouns for the opposite sex, or even by newly invented pronouns for neither sex,” ADF writes.
“When conformity is the goal of the law…government officials may enforce the law contrary to what the Constitution requires.”
“The free-speech consequences of this law will be real.”
5. Churches and other religious organizations will be forced to pay for abortions and other anti-Biblical healthcare options.
Virginia’s final blow is a requirement for health plans to include “sex reassignment” interventions and abortions, and there are no religious exemptions for organizations that don’t support these procedures.
“Churches and ministries will no longer be able to buy employee health insurance policies that reflect their religious beliefs,” ADF writes.
“Officials who enacted the Virginia law have revealed that they do not respect our constitutional right to the free exercise of religion.”
“Sincerity and conviction—you can now check those at the Virginia border,” the organization concludes grimly.
Please pray for this tricky situation in Virginia. May God intervene to protect His followers as they seek to stand up for His truth!