September 2020 – Conservatives received an unexpected blow on June 15 when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch authored the majority opinion in the Bostock v. Clayton County case. In the 6-3 vote, the Court established its reinterpretation of the word sex in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”
Title VII of the act identified five immutable characteristics on which employment discrimination could not be based: race, color, national origin, sex, and religion. Clearly, the writers of the original text meant biological sex – male or female – not sexual thought or behavior.
“That’s why the Democratic Congress has tried to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 more than 45 times to add sexual orientation – because they knew it wasn’t in there,” Abraham Hamilton told AFA Journal. Hamilton is AFA general counsel.
“This decision is huge!” said Hamilton. “It has the same gravity as the Obergefell opinion.”
The Obergefell v. Hodges decision (2015) required states to license same-sex marriage, thereby infringing on the sanctity of holy matrimony. Much of its effect was sudden and obvious. However, the consequences of the Bostock case will work into society more gradually, ever fashioning a class of individuals with rights that supersede the rights of others.
As an example, Hamilton cited one of three cases considered in the Bostock decision, wherein a male employee of Harris Funeral Home began to wear female attire and claimed to be a woman. Not only did his bizarre behavior place an undue burden on grieving families, but it also violated the beliefs and values of his employer.
Hamilton explained, “The Supreme Court has essentially said, ‘We don’t care what you believe, private citizen. You no longer have the freedom to operate your enterprise consistent with your conscience and your religious beliefs.’”
The Bostock decision completely mars what it means to be a man or a woman, and, therefore, puts into question Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Cases involving restrooms in publicly funded buildings and sex-specific participation in state and federally funded programs will now fall under the scrutiny of the language in the Bostock opinion.
In addition to First Amendment rights, “religious organizations and churches have explicit protections under Title 42 Section 2000 of the federal law that allows them to operate within the ambit of their religious beliefs,” explained Hamilton.
“But the farther you get away from a church, the more in jeopardy the organization’s operations are going to be ... because the courts will then begin to analyze how religious it is. If they arbitrarily decide the majority of your function is secular versus religious, you then begin to move away from protections as a religious organization. And small businesses owned and operated by Christians have no protections.”
Church and state
“The courts are continuously yielding to the pressure of what they believe the culture is demanding,” Hamilton said. “It’s a modern iteration of ‘Give us Barabbas.’”
He pointed out that Congress can pass legislation to overrule the SCOTUS decision, but will it? He believes it’s highly unlikely because “Congress consistently avoids its responsibility.
“Many of us have been placing our hope, faith, and trust for the future in political systems – getting the right person in office or the right judge on the bench,” he added. “And we’ve neglected the shaping of the hearts and minds of the populous through evangelism and discipleship.
“Anything other than Jesus Christ that serves as the anchor or repository for all our hope and expectation is a form of idolatry. People still need the gospel.”