Two Religious Liberty Issues

religiouslibertyThe Texas Interfaith Project for Public Policy (Texas Impact) has two issues of religious liberty on its action agenda. Both are scheduled to go before the legislature in the next few days.

SB 531: American Law for American Courts

This bill from Sen. Donna Campbell is expected to come to the Senate floor on Thursday, May 21.

SB 531 purports to provide narrow protections in the Family Code, but in fact, these bills are part of the “American Law for American Courts” program which is a thinly veiled attack on Muslim communities.

The conservative conservative Acton Institute makes a strong argument against such laws, saying: “Such laws are unnecessary since state law and the Constitution already trump foreign law. They also can’t be written to oppose only Sharia (that would be religious discrimination) so they are written in a broad way that has unintended consequences.

They want you to urge lawmakers to stop wasting time on this unnecessary legislation and focus on addressing Texas’ real needs.

SB 2065: Pastor Protection Act

This bill is called “Pastor Protection” but without a key amendment it’s “Denominational Discrimination.” This it intended to provide protection for free speech rights for pastors, and as we have seen in Houston, this may be a genuine concern. But mainline churches are concerned that it will be used to selectively empower discrimination against churches which support gay rights.

A group of protestant bishops have put forward an amendment which preserves the intent of the bill but eliminates discrimination. They recommend contacting members of the House of Representatives to insist that the bill’s authors accept the Protestant Bishops’ Amendment before they pass it with a floor vote.

Please contact your legislators to encourage them to take action on these bills.

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