FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

HAPPENING NOW: U.S. Evangelicals Rush to Dismantle Civil Rights for LGBT Americans Under Guise of “Religious Freedom”

Encouraged by an erratic White House and radical allies in Congress, new “religious freedom” laws target LGBT Americans nationwide.

Hickory, N.C.—On July 26th, Faith in America condemned the actions of President Trump when he sidelined senior military leaders and declared a ban on transgender military service. In the aftermath, Americans learned that Republi- can Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler of Missouri spurred the President’s unexpected action. Unfortunately, when indi- viduals legislate on anti-LGBT “religious freedom” bills and bring their respective religions into the public square, the most tormented groups are LGBT children who are struggling with their sexualities and identities.

Congresswoman Hartzler, a self-described Evangelical, has built a career by targeting the LGBT community. From working as the state spokeswoman for the Coalition to Protect Marriage (which supported banning same-sex mar- riages in Missouri), to fighting the D.C. city council to keep the Armstrong amendment in the Human Rights Amend- ment Act (which allowed religious schools to discriminate against students based on sexual orientation and gender identity), and her most recent fight against Transgender troops, Hartzler has consistently stood on the way of LGBT equality. Hartzler and many of the supporters of “Religious Freedom” policies, have been reenergized by the Trump/ Pence agenda. Just today, the Department of Justice filed an amicus brief arguing that Title VII does not protect les- bian, gay, or bisexual people on the basis of sex. In the year 2017, the federal government of the United States is directly involved in perpetuating discrimination against some of the most vulnerable In our society.

The latest attack on Transgender military personnel is just another example of segregating minority groups based on outdated principles and fear. Less than a century ago, African Americans served in the U.S. military with no promise of equality, but a hope for the common good:

“In our country's history, to our great shame, we once forced a group of people to serve in the military for a freedom that would never be given them” Stan Mitchell, pastor of GracePointe church said. “Later, this same group of people remarkably asked to serve in the very military that had abused their parents and grandparents. They did so with valor. Somehow, in spite of their pained history here, they believed that as a nation we possessed ideals that, though we had yet to realize, we would eventually grow into. The first group served bitterly for the most horrid of reasons. The second served faithfully on the grounds of hope - a hope that many of them never realized. Today, another group of United States citizens are asking to serve on the grounds of that same unrealized hope and are being told, "No. You cannot serve. You would be too much trouble." We are going backwards now.”

Faith in America is calling upon all religious denominations, conservative groups, and legislators, to stop pursuing anti-LGBT discrimination cloaked as “religious freedom” laws. These laws are rooted in deep misinterpretations of scripture and have historically been used to discriminate against minority groups. It is time for ALL religious denomi- nations to end the practice of teaching homosexuality is a sin.

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Contact: Faith in America—Rich Harrington—rharrington@FaithInAmerica.org—603.731.9811

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