“Religious Freedom” Argument Against Transgender Rights Lacks Theological Backing

Media Contact: eliel@faithinamerica.org

“Religious Freedom” Argument Against Transgender Rights Lacks Theological Backing

New York, NY, August 26, 2016 – Last week a Michigan federal judge ruled that a funeral home has a defense against the federal nondiscrimination protection Title VII, effectively allowing the firing of a trans employee, simply for being trans, due to their sincerely held religious beliefs. Similarly, a law suit in Texas aims to overturn the nondiscrimination clause in Obama’s Affordable Care Act, including the trans inclusive health provision, citing that employers have a religious opposition to trans identities. What none of these objections to trans identities cite is any actual theological backing to their sincerely held religious beliefs. 

“There are Christians operating in the public arena attempting to disguise their anti-trans beliefs with religion,” Eliel Cruz, executive director of Faith In America said. “There is not a single verse in scripture that discusses trans identities. Instead, Christians have decided that trans identities are bad and that the bible is condemns them. It is their own transphobia that they’re basing their theology off of instead of scripture.”

The ruling has far reaching consequences as the decision in Michigan relies on the sex-stereotyping aspect of Title VII. This precedent could affect not just the trans community but anyone who doesn’t adhere to strict binary gender norms. 

Roberta Kaplan, attorney and Faith In America board member, notes the ramifications of this decision while also pointing to the conservative group behind it.

“As the dissenters warned in Hobby Lobby, RFRA is now being used to deny the fundamental dignity of LGBT people,” Kaplan said. “And it’s no surprise that it is the same repeat player, Alliance Defending Freedom, that drafted the bigoted religious exemption law HB 1523 in Mississippi, that represents the employer in this case. The implications of this decision are truly disturbing since presumably, just as there are religions with anti-LGBT views, there are also people with the “sincerely-held” religious belief that the races shouldn’t mix or that women should not be able to work outside the home.”

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About Faith In America: Established in 2006, Faith In America is a non-profit organization whose ultimate goal is to end decades and centuries of using religious teachings to justify marginalizing and discriminating against others.  We are dedicated to influencing media and faith community narratives on religion and sexuality. Our goal is to move the needle forward on LGBTQ equality in the pews and in our legislation. Our Mission is to educate the public about the ongoing harm caused to LGBTQ persons, especially youth, by religious-based prejudice. Our dream is to change the hearts and minds of religious communities on the “sinful” nature of homosexuality. To remove it permanently from “the sin list.”