First Baptist Church. | Photo: Gerry Dincher / Flickr Churches in Austin, Texas have sued the city after it issued an ordinance that reinforced the right of all people to gain employment regardless of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age or ability.
‘Nondiscrimination is a core value in Austin and we need to defend it,’ Austin Mayor Steve Adler told KXAN-TV .
But church leaders are hitting back and have filed a lawsuit against the city saying they need an exception because they do not support, ‘homosexuality, transgender behavior, or the ordination of women’.
‘Forcing churches to violate core convictions is not acceptable. Once government does so, all of our Constitutional protections are essentially gone – all gone, for all of us, across all America,’ US Pastor Council Chapter President Dave Welch told the Christian Action Network.
‘In the past, we have too often waited and watched from the sidelines, silent. We decided that that is not possible anymore, that’s not acceptable.
‘The bottom line is that a threat to any of our Constitutional protections is a threat to all of our constitutional rights.’ Religious freedoms
Welch argued the church’s freedom were threatened if they didn’t stand up to the ordinance.
‘Our major premise is to put an end to this threat against our churches,’ he said.
‘The pendulum has swung too far against our freedoms, so we want to turn the pendulum back to Constitutional protections. Those protections should remain.’
The U.S. Pastor Council, a group representing 1,000 churches filed the lawsuit in October.
‘Because these member churches rely on the Bible rather than modern-day cultural fads for religious and moral guidance, they will not hire practicing homosexuals or transgendered people as clergy,’ the lawsuit reads.
But Austin city officials refused to back down.
‘The City is proud of our anti-discrimination ordinance and the protections it provides,’ a city spokesperson told Christian Headlines.
‘The ordinance reflects our values and culture respecting the dignity and rights of every individual. We are prepared to vigorously defend the City against this challenge to the City’s civil rights protections.’