By Lexi Rachal, Wildcats Media
Greg Baylor, the director of the Center for Religious Schools and senior counsel for government affairs for Alliance Defending Freedom, spoke at Louisiana Christian University’s Christ, Church and Culture Conference Tuesday night.
ADF is an organization with the professed commitment to protect religious freedom, free speech, marriage and family, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.
Baylor spoke about religious liberty and the new sexual orthodoxy that is becoming prominent in society.
He said the biggest challenge in the religious liberty arena used to be the idea that separation of church and state requires religious groups to be cast aside.
Baylor has represented children’s outreach programs who were told they could not meet in school because of the program’s religious affiliation. He said managers of public government spaces took on the view point that rejecting religious programs is necessary to follow the Constitution.
“You don’t have to discriminate against religion in order to comply with the First Amendment, ”Baylor said, explaining why the Supreme Court usually sided with the religious organizations.
However, today, according to Baylor, the biggest challenge in the religious liberty are na is differing perspectives on sexuality issues.
Baylor said the Equality Act is a proposal that could make it very difficult for institutions, like LCU, to function because of government funding.
The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to not only the prohibit discrimination based on race, sex and religion, but also include sexual orientation and gender identity.
“The Equality Act takes what was good about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and adds to it, things like sexual orientation and gender identification,” said Baylor, “and provides no space for religious institutions like LCU.”
He said if the Equality Act passes—it has already been passed by the House of Representatives—access to sex-separated spaces, such as locker rooms, will be based on gender identity and not a person’s biological sex. This means biological men who identify as women can use women’s private spaces.
Baylor also touched on the issue of governmental financial assistance for institutions, such as LCU, whose beliefs do not line up with this new sexual orthodoxy.
“If the Equality Act were to pass, students and institutions would be put to a choice: your faith or your funds,” Baylor said. “Which one? You can’t have both.”
He said the Equality Act would require this choice in every aspect of life.
Many institutions are dependent on the continuation of federal financial assistance, so they must comply with what the government says.
Baylor said the Equality Act has a small chance of making it through the Senate because there are just not 60 votes. However, there is more push for laws like it that have a better chance of being passed.
“We’ve got plenty of work to do,” Baylor said. “The bigger work that we have to do is to change the broader culture.”
During the question-and-answer portion of the conference, a student asked how to start conversations with transgender people without offending them and without straying from their Christian values and beliefs.
Baylor said as Christians, we should be compassionate to those who struggle with gender dysphoria are usually struggling with other things as well, such as depression.
“Everyone is a person and not an ideology,” Baylor said.
Another student asked if he ever feels like he is fighting a battle where he is severely outnumbered.
Baylor said he does feel outnumbered, but he has been blessed to be a part of a workplace where he can openly practice his faith. He also said this battle has been going on in the
church all through out history, but we can overcome the feeling of being outnumbered by trusting in God.
“The first priority has to be obedience and faithfulness,” Baylor said. “The rest will take care of itself.”
Toriance Fontenot, a junior history major and Vice President of the sorority on campus, said the conference was very educational and found the legal perspective new and interesting.
“I did enjoy that he mentioned that there are some opportunities for us to work with them, especially for kids that want to go to law school,” Fontenot said.
“I particularly like how he encouraged Christians to be very involved in the legal process because that is something that our student body needs to be aware of as we can all vote,” said junior history major and interim SGA president Shelby Cumpton.
LCU holds several Christ, Church and Culture conferences throughout the academic year. The next C3 conference will be March 28 at 6p.m. with Frank Turek as the speaker.
“At Louisiana Christian University we place a significant priority on developing the next generation of Christian thinkers,” said President Rick Brewer. “In every culture-shaping venue we need Gospel-centered learners, leaders, and servants who introduce light in dark places. This focus is the heartbeat of LCU which is underscored by the University’s annual C3 Lectures, Values and Ethics Series, and God in the Workplace Seminar.”