Leaders Condemn CA Politicians for Eroding the Rights of Pastors & Counselors

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A diversified group of professionals and Christian leaders have signed on to a letter condemning a proposed California state resolution for eroding foundational American rights and liberties. Assembly Concurrent Resolution 99, proposed by LGBT Caucus member Assemblyman Evan Low (D – San Jose), tells churches and counselors to no longer attempt to change “a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity,” because that type of counseling is “ineffective, unethical, and harmful.” It also blames the stigmatizing, non-LGBT affirming beliefs of pastors and counselors for the high suicide and depression rates within the LGBT community. ACR 99 already received approval from the State Assembly and will be heard in the California Senate Judiciary Committee in late August.

“This resolution tells Californians of many religions that their faith is unacceptable to the state,” stated an opposition letter signed by the dozens of pastors, medical doctors, psychologists, constitutional attorneys, and counseling and public policy organization leaders. “Politicians are telling California churches, synagogues, and mosques what they should and should not teach, and claiming Californians of traditional faiths cause health disparities. ” 

“People should have the freedom to pursue what brings them true happiness and joy,” the letter states. “ACR 99 is trying to cut people off from their own pathway to happiness.”

“Religious freedom is an inalienable right recognized within the context of America’s religious heritage; it rests upon the insight that human beings of every kind are endowed with equal worth because each and every one of us bears the glorious image of Nature’s God,” the letter continues. “Every person in California, therefore, is entitled to the freedom to develop their own sense of identity whether traditionally unto God or not. Religious leaders have the constitutionally protected right to teach religious doctrine in accordance with their faith, and politicians have no right to tell clergy what is moral, dictate the content of their sermons, or instruct them in religious counseling.”

The opposition letter also argues that an American citizen’s inalienable right to “the pursuit of happiness” includes the right to choose what type of counseling he or she receives. “People should have the freedom to pursue what brings them true happiness and joy,” states the letter. “ACR 99 is trying to cut people off from their own pathway to happiness.”

“Politicians have no right to tell clergy what is moral, dictate the content of their sermons, or instruct them in religious counseling.”

The letter concludes by declaring that, “the following signatories hereby register their grave concern that Assemblyman Low’s resolution, like the discriminatory guilds he references, privileges sexual and gender minorities of so-called “progressive” values and goals at the expense of those of traditional values and goals. It is unconstitutional to strip any person of any First Amendment freedoms, and it is inhumane to prohibit individuals from addressing their own personal pain and desire for healing and change.”

Read the entire ACR 99 opposition letter here along with the list of signatories.

Action Steps

  • SIGN THE LETTER OF OPPOSITION: Please sign the ACR 99 opposition letter and encourage your pastor and other leaders to do the same. (sign here)
  • Send in your own letter of opposition to the Senate Judiciary Committee at sjud.fax@sen.ca.gov; or by fax to (916) 403-7394. The ACR 99 hearing before this committee is on August 27th. Letters have to be into the judiciary committee a week before the hearing.
  • CONTACT YOUR SENATOR. Write, call, or visit your California State Senator’s office. (Find your State Senator’s contact info here)

    Let your Senator or their staff know you expect them to:
    • Oppose ACR 99
    • Defend counseling choice for everyone.
    • Defend the right of people to live according to their religious convictions and to get help from counselors and pastors to do so.
    • Defend the liberty of all citizens to determine how they will deal with unwanted same-sex attraction and gender confusion for themselves and their children.

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