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Christian Company Victorious Against Biden Admin’s LGBT Rules in Federal Appeals Court

It appears that there are limits to the federal government’s undisguised assault on religious liberty. On Tuesday, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a unanimous ruling in the case of¬†Braidwood Management v. EEOC. Reuters reported that the appeals court found that Christian-owned Braidwood Management, which runs a wellness center in Texas, “cannot be sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over its policy that employees who engage in homosexual or gender non-conforming conduct will be fired.” According to Reuters, Braidwood sought exemption from EEOC enforcement of a 2021 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said bias against gay and transgender workers is a form of unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Braidwood sued the EEOC under the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The appeals court determined that the “EEOC’s opposing arguments are uncompelling.” The court added that the EEOC “has presented no evidence indicating Braidwood’s individual compliance with EEOC guidance is not a substantial burden on its religious practice.” The three-judge panel did rule, however, that Braidwood could not bring its suit on behalf of other Christian-owned companies. This reversed an earlier U.S. District Court ruling. On the whole, the appeals court’s ruling represents a victory for religious liberty. No individual, business owner or otherwise, should be compelled to acquiesce in behavior he or she regards as sinful. It is important to be clear about what is at issue here. A common argument against Braidwood and other Christian-owned businesses is that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is akin to discrimination on the basis of race. Landlords cannot refuse housing, and businesses cannot refuse service, to those whose skin color they dislike. Why, then, should discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation be permissible? Surely these are not analogous situations. For one thing, there is no choice involved in skin color. Some might argue that sexual orientation also is not a matter of choice. It is not necessary to acknowledge or refute this assertion to prove that skin color and sexual orientation are definitively not the same things. Even if sexual orientation, to a certain degree, is not a matter of choice, it cannot be argued that sexual orientation, like skin color, is never a matter of choice. LGBT activists’ own arguments refute the notion. After all, it is impossible even to discuss things like “identity” or “fluidity” without introducing the element of choice. We do not need to determine the extent to which choice dictates sexual orientation. We only need to show that sexual orientation, unlike skin color, is at least to some degree a product of choice. Once we have done this, the civil-rights-style comparisons between skin color and sexual orientation evaporate. This does not mean that Christians have cause to persecute those whose professed sexual orientation they regard as sinful. Neither, though, does it empower any government to mandate practices that require a wholesale suspension of religious beliefs. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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