For years, Big Tech, Hollywood elites, and Democrats in power have stretched their reach to gain unprecedented control over our speech, our culture, and our way of life.

From censoring conservative speech on social media to deplatforming a sitting president of the United States, the left has sought to win over public opinion through shaming and smearing the opposition, rather than winning hearts and minds in the battle of ideas.

The current chapter in this larger saga is taking place in the House of Representatives this week. The House just passed H.R. 5, ironically called the Equality Act.

This bill is a patently unconstitutional assault on religious freedom, which also weakens long-standing civil rights law by equating biological sex with “sexual orientation and gender identity.”

This legislation at its core would take civil rights laws designed to protect classes of people based upon immutable and objective characteristics and would instead base it upon subjective ideas about gender and political viewpoints about sexual orientation.

For example, if a biological boy or man identifies himself as a girl or woman, he would be considered just as female under the Equality Act—which opens the doors to allowing biological men to compete with girls and women in sports or use female restrooms across the country.

By equating the immutable with the subjective, those in power seek a moral mandate to silence any dissenting viewpoint.

The Equality Act will be extremely detrimental to the rights of women and girls in sports, churches and synagogues, private schools, and other faith-based organizations.

This legislation also further reveals how the left has no tolerance in the public square for dissenting viewpoints. As it seeks to continue to pull our nation leftward, others who express any belief that even moderately affirms the traditional values that have served our nation well for more than 200 years will find that for them, there is “no room at the inn.”

It is time to stop pretending that we are engaged in a thoughtful debate with moderate opposition and appeasing the left’s relentless attack on America’s values.

The Equality Act is a deliberate attempt to force people of faith to embrace behaviors that conflict with their sincerely held religious beliefs, which will limit their freedom to love their neighbors.

The Equality Act would make wholesale and damaging changes to our nation’s civil rights laws, with little to no debate in Congress regarding how this legislation will affect the daily lives of Americans and the institutions they hold dear.

While the Equality Act purports to be an “inclusive” piece of legislation, it actually excludes those with different viewpoints. It would ultimately put civil rights law at odds with long-standing religious beliefs pertaining to sex, sexuality, and other moral issues.

This means that faith-based nonprofits—such as a Christian homeless shelter for battered women, an adoption or foster care agency, or another religiously affiliated provider of social services—could not serve in good conscience or operate consistently with their principles without the risk of suffering consequences under federal law.

In recent years, we saw the Obama administration seek to close down the Little Sisters of the Poor—Catholic nuns who care for the dying—simply because they would not pay for their employees’ contraception. The Equality Act would provide newfound authority and power to accomplish similar objectives on a national scale. 

In America, we cherish freedom and justice for all, and we enjoy equal protection under the law. Conservatives and other Americans who hold traditional values do not expect liberals and other progressives to be forced to share their moral and political viewpoints.

Sadly, the intolerant left has proven that it will not be satisfied with shaming its political opponents into silence. It now seeks to punish them by federal law.

We can no longer silently observe while organizations like Hobby Lobby or the Little Sisters of the Poor are chastised in every newsroom in America for upholding their moral values.

Under the Equality Act, we are all next in line to be persecuted, this time in federal court.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation. 

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