In California Christians fear that Bibles could be banned

In California Christians fear that Bibles could be banned May 4, 2018

In passing legislation to combat quack ‘gay cure’ therapies, California may have made it illegal to sell Bibles. Christians are in full panic mode … again!

An op-ed published by The National Catholic Register today said that after Assembly Bill 2943 passed the state assembly in April, Christian groups and religious-freedom advocates warned that the measure could lead to a ban on the sale of Bibles, particularly if they were flagged as a resource for faith-based therapists helping patients address sexual orientation or gender-identity issues.
The NCR said that:

Nationwide, ‘LGBT’ activists have secured laws that bar so-called conversion therapy in nine states and 34 cities and counties. Most of these laws prohibit the provision of these services for minors, and some provide exemptions for pastoral counseling, but not for licensed therapists.
Although these efforts attempt to control practices that exploit the vulnerable and fuel discrimination, vague, overly broad language often plagues the legislation. The message seems clear: No one is allowed to talk about same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria unless they want to retain these feelings. Such laws are about stopping specific conversations between therapists and patients – a radically intrusive violation of free speech.

The op-ed added that the bill’s supporters have pushed back and say that fears of a statewide ban on Bibles are overblown. Many legal specialists agree with this assessment.

But as the California Senate takes up the bill, constitutional experts agree that a number of thorny issues have not been addressed in the language of the bill, and they deserve much more attention than they have received thus far.

The bill prohibits:

Advertising, offering to engage in or engaging in sexual-orientation-change efforts with an individual.

The measure also targets efforts designed to overcome:

Sexual behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.

California already bars licensed therapists from providing such services to minors. The new measure would penalise the provision of such services to adults, as well.
The Catholic bishops of the Golden State have signaled their opposition to the measure, citing a range of concerns. Ned Dolejsi, the California Catholic Conference’s Executive Director, told the Register:

The bill may violate the rights of adults to seek the counseling they may desire, may subject professional counselors to lawsuits and harassment, and may implicate religious speech and liberty concerns.

Dolejsi expressed uncertainty about the bill’s impact on the sale of religious materials, including the Bible.
Politifact, the fact-checking website, took up the most disturbing question posed by some critics:

Would AB 2943  ban the sale of the Bible?

A sweeping ban on the Bible is unlikely, said Eugene Volokh, a top constitutional scholar at the University of California Los Angeles Law School. But he took the question seriously and told Politifact that the law could affect sales of the Bible if it was tied to:

A practice that seeks to change the person’s behavior.

David French, in an analysis of the state law for National Review Online, said:

California law would intrude directly on [Christian] teaching, by prohibiting even the argument that, regardless of sexual desire, a person’s sexual behavior should conform to biblical standards.

The NCR concluded:

For now, at least, there are many solid reasons for opposing this bill – even if a ban on Bibles isn’t one of them.

Meanwhile, it is reported here that Irish politicians are are fully supporting a comprehensive ban of “gay cure” therapies.

Senator Fintan Warfield, above, who is spokesperson on LGBT rights for Irish republican party Sinn Féin, introduced the Prohibition of Conversion Therapies Bill 2018, that would make attempts to perform gay ‘cure’ therapy illegal in Ireland.
The bill went before the Seanad in the Irish Parliament for its second reading yesterday, securing passage after the government confirmed it would not oppose the legislation.

Twenty senators co-signed the bill, including senators from Sinn Féin, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, the Labour Party, the Green Party and Independents.
Senator Warfield noted:

If enacted untouched, this ban would be the most comprehensive prohibition of conversion therapy in the world.

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  • L.Long

    The pot accusing the kettle of stuff the pot generally does! Show any time atheists were able to ban any book?!?!?! The RCC and the puritans and baptists have banned many!!!

  • Stonyground

    The same thing applies to the claim that secularists were trying to ban Christmas, the puritans were the only ones who ever actually did so. I recall that on Tony Blair’s watch in the UK, the government tried to pass a law against religious hatred. A successful campaign by the NSS meant that the relevant bill became law but only after being effectively defanged. Had that bill become law in its original state, I was planning on marching into my local police station with a newly purchased Bible demanding that the shop that sold it to me be prosecuted.

  • Broga

    The bible read carefully and objectively is a sure route to atheism. Please don’t ban them. Let them be read in all their vile cruelty, their slaughter of innocents by the tyrant God with his insatiable need for flattery and their incredible demands for behaviour that not even the most devout Christian will follow e.g.
    “Sex slavery condoned: “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again.”
    Exodus 21: 7-8″

  • tonye

    ………And the downside is?

  • AgentCormac

    The trouble is, of course, that they don’t read their bibles. Never have. They just rely on their local ‘pastor’ to tell them what it says and interpret its meaning. And the poison that’s being spewed at them from the pulpit every Sunday is taken (pardon the reference) as gospel truth.
    It’s just like Fox News and Trump. ‘Don’t ask me to think – just tell me what to think.’
    It’s a scary old world we live in.

  • They’re so keen to be persecuted martyrs that they’d probably be secretly delighted with a ban on Bible sales.

  • Broga

    AgentCormac: There is section in “Homo Deus” (the follow up book to “Sapiens”) which explains why Christians will never accept evolution. If Darwin and evolution is true then that means we have no soul. (The reasoning is in the book). With no soul there is no life after death. That terrifies the Christians and they much prefer the fiction of life after death to life ending here.
    Of course, there are many attractive (well, to me anyway) suggestions about life and death in Epictetus, Epicurus, Mark Anthony etc but the good Christian will never read these. Also, the most virulently devout are often semi-literate.

  • Vanity Unfair

    US religionists often seem to be so keen illegally to restrict other people’s freedom of speech and religious practice that they do not realise that the constitution also protects them and a repeal of those protections, such as would be necessary in order to ban the sale of Bibles would be as unenforceable as their own attempts at censorship.

  • RussellW

    Agreed. Christians can’t accept the inevitability of personal extinction, however what really terrifies them is the obvious conclusion that there’s no meaning to human existence other than what we determine for ourselves. No deity with a plan.
    There’s also the killer argument, the problem of theodicy.
    Btw, I wouldn’t describe the philosophy of Epicurus et al as ‘attractive, but as a realistic assessment of the human condition.
    If you haven’t read the “The Swerve”, I’d recommend the book.The author’s thesis is that the rediscovery of Lucretius’ amazing poem was the catalyst for the Renaissance.

  • Cali Ron

    Oh if only my Cali could have banned bibles I would laugh myself silly at the notion of the christians getting banned instead of the other way around. I don’t support banning books and this is typical of them to claim persecution where none exist. As Vanity Fair wrote they are shrill hypocrites who would have no problem banning Dawkins ‘books.

  • Broga

    RussellW: Thanks. I will look for “The Swerve” I agree about Epicurus: e.g. why worry about death, when death is here you are not, when you are here, death is not. I have been a reader of the Stoics for decades and especially Epictetus.
    That makes it all too simple, of course, but that is where I turn when I want practical guidance. (I like A.A. Long’s “Epictetus: a Stoic and Socratic Guide to life.”)

  • 1859

    How can you ban a book like the bible after gezillions of them have been published and lie on every bookshelf from Alaska to Sydney? Silly move. As Broga has already pointed out, anyone who dips into a bible will quickly come upon some pretty disgusting behaviour by the Big Beast and read Lord of the Rings instead.

  • AgentCormac

    I’ll definitely give Homo Deus a read. Is it as good as Sapiens?

  • Brian Jordan

    They won’t ban it, any more than they won’t (I hope!) ban kitchen knives. Knives and such are dealt with by “going equipped” charges. So all they need is to make it illegal to “go equipped to convert”:-)

  • Broga

    AgentCormac: I think you recommended Sapiens to me. Yes, Homo Deus is just as good. I have now ordered “Swerve”.
    Anyone got any information on Christians, and I don’t mean all Christians but the vicious minority, who condemn books which have contents with which they disagree. I ask this because “Swerve”, winner of the Pullitzer Prize, highly rated in newspaper reviews, many five stars on Amazon also gets one stars and a contemptuous dismissal.
    I have been told (hearsay and no evidence) that there is a group of Christians who contact each other when they come across, however briefly, any sympathetic comments about, for example, gays, assisted dying, abortions, evolution etc. They then condemn the book – fiction or non fiction – and say that it is not worth reading.