Religious Freedom & TWC
The Wesleyan Church’s interest in religious freedom in North America and around the world is self-evident. This site exists to inform Wesleyans about religious freedom issues and emerging policies, legislation and significant court cases that may have impact on Christian churches, ministries and educational institutions.
Current & Emerging Issues
Learn more about the current legislation
H.R.8404 – Respect for Marriage Act
This bill provides statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriages.
Specifically, the bill replaces provisions that define, for purposes of federal law, marriage as between a man and a woman and spouse as a person of the opposite sex with provisions that recognize any marriage between two individuals that is valid under state law. (The Supreme Court held that the current provisions were unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor in 2013.)
The bill also replaces provisions that do not require states to recognize same-sex marriages from other states with provisions that prohibit the denial of full faith and credit or any right or claim relating to out-of-state marriages on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin. (The Supreme Court held that state laws barring same-sex marriages were unconstitutional in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015; the Court held that state laws barring interracial marriages were unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia in 1967.) The bill allows the Department of Justice to bring a civil action and establishes a private right of action for violations.
The bill does not (1) affect religious liberties or conscience protections that are available under the Constitution or federal law, (2) require religious organizations to provide goods or services to formally recognize or celebrate a marriage, (3) affect any benefits or rights that do not arise from a marriage, or (4) recognize under federal law any marriage between more than two individuals.
The Wesleyan Church
Our denomination’s constitution and position on societal matters
“The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church” is an essential handbook for pastors, church leaders and members addressing the organization, history, positions and doctrine of The Wesleyan Church.
Available in full form, Constitution & Essentials and Structure and Polity forms.
The Church adopts official statements of the Wesleyan view on issues in order to encourage lay and clergy to integrate faith and life to respond appropriately and responsibly to current cultural and public policy matters. Here you will find statements from the various governing entities of The Wesleyan Church, including the International Conference, the North American General Conference, the General Board and the General Superintendent.
Resources & Partners
Statements and resources from our partner organizations
More Q&A about the Respect for Marriage Act
By: Thomas C. Berg – James L. Oberstar Professor of Law and Public Policy
University of St. Thomas (Minnesota)
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM and the SUPREME COURT
A webinar from Education & Clergy Development
Recent Supreme Court decisions have significant implications for LGBT persons, Religious Freedom, and The Wesleyan Church. For years ECD has worked with our Wesleyan colleges and military chaplains to help navigate these same issues. Often we receive expert advice and help from our partners at the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance. In this webinar we will be interviewing Stanley Carlson-Thies, founder and senior director of IFRA, and Chelsea Langston-Bombino, Director of Strategic Engagement. These experts will share what we should understand and how we can respond to this shifting legal landscape for religious freedom.
Today’s action by the House of Representatives to pass the Equality Act on a party line vote without hearings or committee markup represents a lost opportunity to develop sensible legislation that would unite our country and protect all Americans from unjust discrimination. The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE)…
Religious Freedom Protection
A PDF guide from BrotherhoodMutual.com
Christian organizations may seem to be at the mercy of the rapid societal changes and court rulings regarding religious freedom. In fact, religious organizations have unique freedoms. This paper addresses issues facing Christian ministries and offers potential solutions to help ministries stay true to their sincerely held, Biblebased beliefs and still follow the law.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia that the city had violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious free exercise when it penalized Catholic Social Services for its biblical belief in marriage
Religious Freedom - Five Frequently Asked Questions
A webinar from BrotherhoodMutual.com
When making decisions and creating policies, churches have unique freedoms that other organizations may not have. What does the law say? How can churches minister to all, stay true to their sincerely-held, Biblically-based beliefs, and follow the law? This webinar will address five frequently-asked questions submitted to Brotherhood Mutual’s LegalAssistance team regarding religious freedom and the dilemmas churches may face.
The societal issues that the Equality Act seeks to address are often ones that are prone to controversy. Regardless of your ministry’s individual perspective related to the Equality Act, it’s important to understand the implications that the Equality Act may have on your ministry if it becomes law.
In addressing the cultural tension surrounding religious freedom and LGBT rights, the CCCU advocates for a balanced legislative approach that preserves religious freedom and addresses LGBT civil rights under federal law…
Since the 2015 Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, gender identity issues have received a great deal of media attention, and the rights of transgender individuals have increasingly become the subject of government agencies and governing bodies. Ministry leaders generally want to express a welcoming attitude toward everyone, whether or not the ministry promotes a sincerely held religious belief regarding human sexuality…
What can I do?
- Stay informed of legislative developments
- Contact your state senators to voice your opinion
- Find your state senator at www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm
- Send mail to The Honorable (Senator’s name), United States Senate, Washington, D.D.
- Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to the Senator’s Office