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.1440 – Fairness for All Act
Introduced in House (2/26/2021)
This bill prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, while providing certain benefits and exemptions to religious providers.
An otherwise qualified religious provider shall be eligible to receive federal financial assistance for a particular service without regard to the provider’s religious views or teachings.
Agencies authorized to administer federal financial assistance for the support of adoption and foster care services shall issue final rules within two years of this bill’s enactment to create an indirect funding program that delivers such assistance to eligible prospective parents for the purpose of obtaining adoption and foster care services through a qualified private agency that they select.
The bill (1) exempts a church or religious organization from claims of employment discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity under specified circumstances; and (2) prohibits sanctions for certain employee speech regarding the employee’s religious, political, or moral beliefs in the workplace.
The bill establishes certain anti-bullying policies for public elementary and secondary schools, including cyber bullying.
Any determination of the tax-exempt status of a charitable organization shall be made without regard to the organization’s religious beliefs or practices concerning marriage, family, or sexuality, except insofar as such practices pertain to race or criminal sexual offenses punishable under constitutionally valid federal or state law.
H.R.5 – Equality Act
Introduced in House (02/18/2021)
This bill prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system. Specifically, the bill defines and includes sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation.
The bill expands the definition of public accommodations to include places or establishments that provide (1) exhibitions, recreation, exercise, amusement, gatherings, or displays; (2) goods, services, or programs; and (3) transportation services.
The bill allows the Department of Justice to intervene in equal protection actions in federal court on account of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The bill prohibits an individual from being denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room, and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual’s gender identity.
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
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 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.
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