Christian Org Cancels CA Conference, Fears Anti-Bible Bill Will Make Them Criminals


Democrat-controlled California has become a progressive state that is at best indifferent, at worst openly hostile, to the Christian faith. A new piece of legislation being considered has made that abundantly clear.

We recently shared with readers news of a bill known as AB 2943, which in essence criminalizes efforts to change an individual’s sexual orientation through the use of any good or service in which a monetary transaction is involved.

Some have interpreted the legislation to effectively ban the sale of the Bible in the state, as the Holy Word of God can definitely be utilized to counsel someone and promote changes to their sexual orientation.

The bill hasn’t become law yet, but it has already had a chilling effect. A major Christian organization focused on young members of the faith has cancelled two upcoming conferences in California out of fear that some of their activity conducted at those events would be considered criminal under the proposed law.

Such was the message delivered by Summit Ministries in its announcement of the cancellations, with the organization’s president calling the bill “the most blatant chilling of free speech in America in my lifetime.”

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Summit has held conferences around the country for more than 50 years in which they assist young adult Christians in living a faithful life, but two sessions scheduled to be held at Biola University near Los Angeles — June 10-23 and June 24-July 7 — have been axed due to the anti-Christian implications of the pending bill.

“Summit’s program helps students develop an intelligent, defensible Christian worldview before they go to college. Our speakers are leading Christian experts who base their presentations on theology as well as sociology, psychology and science,” said Jeff Myers, president of Summit Ministries.

“But the wording of AB2943 is a dog whistle to the left that intelligent Christians holding traditional views are fair game for discrimination, smears and frivolous lawsuits,” he added.

Since it is common for questions regarding gender identity and sexual orientation to arise during these conferences, Myers feared that advocating biblical views on sexuality and marriage would cause the conferences to be viewed as in violation of the proposed law, opening the organization to criminal reprisal by the state government.

Are Christian organizations in California at risk of prosecution if AB 2943 passes?

“What are we going to say to a young person experiencing sexual confusion?” asked Myers. “That the state of California forbids us from allowing a biblical ethic embraced by billions of people for thousands of years to inform our answer?

“California state authorities are hijacking good-faith concerns about reparative therapy to deny constitutional protection to those who hold traditional views of sexuality and marriage. We cannot and will not bend God’s truth to accommodate the state of California.”

Myers said the organization’s conferences planned in other states over the summer would proceed as normal, though he lamented the fact that his group could face legal action simply for sharing biblical truths and values.

“We are grieved that it has come to this, but we simply cannot put our students, staff and faculty at risk,” Myers said. “We are still free to present our conferences in 49 states — and we are grateful for that.”

Myers hopes Christians in California will express their outrage at the bill.

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“Now is the time for Californians to rise up and challenge their representatives to respect biblical values. To that end, we’re doing everything we can to mobilize our California alumni to exercise their power as citizens and work to prevent this bill from becoming law,” he added. “And, of course, we continue to pray for our many friends and partner organizations in California, that they would see common-sense governance restored to their state.”

This travesty of a bill represents direct action by a state to censor and silence religious freedom, freedom of choice and expression and is, in essence, state-sponsored persecution of Christians for certain aspects of their beliefs.

To borrow a phrase so often misused by leftists seeking to diminish their opponents, “That’s not who we are in this country.” Californians should be aghast and ashamed that their anti-Christian government has taken such an anti-American stance as to silence, by virtue of threats of criminality, the sharing of Christian beliefs and values.

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Ben Marquis is a writer who identifies as a constitutional conservative/libertarian. He has written about current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. His focus is on protecting the First and Second Amendments.
Ben Marquis has written on current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. He reads voraciously and writes about the news of the day from a conservative-libertarian perspective. He is an advocate for a more constitutional government and a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, which protects the rest of our natural rights. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with the love of his life as well as four dogs and four cats.
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