Nearly two years after the bathroom bill was put to bed, controversy at the Texas capitol is heating up again over what some are calling “#BanTheBible” bills being put forth by members of the Texas legislature.
#BanTheBible is a hashtag being promoted by Austin-based Texas Values, a religious-based organization whose self-described goal is to promote biblical, Judeo-Christian family values.
The hashtag is an attempt to call attention to proposed legislation, related to sexual orientation and gender identity, which the group said infringes on their religious freedom. A freedom, they said, which should allow them to refuse to serve LGBTQ people on religious grounds -- such as the Celina wedding venue who refused to host a wedding for a gay couple.
"Numerous bills seek to ban religious beliefs and force people of faith to conform to the personal and political activities of others. Those who do not comply will face fines, possible jail time, or other criminal charges," the organization wrote on their website.
The group is calling for supporters to oppose a half-dozen or so bills, including any that would "ban the free expression of Biblical beliefs, especially its teaching on marriage and sexuality."
"There's a reason why the first clause of the first amendment is to protect religious freedoms and we want to make sure that Texans religious freedom is protected. That they're not confined to the four walls of the church but they're able to exercise their rights to exercise their religious freedom, wherever they go," said Nicole Hudgens, senior policy analyst with Texas Values.
The topic came up this week at a Carrollton City Council meeting when the city became the latest to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting members of the LGBTQ community.
City Councilman Steve Babick described some of the feedback he’s received over the ordinance during the past two weeks as "vicious."
"Ban the Bible? C’mon. Really? Gimme a break," he remarked.
Rev. Andria Davis, a minister at Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, believes there should be more laws protecting members of the LGBTQ community, not fewer.
"Christianity cannot be used as a tool to discriminate," Davis said, adding that the Bible is being used to weaponize religion. "Folks should not be discriminated against because of who they love and how they love."