The U. S. Catholic Bishops and the Equality Act

It must be rough to be a Roman Catholic bishop in America these days. Seriously, half the flock is in open rebellion. Then there’s that other problem that won’t go away, having to do with clerical abuse, which has caused so much damage to the lives and souls of Catholics. And now the bishops have to deal with the Equality Act, a concerted attack upon Christianity by the U. S. government, which is paradoxically and painfully led by a Catholic President and a Catholic Speaker of the House. In my humble opinion, a calamity like this deserves a hard-nosed response, but it is difficult to envision the bishops as an aggressively outspoken group. They typically approach conflict as nice avuncular gentlemen, who would prefer to dialogue rather than forcefully preach. Such a genial strategy is not seen by all as effective – in fact, one priest recently characterized the ministry of the Catholic bishops over the last several decades as one of “bad catechesis and cowardice.” [1] While “cowardice” might be a somewhat harsh characterization of the bishops’ performance, it is fair to say that their recent statement to Congress opposing the Equality Act was certainly not as vigorous as it could have been.

The Equality Act, [2] pending now in Congress, has far-reaching and disastrous implications not only for religious and faith-based organizations, but also for the foundations of our society itself. The scope of the Act was characterized well by Mary Beth Waddell of the Family Research Council:

“The Equality Act is legislation that would massively overhaul our federal civil rights framework in order to mandate special privileges for sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), expand abortion access, and gut religious liberty—leaving many to suffer the consequences, including women, children, medical professionals, parents, teachers, students, families (including small business owners), the unborn, churches, religious organizations and schools, people of faith, and even those members of the LGBT community it claims to protect.” [3]

But the broad reach of the Act is not its most dangerous aspect: it is a threat not just to persons and religious organizations, but more importantly, to Christianity itself. Catholic League President Bill Donahue understands this:

“ . . . its effect is to promote the most comprehensive assault on Christianity ever written into law.” [4]

This is because the Act is really an attempt to force everyone to accept a disordered vision of human sexuality. As described by Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council,

“This is a radical bill that uses the government to control, through coercion, how every American thinks, speaks, and acts on human sexuality.” [5]

While the progressive attack on the Christian faith is nothing new – the Supreme Court in particular has been instrumental for decades now in removing the Christian understanding of human sexuality from U. S. law with decisions such as Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and Obergefell – never before in the U. S. has the destruction of God’s design been so systematically codified into law. This law affects marriage. It affects the family. It affects children. And as Amy Welborn writes, it is particularly dangerous for women:

“Many aspects of life call for sexually integrated spaces — but not all. Women deserve their own spaces when they are escaping from abuse, when they are imprisoned, when they are under medical care, when they are tending to personal physical needs, and if they desire, when they are educated, just to name a few. Women deserve to be safe in those spaces, and the Equality Act, as written, would open up those spaces to the presence of men – the worst men, who for whatever reason, cannot or will not leave vulnerable women alone, or who are sexually aroused by pretending to be women in women’s spaces.” [6]

This Act exploits the human misery experienced by those afflicted with homosexual or gender confusion, using the force of law to foster the propagation of their illness throughout all of our society. This is clearly not legislative business as usual. We stand two Democrat senators away from losing the filibuster, and therefore failing to defeat this Act. This dire circumstance requires an emphatic and courageous counter-attack.

Yet on February 23rd, 2021, five bishops representing the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops could muster nothing more than what amounts to a rather mild reproach to U. S. Congress, with a bottom line stating “We oppose this legislation.” Although the letter did note that “the bill represents the imposition by Congress of novel and divisive viewpoints regarding “gender” on individuals and organizations,” and did instruct the Congress that gender differences are real and not merely “social constructs,” it avoided drawing the obvious conclusion that both Christianity and the stability of society are at significant risk. [7]

Instead, the bishops chose to focus on a number of ways in which the Act will discriminate against Christians and and their organizations. But even here the bishops understated the case. For example, several of the social harms listed in their letter predict that people will be forced to act against their religious beliefs. But if “faithful” people act against the tenets of their faith, that is not a problem with the Equality Act – it is actually a problem with the inherent weakness of the Church and her faithful. The bishops should have argued that faithful Christians and their organizations will not comply with such an unjust and unconstitutional law, and will therefore be stripped of the functions they have been performing in society. The consequence, assessed with that perspective, is then seen to be much more than mere discrimination: the real damage is that Christianity itself will be expelled from society – Christianity as it influences and is exercised in all societal arenas – including charities, schools, businesses, health care, and churches.

The bishops failed to mention the potential devastation to schools, except for the loss of exclusively female sports competitions and facilities. It is bad enough that there exists a very real potential loss of Christian schools which refuse the implementation of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity curriculum. Beyond that, however, the Equality Act will ensure the indoctrination of public school children in this evil ideology. Concerned parents should read the Heritage Foundation’s detailed analysis, which provides the following key point, among others, about the Sexual Ideology Indoctrination that is coming with the Equality Act:

“Under the Equality Act, schools would, in effect, be forced to propagate the view that traditional beliefs regarding marriage, sexuality, and gender are bigoted and discriminatory—regardless of objections from parents.” [8]

Schools are just one sector of society in which this law will operate. When it comes to fundamentals, let’s consider the family, another institution not mentioned in the statement by the bishops. Think about how the diseased view of human sexuality mandated by this Act would affect the family, in light of the following description of the family and its role in society from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2207:

“The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society.” [9]

The mandates of the Equality Act are directly at odds with this vision, God’s vision, of the family. And given its expansive scope, no one yet completely grasps the extent to which the tentacles of this nasty law will mutilate the American community.

With this Act the Democrat Party is setting in place the infrastructure for persecution of the Christian Church. If anyone can lead the fight against this assault, it is the bishops – because, after all, they are the successors of the Apostles. As prescribed in the 2004 Directory for the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops:

“Foremost among the different ministries of the Bishop is that of proclaiming the Word of God, as did the Apostles (cf. Rom 1:1) (351), announcing it with courage (cf. Rom 1:16) and defending the Christian people against errors that threaten them (cf. Acts 20:29; Phil 1:16). The Bishop, in communion with the Head and members of the College, is an authoritative teacher, invested with Christ’s own authority, both when he teaches individually and when he teaches in union with the other Bishops.” [10]

It would no doubt be a novel and salutary experience for the “whited sepulchres” in Congress to encounter Apostles who speak with authority, as Jesus did in the following instance with the Pharisees and Sadducees:

“Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you are like to whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear to men beautiful, but within are full of dead men’s bones, and of all filthiness. So you outwardly indeed appear to men just; but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”

– Mt 23:27-28 Douay-Rheims Version

An authoritative exhortation to Congress in defiance of this ominously pagan monstrosity masquerading as law requires a response far stronger than the meek objection that “We oppose this legislation.” The bishops should persist in the fight against this sinister Act, and challenge the Congress in no uncertain terms:

– “We will not comply with this unjust and immoral law.”

– “We will fight this legislation with every means at our disposal.”

– “We will urge our faithful to do the same.”


1. LaChance, Mike. “Catholic Priest Goes Off On Joe Biden In Viral Rant (VIDEO).” Gateway Pundit. March 21, 2021.

2. U.S. Congress. House. EQUALITY ACT. HR 5. 117th Cong., 1st sess. Introduced in House February 18, 2021.

3. Waddell, Mary Beth. “How the ‘Equality Act’ Is Actually Unequal, Unfair, and Unjust.” Family Research Council. February 2021.

4. Donahue, Bill. “Equality Act is Anti-Christian.” CNS News. February 22, 2021.

5. “FRC urges US House of Representatives to reject the far-Left Equality Act.” Family Research Council. February 24, 2021.

6. Welborn, Amy. “The foundational (but largely ignored) problem with the Equality Act.” Catholic World Report.

7. “Letter to Congress on Equality Act.” USCCB:Resources. February 23, 2021.

8. Jones, Andrea and Kao, Emilie. “Sexual Ideology Indoctrination: The Equality Act’s Impact on School Curriculum and Parental Rights.” The Heritage Foundation: Backgrounder. May 15, 2019.

9. United States Catholic Conference, Inc. Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Catechism of the Catholic Church, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1994, paragraph 2207.

10. Directory for the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops, “APOSTOLORUM SUCCESSORES.” Congregation for Bishops, No. 119. Vatican Website, 2004.