California Book Ban Threatens Religious Freedom
A very disturbing law was passed in the state assembly on Thursday, April 19th by a vote of 50-18. It is AB-2943 Unlawful Business Practices. Under state case law, *“the language used in a statute or constitutional provision should be given its ordinary meaning, and ‘[i]f the language is clear and unambiguous there is no need for construction, nor is it necessary to resort to indicia of the intent of the Legislature."
Under the plain meaning rule as described in Valencia, this statute would prohibit a bookstore from selling a book in which a Christian author urges people to repent of sexual immorality, including homosexuality, and to take their strength in the sacrificial love of Christ. Such a position is orthodox in Christian teaching. (See Romans 1:24-26). But more importantly, the plain and ordinary meaning of the words used in the statute will likely lead to the banning of books offering orthodox Christian teaching on human sexuality. We can hope that the courts would strike such a statute as a violation of the First Amendment. They should. But fidelity to the law has proved to be a fickle thing in these last few years and we ought not to assume anything. And could the Bible be next on the list of Christian books removed from store bookshelves? I would like to ask all believers in the High Desert (Victorville, Apple Valley, Hesperia, and Adelanto) to not only to pray about this, but to act! Call and write our legislators and tell them you oppose this law! Let us stand together in Christ for the good of the High Desert!
Jay Obernolte (R) State Assembly District 33
Scott Wilk (R) State Senate District 21
* (in the case of a statute).” People v. Valencia, 3 Cal. 5th 347, 357, 397 P.3d 936, 944 (2017), reh’g denied (Aug. 30, 2017).
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