Religious freedom affirmed in Michigan

Religious freedom bill passes

The Michigan House approves a
religious freedom bill by party vote.

USA (MNN) — Religious freedom is being affirmed in the United States. The Michigan House has approved the Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act on a 59-50 party-line vote and now moves on to the State Senate for consideration.

The legislation is being supported by Christian leaders throughout the state, including Bill Blacquiere, President of Bethany Christian Services. “This has awakened what I would call the whole cultural and political debate between religious freedom and some groups of people who would say this will discriminate against us.”

According to Blacquiere, this bill will provide “protection of our religious freedom and our strongly-held religious beliefs. What it would do is allow a faith-based organization like Bethany to continue hiring staff of our same faith.”

Bill Blacquiere, President Bethany Christian Services

Bill Blacquiere, President Bethany Christian Services

It’s more than that. They want to make sure they’re protecting and enhancing the lives of children. So, placing children with Christian families is important, too. “We don’t do that because we think that makes them Christian. We do that because we know that Christian families care about orphans and vulnerable children and they want to place them. It may be…that the child would choose to become a Christian; we pray that every child would.”

Opponents say these rights would allow for legal discrimination. Blacquiere disagrees. “As a Christian, we would not want to see anyone not receive medical treatment, or any type of service. I just don’t think that will happen. In this bill, the intent is not to allow for discrimination. It’s really the reverse: to protect religious freedom.”

19 other states have similar legislation on the books. The Republican-led Senate is expected to approve the measure, but it’s uncertain if Governor Rick Snyder will sign the bill.

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