Faith-based bills advance in Texas in defiance of ‘almighty dollar’

State Sen. Charles Perry recently stood on the floor of the Texas Senate in Austin defending a bill that would let state license holders assert their religious beliefs when providing — or denying — certain services.

He told lawmakers the bill would not undermine state or federal anti-discrimination laws but would simply give attorneys, nurses, counselors and others a “voice,” instead of “being silenced through state-sponsored discrimination policies and laws.” 

The religious refusals bill passed in the Senate on April 3 after lengthy emotional debate and now moves to the Texas House of Representatives.

Some faith and business community leaders say the measure and others like it would simply allow someone to use faith as a shield to deny services such as counseling, plumbing and even towing a car. 

To them such laws would be a license to discriminate and undermines faith and trust in public institutions, said Rabbi Nancy Kasten of Dallas. (RNS)