New Kentucky Policy Strips Pastors of Religious Freedom

Pastors across the nation are being told to brace themselves, as Kentucky pastors who are volunteering their time to provide counseling for troubled youth are being forced to operate under a new rule—that they cannot refer to homosexuality as sin in any of the sessions.

That’s according to WND.com, which reported that a new policy from the state’s Department of Juvenile Justice forbids pastors to say that homosexuality is sinful behavior while they are voluntarily counseling youth. Kentucky is now requiring that pastors take a “religious test” and sign a statement. And if they don’t agree to the policy, the pastors will be dismissed from the program.

The American Pastors Network (APN, www.americanpastorsnetwork.netsays the policy forces the pastors to counsel in a way that is not consistent with biblical truth.

“Pastors and all Americans must wake up to the reality of expanding efforts to ‘cleanse’ our nation of all moral truth,” said Sam Rohrer, APN President. “When pastors and all Christians whose calling is to preach and share the Good News of Jesus Christ are forced by government agents to renounce sharing the very reality of ‘sin,’ they are in fact being prohibited from sharing the healing and life-changing potential of redemption. This is not only clear discrimination against the truth of the Gospel, but an action that destroys the one thing that alone can transform the life of every person, including troubled youths—the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”    

The Liberty Counsel has taken on the case of one Kentucky minister who was dismissed from the program, and has demanded that the state religious test be dropped and that the counselor, who “provided spiritual counseling and mentorship to juvenile inmates under the control of the Department of Juvenile Justice” be reinstated, according to a Liberty Counsel letter to the department. The pastor’s volunteer status was revoked because he “could not sign a state-mandated statement that homosexuality was not ‘sinful,’ among other things.”

“This effort in Kentucky is not unlike other less obvious ongoing attacks on moral truth, Christianity and Jesus Christ, where the goal is to demonize the truth,” Rohrer added. “For over a generation, the assaults of atheistic secular humanism and the biblical precepts that underpin our nation’s freedom—our Constitution—have so weakened the foundations of liberty that many seem to believe that they can move forward to with impunity to not only distort the truth but, in effect, demonize those who believe the Truth of God’s Word.

“For those who wish to throw off all moral restraints and who wish to reject God’s authority in their lives,” he continued, “God will be the final Judge of their actions. But to use the powers of civil government as a tool to force others to accept this dangerous choice becomes one that violates not only God’s law but the very intent of our founders who understood what is required for religious freedom to exist and for God to bless a nation. The solution is for pastors across the nation to preach the truth of God’s Word and for all Christians to live the truth of God’s Word.” 

According to WND.com, “The (Kentucky) policy states that DJJ staff, volunteers and others ‘shall not imply or tell LGBTQI juveniles that they are abnormal, deviant, sinful or that they can or should change their sexual orientation or gender identity.’”

Added Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, “Many juveniles are in DJJ custody because of sexual crimes. … To remove the Bible from a pastor’s hands is like removing a scalpel from a surgeon’s hands. Without it, they cannot provide healing.”

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