A new bill in the California legislature could require clergy of all denominations to report their confessions and sins to the federal government.
The proposed law SB360 was authored by Sen. Jerry Hill — a Democrat representing San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. It’s been put forward in response to clergy sex abuse scandals over the past several years.
Critics of the bill suggest that it will do nothing to combat such abuse while illegally sweeping away centuries of First Amendment protections — turning the church into a state-run operation.
Moreover, it could turn the town pastor into crooks if they do not invade the private business of every, single parishioner. The congregation will become suspects, and the pastor will suspect them, rather than shepherd them.
For the first time, a state will classify members of the clergy as accomplices in the lexicon of criminal prosecution if they do not immediately report suspected child abuse or neglect.
Critics include the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI-CPP), led by Brad Dacus, who said in a release:
This legislation is not just misguided, it is blatantly unconstitutional. Imagine the outcry if the Legislature tried to do away with attorney-client privilege. The clergy-penitent privilege stands on the same footing and is an essential component of restorative justice.
In a detailed opposition letter submitted to the Legislature, PJI-CPP attorney Kevin Snider explained the inviolate nature of “penitent communications” in many religious traditions.
Snider suggests that parental requests for counseling could even be misconstrued if they fail to “provide “warmth,” “attention,” or “normal living experiences” for their children or teens:
Tragically, the children most at risk of experiencing sexual abuse are those already under California’s supervision as foster children. Instead of addressing its own abject failure to protect those directly under its care, the State is rolling back longstanding legal privileges in a way that could actually make the problem worse.
The Roman Catholic Church can expect to be excommunicated if they reveal confessions as would be required by the bill.
A petition drive can be found at PJI.org, which urges church leaders and their parishioners to speak up now before California totally removes their religious freedom.
SB 360 was approved earlier this month by the Senate Public Safety Committee on a 5-0 vote. It is scheduled to be heard next by the Senate Appropriations Committee April 22.
Rival Candidate Spreads Fake News Attacks Against Anti-Lockdown Hero Shelley Luther
Shelley Luther, the candidate for Texas’ Senate District 30, is beginning to face heat from her rivals in the Senate seat’s special election.
One of her opponents, Drew Springer, the State Representative for Texas’s 68th District, called her out for supposed hypocrisy on the Wuhan virus lockdowns.
On Facebook he commented, “Shelley Luther sang a different tune about forced COVID-19 shutdowns before she realized she could use it for her political benefit.
While she thought her record could be deleted from Facebook, there was only so long she could hide. #ShutdownShelley”
Springer referred to a comment Luther made on March 16 where she said “Just my opinion. If some major cities are closing down building where large gatherings occur, then EVERY city should. The problem will not fix if some people are out and about.”
However, several users commenting on Springer’s Facebook post were quick to point out some nuances in Luther’s comments.
The main gist of their comments was that Luther said that it didn’t make any sense for a few venues to remain open and others not be closed. In essence, she was calling for policy consistency, not for selective enforcement of lockdowns.
Luther made a name for herself earlier this year when she resisted the city of Dallas’ shutdown order and continued operating her business in defiance of this ordinance.
She would later face jail time for her refusal to comply but would later be pardoned by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
Luther has received endorsements from organizations such as Texas Gun Rights PAC for her staunch liberty activism and commitment to American principles such as the Second Amendment.
The Dallas salon owner is one of the more high-profile state level candidates running for office and has become a national figure of resistance against the Wuhan virus lockdowns.
A Luther victory would represent a major win for Texas conservatives who have been disappointed with the legislative body’s performance over the years.
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