HB 2802: An Open Letter to Rusty Bowers
Published February 16, 2022
The following is a letter we sent to Rusty Bowers, the Republican Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, regarding House Bill 2802. If you want to support this letter and call Mr. Bowers to withdraw his support from this bill and, most importantly, to repent and put his faith in Christ, please sign your name in the comments below.
Dear Mr. Rusty Bowers,
On your website, you committed to serving your constituents in a fair and honest manner and always having an open door policy. We appreciate your desire to hear from Arizona voters, and in response to that we are asking you to reconsider your support of HB 2802, a bill you recently introduced in the Arizona legislature.
HB 2802 aims to achieve two objectives. First, the bill seeks to ban “conversion therapy” provided to minors by a health provider. Second, the bill seeks to designate “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected legal classes in the state of Arizona. Both of these objectives create significant problems that should prompt the withdrawal of your support for the bill.
Section 32-3230 designates providing “conversion therapy” to a minor as “unprofessional conduct for a health provider.” The underlying concern of this statute is understandable since secular forms of conversion therapy are ineffective and often harmful. Their uselessness and harmfulness were identified long before this statute was conceived. Colossians 2:23 says, “These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.” Severe treatment of the body is ineffective to rid people of the desires of the flesh, which include all forms of sexual immorality, including things like men acting like women, women acting like men, and homosexual desires and activities. No amount of secular conversion therapy can do anything to eradicate the sinful desires in the heart of human beings. As a Christian, I wholeheartedly proclaim that the solution for such desires of the sinful flesh is not found in any secular method or any religious belief other than the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The problem with this ban of conversion therapy, however, is that it makes three significant errors.
First, the bill oversteps the sphere of governmental authority by intruding into the God-ordained establishment of parental authority. Banning “conversion therapy” among minors takes the rights of parents away from deciding what is best for their own children. Certainly there are times when parents act in ways that are criminal against their own children, and in such cases the state must intervene. The state exists to protect the rights of each of its citizens, including those who are minors, and parents are not authorized by God to take away their children’s rights any more than any other person or institution. However, the state has failed to show in this statute that parents who want their children to undergo “conversion therapy” have done anything criminal or have deprived their children of their legal rights. The state is in essence acting as the de facto parents of all minors within its jurisdiction, superseding parental rights and authority unlawfully and arbitrarily.
Second, this bill errs in differentiating religious forms of conversion therapy from secular forms of conversion therapy. As Colossians 2:23, noted above, makes plain, all attempts to rid the sinner of his evil desires are inherently religious. They might be self-made religion, but they remain religious nonetheless. The exception given in this bill essentially makes the bill meaningless because anyone who is providing conversion therapy can legitimately claim they are doing so as a religious practice. Certainly, anything outside biblical Christianity is a false religion and false religious practice, but the bill does not specify only biblical conversion is allowed for the conversion of the sexually immoral. Therefore, the bill will effectively ban nothing. This, by the way, appears to be a feature of the bill rather than a bug. The ineffectiveness of the bill will inevitably pave the way to removing the religious exemption, which is the end goal of the ungodly who seek to advance this type of legislation. Canada’s bill C-4 serves as a significant example of the true objective of those who promote these laws. Therefore, not only will this bill not ban anything in the present, but it will serve as a precursor to religious persecution in the future.
Third, this bill recognizes something that is non-existent as a reality, namely, the concept of gender identity as differentiated from biological sex. There is no scientific basis for differentiating a person’s biological sex from their gender identity. Furthermore, there is no concrete way to define someone’s gender identity, which those who embrace such ideology admit is fluid. But most importantly, the Word of God rejects the concept of gender identity as an abomination before God (Deuteronomy 22:5). To recognize that human beings can select their own gender is to reject the sovereign authority of God, who has created all people and all things, and who alone has the authority to assign each person’s gender. The contemporary theory of gender identity is destroying countless lives, and perpetuating this myth is harmful to society and rebellious against the living God.
HB 2802 also seeks to define “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected legal classes in the state of Arizona. The above paragraph explains why this is problematic and immoral in terms of gender identity, but the problem with defining these two issues as protected legal classes goes deeper.
Romans 13:4 states that government “is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.” The Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, also notes that government exists to promote good behavior (Romans 13:3). Good and evil behavior are not left to the whims of politicians or bureaucrats, nor are they under the purview of the general populace. The Word of God itself defines what is good and evil behavior, and it repeatedly asserts that sexual immorality is evil behavior (Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-21; Hebrews 13:4. These are but a small sampling of passages).
The government does not exist to sanction sexual immorality or to turn a group of people who engage in it into a protected class. The government exists to serve the living God by upholding His standard of righteousness. Whenever government defies God’s commands, it usurps the place of God and invites God’s judgment. Creating a protected class of people based on their sexual immorality is an act of defiance against the law of God and can do nothing other than provoke Him to wrath against the state of Arizona.
For the good of the state of Arizona and its citizens, we urge you to pull your support from HB 2802 and stand for truth and righteousness in our state. The only way to fulfill God’s command to love our neighbor as ourselves is to uphold His standard of righteousness, not the standard created by the corrupt heart of sinful men.
Finally, because we are concerned about something greater than earthly political issues, we urge you personally, Mr. Bowers, to turn away from your sin against God and to put your faith in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins. God has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through Jesus Christ, and He proved this by raising Jesus from the dead. The only possible way to escape this judgment and inherit eternal life is to repent of your sin and believe in Jesus Christ, confessing that He alone is Lord and King. We pray you will consider what God’s Word says, and that the Spirit will move in your heart to grant repentance and faith in Christ that you might be saved.
For the glory of our King and the advance of His kingdom,
Do you agree with this letter and want to join as a signer to show your support? In the comments section below, leave a comment with your name, city, state, church affiliation, and role in your church, if any.