LB574 would ban gender-affirming care. The Nebraska Medical Association, physicians, social workers, mental health professionals, suicide prevention organizations, business and religious leaders joined with many trans youth and their parents to oppose this legislation. Here is the testimony I delivered. The second page I handed to the committee was the letter from the Nebraska Conference of the United Church of Christ opposing this bill and two others that would harm trans youth.
Testimony Opposing LB574
Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
Senior Minister, First Central Congregational United Church of Christ of Omaha
Just last week a mother in my congregation called me from the emergency room at Immanuel Hospital. She was there with her trans daughter who had attempted to end her life. The distraught mother kept talking about how awful society is to trans people.
I don’t know if the daughter was following the news and the debate over bills like this one. I don’t know if the existence of this bill directly contributed to her suicide attempt. But I do know that the climate of bigotry and discrimination to which a bill like this contributes was a factor.
So, I come to you today as a Christian pastor, who only last week cared for a family confronted by the need for gender-affirming care. I’m asking you not to further burden good people of Christian faith with unnecessary obstacles and political controversy. I’m asking you to uphold the dignity of the human person and to defend religious liberty and the freedom of conscience.
In my denomination, the United Church of Christ, descended from the Pilgrims and Puritans, we affirm that the beauty and blessedness of God's creation is present in all people. We make a conscious and deliberate decision to celebrate the diversity of creation as uniquely embodied in people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+). We honor the sacredness of people's lives through extravagant welcome and unconditional affirmation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. The mission statement of the Nebraska Conference of the United Church of Christ proclaims: “to live into God’s extravagant welcome and advocate for justice. So that all know love, safety, belonging, and dignity.”
In what I distributed you also have a letter from the Nebraska Conference of the United Church of Christ stating our religious opposition to this bill and all the clergy, congregations, and lay people who have also added their names to the letter.
This bill violates our Christian faith. It violates the sacredness of God’s creation. It is antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This bill discriminates against my denomination and my congregation, threatening our religious liberty and freedoms of conscience.
Please oppose LB574.