YET ANOTHER ATTACK ON FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND FAITH

By James Wilson

The House of Representatives is considering HR5, nicknamed The Equality Act. If enacted into law it will constitute one of the greatest examples of legislative over-reach in history. The proposed law aims to protect LGBTQ people from the dangers of what it calls “discredited” conversion therapy, mandates the use of bath and shower facilities according to their perceived gender, and punishes any who might disagree based on their faith convictions. Essentially it would force speech and faith into conformity with its agenda. This bill is a threat to our constitutional republic and must be defeated.

HR5 could better be described as the inequality act; it enshrines a preference for those in pain over their sexuality against those who accept the way they were born. By elevating them to protected status equal to that accorded race it hopes to protect what it considers a persecuted minority. In reality the bill bullies the overwhelming majority – especially women and girls – to accommodate the feelings of less than two per cent of the population without in any way actually helping that minority. Let us remember the people HR5 claims to help make up less than 2% of the population – gays – and less than half of one per cent – transgendered – respectively. It is at best a cure seeking a disease and at worst an abuse of the many by the few for the sake of political correctness.

This bill fails even to protect the few, despite its claims. It cites no evidence – because there is none – that science backs its effort. There are no studies showing – for example – that permitting biological men to use women’s toilet and bath facilities does anything to ease their pain, while evidence of the harm done to women being accosted by men in these facilities is abundant. There are no empirical facts to indicate reparative therapy is harmful to people who request it. Reality is this therapy is offered only to those who request help – contrary to days gone by – and it works about as often as other proven therapies for addictive conditions. There is not enough documentation on non-invasive efforts to help gender dysphoric people for conclusions on effective treatments but the jury is in on invasive (hormonal or surgical) procedures and the consequences – both mentally and physically – are severe.

The most important thing to consider is that state laws of this type have already failed constitutional muster before the Supreme Court. It is one thing to ban discrimination in business enterprises; it is quite another to force involuntary association in the most intimate of environments and still another to mandate how a mental health professional may treat or even address voluntary clients. It is perfectly appropriate to provide unisex bathrooms for individuals; it is a bridge way too far to insist men and women share rooms and showers because someone says it will make transgender people feel good about themselves. But the real rub that should never pass judicial review is that yet again progressives are threatened by expressions of faith that do not match their pseudo scientific prejudices. HR5 is yet another attempt to silence opposing speech and faith by law. Reasonable people – whether of faith or no – should first shudder at the arrogance of the over-reach and then recognize unconstitutional bullying for what it is and respond accordingly and resoundingly. There is good news in the cauldron. Reality is gay and transgender people are in serious pain; progressives did not make that up. The larger reality is the God we Christians worship and seek to serve loves people in pain of all kinds; this is why He came to earth to bear our pain. Once we get past nonsense – dangerous nonsense – like yet another effort to silence speech some find disagreeable we might actually have a serious dialogue about how best to relieve this pain. We can begin with a commitment to authentic respect for all viewpoints and compassion for all who have a stake in its outcome. We can turn – if we choose – to the one who loves each of us without limit and wrote the manual for us because He is the ultimate designer. We can rely on this process to produce evidence based answers that will help without hurting and address each of us at a deeper level than our need for instant feel-good gratification. But first we need to accept the radical idea that encouraging speech rather than inhibiting it is the good thing. That leaves room for the authors of HR5 at the table. However, it leaves no room for this kind of misbegotten bill.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books or at praynorthstate@gmail.com

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