Abortion Industry Files Federal Lawsuit Challenging VA's Abortion LawsJun. 20, 2018
Today, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a major federal lawsuit on behalf of several Virginia abortion centers challenging the constitutionality of several common-sense and long-standing laws regulating abortion. Having failed to repeal these life-affirming measures legislatively over and over, they are now throwing their lot in with the courts.
Just what are these laws the abortion industry finds so objectionable?
- Requirement that abortion facilities performing surgical and chemical abortions be licensed
- Requirement that abortions after 14 weeks gestation be performed at a hospital
- Requirement for a physician to perform the abortion
- Requirement of informed consent prior to an abortion, including an ultrasound 24 hours prior to an abortion
- Criminal penalties for those who perform abortions unlawfully
Yes, that’s right. Supposedly, these are the requirements that are causing an “undue burden” on women trying to access an abortion. This would be laughable if only it weren’t so despicable. The truth is that the abortion industry will let nothing stand in the way of it making another buck, no matter how reasonable or common-sense a practice may be in protecting vulnerable women and unborn children.
Sadly, this nationally coordinated effort is not a surprise. Neither is it surprising that they targeted Virginia. Attorney General Herring has been at their beck and call since the abortion industry helped buy his election. Virginians support common-sense health standards like ensuring surgeries – including abortion – are performed by actual doctors. As the industry continues to lose public support, fails in the legislature, and is cut off from taxpayer funding, they run to the courts for a lifeline.
Objectively speaking, these requirements are about as basic as it gets for any medical procedure, let alone one that is both life-threatening and life-ending. Consider the ultrasound requirement, for example. They take issue with a requirement for an ultrasound before an abortion, even though an ultrasound is the medical standard of care prior to an abortion, not to mention necessary for determining the child’s gestational age as required by law. This is more than a power play by the abortion industry; it’s just plain reckless.
Pay attention to the onslaught of media coverage this suit is now getting. It’s worth noting that the media hardly bothers to cover our lawsuit over the abortion center health and safety regulations (still ongoing, and looking favorable), but when the abortion industry initiates a legal challenge with far less merit, everybody jumps!
We’re used to this sort of thing by now, but it is no less frustrating. What is most frustrating, however, is the potential for the abortion industry to subject vulnerable women to even greater peril at the hands of abortionists with even less accountability, and especially the possibility of many more lives being terminated if these hard-fought laws are somehow overturned.
It is yet to be seen who will step up to defend our laws or how it will be done. Don’t count on Attorney General Herring, although that is his job. We are, however, pleased to see that the House Republican leadership has spoken out strongly against this action, and even went so far as to suggest the possibility of the House defending these laws if the Attorney General neglects his duty. Stay tuned as we follow this case and look to step in wherever necessary to uphold these laws we have fought so many years to successfully defend.
The Real Roots of School ViolenceJun. 19, 2018
As the Virginia House Select Committee on School Safety gathers together to respond to recent acts of school violence, particularly ones perpetrated by students themselves, it allows an opportunity to reflect upon the causes of youth violence, and teenage behavioral issues in general. Although the Committee is a commendable attempt to increase safety in schools, it fails to address the root cause of these problems: the poisonous ideas permeating the school system.
Our public school system has instituted a violent separation between schools and God, religion, and morality. The absence of religion in schools was intended to create a neutral sphere for students. Neutrality, however, is an impossible endeavor, especially in an educational environment. As a result, our school system is just as value-laden as ever before. The only difference is that traditional Judeo-Christian values and ideas have been replaced with secular ones, whether explicitly taught or implicitly accepted.
We corrupt our children’s minds at an early age with these toxic ideas and yet we’re surprised when the ideas reach their logical conclusion. We teach our kids, for example, that man is nothing but an evolved ape, yet we’re surprised when they fail to treat human life as if it possesses intrinsic sanctity and dignity. We teach our children that there is no ultimate purpose or meaning to life, yet we’re surprised when they experience despair and depression. Perhaps most mystifying of all, we’re surprised when individuals behave as if objective, unchanging, universal morals don't exist when we teach that objective, unchanging, universal morals don't exist. Gee, I wonder if there could possibly be some kind of correlation.
In truth, the only thing that should surprise us is the fact that we are continually surprised. Ideas do not exist in a vacuum; they have consequences. Good ideas have good consequences and harmful ideas have harmful consequences. Consequently, these pernicious ideas currently pervading the school system may be harmless as theory but they are horrifying in practice.
So yes, implement any reasonable measure that strengthens school security and the protection of children. Add security guards, security cameras, and metal detectors if you want to mitigate the effects of the problem, but let’s not pretend that these will solve it. In addition to these measures, reducing youth violence and misbehavior would require drastic changes that our society is currently unwilling to make, such as allowing prayer in schools. Until it does, don’t expect violence in our schools to disappear.
By James Rossi
James is a 2018 Summer Policy Intern at The Family Foundation and a student at Christendom College.
School Board Votes Against ScienceJun. 15, 2018
Last night I was at the Fairfax County Public School Board meeting at the Luther Jackson Middle School. The room was packed with people wearing pink, purple, or green.
Those wearing pink and purple supported making changes to the Family Life Education, such as using the ideologically charged term “sex assigned at birth” in place of the scientifically accurate term “biological sex.”
Why do they argue that this change should be made? One man in purple said it was so that transgendered people can “follow their feelings.”
Those wearing green supported keeping science and reality at the center of the Family Life Education curriculum. “My son was my son before birth, and his sex was never assigned,” one mother in green said in opposing the recommended changes. “Everyone in the medical community referred to my unborn son as a ‘boy,’” never questioning the chromosomal reality that was revealed through blood work and an ultrasound before he was ever born.
Using the term “sex assigned at birth” takes away from the dignity of the unborn. Children who tragically die during pregnancy are no less the sons and daughters of those who love them.
Despite the 1,318 email comments received by the school board last week (83% of which opposed the term “sex assigned at birth”), the School Board rejected Board Member Elizabeth Schultz’s motion to postpone the vote until the parents could be adequately engaged. The Board members did not have any opportunity to read, much less discuss, those public comments prior to the meeting where they were to vote on the proposal.
Parents of all backgrounds throughout the community want to be engaged, but are not able to do so in such a short time, Shultz argued. “We must engage the public in a meaningful way. This is not happening.” She moved to postpone the vote until October.
Other members of the School Board, including Megan McLaughlin, opposed the motion to postpone. “Thousands is not 1.1 million.” McLaughlin said, referring to the size of Fairfax County. She said that the School Board should vote now, confident in these proposed changes because of the vetting by staff and other subject matter experts. She said that the FLE changes came “from those individuals who know this subject matter far better.”
Claiming to respect families, the School Board voted against Shultz’s motion and voted to pass the change to the term “sex assigned at birth” by 10 to 2.
Shultz responded to the statement about looking to subject matter experts by pointing out that 8 of 10 parents who participated in public comments on this subject opposed the change. “I will tell you that the most important educational experts that we should be listening to are parents.”
The School Board did not listen to these parents. They did not listen to the testimony from doctors and the scientific and medical community about why “biological sex” is the appropriate term. They voted overwhelmingly in support of the change to use the term “sex assigned at birth.”
Parents in Fairfax have an opportunity to make their voices heard when the School Board election happens on November 5th, 2019.
The Left's War On ConscienceJun. 11, 2018
During a congressional hearing last Wednesday, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, testified in front of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. During the hearing, Bobby Scott (D-VA 3rd District) pursued an aggressive line of questioning, which highlighted a tragic religious liberty attack that has become increasingly common in recent years.
Scott repeatedly pressed Secretary Azar in regards to Christian adoption agencies and their placement policies. Essentially, the issue involves the question of whether Christian adoption agencies should be coerced into violating their consciences by being forced to place children with same-sex couples. The hearing revealed Scott’s alignment with the increasingly mainstream Left on this issue, who are actively striving to force Christian adoption agencies to compromise their religious beliefs by allowing the placement of children to same-sex couples.
Sadly, many Christian adoption agencies have been given the choice between violating their most deeply held religious convictions and shutting down. As a result, several faith-based adoption agencies have already closed their doors, including the Catholic Charities in Boston, San Francisco, and Illinois. Among the frequent attempts by the Left to strip religious liberty away from Christians, this is one of the most damaging examples. Not only is the Left harming the Christians who are losing their religious freedom, but also the thousands of children who receive life-changing aid from these organizations. As Secretary Azar accurately pointed out in the hearing, faith-based adoption agencies “have a long history of providing social services to poor and underprivileged children as well as families, and if we take steps to exclude faith-based groups from our programs, it will harm them and harm efforts to support our programs.”
Indicative of the Left’s movement as a whole, they have chosen to place their radical ideology ahead of the well-being of these children. Unfortunately, the stories of Christian adoption agencies closing down is only a small piece of a much larger picture: the Left’s relentless attack on the religious liberty of faithful Christians. The battle against Christian adoption agencies is not about an attempt to ensure that same-sex couples can adopt children, for there are already numerous adoption agencies that are willing and happy to place children with same-sex couples. Instead, it is simply about the Left’s continued attempt to ram their radical ideology down the throats of faithful Christians.
As we witness time and time again, in the great irony of our age, a war of intolerance is being waged against Christians under the banner of “tolerance.” In this unique moment of history, Christians have to decide whether to obey the truths of their faith and the judgements of their conscience or bow down to the altar of tolerance.
By James Rossi
James is a 2018 Summer Policy Intern at The Family Foundation and a student at Christendom College.
Tyranny in BermudaJun. 08, 2018
Courts have been imposing same-sex marriages on nations around the world for over a decade, especially in the West. Usually the courts only have to do it once, but in Bermuda the court had to do it twice.
Back in May of 2017, the Supreme Court of Bermuda ruled that marriage licenses must be granted to same-sex couples. This reversed the practice of marriages on that island nation since time immemorial. The people of Bermuda did not approve of this judicial decree, and less than a year later the decision was reversed by the passage of the Domestic Partnership Act (“DPA”).
This week the Bermuda Supreme Court came back with a ruling that the DPA is unconstitutional, and that same-sex marriage must continue to be allowed in the British oversees territory.
Unelected Justices in Bermuda imposed their view of marriage on the people. The elected members of Parliament acted to reassert the voice of the people in their laws by passing the DPA. Now the unelected Justices have struck that act down.
It appears that the will of the people does not matter in Bermuda. The Legislature clearly doesn’t matter. The Supreme Court in that nation has taken all authority, and imposed its own views through these repeated rulings.
One of the most outrageous things I have read in my entire life comes from this most recent Supreme Court ruling:
“[T]he State cannot use the legislative process to pass laws of general application which favour some beliefs at the expense of others.”
Think about that.
What laws of general application can be passed if this is true?
The majority of people in Bermuda believe that the speed limit on their main roads should be 35 kilometers per hour. Young Bermudans, though, believe that the speed limit should be higher.
Is it now inappropriate for the Parliament to pass a law favoring one belief about the proper speed limit at the expense of the other?
Why are beliefs about marriage different than beliefs about a speed limit? Why are they different from beliefs about taxation, property, or murder?
This argument from the Supreme Court pretends to be neutral to all beliefs, but really it is an imposition of the belief of the justices over the belief of the people of Bermuda. It is tyranny.
All laws favor one belief over another. Bermudans should be able to determine for themselves, through the parliamentary system, what their recognized definition of marriage will be. Tyranny must be rejected, including the tyranny of pretend neutrality. The Bermudan people should ignore this ruling from their Supreme Court, and continue to operate under the law that they have passed in accordance with their belief about marriage.
Herring and Northam Say Stillborn Baby Not HumanJun. 05, 2018
By now, Virginians have come to understand that the abortion industry can look at a beating heart, watch a preborn child move his/her arms and legs in the womb, and still deny that it is a human. While their “blob of tissue” explanation has been scientifically shattered, they have been relentless in their denial of life, including an aggressive political campaign to ensure that women who have an ultrasound are prevented from viewing it. However, it’s still a little shocking to watch abortion sympathizers look at a human body outside the womb and still claim it is not a human being. Among those who are that extreme are several Virginia politicians, namely Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring.
Last month, Judge Chafin of the Franklin County Circuit Court issued an opinion confirming that a 30-32 week old stillborn child whose body was secretly discarded by its mother, Katherine Dellis, is in fact a human body and that its mother had therefore violated the law against concealing a dead body.
As I read the judge’s decision, I was, at the time, impressed that despite AG Herring’s deep political ties to the abortion industry, that his office had upheld the law and legally defended this stillborn child as a human being for the purposes of prosecution.
However, within just 3 short weeks of the judge’s ruling, Governor Northam requested an official opinion on the matter from the Attorney General’s Office in order to create the opportunity for Herring to reverse his office’s legal work and align themselves with the abortion industry. Making an opposite argument as they had in the court case, this new AG Opinion draws the conclusion that a “fetus,” even one that has been delivered and is outside the womb at 30+ weeks, is not a dead body. On Friday, Governor Northam took the extraordinary step of officially pardoning Katherine Dellis.
As one who has experienced loss from an ectopic pregnancy and who routinely shares the tears of mothers who have lost children through miscarriage and stillbirth, this official opinion is not only legally and morally wrong, it is inhuman and uncompassionate. These women have lost real human beings and those who have delivered a stillborn child know exactly how human their child was.
His opinion and the subsequent pardoning fly in the face of the fact that the Virginia Code goes to great lengths to address fetal death and even includes abortion in that definition in certain Code sections.
As I told Lawyer’s Weekly and the Washington Post when asked to comment on the unusual situation, Virginians should be alarmed that Attorney General Herring and Governor Northam have once again shown loyalty to their political base, not the law. Attorney General Herring ran on a platform of de-politicizing the office, but during his tenure he has done just the opposite.
Virginians’ representatives have articulated in statutes what human life is and our Attorney General must get his understanding of life from the law, not the abortion industry. Letting those who kill unborn children in the womb define who is and is not a dead body outside the womb is beyond unacceptable.
Victory: Cake Artist Prevails 7-2Jun. 04, 2018
We are thrilled today to learn that the U.S. Supreme Court has sided 7-2 in favor of Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, who was penalized by the government for declining to create a custom wedding cake for a same-sex wedding ceremony because it violated his deeply-held religious conviction that marriage is between a man and a woman.
If you aren’t familiar with the details of the case, I encourage you to watch this video. This case is fundamentally about the role of government vs. freedom. Do you believe that we should empower our government to force people, particularly those whose occupations require creative speech, to speak in a way that violates their deeply-held beliefs? This is not an issue of a business owner having to “accommodate” anyone who walks in their door. Jack Phillips did that for any individual who entered his cake-making business – including homosexual people. However, he politely declined a message – in support of so-called same-sex marriage – that violates his conscience, as he had done previously by declining to make cakes celebrating Halloween and in various other instances.
Religious hostility has no place in a pluralistic society like ours. The Court rightly saw religious bigotry and named it as such. Just because it comes from the government, it is still not acceptable to banish Americans from the marketplace because they apply their beliefs – popular or not – in their workplace.
The case of Jack Phillips is illustrative of how governments can inappropriately use nondiscrimination laws to weaponize government against people of faith. While non-discrimination laws based on one’s sexual orientation or gender identity may sound tolerant, they most often result in intolerant applications that punish people of faith who have sincerely-held religious views on marriage and sexuality. The practice of Jack Phillips to serve all customers but decline to celebrate events that violate his beliefs would have never had to be reviewed by the Supreme Court if the state of Colorado did not have a dangerous law to wield against Jack.
The Family Foundation will continue to protect Virginia by preventing the adoption of laws that are used by governments to drive people of faith out of the marketplace simply because they hold an unpopular view of marriage or human sexuality.
General Assembly Passes Bigger Government, Higher Tax, Anti-Life BudgetMay. 30, 2018
After months of posturing and gridlock over the state budget, tonight the dam broke. The Senate voted 23-17 (19 Democrats and 4 Republicans) to embed a massive expansion of an already-failing and bloated Medicaid program into the budget. The House met to take an up-or-down vote on what the Senate passed, and quickly rubber-stamped it 67-31 (48 Democrats and 19 Republicans), sending it to the Governor for his signature.
The House has long since capitulated on this colossal growth of government entitlements, which will now cover able-bodied adults and will realistically end up covering between 400,000 - 600,000 additional Virginians. It already covers around 1.1 million. According to Delegate Kathy Byron (R-Lynchburg), this represents the greatest single-year expansion of government in Virginia history.
Throughout the several-hours-long debate on the Senate floor, Senator Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta) sold out conservatives at every turn as he played the role of the Governor’s spokesman, opposing every common-sense reform effort his Republican colleagues put forward, including key pro-life protections.
Senator Bill Stanley (R-Franklin) called the expansion plan purely a bailout for the hospitals who made a bad deal under Obamacare. In addressing the claims that this was somehow a “conservative” approach to Medicaid expansion, Stanley pointed out that “It’s raw unadulterated expansion.” Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) explained how the new $600 million tax on hospitals is merely going to be passed right on through to the insured Virginians. No one’s insurance costs will decrease because of this plan. If anything, they will increase.
At every step of the way, we fought against Medicaid expansion, even up to the last minute. Earlier today, I spoke at a press conference spear-headed by Americans for Prosperity to ramp up the pressure against Medicaid expansion, where I expressed how expanding this problematic program could not be considered a solution for healthcare. Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum met with Senate Republicans before speaking at the presser to brief them on a new federal plan in the works that would overhaul Obamacare in a way that gives federal dollars back to states through block grants so they can use it how they see best. Unfortunately, four Senate Republicans ignored this anticipated fact.
And as if all that wasn’t bad enough, the Senate failed to pass the “Hyde Amendment” which would mirror the federal government’s prohibition on taxpayer funding for abortions except in the limited circumstances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. (The House followed suit.) Virginia law currently allows for funding in each of those situations, but also for situations of incapacitating physical deformities or mental deficiencies. It’s unclear exactly what that means, but we know that the number of abortions taxpayers pay for in that category has steadily increased every year for the past four years.
Tragically, the Senate also failed to prevent a brand new $6 million “slush fund” from flowing straight to Virginia’s abortion industry through a pilot program that promotes long-acting contraceptive devices (“LARCs”). While spending countless hours alerting and educating elected officials on the implications of this program, and despite some last-ditch efforts by some Senate Republicans like Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico) and Steve Newman (R-Bedford) to correct the problem, the House and Senate did not ultimately heed our warnings. The magnitude of this program’s consequences is hard now to even imagine.
Finally, on top of all of that, there are built-in tax increases, like an increase in car title fees from $10 to $15, amounting to $26 million. Frankly, with the way this was done behind closed doors between two or three legislators and the Governor, and how quickly it was all dumped on everyone, it’s hard to say just how many bad things are in this budget.
It is painful to tell you this, but in truth, this is by far one of the most big-government, high-tax, pro-abortion budgets Virginia has ever passed. I wish I had better news, but that's just where things stand. Among other things, this only reinforces that there is much work ahead to be done, and despite our extreme disappointment, we remain committed to that critical task. We appreciate your continued support as we do.
Fairfax FLE Changes are "an Insult"May. 25, 2018
Yesterday I was at the Fairfax County School Board meeting. I was surrounded scores of Fairfax residents who came to speak up about the Family Life Education changes that are being recommended for students.
Some of the most drastic changes being proposed include:
1. Teaching that “sex is assigned at birth” rather than “biological.”
2. Instructing children about “PreP,” an HIV prevention drug that is designed for use by people engaging in anal sex.
3. Removing “Clergy” from the list of “trusted adults” that students can talk to about sex.
4. Moving part of the Family Life Education curriculum out of FLE and moving it to health class – so that parents don’t have the opt-out option for their children!
Not only are these ideas dangerous for students – teaching them things that are not in accordance with medical and scientific realities – but they are insulting to clergy and restrict parental authority.
Bishop Burbridge, the Bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese over Fairfax, said that it is “a great insult that our clergy who give their lives to serving young people and helping them do what is good and right might be removed from a list of someone who can be trusted. I take that as a personal insult.” He said, urging everyone in Fairfax to take action and contact the School Board. Hundreds have done so.
I am encouraged to see that so many people are concerned about this issue and are taking action. People throughout Fairfax are making their voices heard by sending e-mails with their concerns to the Public Comment address. That public comment period remains open on this topic until June 8th.
Not as many of those residents who want to protect children and teach them biological realities were present at the School Board meeting itself. Last night I was surrounded by close to 60 people dressed in purple and pink, waving rainbow flags, and holding signs that said, “Science supports LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum.”
Their arguments are not sound, and do not reflect what science clearly teaches about human biology and reproduction. This group, supported by FCPS Pride, often accomplishes their agenda through volume, not facts.
Their spokesperson made a comment to the School Board endorsing all of these recommended changes. He was supported by close to 60 people standing up behind him. He said that any opposition to the changes was being motivated by a “polished PR office in Richmond” (referring to me). He doesn’t believe that any Fairfax County residents actually care about these changes.
He’s wrong. Fairfax residents do care about what is being taught in public school. It is important that they show their concern by attending the next School Board Meeting on June 14th at 7:00pm at the Luther Jackson Middle School.
For more information on making public comments and attending the School Board Meeting, e-mail me at email@example.com or by calling 804-343-0010 extension 240.
United Against LARC FundingMay. 10, 2018
On Wednesday I was joined by our friends from the Virginia Catholic Conference, the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia, and the Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists at a Press Conference at the Capitol.
We stood united against the budget proposal creating a multi-million dollar "slush fund" for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. This is outrageous! The budget proposal is for a pilot program distributing Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (or "LARCs"), which may send millions of dollars to the abortion industry. These abortion providers will charge taxpayers huge amounts of money to insert these devices, some of which can cause abortions, and will prevent pregnancies up to ten years!
Currently Virginians give Planned Parenthood approximately $150,000 every year in funding for programs and for abortions in very limited circumstances. The proposals could increase that amount over twenty or forty times! This chart demonstrates how dramatic the increase could be under the current proposals.
“At a time when the entire budget is held up because healthcare dollars are scarce, launching a new pilot program administered by the abortion industry under the guise of caring for women ought to be an easy cut to make,” I said in the press conference.
Tanya Ewbank, a resident of Virginia Beach, also shared her moving testimony. She was forced into an abortion by the staff and abortion doctor, and she is sure that women in vulnerable positions will be pressured into these Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives. Her testimony is powerful. You can view the entire conference online now.
I concluded the press conference by calling on the Senate and House budget conferee members to immediately remove this program from the budget. You can join that demand by clicking the link below and writing to your legislators and asking them not to send millions of dollars to the abortion industry in Virginia.
Shields not SwordsMay. 07, 2018
Seldom do I find myself in agreement with James Parrish, the Executive Director of the LGBT advocacy group Equality Virginia, yet I have to applaud his characterization of The Family Foundation’s position in a recent speech he gave at the group’s annual dinner.
Speaking about two recently defeated bills that would have introduced the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” (or “SOGI”) into state law, according to The Washington Blade, “Parrish said the ‘only objective’ of the bills’ opponents — the Family Foundation of Virginia . . . — was ‘to keep sexual orientation and gender identity out of the code.’ ” He’s exactly right.
In opposing these recurring SOGI bills, making sure our laws are left alone truly is our “only objective.” Hence, he won’t hear us asking the legislature to direct the policy decisions of private companies, many of whom — as Equality Virginia is keen to point out — have adopted various internal SOGI policies relative to employment. He won’t find us disregarding the dignity of anyone, or seeking to inhibit any person from receiving what they are due. Our conviction about the sanctity and intrinsic value of every life compels our recognition that every individual is entitled to equal justice under law.
At the same time, we’ve noticed that whenever and wherever governments create special legal protections for traits that are neither static nor readily apparent to others (and therefore, impossible to define) — such as “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” — the only effect has been to create an open invitation for unnecessary and often-unfounded accusations, litigation, and discrimination against those who hold a different viewpoint. Nondiscrimination laws were designed to act as a “shield” of protection for those who, as members of a distinct class, experience widespread invidious discrimination and yet are politically-powerless so as to be unable to rectify societal mistreatment through other means. Unfortunately, the addition of SOGI to these laws has instead created a “sword” for some to attack others who disagree with their beliefs on human sexuality.
Since issues of sexuality so often carry deep and profound moral, ethical, and religious implications — particularly for followers of most of the major faith traditions — every place where SOGI has been given special legal status, people of deep religious faith become the flashpoint of a serious conflict and find themselves faced with the loss of their jobs, businesses, livelihoods, reputations, and more.
Just as Parrish stated, “[Equality Virginia’s] agenda is to make sure people can live authentic lives”, The Family Foundation exists to ensure that all people have the ability to freely and authentically live out – to “exercise” – their faith, even and especially when that faith counters the beliefs of the majority of society. In order for all people to live authentic lives, no one can be expected to check their faith-identity at the door when they enter the marketplace or their workplace. If one uses their artistic talent in their professional lives, as cake bakers, photographers and florists do, they must not be forced to participate in the celebration of something that violates a core tenet of their faith. They can’t set their faith aside for any one moment, because it’s who they are. It is this understanding of faith-identities that requires us to take every reasonable action to prevent the unnecessary and unjustified insertion of SOGI into our state Code – because, for countless people of sincere faith, governments are now using these laws as weapons to make it impossible to live their convictions.
Where Mr. Parrish and I part ways is in our view of the outcome of these bills. I am thankful that our legislature continues to resist annual requests to add SOGI to our laws, even as the House is under new leadership. Speaker Cox, like Speaker Howell before him, understands that Virginians of faith have been spared the destructive “sword-wielding” currently taking place in every state that opted to trade prudence for political pandering.
For the good of all concerned, we’d like to keep it that way.
(This piece was originally published as an Op/Ed in the May 5 edition of The Roanoke Times.)
Pursuing Godliness in CaliforniaApr. 30, 2018
A bill in California would ban “sexual orientation change efforts.”
There has been a lot of talk about California Bill 2943. The California Policy Council is working diligently to protect the people of California by preventing it from being passed. Focus on the Family, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Coalition, and David French at the National Review have all written clearly in opposition to this bill and about the consequences it would have on religious liberty. Dr. Russell Moore wrote a letter to Governor Gerry Brown urging him to oppose the bill.
This bill would be a violation of our Constitutional right of Free Speech as well as a violation of our Free Exercise of Religion. It would silence pastors. It would even threaten to bar the sale of books according to analysis from Alliance Defending Freedom!
I cannot improve on what they have written so clearly. So, rather than going over the text of the bill and its impact on religious leaders in California, I will write about its impact on men like me.
Men like me have sexual attractions for other men – in my case, since I was twelve years old. Men like me do not embrace those attractions, but instead “take every thought captive” and live in obedience to Christ. Christ calls us to live differently.
California’s potential law is based on the idea that “sexual orientation” is a fixed and immutable part of who we are. The law is nonsensical if you do not accept the ideological–and even religious–premise that our sexual attractions and romantic feelings are central to our identity.
I reject that ideological dogma. My identity is centered in the fact that I was created. My Creator determines my identity.
I am a man, made in the image and likeness of God. Sin has distorted that image, though, and I experience attractions which are not accurate reflections of the image of God.
Redemption from that sinful distortion was accomplished for me by Christ, who has changed my identity from “sinner” to “son.” I am a son of God through the work of Christ. That is my identity.
The underlying premise of this bill is based on a false understanding of our identity. Its effect is to totally prevent men like me from getting help from Christian pastors, speakers, and even from books. Of course, no one should be shamed or electrocuted because of who they are attracted to! That’s silly. But neither should they be banned from getting help in pursuing godliness.
Elders in the Church throughout history have encouraged younger men to be steadfast, resist temptation, and to flee from wickedness. Sometimes this encouragement has come in the form of Biblical counseling, attending conferences, or listening to a pastor talk at a special event about how to maintain sexual purity and grow in our love for Christ.
This bill continues to promote the false idea that one’s identity – as recognized by law – is based on “sexual orientation.” This bill directly conflicts with Christianity and is incompatible with religious liberty.
I’m very glad that Virginia’s Senate and House of Delegates defeated a similar bill this year. It represented only one of many attempts in recent years to insert the concept of “sexual orientation” as an identity into Virginia’s laws. There will be more attempts, and we at The Family Foundation will continue to oppose them.
Religious liberty must be protected, not merely as a principle, but because men like me need the support of the Church as I deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Christ.
Virginia's Planned Parenthood "Slush Fund"Apr. 26, 2018
You’ve already heard about many of the awful things Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry have been up to lately. Things like shocking video evidence of Planned Parenthood employees selling baby body parts for profit, shielding child predators, and over-billing Medicaid may come to mind. And of course, that doesn’t even include the abortion industry’s killing of nearly one million babies every year in America.
Unfortunately, Virginia’s House and Senate budgets currently include what I’ve dubbed a “slush fund” for Virginia’s abortion centers. Read more about it in my Op-Ed in the Lynchburg News & Advance.
ACTION: Contact your legislators now to urge them to stop millions in taxpayer funds from going to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood!
If there’s something that most Virginians can agree on, it’s that – regardless of how one views the issue of abortion – taxpayers should not be compelled to fund abortions or Planned Parenthood and other rogue entities whose primary purpose is performing abortions.
You would think by now there would be an obvious question in the minds of each and every one of our elected officials in Richmond: Why in the world would the state continue funding these entities – for any reason???
In 2016 and 2017, thanks solely to the House and Senate Republicans, the General Assembly did successfully “defund Planned Parenthood” with respect to all non-Medicaid state dollars. (The Obama administration had enacted a regulation preventing states from excluding abortion providers from Medicaid reimbursements. Within the past year, the Trump administration repealed that rule.) While the Governor later vetoed those bills, it is worth noticing that the House and Senate Republicans stood strong against taxpayer funds going to Planned Parenthood each time.
Now it’s 2018, and somehow a handful of legislators who had been on board appear to have lost their way. And this year, we’re talking about up to $12 million dollars flowing to Virginia’s abortion industry – not directly to pay for abortions – but for the dispensing and inserting of birth control devices called “Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives” or “LARCs.”
But given all we know about these abortion centers, there should really only be two possible options for the use of those funds: 1) Spend it on something else altogether, or 2) Send it someplace other than abortion centers.
A number of legislators have been incredibly helpful in trying to prevent this program from becoming a “slush fund” for Planned Parenthood. 33 House members voted against the House's budget, which included $6 million for the program. However, there are a number of legislators who still need convincing, and it’s still not too late!
ACTION: Please contact your legislators today and tell them not to fund Virginia’s abortion industry to the tune of millions of dollars!
UnrealApr. 26, 2018
Last Friday, a Henrico County judge heard arguments in our case against former Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Board of Health for its disregard of the law when it eviscerated Virginia’s abortion center health and safety standards.
Now, one would think that someone in the media might be just a little bit interested when the government is put on trial but, alas, none of Richmond’s major media outlets deemed it worthy. Now, some reported when we filed the lawsuit last year, but on Friday, no reporters were to be found when actual arguments against the McAuliffe administration were heard.
So, when I checked the NBC 12 (Richmond) website that evening to see if there was just by chance any mention of our case, call me surprised to see a link to an abortion story – out of Alabama.
The issue scandalous enough for the local network to cover involves the discovery that an abortion center in Alabama had “failed to report a patient who was 13 years old to the Department of Human Resources, according to a report from the Alabama Department of Public Health. Abortion clinics are required to report the pregnancy of a child under the age of 14 to DHR.”
Admittedly, that’s a scandal worthy of reporting. And it should be covered no matter what state it might happen in.
Except when we discovered the exact same thing here in Virginia a few years ago – thanks to inspections of abortion facilities required by abortion center health and safety standards gutted by Terry McAuliffe – the local Virginia media ignored it.
That’s right. In 2013, inspection reports found that an abortion center in Roanoke had multiple examples of children under the age of 14 receiving abortions without parental consent and without any record that any of the “health care workers” at the facilities – i.e. mandatory reporters – reported the possible incidents of sex trafficking, child sex abuse, or a litany of other possible horrors. To our knowledge, those cases were never investigated. No one knows if those little girls were victims of unimaginable horrors – but clearly no one in the Virginia media or state government cared.
Oh no, when it involved a Virginia abortion center, there was silence.
Could it be that such a story would have harmed the narrative the media has so carefully crafted here in Virginia that our abortion centers are “safe” and require no oversight? Could it be that the possible sexual molestation of 12 and 13-year-old girls isn’t worth talking about if it might harm the reputation of an abortion industry that pours millions into the election of media favorites like Terry McAuliffe?
I’ll let you decide.
Deeply saddenedApr. 18, 2018
I am writing to you wanting so desperately to be happy that when the House of Delegates reconvened yesterday afternoon, they voted against adding sexual orientation to the state's non-discrimination hiring policy, and they added restrictions to the circumstances in which the state will pay for abortions.
I want to remind you that these were really good things and tell you that we are very grateful that all 51 Republicans voted for both of these yesterday.
But I am instead deeply grieved. And you should be too. This grief is not even about Medicaid expansion, which remains in the House's budget - but something, frankly, much more stomach-churning. Despite every effort we made to stop the creation of a brand new slush fund of money being funneled directly to Planned Parenthood, the House budget will effectively hand the abortion industry $6 million. The Senate budget that is likely to be passed could hand them $10.8 million.
There is a lot I could tell you about all that we tried to prevent this fund from ever being created.
I could tell you that for several previous years, we've successfully prevented this initiative from being in the final budget.
Or how the chamber in the previous two years has voted to prevent state tax dollars from going to the abortion industry, without a single Republican opposing it. (The House still has 51 Republicans.)
I could tell you how we met with various budget appropriators, members of leadership, and the entire Conservative Caucus.
Or about how we've drafted amendments to prevent the creation of a slush fund for Planned Parenthood, and what it’s like to hear all the excuses about why they didn’t even take a vote to try to remove it.
I could tell you about how small deceptions can seem very convincing, and how even people who proclaim to be pro-life can begin to think that there are still reasons to fund the abortion industry.
You honestly don’t want to know.
But it doesn’t really matter at this point why we are where we are, or who did what, or even who is to blame - although there’s enough blame to go around. What matters is that the state is about to hand Planned Parenthood and the other abortion centers millions of dollars so that when a vulnerable, low-income woman walks in to make an already-tragic decision to end the life of her child, the staff will then, in her moment of vulnerability and weakness, ask her if she really thinks she could handle being a mom and whether she could really provide for her future children a life worth living. And when she acknowledges life’s hardships, they are going to insert a device to prevent future pregnancies - for up to 10 years.
And now, you’re going to pay for it. This is the new pilot program that your elected officials apparently believe we should create.
If our elected officials really wanted to help these women, they might instead create a grant program to help fund the valuable work of the several dozen Pregnancy Resource Centers who work with this same population of women to offer them support, encouragement, and resources to become the women we know they can be -- successful moms, students, employees, and more. It’s on these doorsteps women show up downtrodden, fearful and needy. The heroes at these centers know from story after story that with this kind of help, a woman can in fact overcome the odds. But apparently, our government would rather help the abortion industry.
At some point, one has to ask how a pro-life legislator can vote for this final budget. The one positive is that 32 House Republicans and 1 House Democrat did vote against this monstrosity yesterday.
Sometimes my heart becomes numb to the terrible things state government can do because, after 18 years, I have seen it all. But today, I wish I felt numb. Instead, I feel deep sadness.
If this issue resonates with you too, I would encourage you to reach out to your legislators and let them know how important this is to you, and plead with them not to allow this to be included in the final budget.
Terminology and ShameApr. 16, 2018
Someone wrote the word "gay" with their finger on the dusty spoiler of my car.
I want to make it absolutely clear that I am not "gay." Neither am I "homosexual." I am a "same-sex attracted" man.
Why do I make such a big deal about the use of words like “gay,” “homosexual,” and “same-sex attracted?”
For two reasons:
First, I’ve always loved precision. I’m the kind of jerk who will correct people online about their improper word choice and grammar. More than that, I'm the kind of jerk who will correct them in person.
Second, and more importantly, I’m concerned about the use of these words having a much deeper impact on those who use them and on those who hear them.
My friend today said this, and I believe it is right on target. "The conflation of terms is at the root of most deceptions today."
These words describe people who are persistently, exclusively, and deeply attracted to the same-sex. The attractions are not just sexual. They go deeper than that. I can talk to you more about that and what it means another time.
Right now I want to talk about the words that are being used. I said they were words to describe people, but that’s not entirely true for all of them. The words "gay" and "homosexual" are words that are used in a more fundamental way. These words are used to identify people.
This is a conflation of the terms.
Identifying people based on their attractions seems very odd. We identify people based on their citizenship (I’m a Virginian and I’m an American), we identify people based on their religion (I’m a Christian), and we identify people based on their relationships (single, son, nephew, cousin, friend, etc.). I don’t know of any other identity words which are used based on desires (I’m not identified by my affinity for the color green, or based on my attraction to the aesthetic beauty of New Zealand).
So why do we identify people based on their attractions toward different sexes?
Why do we identify people as "straight," "lesbian," "gay," and "bisexual?" Why do people identify themselves this way? Perhaps it could have been said at one time that these were only short-hand ways to describe attractions, but in the culture we live in these words are used as different classifications of humanity.
One of the most distressing things on this topic is the incredibly high rate of suicides by people, especially teens, who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. These young men and women are made in the image and likeness of God, and are despairing to the point that they end their own lives. We must respond and work to save these people.
What is it that is driving people to such despair?
Shame. Shame is a huge concern I have for people with same-sex attraction.
A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a youth pastor. He was eager to get my thoughts about how he ought to respond if a student comes to him admitting that they are "gay." How can he respond in a way that will protect them from shame, he wanted to know. It's a very important question. Contributing to a sense of shame can have devastating impact.
There are different types of shame.
The shame that the youth pastor and I are concerned about is not a shame felt for wrong things that people have done. This shame is far more sinister and goes far deeper. These feelings of shame are based not on any behavior, but on an identity. This is a shame based on belief about who the person is.
Ontology is "the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature and relations of being." (Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary 1965). Who are we? What is our nature? The answers to these questions have profound ramifications.
Shame is one of those ramifications. If I identify myself with an ontological category that is based on sexual desires, then shame is a very real possibility. If my ontology is "gay" because I experience same-sex attraction, then my "nature" and my "being" are found in same-sex attraction.
What are the consequences of such an ontological category? Really there are only two outcomes from that starting point:
On the one side, I could reject the idea that homosexuality is wrong. This is a common response today. How could homosexuality be wrong if people exist as this ontological category? If it is part of my being, can it be condemned?
On the other side, I could remain steadfast in my understanding that homosexuality is sin, and thus conclude that I am "sin" myself. This would quickly lead to intense shame and despair.
Neither of those options are valid responses in the Christian worldview. We cannot call something good that God clearly calls evil. So we cannot say that homosexuality is not wrong. On the other hand, we cannot call "sin" something that God clearly calls loved. God loves all people, and he doesn't love sin.
If my ontology is found in same-sex attraction, I don't see a good option for moving forward. What is the answer?
The answer is to change the starting point. I am not "sin." I am not "homosexual." I am not "gay." I am a male image bearer of the Holy God. My ontology is male image bearer of the Holy God. The distortion of original sin does not go to the ontological level. The disordered desires I have are not who I am. I am beloved.
The answer is to hate my sin without hating myself.
If I were that youth pastor, I would respond to the young person who confessed that they are "gay" with a firm, "No you're not. You are a male image bearer of the Holy God. Made and formed in his image, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. The fact that you experience sinful and disordered desires does not change your nature. Temporary afflictions do not define you. God defines you. And he declares that you are worth dying for."
The answer to shame and despair is found in understanding who we are.
*This Blog was originally posted at www.ourseanmaguire.com.
Ideology v. BiologyApr. 13, 2018
What should schools teach boys and girls about sex? Should schools teach that “boys” and “girls” are biological realities, or should they teach that “sex is assigned at birth” and is changed throughout life based on individual feelings?
The only way to influence the ways these questions are answered is by being actively involved in your school board. Apathy from a majority of the members of the Fairfax County Public School “Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee” (FLECAC) – the group of parents, teachers, and community members responsible for making recommended changes to sex education curriculum – led to that body recommending that “biological sex” be changed to “sex assigned at birth” last night.
21 of these community members voted to use the language “sex assigned at birth” in place of “biological sex.” Only 3 dissented. This is an ideological change, and has nothing to do with scientific, medical, or biological realities. One of the leaders of the ideological effort said it best herself when she said, “I don’t think scientifically, medically, biologically [sic] at all matters in this discussion.”
She only said this after the Biological and Medical facts were put on the table. Initially the argument for approving of this language change was that “we need to use the scientifically accurate terms,” and that “sex assigned at birth” was the accurate term. It was only after one of the dissenting members of the committee pointed to a list of quotes from medical and biological resources that support “biological sex” that the story changed and science and medicine didn’t matter anymore.
After the vote was taken and the meeting adjourned, I asked several members of the committee why they voted the way that they did. Two refused to answer, saying that they were not interested in discussing why they voted to use “sex assigned at birth” rather than “biological sex.” Another said, “Honestly, I was lost in the discussion and I don’t think it matters that much.”
This absolutely does matter.
Using the term, “sex assigned at birth,” gives support to the idea that “sex” is something determined by subjective feelings, and not by objective biological realities. It reinforces the idea that if children feel different, they are different.
Being told by teachers that they are different from all the other boys and girls is not good for children. Confusing children about biological realities in order to reinforce your ideological position is not good.
The School Board of Fairfax County still has to approve of these recommendations. Their next meeting is on April 26th, and the public is invited to make their voices heard both in writing and by attending the meeting.
Only 10 spots are available to speak at this meeting. If you live in Fairfax County, sign up to speak by following the instructions online. If you live somewhere else in Virginia, contact your school board and find out what they are teaching children about sex.
We cannot afford to be apathetic. Truth and facts must be defended.
Gender Ideology in 4-H ClubsApr. 05, 2018
When I think about 4-H, I think about the time I spent in that organization decorating cakes and sewing pajama pants. These are not “stereotypically male” activities, but I took blue ribbons in both events at my county fair.
The directors of my 4-H program were also involved in a local homeschool co-op and local church ministries. The other students working on cake decorating skills and trying to sew without injuring ourselves were homeschooled and Christian.
It is not unusual for the entire membership of rural and suburban 4-H chapters to be entirely made up of homeschooled Christian students. The directors also reflect this demographic reality.
Recently the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture published a policy document directing the operation of all 4-H chapters. Within days the document was removed from the website and the governmental body has said that it wasn’t supposed to be publicly shared at this time. Why would the government say anything about the way 4-H chapters are run in the first place?
Because 4-H is actually a government program overseen by the Department of Agriculture.
This recent policy document came out after the Department of Agriculture adopted a nondiscrimination policy that specifically prevents any institution administering their programs from discriminating on the basis of “sex, gender identity (including gender expression), [or] sexual orientation.” 4-H chapters across the country had a brief look at the document before it was taken down from the Department of Agriculture website, but the exact same document exists online at the University of California Cooperative for Santa Barbara County website. That is where one of the four authors, Dr. Katherine E. Soule, works to positively transform the community by improving equality for marginalized groups.
As an effort to promote equality, and to avoid discrimination, the policy document tries to define all of the relevant terms and explain how they are to be applied. I encourage you to read the document.
The application of these definitions is internally inconsistent. At first the policy defines “sex” and “gender identity” as two separate things, but then it goes on to say that “4-H shall not” adopt policies that are based on “differences between transgender or intersex individuals and other individuals of the same sex (i.e. the same gender identity).”
In other words, sex and gender identity are the same thing when an individual declares them to be so. If an individual with a male sex has a female gender identity, then the 4-H chapter must treat that individual as if their sex is female. The gender identity supersedes the sex, and sex is now, in effect, defined by the gender identity.
This doesn’t work with the definition provided in the same document. It takes a huge shift to go from saying that “sex” and “gender identity” are two different things to saying that you must treat people as if they are the “sex (i.e. … gender identity)” they proclaim to be.
This policy doesn’t just require 4-H volunteers and directors to treat people as if they are the sex which matches their stated gender identity; it applies to youth members as well! This means that all 4-H participants will have to call individuals by the pronouns that match their gender identity (not their sex), will have to allow individuals into the sex-specific bathrooms that match their gender identity (not their sex), and must provide sex-specific housing arrangements (such as shared rooms) to individuals based on their gender identity (not their sex).
Nondiscrimination policies were designed to protect people from mistreatment. These policies don’t protect anyone from mistreatment; they impose an ideological position (that gender identity determines sex) on all 4-H participants. All individuals are permitted to join 4-H chapters everywhere and to participate in all events regardless of their gender identity. The only things that this policy addresses are those times when 4-H chapters have sex-specific bathrooms, locker rooms, and make sex-specific housing arrangements. If the authors of this nondiscrimination policy really believe that “sex” and “gender identity” are different things, then sex-specific bathrooms, locker rooms, and housing arrangements would not be a problem. This policy is not about correcting discrimination, it is about treating sex as though it is determined by gender identity.
As you and I continue to face the pressure to treat people in false ways (like using a female gender pronoun to address a male), we may be tempted to overreact. We cannot comply with the demand to tell lies. We must not deny biological reality. However, this does not mean that we should malign or mistreat individuals whose gender identity does not match their sex. We should continue to welcome these individuals to learn cake decorating and sewing skills right alongside us. We simply will not invite people of the opposite sex to use the sex-specific bathrooms, locker rooms, or beds right alongside us.
Sex and GenderMar. 27, 2018
"The proper term should be ‘sex assigned at birth,’ ‘gender assigned at birth,’ not ‘biological gender,’ or ‘biological sex.’"
That quote is from Dan Press, a member of the Fairfax County School’s “Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee” (FLECAC). He was arguing in support of a motion he made on March 8th to change the term “biological sex” to “sex assigned at birth” in all 8th, 9th, and 10th grade objectives for Family Life Education.
“Sex” and “gender” have become confusing terms for many people in recent decades. The terms used to be understood with very little difficulty. Dictionaries still define the terms very clearly today.
Sex = “either of two divisions into which many living things can be divided according to their roles in reproduction and which consist of males or females.”1
Gender = “the state of being male or female.”2
These words are synonyms, but have different purposes.
“Sex” is related to reproductive functions – which are determined by biology. “Gender” is related to social and cultural roles, and also grammar.
“Sex” is about the biological reality, and “gender” is about how we describe that reality. “Male” and “female” are sex terms used to identify the two reproductive roles. “Him” and “her” are gender terms used to describe the two sexes.
Birth has nothing to do with determining sex or gender. There is no assignment taking place. Biology textbooks recognize the differences between the two sexes long before birth.3
This is what students in Fairfax County Schools are being taught in their biology textbooks. This is scientific reality.
Instead of keeping the curriculum in Family Life Education consistent with scientific reality, Dan Press argued in favor of “sex assignment.” Instead of upholding scientific reality, all but three members of the FLECAC voted to change the term “biological sex” to “sex assigned at birth.”
This change doesn’t help students understand the world around them. It promotes confusion and misunderstanding.
The FLECAC decision is not final, and efforts are being made to keep the Family Life Education curriculum consistent with the biology curriculum in Fairfax County Schools. You can help by sending scientific articles, medical journal articles, biology and medical textbooks, and other resources that accurately describe “sex” and “gender” to Sean Maguire at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you live in Fairfax you can attend the next FLECAC meeting on April 12th.
1. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary Definition of “sex” for Students. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sex. Accessed 3/27/2018.
2. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary Definition of “gender” for Students. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gender. Accessed 3/27/18.
3. Developmental Biology. 6th Edition. Gilbert SF. 2000. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK9967/. Accessed 3/27/18.
Opposing the Transgender MomentMar. 23, 2018
What is required to be labeled an "anti-trans activist?" Very little indeed.
According to Newsweek Magazine, all it takes is support for gender-specific bathrooms in schools.
I'm an anti-trans activist by this standard. So is everyone else who believes in scientific genetic standards, social norms that distinguish between the sexes, and protecting children from potential sexual harm. That’s all that Bethany Kozma did in Fairfax, and now she is being attacked in national news articles.
For years the Fairfax County Public Schools have been pushing to embrace the full scope of what has been called the “transgender moment.” Most recently that includes a recommendation from the Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee (FLECAC) that the term “biological sex” be removed from the curriculum and replaced with the term “sex assigned at birth.”
Those who have opposed this change in vernacular – supporting teaching that reflects biological reality instead of ideology – have been attacked just like Bethany Kozma is being attacked. One member of FLECAC was unceremoniously (and arguably illegally) removed from her seat and replaced by Dan Press, a vocal advocate of the LGBT+ agenda. Dan Press used the rules of parliamentary procedure to silence all opposition to his proposals the first day he was on the committee.
Civil society can't survive in this kind of vicious atmosphere. Newsweek is shilling opinion pieces that divide everyone into groups. Dan Press and others on committees and school boards across the Commonwealth are shutting down opposition. They are vilifying anyone who disagrees with the transgender movement.
We are not villains. We are your neighbors.
We must act neighborly even when under attack. We must not return insult for insult. We must speak the truth in love – which means with real love, not just lip-service to that sacred idea. We must pray for those who oppose us more than we speak against them.
I'm prepared to be perpetually hated for what I believe. I pray that I'll be able to get close enough to those who hate me to show them true love.
The next FLECAC meeting is on April 12 in Fairfax, VA. Several members of the committee are planning to present textbooks and scientific and medical articles which demonstrate that “biological sex” is a valid term, and should not be replaced with the ideologically charged term, “sex assigned at birth.” Help by sending links to scientific and medical articles that use the term “biological sex” to email@example.com.