VA SB 656
This question is ultimately traceable to the collision between two polar-opposite worldviews: the Judaeo-Christian worldview upon which our nation was founded vs. the Marxist-based Critical Theory worldview. Very briefly, the Judaeo-Christian worldview teaches that there is an infinite-personal God, who created the universe and humankind intentionally and purposefully. All human persons reflect His image. Baked into His creation are moral precepts that teach us how to live and treat one another. A central part of that is the creation of males and females and the covenant of life-long, heterosexual, monogamous marriage. However, His creation is broken, because the first humans rejected His sovereignty, choosing to go their own way, and our world has been broken ever since, including sexually. The locus of evil in the world is actually in our own hearts. We can rectify this evil by accepting God’s forgiveness of our wrongs and receiving His gift of a new nature that hates evil and loves good and gives us the power to change, and along with that, eternal life. Such a deal!
The Marxist/Critical Theory worldview is inherently atheistic. We and the universe are accidents of random cosmic processes. There is no ultimate reason for us to be here, and we ultimately go nowhere when this life is over and the universe runs out of gas. Our only identity is in the workforce or in our particular social group. CT explains evil by asserting that all of society is divided into groups: oppressors vs. oppressed, e.g, white vs. black, men vs. women, “straight” vs. LGBTQ, able vs. disabled, citizens vs. non-citizens, Christians vs. all other religions, etc. In fact, one reference posts a whole “matrix of oppression”, with every oppressor group, its corresponding oppressed group and the associated grievance (-ism). The remedy for evil (oppression) is to destroy the oppressor through ideology, social activism, canceling or, increasingly, violence. Critical Theory regards anything that limits people in any way as “oppressive”, and they move to deconstruct and dismantle it. This is actually where the LGBTQ movement comes in. It regards historic (all cultures) sexual norms as oppressive, and it is zealously working to question, challenge, discredit and dismantle those norms in favor of legitimizing virtually any imaginable sexual desire and behavior. Any disagreement is immediately tarred with an inflammatory epithet, such as sexist, homophobic, transphobic, “hate speech”, etc.
Having this agenda in schools, particularly without the consent, or even knowledge, of parents is a betrayal of the parents’ trust. Although we can recognize and sympathize with the deep struggles LGBTQIA+ students are going through, to depart from the historic norms that are common to every culture is destructive. To pressure, suggest or lure students into these lifestyles, particularly the “trans” movement and the attendant hormonal and surgical “treatments” is unethical and medically dangerous.
For these reasons SB 656 is essential to the safety of our children and communities.
For a more detailed discussion, kindly keep reading below.
This question is ultimately traceable to the collision between two very different narratives about how we and our world came to be. Our American nation and culture were founded upon Judaeo-Christian principles. The competing narrative is the ultimately atheistic narrative of Marxism and its expression in the various branches of Critical Theory.
School teachers are hired by the public (parents) to teach their children. Our first schools reflected this Judaeo-Christian worldview. The world and humanity were created by an omnipotent God, who also built a moral design for the universe to instruct us, His image bearers, on how to live orderly, happy, fulfilled, healthy and safe lives in His world. This included the ordination of marriage and family. The biblical account also asserts that the first humans decided to go their own way, rather than trusting what God had told them, that, from that time on, we have been alienated from God, the earth, each other and ourselves. Humanity has an inborn tendency to do wrong and act selfishly. Since evil is ultimately against God and resides in our own hearts, the solution to evil is to reconcile with God and receive His power into our lives to give us new motivations and the strength to live them out.
In the early 19th century, Darwin published his Origin of the Species, which theorized that life was not necessarily created by God. Marx, a vicious hater of God and Christianity, accepted Darwin’s atheistic evolution as the origin of life and defined the evil in the world in economic and power-dynamic terms, with one class oppressing another. When Marx’ predictions of violent revolution fizzled, some of his followers took Marxism into the intellectual realm. Italian Communist, Antonio Gramsci, hated capitalism and saw that capitalism was rooted in the soil of Christianity, as an outgrowth of the protestant Reformation. Therefore, to get rid of capitalism, Christianity had to be destroyed first. The Frankfurt School picked up the intellectual theme and, under the label of Critical Theory, began defining all areas of life in terms of oppressor vs. oppressed. Critical theorists labeled ideas, especially absolute or normative ideas, oppressive and began subjecting them to minute dissection and deconstruction. In Critical Theory, the way to deal with the evil in the world is to destroy oppressors, ideologically, or, increasingly, even physically.
The Frankfurt School fled Nazi Germany just before WW-II as a result rising antisemitism, and became professors at American universities. Their ideas have permeated the educational establishment, which has indoctrinated at least two generations of educators, journalists, media workers, lawyers, politicians, historians, and, through them, our whole public. ANYTHING that restrains anyone in any way has now been labeled oppressive. As a result, people espousing Critical Theory ideology demand that people not only tolerate (agree with) them, but celebrate them and participate with them or face cultural bullying, peer-pressure and cancellation. This is what we now see in our schools boards and schools.
Much of the public ferment began with the Civil Rights Movement, initially led by Martin Luther King, Jr, whose ideas were based on the Bible and Natural Law, and there was much idealism about ending poverty and achieving racial equality. However, after King’s assassination, Marxist-based Critical Theory entered the movement, and it turned dark and violent. White people were the oppressors and black people were the oppressed. Then men were labeled oppressors and women were oppressed. So far, so good.
Where this gets “sticky” is the broadening of the battlefront from the domain of metaphysics (existence, what one is, intrinsic, immutable characteristics) to the moral domain (what one does, i.e. actions, desires and motivations). While It is clear that all people are equal, it is equally clear that not all desires, motivations and actions are equal. Mother Teresa and Hitler are equally human persons, but diametrically opposed in their motivations and actions. Yet, the sexuality-oriented branches of Critical Theory demand the abolitions of all distinctions regarding gender identity and behavior, even to altering bodies to fit desires.
The abolition of all distinctions, particularly moral distinctions, has consequences. G.K. Chesterton famously said that, before someone takes down a fence, he/she must ask what the fence was there for in the first place. Maybe it’s to keep people from stepping into a deep ravine or to corral an aggressive bull. As we take down more and more fences, and the enforcement of those fences, we see increasing confusion, anxiety, depression, suicide, lawlessness and violence. If we no longer acknowledge our Creator, we no longer know who we are, where we fit or how we are to live together. Is it any wonder that we are seeing more and more violence and shootings?
Since we have redefined and “dumbed-down” marriage from a life-long monogamous, heterosexual covenant to essentially any kind of relationship for any length of time, we see increasingly unstable relationships, dissolving families, increasing domestic violence, crime and poverty. 80% of prison inmates grew up without fathers, and the largest demographic group under the poverty line is single women with children. Children from healthy, heterosexual families have better mental health, higher academic performance, less substance abuse, much lower crime rates, better job performance and more stable families of their own. Respecting the original design of marriage and the family increases all desirable conditions and behaviors, while deviating from it is a recipe for societal decay.
That said, because of the “Fall”, our ruptured relationship with God, our fellow human beings, ourselves and our planet, we are all “broken” in various ways. One manifestation of that is sexual brokenness, manifesting in same-sex attraction, both-sex attraction, discomfort with one’s own body, etc. Adolescents, in particular, struggle to find their own identities as they progress to adulthood. Questioning their sexual identity is part of that. We can be loving and sympathetic to those who are wrestling with these heart-wrenching issues, realizing that, if we accept them with unconditional love and walk with them through their agony, they will eventually resolve their questions and establish an adult identity. However, encouraging our young people to head in that direction or suggesting that depression or anxiety might be due to their really being “trans”, is completely inappropriate.
The treatment of gender dysphoria has become a trendy social phenomenon, but most often has drastic consequences. In her book, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing our Daughters, Abigail Shrier states that adolescent girls who take puberty blockers and then cross-sex hormones become sterile for life. Sexchangeregret.com presents accounts of people who regret transitioning and are detransition. Kiera Bell sued the UK gender dysphoria clinic and won because it had not counseled her adequately about the risks of transitioning.
Gender dysphoria was originally described about 100 years ago. It occurred in young boys, 2-4 yrs old. It was persistent, insistent, consistent and rare, approximately 1 in 10,000 boys. What we are seeing now is rapid onset, mostly in adolescent girls, and very common - in some groups up to 1 in 3. Great Britain’s main gender dysphoria clinic has experienced a 4,400% increase in requests for treatment in the last 10 years, and the number of gender dysphoria clinics in the US has mushroomed from one in 2007 to hundreds. This is clearly something other than the original description. It often occurs in peer groups, especially through social media. As a physician, I can say that treating a fluctuating, trendy social phenomenon, usually with significant psychological comorbidities, with permanently life-altering treatments is unspeakably unethical medicine. It is even more the case when it is done without adequate evaluation and consultation and without parental consent or even their knowledge.
Parents essentially hire schools and their teachers to teach their children the subjects they need to understand our world and function in it. They need to have command of our principal language, English, our national history, warts and all, math, science and other life skills. We need to recognize Critical Theory for what it is: an effort to deconstruct and demolish our entire social order. Its adherents see this as liberating. Its opponents see it as creating chaos, confusion and destruction. Given the increasing rates of crime, shootings, addictions, overdoses, domestic violence, anxiety, depression, teen suicide, teen pregnancy and general lawlessness, the latter seems to be the case.
With parental consent only, our precious children might be exposed to the fact that there are people whose sexualities don’t line up with the way the world was originally created and that we need to accept them and be kind to them, because they are struggling. However, to “normalize” these lifestyles and propagandize and “groom” our children and push or lure them into severe identity crises and potentially permanently life-damaging treatments is completely unethical.
Therefore, I must support SB 656. Again, parents hire teachers to teach their children essential subjects. However, along with everything else in our society, teachers and teachers’ unions have imbibed the Critical Theory narrative and, in many cases, are indoctrinating our children with ideas that parents vehemently disapprove of. This is a violation of the purpose for which the schools and teachers even exist, and it must stop. If some in the community want to educate their kids about LGBTQIA+ issues, then they could form a discussion group of their own, but parents who want to adhere to our historic norms about marriage, family and sexuality should not have to participate in these programs or support them with their tax dollars.
I also encourage those advocating for LGBTQIA+ to do their own thinking, rather than parroting the same talking points and examples (e.g. Ulysses, by James Joyce) as many did in these submissions.