‘What any religious tradition ascribes as God’s will is no concern of this Congress.” New York Democrat Jerry Nadler, chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives, said this on the House floor during debate over the euphemistically named Equality Act. He was reacting to a Republican representative from Florida who quoted Deuteronomy to make an argument that, by design, men are men, and women are women — the kind of point that was largely uncontroversial just about yesterday, relatively speaking. The lawmaker didn’t need the Bible to make his case; he went on to address the dangers to women’s sports that the legislation poses.
Nadler could have replied: Don’t quote the Bible at me; let’s argue about this based on our ideas of a pluralistic society, or some such. Instead, things escalated quickly. Nadler tried to banish God from the chambers. Mercifully, he doesn’t have the power to do that. That very session of the House began with a prayer to God, as all the sessions do. Perhaps more shocking than his matter-of-fact declaration was the lack of objection.
Nadler’s disturbing proclamation comes while we are waiting for a decision from the Supreme Court about the city of Philadelphia’s sudden refusal to work with the effective Catholic Social Services on foster care and adoption placement and support. The plaintiff in that case, Sharonelle Fulton, is witness to black lives mattering, because she has fostered more than 40 children over a quarter century. Another foster mother, Cecilia Paul, had more than 130 foster children in her home. She died in 2018, and I’m convinced it was of a broken heart, because CSS was no longer able to place children in her loving home. She lived to love the vulnerable. No one made a complaint against Catholic Social Services about anything regarding the all-powerful LGBT issues, and yet their work with the city was stopped because they have beliefs about marriage that are a matter of conscience.
So when Nadler tried to banish God from the House, he is being honest about what the Democratic Party increasingly means: If you don’t submit to progressive ideology, you have no right to be operating in the public square. I’m certain that most Americans don’t believe that. Most people want others to be able to live freely. The other day in Manhattan, a Muslim Uber driver from Egypt was preaching the American dream to me, saying that here you can be Muslim, Christian, gay, black, Hispanic, Wiccan, whatever, and make a life that works for you. Perhaps he could give a little lesson on pluralism to Nadler and other members of his party. Protests about injustice, even those with the best intentions, convey a sense that the American dream is dying. That also explains some of what motivates Trump’s supporters. Yes, there is a dangerous, violent part of his base, but most of the people I know who voted for him are alarmed at Democratic enthusiasm for wiping away — without even a debate — religious freedoms and thought.
Take what just happened on Amazon to Ryan Anderson’s book, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment. Amazon banned it, without explanation. No used-book stores, no Kindle. The only evidence on Amazon of the book’s existence is a response to it: Let Harry Become Sally.
The truth, which is evident on each page, is that Ryan’s book is a love letter to humanity. It’s compassionate, it’s reasoned, it’s chock-full of evidence and human testimony. It’s the kind of book people need to read to make sense of the gender-ideology wave that has swept through the West. For the safety and security of girls, for one thing, taking a few steps back would be wise. And it would also help protect all children. How confusing a time puberty is for every human being, but the pressures now being put on our youth are cruel. We owe them something better. Consider that Dr. Rachel Levine, who might become the No. 2 at the Department of Health and Human Services, wouldn’t even answer a question from Rand Paul about whether government should intervene against parents’ wishes when a child wants medical intervention to transition to another sex. If this is the agenda, can we have a rational debate about it?
The Heritage Foundation with a coalition of others has recently launched a Promise to America’s Children to work to protect them from all the implications of this authoritarian radicalism increasingly all around them. It’s an effort to get tools to parents, educators, and policy-makers to say: Your ideology is hurting our children. Adults need to realize that we can have disagreements and at the same time work together for the vulnerable. Gender dysphoria is a real thing and a real misery for those suffering from it, as Ryan talks about with the tenderness of a father and a brother. But as a trend — and for children — it is so harmful.
So before we cast out every kind of consideration that might, in fact, be a gift from a Creator who has a few ideas for us about how we should live, let’s try hearing one another out like mature adults who respect one another. And you can get Ryan’s book from Encounter Books.
This column is based on one available through Andrews McMeel Universal’s Newspaper Enterprise Association.