Tag archives: Human Sexuality

Amazon Book-Banning: Cowardly, Bullying, and Foolish

by Peter Sprigg

July 15, 2019

A year ago, I wrote a blog post warning that a proposed bill in California, AB 2943, could result in books being banned. Some critics of the bill even pointed out how it could be interpreted to ban the Bible itself. As it turns out, book-banning has now become reality.

Here’s a brief recap:

Book-Banning: 2018

The California bill AB 2943 was intended to outlaw “sexual orientation change efforts” (“SOCE;” sometimes referred to by the media and critics as “conversion therapy”) as a form of “consumer fraud.” But the state’s fraud statute applies to the “sale … of goods” (like books) as well as services (like counseling). And SOCE were defined to include efforts to change “behaviors”—not just attractions. So since the Bible is a “good” that is often sold, and since it attempts to change homosexual behavior (“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female,” Leviticus 18:22), an argument could be made that Bible sales would fall under the bill’s prohibition.

I pointed out that even if a Bible ban was unlikely (and unlikely to hold up in court), other books—ones whose whole purpose is to promote sexual orientation change—could be much more vulnerable.

Although “fact-checkers” tried to debunk the notion of a Bible ban (or even a book ban), the concerns about religious liberty were serious enough that Assembly sponsor Evan Low withdrew the bill.

Book-Banning: 2019

Fortunately, in 2018 the California legislature stepped back from the brink of banning books for people with unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA).

But now in 2019, the country’s largest bookseller—Amazon.com—has done it for them.

News broke on the eve of Independence Day, when Americans celebrate our freedoms—that we will no longer be free to buy certain books dealing with SOCE or with unwanted SSA on Amazon.

Maybe it was the Brits’ revenge—because some reports made it appear that the change resulted from months of agitation by a lone British activist named Rojo Alan. (A Change.org petition urging their removal may have predated Alan’s campaign, though.)

The Amazon ban on SOCE books is, in some ways, even more insidious than the California one would have been. After all, the state would have had a hard time mustering the resources to enforce its ban on the “sale … of goods” that promote sexual orientation change.

Amazon, on the other hand, is itself a dominant force in the book market. If buyers cannot find these books on Amazon, there is a good chance they will not be able to find them anywhere—which, of course, is the goal of LGBT activists. A state ban would have run up against pesky obstacles like the First Amendment to the Constitution. Amazon, as a private company, faces no such constraint.

As a market leader, however, they have a moral obligation to a value usually promoted by the left—“diversity.” A diversity that makes no room for conservative viewpoints on controversial issues is no diversity at all—it is dictatorship.

Amazon is Reserving the Right to Actually Burn Books

Amazon has not made any explicit comment on the removal of ex-gay therapy books. Their website features a policy on “Offensive and Controversial Materials,” which include:

  • Violence, Intolerance, and Hate
  • Human Tragedies and Disasters
  • Child Abuse and Exploitation

However, the language is vague enough that Amazon has basically reserved the right to ban anything it wants. (“We exercise judgment in allowing or prohibiting listings … Amazon reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of listings on its site, and remove any listing at any time.”).

Some critics of Amazon’s decision have raised the specter not only of book banning, but of book burning. Lest you think this an extreme, purely metaphorical critique, note this part of the Amazon policy: “… [W]e will take corrective actions, as appropriate, including but not limited to …  destroying inventory in our fulfillment centers without reimbursement …” (emphasis added). Rather inexplicably, however, the company also says, “Amazon’s Offensive Products policies apply to all products except books, music, video and DVD” (emphasis added). Perhaps they meant “including?”

Last year, I wrote this:

But shouldn’t every American be shocked at the thought of a state banning the sale of any books based on their philosophical, religious, or moral viewpoint?

Banning books because one doesn’t like their message?

In the United States of America?

In this country, you can sell all kinds of books.

You can sell Mein Kampf, and The Communist Manifesto. Bookstores sell the celebration of sado-masochism of Fifty Shades of Grey, and the celebration of sodomy in Allen Ginsberg’s Howl.

But now, apparently, you cannot (or will not, in the case of Amazon) sell books that are intended to help people with unwanted same-sex attractions achieve their own goals for their lives.

Every American—even those who don’t approve of or support therapies to change sexual orientation—should oppose the kind of blatant censorship that Amazon is exercising.

Critiques of SOCE are Misguided and Ill-Informed

In pulling SOCE books from its website, Amazon is acting as a bully—but also as a coward, succumbing to social and political pressure (from a tiny group of people), rather than standing firm for true diversity of thought.

However, they are also simply acting as fools. While principles of freedom and diversity should be enough to keep books on change therapies available for sale, there is another major reason to do so—the things critics say about such therapies, and books promoting them, are simply false. In fact, I doubt very much that any of the critics of these books have ever even seen—let alone read—any of the books they want banned.

Here are some of the myths about sexual orientation change promoted by critics of SOCE. Since I have written extensively on this topic, let me just provide links to some of the papers documenting the truth about sexual orientation change.

  • Myth No. 1 – “Sexual orientation is immutable.”

Four large data sets reflecting longitudinal analysis of the same individuals over time in population-based samples have shown that significant change in all elements of sexual orientation (attractions, behaviors, and identity) can change. Even lesbian scholar Lisa Diamond has said it is time to “abandon the immutability argument once and for all.”

See: “Evidence Shows Sexual Orientation Can Change: Debunking the Myth of ‘Immutability’” (March 2019)

  • Myth No. 2 – “There is no evidence that SOCE is ever effective.”

Six studies or surveys from 2000 to 2018—five of them in peer-reviewed academic journals—have all shown that SOCE can be effective for some clients in bringing about significant change in some components of sexual orientation, while few harms were reported.

See: “Are Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) Effective? Are They Harmful? What the Evidence Shows” (September 2018)

  • Myth No. 3 – “Research has proven that SOCE is harmful.”

The American Psychological Association—although generally critical of SOCE—has admitted that there is no “valid causal evidence” that SOCE is harmful.

See: “The Hidden Truth About Changing Sexual Orientation: Ten Ways Pro-LGBT Sources Undermine the Case for Therapy Bans” (May 2018)

Taylor Swift and the Politicization of Pop Music

by Lauren Kaylor

July 10, 2019

In spring 2019, Taylor Swift announced that her newest album would “have political undertones,” and she was not kidding.

This June, she released the album’s second single and accompanying music video entitled “You Need to Calm Down.” The song is an unambiguous announcement of her support for the LGBT movement and a denouncement of anyone who isn’t fully on board with it. Lyrics like, “You would rather live in the Dark Ages,” and “Why are you mad when you could be GLAAD?” leave no middle ground. 

In the video, Swift parades around glamorously with celebrities and a multitude of individuals who identify as homosexual and transgender. A group of toothless, unwashed, scraggily-haired protesters also make a garish appearance, brandishing misspelled signs like “Get a brain, moran.” The video is crystal-clear social commentary with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. But the video goes a step further than one would normally expect from a popstar. At the end of the video, text appears calling for direct political action: “Please sign my petition for Senate support of the Equality Act on Change.org.”

As FRC has made clear, the “Equality Act” would in reality create vast amounts of inequality in our society through its codification of “sexual orientation/gender identity” (SOGI) laws. Among other injustices, the Equality Act would require small business owners like bakers, florists, and photographers to celebrate same-sex weddings, allow men who identify as women to use women’s restrooms and locker rooms and compete in women’s sports, shut down faith-based adoption agencies because of their religious beliefs, and force all medical providers, regardless of their conscientious objections, to perform sex-change surgeries.

Swift’s “You Need to Calm Down” gives us a unique two-fold opportunity. First, you can respond to her petition by signing FRC’s own petition to halt the Equality Act. Second, you can use technology to respond with genuine love and reconciliation toward those who see any opposition to the LGBT agenda as “hateful.”

John 13:35 tells us that “They will know you by your love for one another.” Other verses that speak truth into this are 1 Corinthians 13 and Luke 6:27-36. Christians are called to love others completely, even those who disagree with or hate us. True love does not mean agreeing on everything or accepting all lifestyle choices, but it means willing the good of the other. Christians are called to love people who experience same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria. Loving does not equate to pandering to views that contradict our beliefs. We ought to will the good of one another because we love them—because we love Christ. For this reason, we want the LGBT movement to know of God’s love for them.

Christians are called to the ministry of reconciliation, which can only be manifested in the advent of love. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 says: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting peoples’ sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”

I propose that Christians embrace their role as Christ’s ambassadors and show others Christ inside of us. 2 Corinthians 5:20 tells us, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” When we accept our role as His ambassadors, the Holy Spirit will work through us and bust the false narrative of “hate.” Let us show so much of Christ’s love to those who disagree with us that Taylor Swift’s heart might be led to change. 

Lauren Kaylor is an intern for Life, Culture, and Women’s Advocacy at Family Research Council.

The Summer of Love: The Beauty of the Marriage Covenant

by Hugh Phillips

June 27, 2019

During the month of June, the wedding season is in full swing. Yet, June is also celebrated as “LGBT Pride Month.” Throughout this month, the LGBT lobby argues that they are “celebrating love” and claim that their movement is based in love and a respect for human dignity. However, much of the LGBT movement is based on a misguided notion of love that is rooted in a harmful postmodern hedonism that, as Nancy Pearcey details in her book Love Thy Body, actually devalues human dignity.  

In this season, Christian conservatives must draw Americans toward the beauty of the true love that the natural marriage covenant between one man and one woman provides. To do this we must properly define love.

Competing Views of Love

Natural marriage and the LGBT movement represent two competing worldviews on what love and marriage actually mean. The LGBT movement, born from the sexual revolution, bases its definition of love on subjective feelings and emotions. They argue that all feelings, attractions, and passions for a person, and any relationships that result, should be celebrated and protected by state law.  This view can be tied with the modern assertion of marriage and relationships as merely contractual agreements.

 Pearcey discusses this when she notes that, long before the sexual revolution, the secular worldview devalued the basis of love and marriage from an unconditional covenant to a contract focused on how the relationship can benefit each individual. Thus, the modern view of relationships, whether heterosexual or homosexual, is based on personal fulfillment of desire and is no longer grounded in selfless love and fulfillment based on adhering to God’s natural design. This irrational view of relationships overlooks the unnatural and harmful effects of such relationships while also disregarding a truthful view of what love actually is.

Biblical Love and the Marriage Covenant

By contrast, the biblical worldview sees relational love as an objective choice and duty that, while often accompanied by emotions, is not dependent on those emotions as the basis of the relationship. In fact, as C.S. Lewis notes in The Abolition of Man, the hallmark of adulthood is being able to train one’s emotions so that they conform to the moral law of God’s natural order. Marriage is the greatest expression of and training ground for this because, under the biblical model, the couple are called to give up their own desires and wants for that of their spouse.

Marriage is the best institution in which to express the biblical model of love. This is revealed in God’s original purpose for marriage. The Bible is clear that the marriage covenant was created by God as a metaphor for His sacrificial love and salvation for His people. Theologian Dr. R.C. Sproul noted: “Marriage is ordained and instituted by God—that is to say, marriage did not just spring up arbitrarily out of social conventions or human taboos. Marriage was not invented by men but by God.” Thus, when Paul speaks on marriage, it makes absolute sense when he urges husbands to “…love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her…” Covenant marriage is an institutional protection of covenant love.

The biblical model of love and marriage, as revealed strikingly in God’s design for marriage, is revolutionary because its emphasis is, not on the individual, but on the other person. This is explicitly shown in the marriage vows which detail and initiate the marriage covenant. In the vows, the focus is on one’s duties and obligations to the other person, not on fulfilling one’s own desires. This is an expression of biblical love. When Paul speaks on the characteristics of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, all the characteristics are strikingly focused towards the good of others and not one’s own good.

This is why Family Research Council has always defended natural marriage and has seen it as the bedrock of a safe and prosperous society. Besides the plethora of proven social benefits that marriage has for society, it is one of the keys to the future of America, both culturally and politically. It is so for this reason: it both teaches and models selfless love for another, a trait vitally necessary for the survival of any Republic such as ours.

The Beauty of True Love and the Marriage Covenant

In an age of LGBTQ “rights” and the celebration of sexual confusion and personal desire above all, our culture must return to a celebration and respect for the beauty of the selfless marriage covenant. Let’s return to the picture of a man and a woman sacrificially committing themselves to each other in marriage on a beautiful summer afternoon. Let’s also think of the beauty and powerful testimony of that same couple, now old, having remained faithfully committed in a lifetime of service to each other under God. Most Americans would smile at this picture. Why wouldn’t they? Such a relationship is a natural human desire!

Thus, in an era dominated by individualism and obsessed with personal autonomy and choice, Christians and conservatives should counter the LGBT movement by showing the beauty and joy of the mutual sacrifice and commitment of the natural marriage covenant. Nothing will counter the harmful effects of the sexual revolution or show the Gospel more clearly than the picture of a man and a woman unconditionally giving themselves to each other’s service for a lifetime. Against this type of true love and commitment the sexual revolution has no power.

So, this summer, let’s respond to LGBT Pride Month by celebrating the beauty of marriage according to God’s design and the couples who have been faithful in marriage. Let us also recommit ourselves as a movement to living out in our own marriages the faithfulness of the marriage covenant and truly mirroring God’s faithfulness towards us, His redeemed! It’s June—thank God for the wonder of His gift of marriage!

Hugh Phillips is a Government Affairs Intern at Family Research Council working on pro-life legislation.

Prostitution and Abortion: The Exploitation of Women and Children

by Abigail Moreno-Riano

June 26, 2019

Earlier this year, the state of New York legalized abortion up until birth, and the governor and abortion activists then proceeded to celebrate this loss of life as a joyous occasion. Now, another crisis of human dignity was narrowly averted after New York came close to passing the first ever complete decriminalization of prostitution.

While Nevada is the only other state to legalize forms of prostitution, New York’s bill is the most extensive bill that has ever been introduced, and as these authors noted, “would only turn mostly women and girls into ‘commodities to be bought and sold.’” Thankfully, this bill has been tabled for now, but there is no doubt that pro-prostitution activists will continue to push for more decriminalization legislation in the future.

The Dignity of Every Life

We are pro-life because we believe each person is made in the image of God and therefore, whether man, woman, or unborn child, each person is worthy of dignity and respect. It is not what one does that allows a person to earn the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but rather, who a person is that endows them with these dignities. This belief is founded on the truth that God created male and female in his own image, as stated in Genesis 1:27.

It is here that we see human dignity does not just apply to men, but to women as well. This seems like an obvious statement, but in a world where the businesses of porn, prostitution, and sex trafficking increasingly degrade and destroy a woman’s perception of herself (not to mention a man’s perception of women) until she no longer sees herself as human but as an object, the dignity of women must be called out and fought for. As we fight for babies to be treated with dignity, so should we for women.

Women advocating for this bill, like sponsor Sen. Julia Salazar, argued it is because of their concern for the “rights” of women entrapped in prostitution and their desire for these women “to be treated with dignity and to be treated like human beings” that they support this bill. It is here that we see that the core of their advocacy is a misconstrued understanding of human dignity. The abortion and prostitution industries survive by encouraging and empowering this misconstrued understanding of human dignity, masking exploitation under the guise of “freedom.”

The Cycle of Degredation

As the cycles of pornography, sex trafficking, prostitution, and abortion continue, they are only fed by laws that seek to legalize their exploitative behavior. For too long, men who seek their own advantage have shown through their actions and attitudes towards women that their version of “liberty” comes from selfishness and “sheer self-will.”

This distorted understanding of freedom has been taken up by the Feminist movement, through which women seek to remedy exploitation by fighting for equal rights, as they should, but with the wrong tactics. Their view of freedom makes room for the belief that women are empowered by their ability to receive an abortion, but these avenues only allow exploitation to continue in the degradation of the unborn.

As Edmund Burke wrote, true freedom “is not solitary, unconnected, individual, selfish liberty, as if every man was to regulate the whole of his conduct by his own will.” True freedom exists not by selfish indulgence, but by “equality of restraint,” in which no person can “find means to trespass on the liberty” of any other person but every person is respected and respects others because of their inherent worth and value.

The cycle of degrading human dignity must end, and it starts with the woman understanding that her inherent value and worth is not dependent on the usefulness of her body. If women continue to allow themselves to be exploited, they allow men to degrade their worth and see abuse as the norm. The pro-life movement rightly seeks to help women value their babies as people, not as objects. But until women see themselves as inherently valuable and not as objects, they’ll never see their babies as more than the same.

Attorneys from Sanctuary for Families spoke out against decriminalizing prostitution, calling out prostitution as “an industry of abuse and violence which profits from the commodification of human beings,” adding, “The answer is not making it legal to pimp or buy sex. The answer is ensuring that we respect the full equality and dignity of every human.”

Ending the Industries of Exploitation

A woman is not valuable because of the desirability of her body, she is valuable because she is made in the image of God. Period. Until women start seeing themselves as dignified and worthy of more, they will only allow exploitation to continue. When women understand the inherent dignity that they possess, they are empowered to view their unborn children with the same dignity.

Laws that restrain abortion and prostitution do not imply that women are subservient to men. Rather, they demonstrate that women and unborn babies are equal and possess inherent dignity, and are therefore deserving of respect, while forcibly suppressing the industries of exploitation. Therefore, we must continue to fight for the dignity and protection of all, particularly women and unborn children, by upholding both anti-prostitution and pro-life laws.

Abigail Moreno-Riano is an intern at Family Research Council.

Political Agendas are Destroying the Unity of Sports

by Abigail Ross

June 25, 2019

I grew up around sports. My family spent nearly every weekend cheering on our teams at various sporting events. At the age of five, I joined my first swim team. Today, I am a collegiate athlete. Sports have allowed me to meet so many wonderful people, many of whom had differing political, religious, and personal convictions from my own. The politically neutral platform that sports provide has allowed fans and athletes to have open conversations about our different views, while still being unified in our love for the sport. This free and open space is now being jeopardized.

It seems that no entity is free from the hyper-politicized climate of today’s society, including sports. Profit-driven political agendas are being pushed by teams. Players and fans are forced to conform to and adopt the political messages their team is promoting. This is forcing many to compromise their religious beliefs as they engage with their team. The sports arena is no longer a unifying space.

In a recent FRC Speaker Series event, Dr. Jennifer Bryson spoke about the politicization of sports, and how it is forcing many to jeopardize their religious beliefs. Dr. Bryson, an avid sports fan, is the founder of  Let All Play, which advocates to protect inclusivity and fairness in sports and games by keeping political and religious exclusivity out. In her presentation, she shared examples of the politicization and religious exclusivity that is happening in the world of sports, particularly in soccer.

In 2018, the German Bundesliga team, VfL Wolfsburg, issued a press release detailing their decision to have team captains wear a LGBT rainbow armband. The publication details the team’s stance, proclaiming, “One Team, One Belief.” VfL Wolfsburg made it clear that they were using the armbands to make a political statement: “[We’re] sending a clear message that we stand for diversity.” However, this so-called “diversity” only stands for leftist ideals, excluding religious or political diversity. Josip Brekalo, when offered the position of captain, was faced with a difficult choice. He could accept the honor of captain and wear the armband, but would be forced to compromise his beliefs by doing so. Brekalo refused to support his team’s political agenda and declined the position.

This is not the only instance within the soccer world where players have been forced to display the LGBT rainbow.

Jaelene Hinkle, an American soccer player, was called up to the U.S. Women’s National Team in June 2017. She declined the offer. In an interview with CBN, Hinkle revealed that accepting the promotion would have forced her to violate her religious beliefs. The U.S. Women’s National Team’s uniforms sported LGBT rainbow numbers. Hinkle, a Christian, refused to promote the team’s political agenda, and gave up her dream to do so, saying, “I’m essentially giving up the one dream little girls dream about their entire life… It was very disappointing. And I think that’s where the peace trumped the disappointment. Because I knew in my spirit I was doing the right thing. I knew that I was being obedient.” The sport is becoming disturbingly exclusive—forcing out those who disagree with the political agendas rife on the field. 

Not only were these instances violations of religious liberty, but they were in direct violation of FIFA rules. 

FIFA’s Law 04 Section 5 states that equipment, including the uniform, “must not have any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images.” The LGBT rainbow is one of the best-known political symbols worldwide. LGBT rainbow uniform numbers and armbands are not acceptable under current FIFA rules. Many Muslims and Christians who have spoken out about these instances have not been heard. The celebration of this falsely labeled “diversity” is drowning out those who are standing up for religious liberty in sports, such as many Muslims and Christians.

As Dr. Bryson pointed out, people in all walks of life can take a stand for religious liberty in sports.

  • Sports ministries like FIFA need to enforce the rules they have set.
  • Parents must familiarize themselves with the rules of the team their children play on. They must prepare themselves and their children to take a stand for religious freedom when necessary.
  • Athletes must stand up for religious freedom by advocating for their own religious accommodation rights and advocate against the politicization of sports.
  • Non-profits should educate and have materials for parents, athletes, and teams on how to respond to instances similar to those detailed above.
  • Congress must hold national teams accountable to the rules they have set. They must take action to keep politics out of the sports arena.

You can help keep FIFA free of political symbols. Sign the petition today.

Read more at LetAllPlay.org.

Abigail Ross is an intern at Family Research Council.

Should Christians Recognize “LGBT Pride?”

by Peter Sprigg

June 11, 2019

June is back, and with it “LGBT Pride Month.” Those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender celebrate in June because it marks the anniversary (this year, the 50th) of the “Stonewall Riots,” which are generally cited as the beginning of the modern “gay liberation movement” in the United States. It was in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 that patrons of a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn, in New York City’s Greenwich Village, rebelled against what they saw as persistent police harassment by rioting during a police raid on the facility.

What, exactly, is “LGBT Pride” about? Some offer a limited, and relatively benign, description. The Library of Congress, for example, says, “The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.” President Trump recently became the first Republican President ever to recognize (on Twitter) LGBT Pride Month, but did so in similarly limited terms, saying that “we celebrate LGBT Pride Month and recognize the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation . . .”

But the LGBT movement is talking about much more than “contributions” to our nation when it promotes “LGBT Pride.”

Defining “LGBT

First of all—who exactly are “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals?” The answer is not as obvious as it seems. Both “sexual orientation” (“LGB”) and “gender identity” (“T”) are terms that describe a mix of feelings, behaviors, and self-identification. “Lesbians” and “gays” may refer to people who experience sexual attractions toward persons of the same sex (feelings); and/or engage in sexual acts or sexual relationships with persons of the same sex (behaviors); and/or self-identify as such. (Similarly, “bisexuals” are attracted to, and/or have sex with, people of both sexes, and/or identify as bisexual). “Transgender” persons, on the other hand, experience a disconnect between their biological sex at birth and their psychological “gender identity” (feelings); and/or present themselves publicly (in their dress, etc.) as the opposite of or different from their biological sex (behaviors); and/or self-identify as transgender, or as something other than their biological sex.

Exactly which of these things are LGBT people expressing “pride” in—their feelings, behaviors, or self-identification? Or is it all three?

Some may argue that it is not about pride in their sexuality, as such, but instead pride in their “impact” or “contributions.” Such a sharp separation, though, would implicitly suggest that they are proud of what they have accomplished in spite of being “LGBT”—not because of it. It’s highly unlikely that most LGBT advocacy groups would embrace such a defensive—almost apologetic—framing of “LGBT Pride.” They are not simply proud of their accomplishments in the arts, business, sports, etc.—they are expressing “pride” in being LGBT.

But again, which aspect? Are they proud of their feelings of same-sex attraction or “gender incongruity?” To accept “LGBT Pride” is to accept the assertion that these feelings are a normal and natural variant of human sexuality. That is an ideological assertion, not a scientific one, and the high rates of mental illness that accompany such feelings is strong evidence against the idea that homosexual and transgender feelings are “natural.” (Evidence does not support the widely-argued theory that such problems are caused by societal discrimination, because they are widespread even in the most LGBT-friendly of countries, such as in the Netherlands or in Scandinavia.)

Are they proud of their behaviors—of being men who have sex with men, women who have sex with women, men who dress up like and pretend to be women, or women who dress up like and pretend to be men? Men who have sex with men, in particular, have high rates of HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases as a direct result of that sexual behavior—so is it something to be “proud” of? Some individuals who identify as transgender ask surgeons to mutilate or remove otherwise healthy body parts—often with serious long-term consequences—in order to make their bodies resemble more closely their desired sex. Is this something to be proud of?

The tendency of many straight “allies” of “LGBT Pride” is to avert their eyes from these actual behaviors. Instead, they define such individuals by their feelings, and then accept the argument that because these feelings are not a “choice,” they must define the person’s innate identity. This is a mistake. Just because feelings are not chosen does not mean they are inborn—they may result from developmental forces in childhood and adolescence. And while feelings are not chosen, both behaviors and a self-identification are chosen.

It is a virtual certainty that LGBT advocacy groups—the people who conceived of the idea of “LGBT Pride” in the first place—would be unwilling to separate their feelings, behaviors, and self-identification as sources of pride. To endorse “LGBT Pride” is to endorse all three—to affirm that LGBT feelings are normal and natural (which is untrue), that LGBT behaviors are harmless or even admirable (also untrue), and that their LGBT “identity” is innate (untrue as well).

Political and Legal Agenda

Implicit in LGBT Pride is thus a mistaken view of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” themselves. It also, however, involves a radical political and legal agenda.

The 2015 Supreme Court decision ordering every state to offer civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples (thus overturning the constitutions of thirty states) hardly marked the end—or even a pause—in the demands of the homosexual movement. Instead, those demands merely became more aggressive.

Having eliminated virtually all distinctions under the law between opposite-sex and same-sex relationships, gay activists began fighting more vigorously against private individuals or entities that might dissent from the new liberal orthodoxy, even on grounds of conscience or religious conviction. Some of those attacks have been rebuffed, albeit at great cost—such as that upon Jack Phillips, a Christian baker in Colorado who gladly served openly gay-identified customers, but declined to participate in the celebration of a same-sex wedding by designing a custom wedding cake. Although Phillips won his case in the Supreme Court in 2018, the decision was on narrow grounds.

Despite the fact that a majority of states have rejected the idea of treating sexual orientation and gender identity as the equivalent of race under their civil rights laws, LGBT activists are pushing a federal bill, dubbed the “Equality Act,” that would enshrine these as specially protected categories under virtually every federal civil rights law. The Equality Act was already passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in late May, and LGBT Pride Month will undoubtedly be marked by efforts to give it momentum in the Senate.

As if persecuting small businesses weren’t enough, homosexual activists and their allies in the states have even been invading the privacy of the relationship between mental health providers and their clients, by passing laws to prohibit sexual orientation change efforts, or SOCE (which critics refer to as “conversion therapy”) with minors. Ironically, this takes away the freedom of people with same-sex attractions—if they experience those attractions as unwanted. People who are “proud” of being LGBT have nothing to fear from such therapy, because it isn’t for them. Yet such prohibitions (which are likely unconstitutional) are part of the “LGBT Pride” political agenda.

Since the judicial battle over same-sex marriage ended in 2015, we have seen an explosion of attention to the transgender movement. Although both the homosexual and transgender movements involve an attack upon the natural understanding of sexuality, the transgender issue is even more radical. While some have argued that homosexuality merely involves people’s conduct in private, the same cannot be said about the transgender agenda, which explicitly demands that people give public affirmation to the way people who identify as transgender present themselves in public.

Transgender activists are upset with the Trump administration for reinstating longstanding restrictions on military service by those with gender dysphoria, even though mental and physical health concerns clearly justify such a policy. They also object to the administration’s common-sense conclusion that laws protecting against discrimination on the basis of “sex” should be interpreted to protect on the basis of biological sex, not “gender identity.”

The threat to the safety, privacy, and hard-won accomplishments of women and girls is particularly prominent, since transgender activists demand the right for biological males to appear nude before females in locker rooms and showers, and to compete with females in athletic competition despite having inherent physiological advantages.

These concerns have led even some radical feminists to join in opposing the transgender movement. Is invading women’s privacy and destroying a level playing field for women’s sports something to be “proud” of?

A Christian Perspective

The critiques of “LGBT Pride” offered above should be persuasive to thoughtful, honest people of any religion or no religion. But are there specific reasons why believing Christians should be concerned about “LGBT Pride Month?”

Thomas Tobin, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, thinks so. On June 1, he issued the following caution on Twitter:

A reminder that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ “Pride Month” events held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children.

The comment sparked online outrage, triggering angry responses from a member of Congress and Hollywood actresses, among others. They seemed particularly incensed by the remark about harm to children. It is unclear whether Bishop Tobin was referring generally to the ideological indoctrination children might receive at such events, are whether he was concerned about the appropriateness of what is often found in LGBT Pride parades—such as scantily-clad men, simulated sex acts, and drag queens. The former tennis star and self-identified lesbian Martina Navratilova said, “Catholic clergy has been a lot more dangerous to kids than LGBT” (apparently without irony, since there is reason to believe that most of the Catholic priests who have molested children are themselves homosexual).

In an older commentary (2009), Southern Baptist theologian Albert Mohler expressed a similar view:

There is no way that biblical Christians committed can join in the chorus of gay pride. The Bible is straightforward in its consistent identification of homosexual acts as inherently sinful.

Some people may see supporting LGBT Pride as an act of Christian love. Tim Barnett, of the apologetics ministry Stand to Reason, has explained the fallacy in this argument:

They conflate acceptance and affirmation with love. Therefore, the people who do not affirm LGBT values are, by definition, unloving. But this is clearly mistaken.

It is possible to truly love someone, but not accept and affirm their ideas or behavior. We do this all the time. We all have friends and family members that we love dearly even though we disagree with—and even oppose—their behavior or ideas.

Barnett cites Romans 12:9-10:

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

In the middle of commending “love” and “honor” to the Romans, the apostle Paul says that we must “abhor” evil—the two are not contradictory. Likewise, in the famous love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, Paul says, “Love … does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Cor. 13:4-6, ESV).

While LGBT conduct is one problem with “LGBT Pride,” the concept of “pride” itself is another. Writer Avery Foley has pointed out how Scripture often describes pride as a sin, declaring that “God opposes the proud” (James 4:6, ESV). And Christian Concern, a British organization, cites 1 John 2:16, which juxtaposes “the desires of the flesh” with “pride”:

For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” (ESV)

Insidious”

The most interesting piece I came across in researching this piece online was an interview that a British podcaster had with Craig Schoonmaker, who claims that he coined the term “gay pride” in New York in 1970, during planning for an event to mark the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Schoonmaker said that someone else had proposed the term “gay power,” but he proposed “gay pride” instead:

I proposed “gay pride,” because there’s very little chance in most of the world for people to have power. Gay people did not have power then; and we only now have some. But anybody can have pride in themselves . . .

Interviewer Helen Zaltzman actually asked about the moral implications of promoting “pride”:

HZ: But the word pride carries negative connotations too, of conceit or vanity - pride is one of the seven deadly sins.

CS: Oh, no, this is not that kind of pridefulness; it’s more like self-esteem. That was sort of hackneyed even then. The poison was shame, and the antidote to that is pride.

Later, Schoonmaker made what I consider a Freudian slip:

HZ: Do you still think the word ‘pride’ is necessary?

CS: Oh, definitely. Absolutely. See, because it works—I don’t want to say insidiously—it works internally, and it makes people more self-assertive.

The word “insidiously” was absent from the transcript of the interview provided online; I transcribed it myself from the original recording. According to the dictionary, “insidious” means “awaiting a chance to entrap; treacherous,” or “harmful but enticing; seductive.”

Given the radical agenda that is attached to such a positive-sounding word, “insidiously” may be the best word for how “LGBT Pride” affects the values of American society.

Only the American Flag Should Be Flown at American Embassies Worldwide

by Travis Weber

June 10, 2019

The Obama administration’s State Department spent eight years pushing the LGBT agenda onto vulnerable countries that often depend on our assistance, damaging our relations with these countries in the process. When President Trump entered office, he restored U.S. diplomacy’s proper respect for national sovereignty and ceased the Obama-era cultural imperialism that pushed unwanted ideologies on indigenous populations around the world. Thus, the latest directive ordering U.S. embassies not to fly flags celebrating an LGBT lifestyle worldwide is only a natural continuation of this policy, carried out by President Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo—who is doing his job despite insubordinate diplomats and career State Department staffers openly defying orders.

It seems like a simple thing for all to agree on a neutral approach—flying only the American flag at embassies around the world. This policy is unifying and is American. Yet it is apparently too much for a few radical LGBT activists masquerading as diplomats and insubordinate staffers still operating in President Trump’s State Department.

In a 2011 presidential memo, President Obama instructed federal agencies to advance LGBT policies internationally. The effects of this instruction were wide-reaching—and not helpful to our foreign relationships.

In Kenya, President Obama highlighted LGBT policies in a 2015 speech. The Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, pushed back against this imposition of cultural values. He responded, “The fact of the matter is Kenya and the U.S. share so many values: common love for democracy, entrepreneurship, value for families—these are some things that we share… But there are some things that we must admit we don’t share. Our culture, our societies don’t accept.” President Obama nevertheless continued to push his ideology on other countries. President Trump is actually showing respect for other cultures by refusing to do so.

When President Obama pressed the matter again in Africa, Senegal’s President Macky Sall rebuked him, saying those issues were not supported in his country.

Foreign state leaders weren’t alone in resisting the United States’ cultural imperialism. In 2017, nearly 300 ministers and church leaders across the Caribbean sent a letter urging President Trump to end the U.S. export of the LGBT agenda. They called the attempt to push LGBT policies on their countries “coercion” and they specifically expressed concern over the influence of the State Department’s special envoy for LGBT issues (a role President Obama created in 2015)—who is still pushing LBGT policies on the small and vulnerable country of Nepal (a country, by the way, which is probably more concerned with the thousands killed in its natural disasters than with spreading the LGBT ideology).

In addition to browbeating from our leaders, the U.S. government under the Obama administration also devoted large sums of money to advance LGBT policies from the ground up. In Macedonia, USAID worked to find an LGBT organization to give $300,000 to promote the LBGT agenda in the country, undermining the country’s pro-family government. Nearby, former Vice President Joe Biden pushed LGBT issues in an address to Romanian Civil Society Groups and Students, despite the fact that many in Romania thought the U.S.’s meddling in their country deeply unhelpful.

The United States’ diplomatic platform is intended to strengthen our ties to other countries. The State Department should not use its influential role in world affairs to push a social agenda onto vulnerable countries. Yet that is exactly what President Obama did, and what President Trump and Secretary Pompeo are trying to stop. They should be applauded for doing so.

The push for special LGBT laws implies that human rights law currently does not protect people who identify as LGBT—which is just not true. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights already protect every individual from arbitrary arrest, torture, and extrajudicial killing by the state. The reason that everyone is and should be protected under these laws is because all humans have human dignity, and their sexual attraction or gender preference doesn’t change that. Further, people identifying as LGBT are entitled to the same respect, freedoms, and protections as everyone else, including freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, without fear of reprisal. This is precisely why we should not fly flags celebrating and pushing any social policy in the context of the internal affairs of foreign countries.

The United States has the chance to reset our relations with the countries that our previous push for LGBT policies have alienated. A proper understanding of international human rights law—consistent with our respect for national sovereignty, and preserving the universality of human rights—will enable us to do exactly that.

American embassies should fly only the American flag. This should not be controversial.

Freedom March Highlights Survivors of Bullets and Therapy Bans

by Peter Sprigg

June 3, 2019

The second annual “Freedom March,” featuring men and women who formerly identified as homosexual or formerly identified as transgender, was held in Washington, D.C. on May 25. They celebrated freedom from homosexuality and freedom from gender confusion with a rally and worship time at the Sylvan Theater (an outdoor amphitheater), followed by a march, on the grounds of the Washington Monument.

A highlight of the event was the testimony offered by two survivors of the 2016 shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub called Pulse. (The shooting, in which 49 people were killed, was carried out by Islamist terrorist Omar Mateen; law enforcement authorities concluded there was no evidence he had targeted Pulse because of its gay-identified clientele.) Angel Colon and Luis Javier Ruiz were both at the Pulse nightclub that night (and Colon was wounded), but both have since committed their lives to Christ and renounced a “gay” identity. They have formed a ministry called “Fearless Identity” to bring “hope and understanding to the LGBTQ community and the church through education, biblical clarity, and support in a judgement-free environment for those seeking the option to change.”

One of the M.C.’s for the event was Elizabeth Woning, who also attended FRC’s Watchmen on the Wall conference in the days before the Freedom March. Woning, a former lesbian who is now married to a man, is one of the co-founders of the ministry Equipped to Love. She was also one of the leaders of the Changed movement, which mobilized dozens of ex-gay individuals to lobby, demonstrate, and testify against the extreme legislation (in the end withdrawn by its sponsor) that would have defined it as “consumer fraud” to engage in sexual orientation change efforts (counseling or therapy) for a fee.

I offered my support to the Freedom March by attending and taking photos. In a way, Family Research Council and ministries like those that organized the Freedom March represent two different but equally important facets of the movement to defend sexual morality and educate America on the fact that each of the elements of sexual orientation—attractions, behavior, and self-identification—can change.

FRC’s policy papers document the research showing that change is not only possible but common for people who have experienced some aspect of same-sex sexuality, as well as the fact that counselling or therapy intended to facilitate such change can be effective and is not generally harmful.

On the other hand, the first-person testimonies of people who have actually experienced such change—whether as a result of counseling, a spiritual rebirth, or both—give a vital personal touch and confirmation of the findings of the scientific research. FRC looks forward to a third Freedom March next year in support of the freedom of those with unwanted same-sex attractions to seek change.

The Future of Our Nation Depends on the State of Our Schools

by Cathy Ruse

May 30, 2019

This week the Supreme Court declined to accept a case over whether government schools may force students to follow transgender ideology in official school policies, against science and female students’ privacy rights.

They won’t be able to avoid the issue for long.

We send our children to private, Christian schools. Tuition is high; the financial burden on our family is significant.

But we have determined that government schools are just not an option.

Still, I have come to believe that the future of our nation depends on the state of our public schools.

Last week I chaired a panel on education at Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall conference for pastors.

I opened the panel with the premise that today’s government schools are a serious threat to the minds and souls of Christian children in America.

Is that an overstatement? I don’t believe it is.

Fewer than 5 percent of U.S. kids are homeschooled today. Only 10 percent attend private schools.

The vast majority of American children are educated in government schools—schools that are declining academically, despite the mountains of tax dollars we heap on them.

The notion that a nation’s schools might promote the cause of the nation is a relic of the past. American public schools are often hostile to America. There is much less history taught today—less civics, but more activism. Capitalism is degraded, socialism is promoted—with our tax dollars.

Every week brings news of another school district embracing radical sex-ed for kids, in the face of parental objections—or worse: behind parents’ backs.

Worse even than graphic sex lessons is the new transgender ideology that is forced on children in public schools.

The Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, Genderspectrum.org, and GLSEN (the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) are targeting public schools.

They’re going into schools with slick lesson plans for teachers. They demand an answer to the question: “Are you a safe space for LGBT kids? If so, put up this sticker in your classroom.” And so the walls of our public schools are littered with political propaganda that families would never allow in their own homes.

Genderspectrum.org has what looks like a war room chart—four ways to get transgender theory into a public school. They call them “entry points”: interpersonal, instructional, and so on.

One mom at a targeted school said: “Entry points are what a thief uses to break into your house. It feels very much the same way to me.”

And they have gained entry.

Many school districts are now teaching the innocent souls under their care that some of them are born in the wrong body.

Most people know that’s a lie. We know that every child is born in exactly the right body. But it’s children who are being propagandized this way. And it’s a very short step from rejecting God’s creation to rejecting God.

What are these schools doing to children’s souls?

A 2016 nationwide survey found that 35 percent of college freshman call themselves atheist or agnostic. Thirty-five percent.

Now, keep in mind, this is not the result of some radical college professor. These are incoming freshmen, reflecting the cumulative influence of 13 years of public education.

The environment in public schools is hostile to people of faith today. Religious viewpoints are shunned and are replaced with a dogmatic secularism.

Christian families must wake up to the fact that public schools are an actively and strongly secularizing agent in Christian children’s lives.

But the answer cannot be simply to turn our backs or walk away.

There is far too much public money on the table to leave to the ideologues in the education industry to mold the next generation in their image.

Justice demands that we help these children—we’re talking about 86 percent of American kids.

But wisdom demands it, too. These kids will be our nation’s future teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and presidents.

As Abraham Lincoln said: “The philosophy of the school room in one generation, will be the philosophy of government in the next.”

And also the philosophy of the culture in the next.

We must help families who have no other choice for their kids. We must also help the many good and faithful teachers and administrators who are faithful to their calling to educate and not indoctrinate, but who feel isolated and alone against the tide.

If we care about our nation, we must care first about our nation’s schools.

4 Things Steny Hoyer Gets Wrong About the Equality Act

by Travis Weber

May 22, 2019

In floor debate leading up to the Equality Act vote in the House last Friday morning, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) tried to explain why the bill was so great. In doing so, he got a lot wrong. Here are four examples.

1) Hoyer tries to piggyback on the civil rights movement, but the Equality Act is not a continuation of the civil rights movement.

In his remarks, Hoyer referenced the legacy of the civil rights movement and the steps it made to overcome slavery and racism, claiming today “will be as it was in 1964 when we passed that civil rights bill.” Though Christians shamefully participated in and perpetuated slavery, it was also Christians (William Wilberforce and many others) who corrected this theological error and led the charge on slavery’s abolition—because of their faith.

However, those supporting the Equality Act do not have biblical teaching and history on their side; nowhere in theology or history do we find the notion that “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” define our humanity. Indeed, the gospel of Jesus Christ defines us, and informs who we are.

Hoyer cannot pull this sleight-of-hand to piggyback the Equality Act onto civil rights history.

2) Hoyer tries to invoke the Bible to support the Equality Act, but his attempt fails.

Hoyer went on at length about how Christian love should lead to support for the Equality Act:

The Bible says love your neighbor as yourself … not love your straight neighbor, not love your Christian neighbor, not love your white neighbor, not love your native-born neighbor, not love your neighbor of some other distinction, but love your neighbor as yourself. That means, in my view, love your gay neighbor. Love your lesbian neighbor. Love your trans neighbor. It means love your Jewish neighbor, love your African-American, Latino, Asian-American neighbor. Love your immigrant neighbor. Love your neighbor. Not your hyphenated neighbor.”

Of course, we are to love. Hoyer, however, does not understand biblical love. Biblical love does not mean we should let people do things that harm them; we are to tell them the truth. That’s what true love does—it speaks the hard truths—truths that we must speak for the good of the other person. When Hoyer implies we should let people walk down roads of self-conferred sexual identity that are harmful to them without saying anything to them, it actually shows that we do not love them.

3) Hoyer revealed a faulty understanding of U.S. history, natural law, and human rights.

Near the beginning of his remarks, Hoyer made an uncontroversial reference to the Declaration of Independence:

Many members have quoted that extraordinary doctrine of civil rights and human rights articulated by our founders 243 years ago. We hold these truths to be self-evident… . all men and all women and all people are created equal by God and endowed not by the Constitution, not by this body, but endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”

The statements from the Declaration are absolutely true, but they certainly don’t lead to the Equality Act. They are derived from a biologically-rooted understanding of sexuality as informed by Scripture and the history of Christian thought—an understanding at odds with the ideology of the sexual revolution which is enshrined in this bill.

Human rights are based on the idea that all human beings are created in the imago dei—the image of God. This assumes an understanding of the human person as derived from God’s revelation and natural law—an objective understanding which does not contemplate or include the modern notions of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” which are anchored into the Equality Act. This natural law understanding is what the Founders were working from when the Declaration was penned—not Hoyer’s understanding.

4) Hoyer recognizes the distinction between men and women, and recognizes he wants to protect both men and women—yet he supports the Equality Act which would obliterate this distinction.

Surely we ought to be able to agree … that all men and all women are created equal and are deserving of equal treatment.”

True enough. So why is Hoyer supporting a law which would force women to compete on unequal footing with men in sports? By locking the notion of “gender identity” into law, the Equality Act would force women to compete against biological men in competitions, and override women’s privacy concerns about being in intimate spaces like locker rooms with biological males. Indeed, Hoyer’s reference above to the Declaration recognizing that “all men and all women” being “created equal by God” shows that Hoyer implicitly recognizes the distinctions between the sexes, the very thing that the Equality Act would abolish.

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