This extreme law seeks to coerce the Church on gender ideology. How long can it be held at bay?
Last week the House Democrats passed the Equality Act, legislation which adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the definition of “sex” in federal civil rights laws.
In the Democratic primary race, this legislation seems perfectly timed. Bernie Sanders congratulated House Representatives for voting “on the right side of history.” No longer would transgendered persons be denied their natural right to a gender-reveal cake. Joe Biden said that the Equality Act brings us “one step closer to righting this wrong.” Senator Kamala Harris has co-sponsored the Act in the Senate, saying that “progress can’t wait.”
The truth is that “progress” will have to wait because the Equality Act will most likely not get out of the Senate, and in the event that it does, the President will rightly veto it.
The legislation is extreme. It would enshrine into law something much more controversial than even the state gender-bending bathroom bills which allowed men to use women’s bathrooms.
The Equality Act advances the Existentialist notion that human beings do not have any essential rational nature which would make us all equal. It also denies that our sexual difference is biological and complementary. Instead of sharing a common nature, and instead of having bodies which reflect biological difference, the Equality Act denies the very idea of men and women being either equal or different. The Equality Act is premised on the idea that we do not have a common nature, and that biological sex is something reducible to how we feel.
So if the Equality Act is not about equality, or difference, what is it about? It’s proponents have claimed that it offers “non-discrimination” to all people. The truth is that it is the most discriminatory legislation imaginable. It makes the HHS contraception mandate look mild by comparison.
Making self-declarations of gender into a protected class under federal civil rights law will necessarily force men who identify as women to be treated and accepted as females. This means not only that men must be allowed to share the bathroom with your teenage daughter, but also that high school women would be forced to shower with high school men who “identify” as women.
The Equality Act would require Catholic colleges with single-sex dorms to accommodate individuals who self-identify their gender differently than their biological sex, or else face stiff penalties. It would mean that the women’s swim team, with star athletes at the top of their game, would need to accept men who self-identify as women to dominate their sport, or else give up on women’s sports entirely.
Most institutions, including Catholic ones, would be required to offer health insurance which covers gender reassignment surgery. Jack Phillips, for example, would absolutely be forced to bake the gender-reveal cake.
It is radical in another way. It specifically limits the kind of protections that so-called Religious Liberty (RFRA) laws have traditionally provided. The Equality Act is designed not simply to protect those who identify as “transgendered” but to crush anyone who dissents from the new gender orthodoxy.
The Bishops have rightly opposed the legislation, stating that rather “than offering meaningful protections for individuals…the Equality Act would impose sweeping regulations to the detriment of society as a whole.”
It’s a sad fact that the so-called “Nuns on the Bus” find themselves standing shoulder to shoulder with the gender ideologues against the bishops. Sr. Simone Campbell has said “Justice demands that every member of our human family is protected from hate and discrimination,” and insist that Congress must pass the Equality Act. It’s hard to tell the difference between certain religious sisters, and Kamala Harris on this issue. Here we can see the way that the external threats posed to the Church are sadly not resisted but embraced by religious sisters who should know better.
It’s to be expected that the Church should face persecution from without from time to time. It’s likely that the coercive reach of gender ideologies will eventually hurt the Church.
For now, though, it seems like the threat may be held at bay for just a little longer. But the question remains, for how long? We are only one election away from state coercive power being exercised against the Catholic Church which teaches that God created us in his image and likeness, male and female. Soon the gender ideologues will not simply want to “abolish the priesthood,” but they will also want to abolish the very meaning of humanity, and the sexual difference which makes the propagation of humanity possible. It’s true what they say: forget God and soon you will forget man, and become mere beasts.