At stake in the so-called Equality Act, currently before the Senate, is neither women’s sports nor bathrooms, at least not ultimately. At stake is the freedom of rational human beings to use a common vocabulary when speaking about what all can see. Also at stake are the countless vulnerable souls falling prey to the tyrannizing “gender identity” ideology and the medical atrocities that go with it. That is why religious freedom is also at stake. Religion is the last bastion of sanity.
Mary Hasson, a legal expert on religious freedom, testified earlier this month before the Senate Judiciary Committee. She explained how much of the bill’s enshrinement of sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories under civil-rights law would curtail the many activities that go on in religious buildings, schools, sports leagues, hospitals, soup kitchens, shelters, adoption agencies and charitable organizations. These arguably fall under the Equality Act’s expanded definition of “public accommodations.” Ms. Hasson also provided the committee a much-needed lesson on the nature of religion: Religion is not something locked up in the heads of believers, but public in character, both in its worship and its works.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin takes a different view. To him, recourse to religion is nothing but a “shield” behind which to practice bigotry and discrimination “freely.” His concluding remarks at the committee hearing invoked lynchings, no less: “People who want to blatantly discriminate and use religion as their weapon have gone too far. I might remind us that the KKK were burning the cross, making some distorted connection with a religion.”
It is hard to imagine Sen. Durbin would object to those who trust in the power of Ouija boards, or to the practice of smoking peyote around a ceremonial fire. These beliefs and practices are private. It is another thing entirely to believe and act on things that concern everyone. Perhaps that’s the problem.
What goes unnoticed—or at least unsaid—in the current debates invoking religious freedom is that the “beliefs” in question are not beliefs at all. The Equality Act doesn’t concern such invisible mysteries as the Holy Trinity, for example. That is a matter of belief in the strict sense, though it isn’t irrational or private. Rather, the Equality Act concerns things everyone can see and understand. Infants don’t need instruction to know that their mothers are the ones who are nursing them, and their fathers are the ones who are not. Sexual difference is obvious to anyone with eyes to see.
By Margaret Harper McCarthy