BLOGThe Weekly Digest: 9-14-16

By James Arnold Posted on: | September 14, 2016
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On to the news.

 

No, Religious Freedom is Not a Code Word

 

Here's something bizarre for you. The chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recently claimed, bafflingly, that "religious freedom" and "religious liberty" have become "code words" for (and we're not adding anything to this list to make it seem more ridiculous) "discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance."

Alright. Now that we have the accusation out there, let's run a rhetorical argument. Follow along.

Assume that the chairman is correct in his assertion, that those making religious freedom claims are not sincere, but merely mean the words as code for some list of social "sins." 

If he were correct, we would expect those who make religious freedom claims to be gaining something.

But that isn't what we see at all.

Just look at Barronelle Stutzman, the grandmother floral artist from Washington. You've heard her story before, but watch this interview and decide for yourself if she is hiding some form of animus behind her alleged "code words" of religious freedom:

In fact, Stutzman has been sued in her personal capacity. Not only is she risking her company by standing up for her beliefs, she is also risking her home and her livelihood.

If the chairman's assertion about religious freedom were correct, Stutzman would have taken the deal offered to her. If this were all a sham—if this were not based on sincere, deeply held convictions about what marriage is—then there would be no reason to risk everything.

And Stutzman isn't the only creative professional with these convictions, not by a long shot.

For Stutzman, and for literally billions of religious folks around the world, religious freedom is not a "code word." Perhaps that accusation is itself a code word for ignorance.

 
Families Sue Feds, Minnesota School District for Violating Student Privacy

Students are increasingly concerned about privacy violations in their schools. Understandable. Just look at the increased number of privacy issues happening all over the nation.

That brings us to another lawsuit, this time in Minnesota.

Here's the summary:

"[Minnesota's Virginia Public Schools] opened its schools’ locker rooms, showers, and restrooms to the opposite sex after the U.S. departments of Education and Justice threatened removing federal education funding through legally baseless directives it issued to public schools in May. Concerned students and parents then formed the group Privacy Matters to challenge the guidelines and the school district’s policy. Young female students, initially unaware that the district was allowing biologically male students to use the girls’ locker room, were shocked and alarmed when a male student began using the locker room and have now have no assurance that they may use girls-only facilities without a male entering the once-private locker rooms and restrooms."

ADF Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb had this to say:

"School policies should promote the rights and safety of every student, but that’s not what Virginia Public Schools is doing—and it’s certainly not what the departments of Education and Justice are doing. No child should be forced into an intimate setting, like a locker room, with someone of the opposite sex. Telling girls that their privacy and modesty don’t merit a private and secure changing area is an attack on women. The school district should rescind its privacy-violating policies, and the court should order the DOE and DOJ to stop bullying school districts with falsehoods about what federal law requires."

The complaint itself, which you can read here, includes some unique details. We encourage you to read it if you wish to see the danger that these girls are actually facing. Some news outlets are noting the disturbing facts.

From Fox News, for example:

"A Minnesota public high school is accused of turning a blind eye as a transgender student engaged in twerking, grinding and all sorts of scurrilous activity in the girls locker room, according to an explosive lawsuit filed in federal court.

[...]

"Student X commented on girls’ bodies while in the girls’ locker room, including asking Girl Plaintiff F about her bra size and asking her to “trade body parts” with him."

Of course, the privacy concerns have been well documented. In fact, the primary victims of these sorts of changes are often completely unintended:



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James Arnold

News and Research Manager

James Arnold manages and edits the Alliance Alert, a daily repository of news in all forms—written, spoken, or in video format.

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