A bill to ban books is sailing through the California legislature. I do not know how such a ban is even possible given our First Amendment rights and the freedom of religion enshrined in our Constitution. But are are living in strange times. And increasingly the left in America is adopting the methods of the left in prewar Germany. Banning books was the hallmark of the Nazi party.
One thing I am sure of: no one would ever suggest banning the Quran, a book full of hatred, bigotry and incitement of murder and genocide.
California Progressives Launch (Another) Attack on Free Speech
Talk of political compromise is meaningless when one side seeks your silence.
On Sunday evening, New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait published a piece asking why more disgruntled Republicans don’t punish their party by switching sides. Chait notes that the “strongest defense against the election of an extreme or unfit leader is for his more mainstream partners to defect en masse.” Yet with few exceptions, Never Trump Republicans — especially Never Trump social conservatives — were steadfastly Never Hillary and remain (as Chait calls it) “Never-Democrats.” Why?
I’d suggest the answer lies in the words “extreme” and “mainstream.” Chait’s premise implies that Republicans have gone extreme, yet more-sensible conservatives are strangely refusing to join a mainstream opposition. Yet that’s not how the world looks from the right side of the aisle. From there, it looks as if the Democratic party is responding to Trump by galloping away from the center, doubling down on the very policies and ideologies that led Evangelicals to vote en masse for Trump as a form of simple self-defense.
It’s interesting, for example, that Chait makes the argument just as the California State Assembly is set to vote on a bill that would actually — among other things — ban the sale of books expressing orthodox Christian beliefs about sexual morality.
Yes, ban the sale of books.
Assembly Bill 2943 would make it an “unlawful business practice” to engage in “a transaction intended to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer” that advertise, offer to engage in, or do engage in “sexual orientation change efforts with an individual.”
The bill then defines “sexual orientations change efforts” as “any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.” (Emphasis added.)
This is extraordinarily radical. Christian orthodoxy is simple — regardless of a person’s desires (their “orientation”), the standard of right conduct is crystal clear. Sex is reserved for marriage between a man and a woman. When it comes to “gender expression,” there is no difference between “sex” and “gender,” and the Christian response to gender dysphoria is compassion and treatment, not indulgence and surgical mutilation.
Put another way, there is a fundamental difference between temptation and sin. California law would intrude directly on this teaching by prohibiting even the argument that regardless of sexual desire, a person’s sexual behavior should conform to Biblical standards.
Christians find their identity in Christ, not in their gender and not in their sexual orientation. The state of California says no. Your gender and your orientation are your identity, and you should engage in actions that celebrate and ratify your alleged essence. The state is creating a new religion of sexual libertinism, declaring that religions opposing it aren’t just false but harmful, and then prohibiting contrary religious exercise.
No one doubts that Christian orthodoxy is contentious. No one doubts that its teachings on sexual morality are increasingly unpopular. But they remain constitutionally protected, and no state legislature should be permitted to ban a “good” (such as a book) or a “service” (like counseling) that makes these arguments and provides them to willing, consenting consumers. In fact, state law would lock in a sexual-revolution orthodoxy that all too often hurts the very people the state seeks to protect.
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