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Jerry Shenk


PA Congressmen Reject Religious Freedom

by Jerry Shenk
 

On May 25, area U.S. Representatives Charlie Dent and Ryan Costello were among 43 Republicans who helped pass a Democratic amendment to an unrelated bill, the 2017 Energy and Water Appropriations Act, an amendment to make the White House's wildly unpopular transgender policy federal law. The bill, if enacted as amended, would have forced the president's transgender rules on all fifty states and denied federal business to faith-based organizations and religious business owners who refuse to allow anatomical males into women's dressing rooms, locker rooms and bathrooms.

Within hours of the amendment vote, an intense nationwide public backlash convinced enough members of the House, including many Democrats, to defeat the final bill by a 113-305 vote. But Dent and Costello both voted for the final bill containing the curbs on religious freedom.

The gender drama began with an illegal, unenforceable 2014 presidential directive to change federal law to forbid private organizations from receiving federal contracts without agreeing to Barack Obama liberal transgender agenda. Obama also ordered federal agencies to adopt his unauthorized gender policies for hiring and personnel decisions.

Then, in mid-May, 2016, the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights issued a coercive letter informing all public schools that, unless they adopt Obama's transgender policy, they will lose all federal funding under Title IX of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a law that mentions neither sexual orientation nor non-birth gender identity. Obama's Department of Justice weighed in as well.

North Carolina passed a rational bill requiring people to use public restrooms that match their birth sex. North Carolina's bill reaffirmed the state's intention to adhere to the biological definition of gender, but provided a procedure for transgendered people to change their birth certificate gender identity and allow them use of bathrooms of the sex with which they identified. Nevertheless, Obama's Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state. Clearly, Obama's transgender authoritarianism has nothing to do with discrimination or civil rights. North Carolina's immediate countersuit was joined by eleven other states.

The lawsuits will play out in the courts, but Messrs. Dent's and Costello's votes inform contituents that they side with the Obama administration rather than with faith-based groups, parents, our children and grandchildren. People who oppose liberal transgender policies aren't bigots, haters or even unreasonable. Not long ago, they were known, accurately, as "concerned citizens."

Medically, transgenderism is defined as gender dysphoria — a feeling rather than a pathology. Recommended treatment includes psychological counseling. Studies show that most children with gender dysphoria outgrow it during puberty, yet the Obama administration would force grade and middle school girls to share restrooms and showers with biological boys who claim to Identify as female.

Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America reacted: "[T]o think that 43 Republicans would join President Obama to promote transgenderism and force the marginalization of our Christian beliefs is appalling."

Public awareness of Dent's and Costello's votes against common sense and religious freedom will invite condemnation by religious and many other sensible voters.



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