Let’s Argue Instead of Judge

By Kathryn Jean Lopez Published on March 1, 2021

“What any religious tradition ascribes as God’s will is no concern of this Congress.” New York Democrat Rep. Jerry Nadler, chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives, said this on the House floor during debate over the euphemistically named Equality Act.

He was reacting to a Republican congressman from Florida who quoted Deuteronomy to make an argument that men are men and women are women by design. The congressman didn’t need the Bible to make his case, eventually transitioning into the danger to women’s sports that the legislation poses.

Nadler could have disregarded the religious angle and argued for the need for a pluralistic society, or something along those lines. Instead, things escalated quickly, as they say. He banished God from the chambers. Mercifully, he doesn’t have the power to do that. That very session of the House, as they all do, began with a prayer. But perhaps more shocking than Nadler’s matter-of-fact declaration was the lack of objection to it from his peers.

Nadler’s disturbing proclamation comes at a time when we are waiting for a decision from the Supreme Court about the city of Philadelphia’s sudden refusal to work with Catholic Social Services on foster care and adoption placement and support. The plaintiff in that case, Sharonell Fulton, has fostered more than 40 children over a quarter-century. No one made a complaint against Catholic Social Services about anything regarding LGBT issues, and yet the group’s work with the city was stopped because of its traditional views of marriage.

So, when Nadler says what he says, he is actually being honest about what the Democratic party increasingly means: If you don’t submit to progressive ideology, you have no right to be operating in the public square.

Banishing Debate

Take what just happened on Amazon to Ryan Anderson’s book, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment. It was banned, without explanation. No used bookstores, no Kindle.

The truth is, Anderson’s book is a love letter to humanity. It’s compassionate, it’s reasoned, it’s chock-full of evidence and human testimony. It’s the kind of book people need to read — even those who will disagree with its central theses would benefit from exposure to its perspectives, even if it’s just to argue with them. But with Amazon’s action, it will be difficult for readers to find it and to make up their own minds.

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Dr. Rachel Levine, who might be the number two at the Department of Health and Human Services, wouldn’t answer a question from Sen. Rand Paul about whether government should intervene against parents’ wishes when a child wants to change his gender. This seems like the sort of issue that needs to be discussed, so that, again, people can debate and make up their own minds. Instead, government is banishing such discussion, leaving it to the vituperative sphere of social media.

The Heritage Foundation, working with a coalition of like-minded groups, has recently launched Promise to America’s Children (promisetoamericaschildren.org) to work to protect them from all of the implications of this increasingly authoritarian radicalism. It’s an effort to get tools to parents, educators and policymakers. Adults need to realize we can have disagreements and work together for the vulnerable at the same time. Gender dysphoria is a real thing, and a real misery for those suffering from it, as Anderson talks about with real tenderness and insight. But as a trend — and for children — it is so harmful.

So, before we cast out every kind of consideration that might, in fact, be a gift from a creator who has a few ideas for us about how we should live, let’s try hearing one another out like mature adults who respect each other. And you can get Anderson’s book from Encounterbooks.com.


Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review magazine and author of the new book A Year With the Mystics: Visionary Wisdom for Daily Living. She is also chair of Cardinal Dolan’s pro-life commission in New York. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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