News & Updates
Two stories topping the news this morning may seem unconnected, but on closer examination, have more in common than you may think.
The first is the unilateral announcement by the Obama administration that every school in America that accepts federal dollars must now allow any student of any gender into any restroom or locker room. They couch it in terms of the transgender debate, then nullify the prerequisite that a student actually be transgender by saying that it depends on how the student self-identifies rather than by any physically identifiable characteristic. This is insanity! But insanity seems to be par for the course these days when it comes to the government. Unless we think these decrees are without consequences, we need only look at the mounting evidence that sexual predators use transgender laws as an excuse to gain access to women’s facilities.
According to a recent Breitbart article, a man in Seattle undressed in a woman’s locker room citing a new state rule that allows people to use facilities based on gender identity. In Virginia, a man dressed as a woman was arrested after filming women in adjacent restroom stalls. In Palmdale, California, a man dressed as a woman was arrested after secretly videotaping women in department store restrooms. In Toronto, a man claimed to be transgender to gain access to two women’s shelters where he allegedly preyed on women. He was subsequently arrested and declared by a judge to be a dangerous offender. And in another story out of Canada, the University of Toronto dumped its transgender bathroom policy after receiving too many complaints of peeping incidents by male students in female bathrooms. And that’s just the beginning. Similar stories come to us from Smyrna, Tennessee; San Jose, California; Fullerton, California; Hamilton Township, New Jersey; Colfax, Washington; and Miami, Florida, just to name a few.
In another story, seemingly disconnected, but maybe not, we have received word that the Montana Department of Revenue will appeal their loss in a school choice case, to the Montana Supreme Court. As you recall, the 2015 legislature passed a tax credit scholarship bill making Montana the 43rd state to enact some form of school choice. The Department of Revenue then usurped the legislature’s power and banned faith-based schools from participating. The Attorney General told the Department of Revenue that their actions were indefensible, and that if they were sued, they were on their own. Well, our side did sue, both in state and federal court. We expected a quick victory because this particular point of law has been litigated all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and we have won.
This is blatant viewpoint discrimination and cannot be allowed to stand. As expected, we won in State District Court, and now the department is wasting taxpayer dollars by filing an appeal. We have always claimed that school choice is necessary so that struggling students have options. But the push to allow boys into girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms has taken the need for school choice to a whole new level. The debate is no longer purely about academics; it’s also becoming a matter of public safety. And we predict a mass exodus from the public schools if the government insists upon using our children as lab rats in some politically correct Machiavellian experiment.
It’s time for parents and school boards across the U.S. to rise up and say NO—-NO to ill-conceived liberal policy, NO to heavy-handed bureaucrats taking us by decree in a direction we don’t want to go, NO to the victimization of women, and YES to a return to common sense before we sacrifice an entire generation on the altar of political correctness.
Last week I heard someone say, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.” For far too long, people of faith have not been at the table. Of those who identify themselves as Christians, only half are registered to vote, and of those, only half actually vote. With only 25% of Christians showing up at the polls, is it any surprise that policy makers increasingly pass laws and ordinances that undermine religious freedom? Is it any surprise that more and more judges are rendering decisions that ignore Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom in favor of newly discovered or made-up rights grounded in nothing more than a politically correct world view? It’s not a surprise and, in fact, it’s highly predictable.
Christians are being forced, on almost a weekly basis, to not just tolerate but to actually condone and participate in actions that God finds abhorrent, actions for which we believe we will eventually be judged. Sure, there are many who will suffer the consequences rather than sinning against God. But wouldn’t it be easier to simply elect judges and politicians who fear God and follow the Constitution? Why fight a battle in the courtroom when you can fight it at the ballot box?
Every other year at this time, we encourage people to vote, not so much out of a civic duty, but as a fiduciary responsibility to succeeding generations. I am frankly shocked at the number of people who wave the flag and talk about supporting our troops, but fail to defend our freedoms in the simplest way possible, by voting for people who will defend the Constitution in legislative chambers. Those same people then go on to be some of the most vocal critics of government, even though they refuse to participate. Simply put: It’s frustrating!
That said, I’ve said for years that your input makes a difference, because it does. Time and again, for decades, I’ve seen people elected by one or two votes, who then go on to vote against a bad bill, that winds up dying by one or two votes. People can, and do, make a difference. Unfortunately, that same principle applies to both liberals and conservatives. If conservatives sit on the sidelines, then we lose by forfeit, and trust me, the other side doesn’t care. They’ll take a victory any way they can get it.
So why am I saying this? The week after next absentee voting begins for the primary election, and the primary is as important as the general. In districts all across the state, there is a clear choice between liberals and conservatives, even on the primary ballot. And it is our duty to our children and grandchildren to make the right choice. If you’re not registered to vote, please call our office and we will help you get registered. Then watch for our non-partisan voter guide to find out where the candidates stand on the issues.
Finally, on a sad note, we got word yesterday of the passing of Senator Conrad Burns, truly a great man who had Montana’s best interest at heart. He was one of my most likeable mentors when I entered politics, and he stayed active even after a debilitating stroke. We’ll miss his smile and his jokes, and we send our sincere condolences to his wife, Phyllis, and the entire Burns family.
Just when it seems that the world is spinning off its axis and could not possibly get any more absurd, I see an article that takes “absurd” to a whole new level. This week, in fact, it was three articles. The first was a video of students on a Washington university campus being asked how far they should go to accept a person’s self-identified physical traits. The interviewer, a 5-foot, 9-inch white guy, told students that he was a transgender who believed that he was a woman. In a display of tolerant one-upmanship, the students all said that that was fine and he should be allowed to use any campus locker room or restroom that he chose. Then he took it a step further and said that he was actually a Chinese woman. Clearly, he was not. He looked more Scandinavian. The students, in an effort to be politically correct and not offend, granted that he might actually be Chinese even though he did not appear to be. The interviewer then went a step further and said that he self-identified as a 6-foot, 5-inch Chinese woman. As I said, he was clearly a white male, no more than 5 foot, 9 inches tall. And still, the students refused to call his bluff and agreed that if he self-identified as a 6-foot, 5-inch Chinese woman, then who were they to say any different?
On college campuses, this is considered virtuous and tolerant, but in reality, it’s neither. It’s an example of students preconditioned to check all reason and logic at the door in an effort to avoid conflict at any cost. They have been taught to ignore truth and accept as fact anything that they’re told. Now, obviously, none of these students actually believed the interviewer was 6 feet, 5 inches tall. They were simply unwilling to point out the obvious. What we’re raising is a generation unwilling to say that the “emperor has no clothes.”
Once we proceed down this path as a society, the absurd can be taken to new extremes, as evidenced by the second article that I read about a Washington couple raising their child to be species-less. They skip right past the whole gender question choosing instead to call “him” an “It,” and refusing to even say that “it” is human. At seven months old, he seemed interested in squirrels so they built him a squirrel nest outside, where he spent the next six months communing with squirrels to see if he would identify as a squirrel. Eventually, he outgrew the squirrel phase and seemed more connected with the family’s Rottweiler. When asked if he would be disappointed if his child eventually ended up self-identifying as a human being, the father said yes and that it would have been a waste of time exposing him to other possibilities.
Our third and final example takes the absurd to the bizarre when a man first decided he was really a transgender woman, then went a step further and now self-identifies as a genderless dragon. He had his ears surgically removed, his nose reconstructed to give him dragon nostrils, and scales tattooed on his face and body. He doesn’t want to simply LOOK like a dragon, he believes he really IS a dragon stuck in a human body, and he wants society not only to accept it but to affirm that fact.
This is the logical end game of the transgender debate and it begs several questions. If a man can say that he’s a woman, then why not a dragon, or a Rottweiler or a squirrel? And what about the laws that will have to be changed to accommodate those beliefs? Does political correctness have a limit? And the most important question of all: When will society rise up and say that the “emperor has no clothes”?
With the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the Senate of the United States faces a tough question. Do they allow President Obama to choose a third Justice, or do they hold off and let the next President make the appointment. Yesterday I was asked during a radio interview what I thought the Senate should do. My response was immediate, they should wait. For me, the issue was the balance of power. I’ve always said that each branch of government was given certain powers and should jealously guard those powers for the sake of the nation. The framers of the Constitution never meant for governing to be easy, actually quite the contrary. They split the power up among three branches, and in the case of the legislative branch, they went even further and split that power between two separate autonomous houses. This devaluation of power keeps government from moving too quickly and prevents wild swings in policy. It’s arduous by design.
When it comes to the question of appointing federal judges, the President makes the nomination and the Senate either confirms or denies the appointment. The power is split between the two branches and, properly exercised, is held in tension between the two. What hangs in the balance with this appointment is nothing less than the ideological control of the U.S Supreme Court possibly for an entire generation.
At present we’re a nation split down the middle as evidenced by the narrow margins in recent presidential elections, the narrow margins in the U.S House and Senate, and the balance of power on the U.S Supreme Court which until last week had four consistently liberal votes, four consistently conservative votes, and one swing. To allow President Obama to appoint another Justice is to allow the court to swing hard left for the foreseeable future. Voters knew this therefor control of the U.S Senate and by extension the Supreme Court became a rallying cry during the last election cycle. Republicans won providing a check to the President’s ability to change the court as long as they’re willing to stand fast and exercise the power granted them under the Constitution. This is exactly what those who put them in the majority expect and it’s what liberals will label as obstructionist and a usurpation of power.
So why is this appointment process so contentious? I believe for two reasons; the first is the concept of judicial supremacy, the false idea that the Supreme Court has the final say on all matters. In effect it makes them more powerful than the legislative branch because policy drives practice and when it comes to things like marriage, religious freedom, and healthcare, the court is turning the country hard to the left. The second is the concept of a living constitution one that changes with the times and a concept that Justice Scalia railed against. In his opinion, the Constitution should only be changed through the amendment process imbedded in the document itself. The court now routinely in effect, amends the Constitution by judicial decree. If these two practices are allowed to continue, then as Abraham Lincoln said, “We the people will cease to be our own rulers having practically resigned our government into the hand of the Supreme Court.” This fight for control of the Supreme Court is in a very real sense a fight for control of the Country, and I for one hope the conservatives in the U.S Senate stand strong in the defense of our nation.
In the realm of public policy we report on the good, the bad, and the ugly. That said, in recent years, we’re reporting on issues that go far beyond simply being bad, and routinely stray into the realm of the ludicrous and the bizarre. Today, I was planning on reporting on a story out of England where teenagers were given a survey in school that asked them their gender, So far so good. It’s a fairly easy question, most student would check male, or female – but not on this survey. Parents went ballistic when they found out that the survey listed 25 different options -everything from androgynous, to gender fluid, to demiboy or demigirl. We’ll place this story under the category of bizarre and say that the outcry from the parents was so strong that the survey was withdrawn, but I have a feeling that we haven’t seen the end of it yet.
That said, today’s blog will fall under the heading of incredibly sad. It comes to us from Gardner, Montana and we first reported on it nearly three years ago. It’s the case of a mother suing Livingston Health Care for wrongful life. Yes, you read that correctly. Most of us are familiar with the concept of wrongful death (the death of a human being as a result of a wrongful act of another person); this case is just the opposite. The plaintiff is claiming wrongful life, which the life of a human being resulting from the wrongful act or negligence of another person. The mother is claiming that Livingston Health Care failed to perform a test while she was pregnant which would have shown that her daughter had cystic fibrosis. Had the plaintiff known about the birth defect, she said that she would have had an abortion.
When the Montana Family Foundation first learned of this case in late 2012 we quickly drafted a bill to prevent anymore wrongful life lawsuits. House bill 310 passed both the House and Senate and was allowed to become law by Governor Bullock without his signature. It was a tough place for the Governor to be. On one side, he faced a very popular bill that everyone wanted. On the other side were his supporters at Planned Parenthood who wanted the bill to die. In the end, the Governor did the right thing.
The bill specifically says “a cause of action or award of damages is prohibited if the cause of action is based on the claim that, but for the conduct of the healthcare provider, a parent would not have been permitted a child to have been born.”
As I said, this case is incredibly sad on so many levels. We have a mother telling the whole world that she would have aborted her daughter had she known of the defect. On the other hand we have a daughter and everyone else with cystic fibrosis being told that their life is somehow not worth living because of their infirmity. Tell that to people like pianist and composer Fredric Chopin, or 11 time Ironman Triathlon winner Lisa Bentley, or NCAA Division II basketball player Nolan Gottlieb – all of whom had cystic fibrosis and all of whom contributed to the betterment of society.
No matter how this case turns out, I think there are two main takeaways. The first is that legalizing abortion was indeed a slippery slope opening the door to abortion on demand simply because a child is not perfect. The second, and equally important, is that all life is valuable and people should not be allowed to cut someone else’s life short simply because they consider them an inconvenience. What if Chopin’s parents had genetic testing and abortion available to them? It’s a question worth asking.