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Category: Politics

Anti-Trans Bigotry at Bryan, Ohio City Schools

bryan city schools

“It’s just really, disrespectful. I just want them to call me Jay when I walk across the stage in front of everyone so it’s not really embarrassing.”

“I didn’t really have any friends. The kids would call me slurs and names they would make up themselves.”

“The kids at school would use my deadname to bully me. It would be so embarrassing and disrespectful to go up in front of all those kids and get called it once again.”

Jay Rober

“The consistent practice has always been to utilize the student’s legal name that matches with the legal name on the diploma.”

“If they decide to apply for employment or if they decide to attend higher education, we on the school side are bound to ensure that the legalities are followed with the legal document.”

— Bryan City Schools Superintendent Mark Rairigh

Letter to the editor of the Bryan Times.

Dear Editor,

Graduating from high school is a seminal moment in a student’s life; a time of arrival and entrance into adulthood. Graduation should be a day of happiness and joy as family and friends congratulate a student on a job well done. It is not a day for moralizing or political statements. Unfortunately, Bryan City Schools superintendent Mark Rairigh did just that for one transgender student, Jay Rober. And now Rober won’t be walking with his fellow students on graduation day.

Rober asked school officials to please call him by his preferred name when awarding him his diploma. Rairigh says this can’t happen for “legal” reasons. What “legal” reasons, exactly? I can understand requiring a student’s legal name to be printed on his or her diploma, but that’s not what is going on here. All Rober wants is to be called by his preferred name when his name is announced. Doing so is just a matter of respect for the student. Countless students are daily addressed by their teachers with preferred names. My dad’s name was Robert, but his teachers called him Bob. The same goes for my mother, whose legal name was Barbara, but wanted to be called Barb.

Accommodating preferred names require no effort on the part of Bryan City teachers, administrators, and the superintendent. It’s hard not to conclude, then, that there is either a political or religious agenda behind Rairigh’s refusal to accommodate Rober’s name request. Hiding behind “this is the way we have always done it” is the mantra of people resistant to social progress and change; the same mantra used by southern white supremacists to block school integration.

School officials threw Rober a lifeline, of sorts: legally change your name (in less than two weeks, at a cost of hundreds of dollars). Are Bryan City teachers required to call every student by their legal name? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way. Shouldn’t students who have preferred nicknames be required to legally change their names? Absurd, right?

At the end of the day, “Jay” is just a name. Out of respect for Jay and his family on the biggest day of his young life, he has earned the right to be called by his preferred name. I can’t think of a rational or logical (or legal) reason why Jay just can’t be “Jay.”

Bruce Gerencser

Ney, Ohio

Words Matter

words

When you say homosexuality is an abomination . . . you are saying your gay son and neighbor are abominable.

When you say all non-Christians will go to Hell when they die . . . you are saying your non-Christian mother, son, and neighbor will be tortured by God in the flames of the Hell for eternity.

When you say abortion is evil, sick, and murder . . . you are saying those who are pro-choice are evil, sick murderers.

When you say Christians are idiots . . . you are saying your Christian mother and grandfather are idiots.

When you say people on welfare are lazy, good for nothing bums . . . you are saying your out-of-work cousin with cancer is a lazy, good for nothing bum.

When you say atheism is immoral . . . you are saying that your atheist daughter and cousin are immoral.

You can’t divorce your words from their implications.

Words matter.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Quote of the Day: Anti-Abortion, Forced Birth Zealots Are Gaslighting the American People

gaslighting

So when men—because it’s pretty much always men—lecture you about what red-state legislatures—which are pretty much always controlled by men—are not going to do when Dobbs comes down, it’s most likely because they believe you to be either stupid or fundamentally powerless or possibly both.

This is all called gaslighting, and it’s a tactic of bullies, thugs, and authoritarians everywhere. The same Wall Street Journal opinion page that promised on July 2, 2018, that the court wouldn’t overturn Roe is now actively trying to cudgel the court into overturning Roe. Spectacularly stupid men gloat about the end of women’s freedom and then turn around and deride women as hysterical for worrying publicly about their freedom. Gaslighting is very much the point. When people in power tell you the precise thing you are witnessing isn’t happening before your eyes, it is done with a purpose. They are confident that if you let yourself be mollified by all the soothing talk about how, sure, you may feel (incorrectly, they will add) like they misled you at their confirmation hearings, but they are emphatically not misleading you now, then they can amass more power and more credibility to do more freedom-restrictive things with impunity in the future.

Whenever you’re being told by powerful people who don’t know anything—and don’t much care—about health, poverty, inequality, or how reproduction happens, that the thing that is currently happening isn’t actually happening, the important thing to do is not to argue with them. You are irrelevant to them, and traveling back to the Middle Ages with them in order to debate them on whether you are in fact a witch serves no useful purpose. Nor should you allow yourself to be distracted by fatuous comparisons between a Supreme Court leak and the events of Jan. 6, 2021. The latter was a coup attempt. The former was a systems failure of an institution that largely operates without systems. When actual Supreme Court justices tell you that they cannot plausibly discern the economic implications of an abortion ban because it’s never been empirically studied, that is also gaslighting. It’s been studied.

These sorts of distractions are another weapon of bullies who want to keep you from doing your work. Don’t be distracted. If the constituencies that have organized to end legal abortion for largely religious reasons for 50 years are telling you this has nothing to do with religion or abortion, you are being gaslit. When you are being told that women aren’t going to be harmed and that no other liberty interests are implicated and that fetal personhood is not connected to any of this, and that all these claims are somehow a certainty because polling, or because voting power, well, gaslit. But please understand that if you are being drawn into unknowable speculation about who the leaker is, or what precedents still survive post-Dobbs, or whether the Republican Party would in fact push for a federal ban, you are being distracted from Dobbs and its immediate and certain harms, which is not a luxury for which you have time.

Gaslighters thrive on calling you hysterical and emotional. They’ve been calling women hysterical and emotional for centuries. Sometimes with lethal consequences. (See witches, above.) Don’t bother performing sober fact-based disputation with a gaslighter. He thought you were hysterical when you told him in 2018 that Brett Kavanaugh would do what Brett Kavanaugh actually is now planning to do in 2022. He told you that you were hysterical when the Supreme Court allowed S.B. 8 to go into effect in September and he said so again when Dobbs was argued in December. He says you are hysterical now, and when morning-after pills, IUDs, and IVF are regulated and monitored and imperiled, he will tell you again that you’re still hysterical. That—and the reaction he hopes it will generate—is all he has. It’s your choice about whether or not to give it to him.

— Dahlia Lithwick, Slate, The People Who Promised Roe Was Safe Are Already Selling Their Next Bridge, May 16, 2022

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Southern Baptist Tom Ascol Says Abortion is Murder and Women Who Have Abortions Should be Prosecuted for Homicide

preaching anti abortion gospel lexington kentucky (5)

Tom Ascol, a noted Calvinistic pastor, and a candidate running to be president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), thinks abortion is murder and women who have abortions should be prosecuted for homicide. In fact, Ascol thinks anyone and everyone involved in an abortion should be arrested, charged with murder, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Since Ascol is pro-capital punishment, we can safely assume he’s okay with killing women for “killing” their fetuses. Think on that one for a while.

tom ascol abortion is murder

The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Protestant denomination in the United States — albeit the sect is in decline, with over half its members AWOL on any given Sunday. At one time, the SBC was pro-choice. Today, thanks to the wholesale takeover of the Convention by Ascol and his fellow Fundamentalists, the sect is wholeheartedly anti-abortion and forced birth.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Let’s Talk About Transgenderism and How We View Transgender People

christians attack lgbt people

Summit Ministries, an Evangelical group (their list of faculty will tell you everything you need to know about their theological orientation — definitely straight, white, Republican Evangelical) dedicated to “equipping and supporting rising generations to embrace God’s truth and champion a Biblical worldview,” recently conducted a survey of 1,000 Americans on their views about transgenderism. Here are the “(anally) probing” questions they asked (in the order they were asked):

  • Do you believe it is possible to distinguish between men and women?
  • Do you believe a person’s biological sex and their gender are two separate things?
  • What are your personal opinions about transgenderism? 1) I believe it is a healthy human condition that should be celebrated. 2) I do not believe it is a healthy human condition, but I stay silent on the issue to not offend others. 3) I do not believe it is a healthy human condition, and I am willing to say so.
  • What is your opinion of schools teaching about sexual identity and sexual behavior with elementary-age students? 1) It is a perfectly appropriate use of instruction time. 2) It is inappropriate in a school setting. 3) It is dangerous because it could be used to groom children for sexual encounters at a young age.
  • Should underage minors be encouraged to undergo permanent gender alteration, or wait until they are adults?
  • Should medical professionals performing gender-altering be required by law to disclose the common, long-term medical, and psychological impact of such procedures?

According to Dr. Jeff Myers, President of Summit Ministries:

Everywhere Americans look, the media and education culture is bombarding us with relentless, daily messages in support of transgenderism without limits. Despite this intensity, these stunning numbers show plainly that the vast majority of Americans aren’t buying what they’re being sold. A huge majority of Americans don’t think this issue belongs anywhere near our kids. Yet, we also see a powerful chilling effect that this propaganda is having on society, as this research shows that tens of millions disagree with what they see, but are afraid to say anything about their views. We trust this poll will spark all-important conversations so we can properly address these issues as a nation.

Summit Ministries believes this study tells us:

  • 64% of American voters who have an opinion about the issue do not believe transgenderism is a healthy human condition
  • 34% stay silent on the issue to not offend others
  • 30% are willing to speak out on the issue
  • 36% of American voters who have an opinion about the issue believe transgenderism is a healthy human condition
  • 72% of American voters who have an opinion on the issue do not believe schools should teach about sexual identity and sexual behavior with elementary-age children
  • 42% believe it is inappropriate in a school setting
  • 30% believe it is dangerous and could lead to children being groomed for sexual encounters at a young age
  • 28% of American voters who have an opinion on the issue believe it is a perfectly appropriate use of instruction time
  • 93% of American voters who have an opinion on the issue believe it is possible to distinguish between men and women.
  • 7% of American voters who have an opinion on the issue don’t believe it is possible to distinguish between men and women
  • 90% of American voters who have an opinion on the issue say minors should be required to wait until they are legal adults before undergoing permanent gender alteration
  • 10% of American voters who have an opinion on the issue say minors should be encouraged to undergo permanent gender alteration
  • 90% of American voters who have an opinion on the issue believe that medical professionals performing gender-altering procedures be required by law to disclose the common, long-term medical and psychological impact of such procedures
  • 10% of American voters who have an opinion on the issue believe that medical professionals performing gender-altering procedures should not be required by law to disclose the common, long-term medical and psychological impact of such procedures.

All based on loaded questions. All based on narrow question constraints. All are based on demographics that conveniently ignore religious identification. And most of all, all based on 1,000 Americans — sixty-seven percent who are forty and older — out of a population of 333,000,000 people (260,000,000 if you remove children from the mix).

Further, Americans are largely ignorant about science in general, and sex and gender specifically. This is another issue where Evangelicalism, Mormonism, and Conservative Catholicism have inhibited or prohibited meaningful discussion on these issues. As a society, we must come to terms with the fact that transgender people exist; that they are family members, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. We must come to terms with the fact that gender and sex are far more complex than we would like to admit; that it’s time to put our Adam and Eve view of the world into the dustbin of history with the Bible from whence this belief came.

That said, we need to have a vigorous debate about when it is appropriate to teach children about sex and what they should be taught when they are. We need to have a national discussion about gender reassignment surgery and puberty blockers. Sadly, current discussions are dominated by extremes. So let’s discuss this issue folks — politely, openly, and honestly. I know that a number of my readers are LGBTQ. Some of the most active commenters on this site are transgender. I consider them my friends. I have long been a supporter of LGBTQ rights, though, I must admit, that I am troubled by some of the things I hear in some corners of the LGBTQ world. I have six adult children and thirteen grandchildren. It is likely (in fact, I know this to be true), that one or more of my children or grandchildren might not fit neatly in the gender/sex categories which I grew up with and dominate the society I live in. As these issues come closer to home for me, my liberal sensibilities have been challenged. It’s easy to support LGBTQ people from a distance, but when it’s one of your own? I pride myself in being supportive of all people, regardless of their sex or gender. I am a fiery advocate for LGBTQ rights. I am proud of the fact that I have LGBTQ friends. Yet, fifty years of religious indoctrination and social conditioning are hard to shake. I wish I could have a Men in Black mind-wipe, as I’m sure many of you wish too. However, that’s not going to happen. We must confront our biases and prejudices head-on. And make no mistake about it — we all have them. Even Jesus, Christians. Just look at how he treated Gentiles. 🙂

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

How Anti-Abortionists Manipulate Uneducated Americans with Pictures of Full-Term Fetuses

preaching anti abortion gospel lexington kentucky (8)

Anti-abortionists are fond of using graphic photos of full-term fetuses to prove that abortion is the killing of a fully developed, viable human being.

Here’s a photo of a fetus at thirty-eight weeks:

thirty-eight weeks

OMG, Demoncrats and liberal Christians want to murder children in the womb, anti-abortion, forced-birth Evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons say. And if that was actually the case, I would agree with them. However, as I shall show in this post, the picture above is representative of only a small percentage of aborted fetuses. Only 1.3 percent (less than 10,000 per year) of abortions take place after twenty-one weeks (before viability). The overwhelming majority of late-term abortions happen due to fetal abnormalities — fetuses which, if left to develop to term, would be born, only to die hours or days later or be consigned to untold suffering, pain, and countless other severe mental and health problems.

Imagine if, instead, Americans were presented with the following photos showing fetal development and the percentage of abortions that take place at that point in development. Do you think the discussion about abortion would change in this country?

human zygote

Human zygote

two weeks

Two weeks

five weeks

Five weeks

eight weeks

Eight weeks. Sixty-five percent of abortions take place by this time in fetal development.

thirteen weeks

Thirteen weeks. Eighty-eight percent of abortions take place by this time in fetal development.

What we see in these photos is potential human life, not personhood. It is important to understand that the modern anti-abortion, forced-birth movement is driven by theology, not science. That’s why all the fetal development photos in the world won’t change their minds about abortion. Anti-abortionists have been convinced by their pastors and priests that the Bible says life begins at conception; that the moment the sperm fertilizes the egg, the fertilized egg is a “person”; that God is “pro-life” (an absurd argument if you actually READ the Bible); that abortion is murder, no different from a man savagely murdering his neighbor. It is for these reasons that it is impossible to have a meaningful discussion with people who are anti-abortion. When a discussion starts with the claim that abortion is murder; that abortion doctors are murderers; that people who help facilitate abortion are murderers; that women who have abortions are murderers, meaningful interaction is impossible.

Note:

I refuse to call anti-abortion, forced-birth zealots “pro-life.” They are anything but. Among anti-abortion Evangelicals, most of them are pro-war, pro-police violence, and promote and support politicians, political parties, and government policies that are anti-human. It has often been said that anti-abortionists only care about “life” in the womb. Once a baby is born, he or she is his or her own, subject to the cruelties of right-wing Republican policies and immoral capitalism; especially if the child is red, yellow, black, or brown, he or she is definitely not precious in God’s sight. (Please see Jesus Loves the Little Children, All the Children of the World.)

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Quote of the Day: I’m Woke, Liberal, and Progressive

leonard pitts jr

Understanding how That Word [liberal] was taken out of service is invaluable in understanding what is transpiring now with That Other Word. And here, yes, we are talking about “woke.”

Because we’ve seen this movie before. Once again, the right mocks a word with undisguised glee — it is slapped on a Florida education censorship bill; it is blamed by the L.A. County Sheriff for making the city unlivable; U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz claims it will “destroy” the military. And once again, the left responds with a crouch. Or has no one else noticed how the word has magically disappeared from the mouths of all but its detractors? A list that, not incidentally, includes Democratic strategist James Carville, who made news last year by declaring, in a Vox interview, that “Wokeness is a problem.”

6But is it, really? Or is the problem not that the left keeps allowing the right to frame the debate? Is the problem not the failure to finally realize that there is no word the left can use to define itself that will stop those mean conservatives from picking on them? Because it’s not the words the right opposes. Rather, it’s the beliefs those words express.

Like the belief that people should not have to breathe carcinogens in their air, drink poisons in their water or eat maggots in their meat. And that the workweek should not be 80 hours long. And that children should not be in factories, nor hardworking families in slums. And that women should control their reproductive destinies, LGBTQ people should be treated like human beings, Black people should be free to vote. And that government has a responsibility to enforce it all.

Those are noble causes to fight for. That those who have historically done so find it necessary to crouch in defense speaks to how upside down and inside out is this era — and to the success of the right in defining those who are too often timid and inept in defining themselves.

“Woke” means awake and aware. “Liberal” means “generous and broad-minded.” “Progressive” — just to complete the triumvirate — means “characterized by progress.” Each is preferable to its alternative.

That’s not to advocate for any particular word. Rather, it’s to say that every moment spent debating words is a moment spent not advocating for the beliefs those words express.

— Leonard Pitts, Jr., Seattle Times, Liberal, woke, whatever — just fight for your beliefs, May 10, 2022

The ‘Raw Judicial Power’ of Samuel Alito Is an Attack on Dignity, Autonomy, and Progress

supreme court abortion
Cartoon by Mike Luckovich

Article by Jenny Breen, an Associate Professor of Law at the Syracuse University College of Law, where she teaches Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, and Labor Law.

What is the end game here for the U.S. Supreme Court’s right-wing majority? It’s not pretty.

The leak of the U.S. Supreme Court’s draft opinion in the Mississippi abortion ban case has put into authenticated form an announcement that abortion advocates on both sides of the aisle have been predicting for years: stack the Court with Republican-appointed justices and Roe v. Wade will be overturned. The Court’s leaked opinion does just that, holding that both Roe and Casey are now bad law because there is no longer any constitutional right to abortion.

The current draft—which will be revised between now and its formal publication, likely in June—tells us a lot about where the Court stands on abortion, of course, but also other constitutional rights and the role of the courts in our constitutional republic.

First, though the opinion purports only to hold that there is no constitutional right to an abortion, thus permitting states to implement laws restricting, banning, or even criminalizing abortions, the language of the draft opinion lays the groundwork for a future federal ban on abortion altogether. Alito’s opinion approvingly quotes Mississippi’s claims that dilation and evacuation abortions are “barbaric,” “dangerous for the maternal patient,” and “demeaning to the medical profession” as “legitimate interests” that “provide a rational basis” for the Mississippi ban. (The draft opinion employs rational basis review rather than the tougher level of review reserved for gender-based distinctions because—though it may surprise any human on the planet to hear it—the Court reminds us that previous cases have established that “regulation of abortion is a not a sex-based classification”).  These “interests” are, of course, anti-choice talking points, not rational bases for a ban on abortion. Their embrace by the draft majority opinion makes clear that Alito is being disingenuous when he claims that the decision “is not based on any view about when a State should regard prenatal life as having rights or legally cognizable interests.” Instead, the opinion is suffused with the unstated but implied belief that legally cognizable life begins at conception.

Second, Alito is also deeply disingenuous when he argues the opinion won’t impact other fundamental rights. Alito’s opinion holds there is no right to abortion because that right is neither explicitly mentioned in the Constitution nor implicitly contained within the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection of an individual’s right to liberty. Many of our most cherished constitutional rights are only impliedly contained within the expansive, conceptual language of the Constitution. As Justice Marshall reminded the Court over 200 years ago, “we must never forget that it is a Constitution we are expounding.”

So why does it matter to other constitutional rights that Alito doesn’t think individual liberty includes the right to decide whether to have an abortion? Because the liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause and the right to privacy it encompasses are also the bases for the Court’s protection of gay marriage, the right to contraception, the right to private consensual sex, and the right to interracial marriage.

“Liberty,” the Court explained in Lawrence v. Texas, “presumes an autonomy of self that includes freedom of thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate conduct.” Alito says he can’t seem to find a liberty interest in abortion because “the most important historical fact” is “how the States regulated abortion when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted.” Needless to say, these other core rights would also not fare well under an analysis that prioritizes what legislatures were doing in 1868. Alito has already suggested as much. His dissent in Obergefell v. Hodges reads like an early edition of this draft opinion, arguing that gay marriage “lacks deep roots” and “is contrary to long-established tradition” and thus is not a right that can be protected by the Constitution. 

Finally, the opinion makes clear that the guard rails are gone when it comes to SCOTUS decision making. Throughout the opinion Alito returns repeatedly to the argument that the decision will correct “Roe‘s abuse of judicial authority” and “return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” Of course, fundamental rights are fundamental rights because they are not up for debate by “the people’s elected representatives.” We don’t ask for state referenda on whether we should permit racially segregated schools. Courts do their best and most essential work for a democracy when they protect the interests that enable humans to live with dignity and autonomy.  

justice alito
Cartoon by Gary Markstein

In 2018, Alito wrote the majority opinion Janus v. AFSCME, the decision that held that public employees could not be compelled to pay agency fees to the unions that are required by law to represent them and advocate for their interests. Though public employee unions have passed the small “d” democratic test not once but twice—elected state legislators must first pass a law enabling public unions and then, of course, the public employees themselves must vote for their union—Alito’s majority opinion overruled a 41-year-old precedent to hold that agency fees violated the First Amendment rights of public employees. At the time of the opinion, commentators expressed concern that the Court’s easy overruling of a case it did not like did not bode well for Roe v. Wade in the hands of a differently constituted Court. And of course, that is precisely what seems to have happened.

Alito tries to ease the shock of the decision to overrule such longstanding and prominent precedent by citing a number of cases—I counted 26 in total—in which the Supreme Court has overruled its own precedent. But I am not aware of a single case on that list in which the Court overruled precedent to take away a previously granted constitutional right. 

So what is the end game here? Alito’s full vision for the United States has yet to be painted, but thus far it’s looking like an America in which “raw judicial power” (words he quotes disparagingly regarding Roe four times in the draft opinion) is used to foist the world views of judicially privileged interests upon the rest of us.

In the meantime, it means that where you live and what private resources you have at your command will be increasingly important to chart the course of your life.

As disconnected as they may seem on their face, overruling decades of precedent to weaken public unions on the one hand and doing the same to revoke a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion on the other are two sides of the same oppressive coin. They both chart dramatic turns away from an understanding of the law and Constitution grounded in commitments to individual dignity and autonomy in core spheres of life—work and family—and establish a core role for the judiciary in steering the ship in that direction. 

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Overturning Roe v. Wade is Just the First Step in the Evangelical War Against Women, LGBTQ People, and Anyone Else Different From Them

abortion texas

Article by Julia Conley, Common Dreams, Critics Warn Alito Draft Threatens Much, Much More Than Abortion Rights

The draft opinion leaked from the U.S. Supreme Court Monday night portends future attacks not just on Americans’ right to obtain abortion care, said critics on Tuesday, but also on anyone whose rights the court’s right-wing majority does not view as “deeply rooted” in U.S. history.

In the opinion, Justice Samuel Alito cited a number of reasons for the majority’s objection to legal abortion—including a discredited theory that abortion care is a racist tool of eugenics and Alito’s incorrect belief that “the costs of medical care associated with pregnancy and childbirth are covered by insurance”—but central to his argument is the claim that Roe v. Wade protects a right that is “not deeply rooted in the nation’s history and traditions.”

The phrase encapsulates “the most terrifying argument in that draft,” tweeted Oindrila Mukherjee, a professor at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

Judging from the draft opinion—which, Politico reported, was also supported by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett when the court apparently voted to overturn Roe v. Wade earlier this year—”everything is on the table,” said writer Rebecca Traister, naming other Supreme Court decisions which affirmed rights for Americans.

In the opinion, Alito “disavows the entire line of jurisprudence upon which Roe rests: the existence of ‘unenumerated rights’ that safeguard individual autonomy from state invasion,” wrote Mark Joseph Stern at Slate.

“The Supreme Court has identified plenty of ‘unenumerated rights’ that lack deep roots in American history,” he added. “Most recently, the court established the right of same-sex couples to be intimate (2003’s Lawrence v. Texas) and get married (2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges). Alito dismissed both decisions in harsh terms.”

Other legal experts also raised alarm that the court’s conservative majority appears to be “a half step away from letting states criminalize same-sex sexual intimacy.”

Stern wrote that Alito appeared to include language in the draft opinion which suggested the overturning of Roe would not weaken the protections that were affirmed by Loving v. Virginia, which affirmed the right to interracial marriage; Griswold v. Connecticut, which protected the right to obtain contraceptives; Skinner v. Oklahoma, which held that compulsory sterilization of people convicted of crimes was unconstitutional; and Pierce v. Society of Sisters, which struck down a law requiring parents to send their children to public schools.

“But Alito actually makes it extremely clear that he is not including Lawrence or Obergefell in his category of safe precedents!” Stern said. “Instead, he appears to include them as an example of illegitimate rights like abortion, which he is overruling in this very opinion!”

“As written, the draft is quite blithe and unflinching in its disdain for the constitutional basis of gay rights,” he added.

Despite Alito’s claim in the draft that previous decisions pertaining to Americans’ right to privacy will not be overturned, journalist Emma Vigeland said, lower courts are likely to “chip away at birth control legality, appealing it all the way up to this extremist SCOTUS.”

At The Daily Beast, Jay Michaelson wrote that with abortion rights found by the court to be not “deeply rooted” in U.S. history and therefore not protected under the Constitution, marriage equality could be overturned “within a year or two.”

“Unless another justice leaves the court, the constitutional right to marriage for all is going to be overturned,” Michaelson wrote. “The only question is whether Republicans will have a veto-proof majority (or the presidency in 2024) to ban both abortion and gay marriage anywhere in the nation.”

As Common Dreams reported Monday, with evidence emerging that the court is preparing to overturn Roe—likely making abortion illegal in more than two dozen states—Republican senators are currently developing a strategy to pass a nationwide ban on abortion care after six weeks of pregnancy, and anti-choice groups have lobbied potential 2024 Republican presidential candidates to run on passing the legislation.

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Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Bruce Gerencser