(by Jason Adkins)
March 15, 2013
By the time you read this column, legislation to redefine marriage (HF 1054/SF 925) will likely have been passed out of committees in both the Minnesota House and Senate, and sent to the floor of each chamber, where it could receive a full vote at any time. (Have you called or visited your elected officials?)
The redefinition of marriage should not be seen as a stand-alone act. It is the harbinger of broader social change aimed at creating gender and sexual “freedom” and breaking down the supposedly repressive social norm of heterosexual monogamy.
And it is accompanied by other significant pieces of legislation working their way through Minnesota’s Legislature that should be resisted just as vigorously as same-sex “marriage.”
Prevention of school bullying or re-education camp?
Much ink has been spilled inside and outside the Church critiquing the irrationality of this false movement of liberation.
Irrational ideas cannot subsist in a true marketplace of ideas. Criticism must be shut down or the Big Lie will be exposed.
This is plainly the case in the context of the marriage debate, where intimidation and name calling are used in the social sphere to silence people (or churches). If marriage is redefined, the coercion of silence will enter the legal sphere, where real penalties will befall those so-called “bigots” who “discriminate” by clinging to the traditional definition of marriage.
But it will not end there. In fact, the schools are the ideal place to foster this new regime of “tolerance,” and forcefully suppress any bad thoughts or “hate” speech that may emerge.
Enter HF 826/SF 783, the “Safe and Supportive Schools Act,” which is being sold as a measure to combat school bullying.
Legislation to combat school bullying seems like a no-brainer. No one wants his or her child bullied.
But this bill is not designed to protect all kids from school bullying. In fact, some victims of bullying may receive no special protection from the legislation.
The proposed law singles out certain “protected classes” of students — including sexual orientation and “gender identity and expression” — for special attention and favored treatment, and encourages curriculum and programming that will, in all likelihood, undermine traditional social and ethical norms and usurp the rights of parents as first educators of their children.
In attempting to guarantee select groups of students a “safe and supportive learning environment” (dangerously undefined) by prohibiting any words a student could arguably view as “interfering” with her “educational performance,” the bill would place chilling authority and burdensome administrative responsibilities in the hands of schools.
StarTribune columnist Katherine Kersten offers these examples:
- The bill would compel schools to police cell phone activity, texting and “cyber-bullying,” including comments a student writes on her Facebook page.
- Equally problematic, the bill would prohibit conduct that creates “a real or perceived imbalance of power between students,” along with conduct that violates “the reasonable expectation of privacy” of any student. Courts would have trouble applying these standards, let alone school officials.
- The bill also appears to withhold due process of law from students accused of bullying. It requires schools to investigate anonymous accusations and does not give students the right to confront their accusers. Paradoxically, it would permit students to harass one another by making unsubstantiated charges of misconduct with little or no accountability.
- One of the bill’s most chilling aspects is that students who dissent from certain state-approved cultural/political attitudes could potentially be referred to “counseling” by school authorities for failing to sufficiently “value diversity.”
We are not done yet! The bill’s proponents want to require private schools to follow the mandates of the law as well. If a Catholic school refuses to comply, its students could lose their pupil aid, such as textbooks, school nurses, and transportation.
Does this sound like an Orwellian nightmare? It should, because it is one.
The plethora of free speech and freedom of religion problems contained in this legislation will inevitably lead to an enormous legal headache, but an equally pressing concern is the relentless assault in our schools on the dignity of the human person, authentic sexuality, and the institutions of marriage and family.
The truths found in the natural order continue to be suppressed.
Assisted reproduction, or the commodification of women and children?
Speaking of nature, one more bill merits your close attention.
Those who choose not to live in accordance with the natural law soon discover that it is difficult (impossible) for two people of the same sex to create a child.
Sometimes, the natural desire to have children of one’s own persists, and therefore some same-sex couples resort to technology or the use of a surrogate mother to carry a child to term.
Interestingly, though surrogacy agreements are becoming more common, they are not, as of yet, considered enforceable contracts under Minnesota law. The birth mother still has certain rights and responsibilities.
HF 291/SF 370 has been introduced to allow surrogacy agreements to be used as admissible evidence in custody proceedings between surrogate mothers and “intended parents.”
This might all sound very technical and legalistic, but it is supposed to sound that way. Its real aim is to covertly decide a controversial public policy question — the legitimacy of surrogacy agreements — without opening a big public debate.
If state law considers surrogacy agreements as admissible evidence, it will signal to courts that these are, in fact, legitimate and enforceable contracts, paving the way for a full-blown surrogacy business in Minnesota.
Groups as diverse as the Minnesota Family Council and the National Organization for Women have contended (rightly) that such a regime would lead to the exploitation of women and the commodification of children, denying them their right to be connected to their biological parents.
Widespread acceptance of surrogacy will likely transform the way in which our society brings children into the world. Children will become “products” that are produced, bought, and sold; often, poor women will become incubators for these new consumer “goods.”
The 2013 Minnesota legislative session is offering a glimpse into a brave new world. Though well-intentioned by some as a path to freedom from both nature and outdated social norms, it ultimately threatens our humanity.
Please take the time to oppose these three related bills.
Jason Adkins is executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference.
(CLICK HERE for article on The Catholic Spirit website.)