The conservative evangelical program of defining any discussion with children of sexual orientation or gender identity as sexually perverse could become federal law if a group of Republican congressmen have their way.

Representative Mike Johnson, a Baptist from South Louisiana, and 32 other Republicans introduced the Stopping the Sexualization of Children Act 2022 in the House of Representatives on October 18.

U.S. Representative Mike Johnson

The bill is not expected to advance in the Democratic-controlled House, but that could change if Republicans win a majority in the midterm elections. It reflects and expands on the restrictive policies that have been advocated in local school districts, cities, and states. It’s part of a coordinated nationwide effort by several advocacy groups tied to far-right Republican politics and conservative evangelicals.

While the introduction of the bill may seem benign and pleasant to all – “to prohibit the use of federal funds to develop, implement, facilitate or fund any program, event or literature of a sexual nature for children under the age of 10” – that is the definition of “sexually oriented” is very controversial.

The bill defines “sexually” as “any depiction, description or simulation of sexual activity, any lewd or lascivious depiction or description of human genitalia, or any subject matter involving gender identity, gender dysphoria, transgender, sexual orientation or related matters”.

In other words, any discussion of sexual activity, gender identity, gender dysphoria, or sexual orientation would be negatively related to sexual activity. It would affect sex ed curricula – which many conservative parents already oppose – and any discussion of LGBTQ identity. Most children who identify as transgender report their first awareness of gender dysphoria when they are between the ages of 3 and 7, which means that no public resources can be made available to them or those of their family.

Paul Raushenbush

Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, president of the Interfaith Alliance, blasted the Republican bill as morally offensive and dangerous.

“Our representatives take a sacred oath to defend the rights of all their constituents. But under the guise of religious freedom, the religious right and its elected allies are waging a relentless campaign to intimidate LGBTQ children, parents and educators. Fortunately, these efforts do not represent the vast majority of Americans, religious and non-religious, who believe in the inherent equality of all, including the LGBTQ community.

“Under the guise of religious freedom, the religious right and its elected allies have been campaigning relentlessly to intimidate LGBTQ children, parents and educators.”

“While this legislation is most certainly a cynical pre-midterm ploy, the damage inflicted on LGBTQ people is immediate and heartbreaking. Every person deserves to live without fear of discrimination, but the elected officials pushing this bill are trying to deprive teachers and young people of this fundamental right. As people of faith and conscience, our job is to remain steadfast in our support and love for the LGBTQ community. »

Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are among Republican state officials who have scored political points by attacking transgender and gay children. Abbott issued a directive calling age-appropriate medical support for transgender children “child abuse” and requiring state officials to investigate such parents. DeSantis backed a Florida bill dubbed by opponents the “don’t say gaybill because it limits what public school teachers are allowed to say or discuss with children — similar to the new federal bill.

That’s why critics of the new Republican bill have called it a federal “don’t say gay” bill, although some critics warn that the federal ban would be tougher than the one passed in Florida.

The legislation would apply to all federally funded institutions and programs, including public libraries, public schools, military bases and hospitals. This would prohibit schools from offering sex education or library books that include LGBTQ topics.

“Equating LGBTQ people with sexually explicit material is dehumanizing and disgusting. Let’s call it what it is, a national “don’t say gay” bill, tweeted Alejandra Caraballo, clinical instructor at Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic and transgender rights advocate.

Rep. Johnson – a third-term congressman from Bossier City, where he is a member of First Baptist Church – claims his bill is “common sense” legislation.

“The Democratic Party and its cultural allies are on a misguided crusade to immerse young children in sexual imagery and radical gender ideology.”

“The Democratic Party and its cultural allies are on a misguided crusade to immerse young children in sexual imagery and radical gender ideology,” Johnson said. said. “This common sense bill is simple. No federal taxes should go to federal, state, or local government agencies, or private organizations that intentionally expose children under age 10 to sexually explicit material.

Other Republicans in the House signing as sponsors of the bill include: Bob Good (Va.), Brian Babin (Texas), Jeff Duncan (SC), Vicky Hartzler (Mo.), Doug Lamborn (Colo.), Markwayne Mullin ( Okla. ), Lauren Boebert (Colo.), Gregory Steube (Fla.), Debbie Lesko (Arizona), Daniel Webster (Fla.), Ralph Norman (SC), Randy Weber (Texas), Van Taylor (Texas), Mary Miller (Ill.), Lance Gooden (Texas), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Glenn Grothman (Wisc.), William Timmons (SC), Clay Higgins (La.), Steve Womack (Ark.), Tracey Mann (Kan. ), John Joyce (Pennsylvania), Scott Franklin (Florida), Burgess Owens (Utah), Matt Rosendale (Montreal), Russ Fulcher (Idaho), Tom Tiffany (Wisc.), Nicole Malliotakis (NY), Doug LaMalfa (California) , Andrew Clyde (Ga.), Michael Guest (Miss) and Dan Bishop (NC).

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