By Adam Nettina
Aside from egregiously misrepresenting the concern many people have over the issues created by the so-called “bathroom-bills,” Mercedez Hernandez has shown a fundamental disregard and contempt for the real problem of allowing individuals to use a public restroom of their non-biological gender. It is not only an issue that opens up the possibility that non-transsexual sex-offenders will abuse the policies to prey on children or the vulnerable, nor is it solely the problem caused by asserting the will of an exceptionally small minority of the population at the expense of the privacy of a vast majority of the population. Instead, the issue at stake is Truth.
It is, to quote psychiatrist Keith Ablow, a question of whether we as a society are willing to “abandon genetics and biology as fact” in favor of some vague, ephemeral cultural assertion that supersedes everything we know about science or history. And then it is to codify this assertion in law and practice.
To paraphrase Ablow, it is the equivalent of a 14-year-old boy declaring to be 74-year-old man (perhaps due to his associations in life), and then to demand to have a legal right to Medicare. Or, taken to an extreme, for the German people to vote that the Holocaust never happened, if only because, in some far off scenario, a future German society may choose not to believe the events of the 1940s.
Yet that doesn’t change the verifiable evidence. That cannot, in some “1984” world, cover-up the fact.
More specifically, the gender question foregrounded by the “bathroom” bills and Target boycott gives rise to questions all Christians and all people of democratic faith must consider.
If we as Christians believe in an objective truth and natural reason (as we do) then we cannot subvert this fact of Truth to that of the idea of will; or, put another way, things as we want them to be. As Saint Pope John Paul II reminded the world in his 1991 encyclical “Centesimus Annus”, such collective voluntarism inevitably leads to totalitarianism, since If there is no transcendent truth in obedience to which man achieves his full identity, then there is no sure principle for guaranteeing just relations between people.”
We, as both free people and followers of Christ, must never lose sight of compassion for our brothers and sisters. Yet we must not allow this compassion to undermine our most deeply held beliefs. Because, as the late Pope reminds us, “a democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism.”
Adam Nettina is a graduate English student from West Friendship, Maryland, studying creative writing.