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Tony Perkins / January 31, 2020

Our Military Should Be Cultivating Masculinity, Not Denigrating It

A recent review of U.S. special operations forces pointed to a leadership crisis in our military, concluding that leadership, discipline and accountability must be strengthened at all levels. West Point Military Academy, which is supposed to be the Army’s preeminent leader development institution, hasn’t been immune to this breakdown in leadership. Earlier this month, West Point cadets attended “Honorably Living Day,” a mandatory event dedicated to promoting diversity and feminist thought where facilitators discouraged what they called “toxic masculinity.”

A recent review of U.S. special operations forces pointed to a leadership crisis in our military, concluding that leadership, discipline and accountability must be strengthened at all levels. West Point Military Academy, which is supposed to be the Army’s preeminent leader development institution, hasn’t been immune to this breakdown in leadership. Earlier this month, West Point cadets attended "Honorably Living Day,“ a mandatory event dedicated to promoting diversity and feminist thought where facilitators discouraged what they called "toxic masculinity.”

The curriculum featured the documentary Miss Representation, which was produced by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, first lady of California and wife of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.). The documentary included commentary from left-wing commentators such as Katie Couric, Rosie O'Donnell, and Jane Fonda. What does any of this have to do with fighting and winning wars? That was the question Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William G. “Jerry” Boykin asked when he joined Washington Watch Wednesday to discuss this new initiative. “In no way does this help enhance the readiness of our military,” he told me. “It is a reflection of what was forced on our military in the Obama administration. The disappointing thing is that it’s still there…”

Instead of developing leaders, West Point is taking time to attack masculinity. The program even questions the phrase “be a man.” Yet, by attacking masculinity, mandatory trainings such as Honorably Living Day undermines the very characteristics our military desperately needs. General Boykin quoted George Orwell, who fought in the Spanish Civil War and observed the hardships of battle first-hand: “Orwell said, ‘We rest well in our beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence against those who would threaten us.’”

General Boykin argues that the campaign against masculinity inflicts a great deal of damage on society beyond the military. “This whole idea of ‘hypermasculinity,’ which is one of the phrases that they’ve coined now… is absolute nonsense, has nothing to do with reality. It is about destroying men because they are the foundations of the family… The men are so important, and the men are walking out of their families today all over America. And this is a reflection of exactly what the crisis in masculinity is all about.” Indeed, a lack of male leadership has certainly taken its toll on American families. All the more, this highlights the importance of preserving strong and moral male leadership in the military, despite the Left’s effort to destroy it.

For centuries, men have largely been the ones fighting wars, protecting their countries, and defending their people. Instead of disparaging a perceived “toxic masculinity,” the U.S. military should be building the character of men and fostering their natural instinct to protect and defend. The strength of our military and the security of our nation depends on it.

Originally published here.


South Dakota House Members Show They Care for Children and Families


Wednesday, by a vote of 46-23, the South Dakota House of Representatives responded to the growing threat of the radical elements of the transgender movement by passing Bill 1057, which if approved will protect the state’s children and families. The measure prohibits the prescribing of puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, and gender reassignment surgery from being performed on minors under the age of 16. While it may sound like common sense to protect young children from being given drugs or undergoing surgeries that may be irreversible, it unfortunately is becoming more commonplace. Last year, James Younger’s case in Texas highlighted for the nation the danger that so-called “gender transition” poses to minor children. While James’ mother wanted him to wear girl’s clothes, have a girl’s name, and eventually take puberty blockers, James’ father wanted him to be the happy 7-year old boy that he is. He should not be facing the risk of such treatments, and neither should the children of South Dakota. Yet if HB 1057 does not pass, they will remain unprotected.

The leaders in the South Dakota House who supported HB 1057 are to be commended. They recognized the danger these experimental treatments pose to vulnerable children and they are taking action. “Puberty is not the disease; in 85 percent of cases it’s the cure,” House Whip Jon Hansen proclaimed in his floor speech Wednesday. “Just let the kids grow up,” for how can children “possibly know the long-term effects of those decisions” of conducting surgery on their bodies “when even the FDA doesn’t know?” Indeed, we don’t let children vote, drink, or drive. As Hansen observed, HB 1057 even uses the National Institutes of Health’s definition of “sex.” Why is that so controversial? It seems that liberal activists and their supporters within the ranks of South Dakota’s leadership conveniently sidestep science when it is inconvenient.

Thankfully, those politicians afraid of the transgender lobby and their allies are in the minority. Also speaking on the House floor Wednesday, Representative Nancy York noted how we currently protect children through smoking bans and seatbelt requirements. South Dakota recently raised the legal age to purchase cigarettes to 21. Are we really going to allow these same children to get a mastectomy under the age of 16?

These leaders know better; medical professionals should also. Academic studies (as cited in the DSM-5) have shown that up to 97.8 percent of children who feel discomfort with their biological sex — if left alone — will grow out of their distress and come to accept their sex in adulthood. Puberty-blocking drugs, however — which interrupt normal sexual development along with brain and bone development — only lock children into a pathway toward life-altering, harmful procedures.

At one time, using cross-sex hormones or performing gender reassignment surgery on minors was rare. Now, however, these procedures are also being done at younger and younger ages, making bills like HB 1057 urgent. Cross-sex hormones are associated with a higher risk of heart attacks and blood clots, infertility, loss of bone density, and sexual dysfunction. Meanwhile, studies document girls as young as 13 receiving double mastectomies, and other minors receiving permanently sterilizing genital surgery.

On top of that, there are no long term studies on these procedures being performed on minors, who are often hastily given prescriptions after being influenced by their own peers into thinking they need them.

Children increasingly are the victims of ideologues who would rush such “gender transition procedures” upon them. In the face of this, they are depending on the leaders of South Dakota to stand up for them. The eyes of the nation will be watching. Will senators in South Dakota, along with Governor Kristi Noem, follow the lead of the House and protect children or yield to the transgender activists and their corporate allies?

Click here to thank your representative for supporting HB 1057 in the House, and let your senator and Governor Noem know that they need to support it too. The children of South Dakota deserve nothing less.

Originally published here.


SCOTUS Reviews Faith-hostile Blaine Amendments


Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments in an important religious freedom case, Espinoza v. Montana. At the heart of this case is whether or not parents can choose to send their children to the school that is best for them, even if that school happens to be a religiously affiliated one.

While the case concerns the state of Montana, the court’s decision could affect the laws in 36 other states. These states, along with Montana, have something called a Blaine Amendment, named after James Blaine, a U.S. congressman in the 1860s and 70s who wanted to amend the U.S. Constitution to prohibit religious schools from receiving government aid. While the amendment passed the House it failed in the Senate. However, some states added it to their own constitutions, Montana among them.

Congressman Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.), who filed an amicus brief on behalf of the student plaintiffs in Espinoza v. Montana, joined me on Washington Watch Wednesday. We discussed how the Blaine Amendment not only infringes on our constitutional right to religious freedom but also disadvantages students, particularly those from low-income families, who may want to use government-funded scholarships to attend a religiously affiliated school.

Gianforte explained that the Blaine Amendment originated with an anti-Catholic sentiment that was incompatible with the religious freedom protected by the First Amendment. He said, “We have to remember what the First Amendment is all about. It’s freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.” He continued, “What the other side is arguing is that they have a right to be free from religion in all sectors. And that’s not what [the U.S.] Constitution says.”

This alleged “freedom from religion” is hindering children’s academic opportunities and parents’ ability to choose a school that is right for them. Gianforte, who has a long history of supporting educational choice in Montana, said it was his own experience as a father of four that spurred his interest in school choice. He explained, “Each child is created differently, and a one size fits all approach just doesn’t help each child reach their full potential. That’s why I believe parents know what’s best for their kids, and they ought to be able to pick the education that best fits their child.” Gianforte said that lack of school choice disproportionately disadvantages low-income students. When trapped in a school ill-suited to their needs, and unable to afford tuition to a different school, many of these students drop out: “[I]n Montana, 78 percent of the high school dropouts come from lower-income families. So the lack of choice is a disadvantage. And if we’re ever going to break the cycle of poverty, without a high school diploma, it’s just really hard to succeed in life.” Gianforte pointed to the success of the privately funded ACE Scholarships, which he founded. ACE has enabled low-income students to attend schools they otherwise would not have been able to afford.

Government-funded private education is not a constitutional right. But if government-funded scholarships are made available, students should have the right to use the scholarship towards tuition at a school of their own choosing, be it secular or religious.

The Blaine Amendment’s hostility towards religion is an unnecessary and unconstitutional obstacle to children having a better education and reaching their God-given potential. The U.S. Supreme Court should recognize this fact and declare the Blaine Amendment unconstitutional.

Originally published here.


This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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