Goya Outrage Not Worth a Hill of Beans
It was the kind of program that, ordinarily, liberals would cheer. To hear them tell it, expanding the opportunities for minorities has always been their party’s idea. But when President Trump took a stab at it, announcing a business and educational project aimed directly at Hispanic people, the Left wasn’t about to cut him some slack. And worse than that, they’re out to destroy anyone who does.
For Goya CEO Robert Unanue, Thursday’s executive order had been a long time coming. Like most Hispanic Americans, he was eager to work with the administration to improve his community’s way of life. When President Trump invited him to join his Hispanic Prosperity Initiative, he eagerly accepted. And, at the signing ceremony, he praised Trump, saying, “We are all truly blessed … to have a leader like President Trump who is a builder. We have an incredible builder, and we pray. We pray for our leadership, our president.”
No sooner had he spoken the words than the cancel culture, led by ring leaders like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), started the hashtag #BoycottGoya. To Unanue, who pointed out that he’d done an event at the White House with Michelle Obama too, the backlash was unbelievable.
“You’re allowed to talk good or talk praise to one president but… you make a positive comment, all the sudden that’s not acceptable,” Unanue told Fox News. “If you’re called by the president of the United States, you’re going to say, ‘No, I’m sorry, I’m busy, no thank you?’ I didn’t say that to the Obamas, and I didn’t say that to President Trump.”
Asked if he would apologize for the comments, Unanue said absolutely not. In fact, he made his feelings clear a liberal boycott was just another attempt at “suppression of speech.” And he’s right. These same people who claim to care about minorities – phonies like AOC and her followers – have never given two figs about real America. If they did, they’d have set aside their political agendas long enough to realize that Unanue is no enemy. They’d have seen that Goya – the same company they’ve decided to blacklist – just pledged to donate two million cans of food to needy U.S. families. And instead of applauding that – or, frankly, just remaining silent – they did what liberals do: proved they care more about politics than people.
The cancel culture is absolutely out of control. This is a man who simply said good about Trump, and what are the mobs doing? Threatening to take down his brand. We might as well be back in the French Revolution, lining people up in the guillotine yard. As Americans, we can’t afford to be passive about this leftist revolutionary agenda. Fortunately, there are men of conviction like Robert Unanue who refuse to bend to the angry fringe. But there are far more, NRO’s editors warn, “[who] believe they can pacify the mob by throwing it a sacrificial lamb or two. In that, they are mistaken.” There is no appeasement. There is only courage or surrender. And only one will guarantee that our country and freedom survive.
Originally published here.
Irreversible Damage: A Warning We Can’t Ignore
“They are our future, these girls. If we don’t safeguard them and give them a promising [life], we have no future.”
One by one, they started calling. These weren’t conservative parents or even particularly religious ones – some were liberal, progressive, “open-minded” moms and dads desperate for help. Their stories, Abigail would find out, were eerily the same. Their daughters had started hanging out with friends who’d decided to come out as transgender together. Suddenly, these sweet teenage girls – who’d never shown a hint of gender confusion – were demanding breast reduction, hormone treatments, new names and pronouns – and their parents were beside themselves for someone to intervene. No one, they found out quickly, would.
Abigail hadn’t planned on telling their stories. That all changed when a mom tracked her down at the Wall Street Journal and said, “I can’t get any journalists to take this on, but my daughter… decided with her friends out of nowhere that she was transgender. And they’re all pursuing hormones and surgeries together. It doesn’t seem right. I’m a progressive person, [but] this doesn’t seem like it fits her at all. She had no childhood history.” Abigail tried, initially, to get another investigative journalist to cover it. She couldn’t. So she started looking into it herself and found out that this mother was right – there were thousands of parents all across the country who were experiencing the same thing: girls coming out with their friends under social media’s influence.
When she wrote a column about it, Abigail told “Washington Watch’s” Sarah Perry, “It sort of exploded. It was the biggest article in the mainstream media about this phenomenon. And all of the sudden, parents from all over the country and actually all over the [Western world] were writing to me to tell me that this was happening to their daughters, too.” At that point, Abigail decided, she couldn’t turn back. Two hundred interviews later, she’s published a book: Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters. And if its revelations don’t rattle a reader’s world, I’m not sure know what will.
She talks about researchers like Dr. Lisa Littman, an OB-GYN now working at Brown University. Littman, she said, is a “progressive, [so] she doesn’t have a political axe to grind here… She just noticed [as] she was scrolling through her social media feed that it didn’t make sense that so many adolescent girls were coming out as transgender with their friends.” She decided to investigate, since true gender dysphoria, she knew, was “a very, very rare condition of discomfort in one’s biological sex. It’s extremely rare – .01 percent, so one hundredth of one percent.” Turns out, her hunch was right. These girls weren’t doubting their biological sex, they were “sharing and spreading their pain.”
Littman’s statistics, meanwhile, shocked everyone. In friend groups where one girl identified as transgender, the prevalence rate was 70 times what would be expected. “Which meant,” Abigail explained, “that this was a lot more like anorexia.” In the same way eating disorders spread or cutting or other peer pressures this wasn’t a gender issue. This was a social contagion. What they have, she said, “is a lot of anxiety and, in some cases depression… So the transition does not alleviate their distress.” Which would explain the high levels of regret from them later on in life.
It’s one of the reasons, Littman, Abigail, and others deep in this world of debate, are pleading with the medical and therapy communities to stop fast-tracking these radical interventions like puberty blockers. “These girls are self-indoctrinating,” Abigail insists, “[thinking] that if they just try it, all their problems will go away.” And it’s not just the medical community who are reinforcing that lie, she warns. It’s the education system. “[The] part of the book that I’m proudest of is my investigation into the California public school system,” Abigail explains, “because I was able to learn that the gender identity indoctrination is so radical and so thorough – it begins in kindergarten.” California’s activists, she warns, are very clever. “They took [gender identity] out of sexual education curriculum, so your parents are not even aware it’s there. It’s not part of the curriculum they’re allowed to opt out of. And they put it in anti-bullying curriculum. So, of course, most parents don’t want to take their kids out of the anti-bullying program, and they can’t.”
She’s talked to parents who’ve flat-out asked their schools, “‘What’s the policy if my kid were to decide she’s a boy?’ And at least in in California public schools – and I’ve heard from New York [and] New Jersey parents – the policy is not to inform the parents. And this applies to kids who are 12 years old. So, very often, I will talk to parents who say that their daughter went a whole year being addressed as a boy and talked about as a boy and [using] the boys’ bathroom [at school], and the parent didn’t even know.”
Don’t think it can’t happen to your daughter, she says. It can. But there are things every parent can do. Pay attention to your kids’ friend groups. “It becomes very trendy to come out as one of these exotic identifications and want to change your body. Then, their friends are more likely to do it as well. But the thing to really look for is the social media indoctrination. That’s a big one if they’re spending a lot of time online. And the last thing is: find out what gender ideology is being pushed in your child’s school.” Or, I would argue, reconsider if public school is even the right decision at all. With the virus forcing families to take a long hard look at learning, maybe now is the time to make a move away from these dangerous and destructive influences.
Originally published here.
SCOTUS Delivers Wins for Religious Liberty
Wednesday, the Supreme Court delivered two noteworthy victories for religious liberty. In Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, the court upheld a Trump administration policy protecting conscience and religious freedom in the context of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). In Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, the court robustly defined the First Amendment rights of religious schools and institutions to determine who will teach and defend the tenets of their faith.
The first case is a saga that stretches back nearly a decade. Under the ACA, employers had been required to provide “preventative care and screening,” which had been interpreted by the Obama administration to include some abortion-causing drugs and services. As a religious organization, the Little Sisters of the Poor raised a conscientious objection to this mandate on the grounds that it contradicted the religious beliefs of the group. Threatened by tens of millions of crushing fines and harassed by those who desired to destroy the right to freely live out one’s faith and moral beliefs, the group received a victory in 2017 when the Trump administration decided that it would reverse the oppressive policies of the previous administration and not force entities to cover abortion-causing drugs and related services in violation of their consciences.
As the court observed, “for the past seven years,” the Little Sisters, “like many other religious objectors who have participated in the litigation and rulemakings leading up to [this] decision – have had to fight for the ability to continue in their noble work without violating their sincerely held religious beliefs.” Wednesday, the court vindicated their fight.
In the 7-2 opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas, the majority ruled that, “[…] the plain language of the statute clearly allows” the Trump administration to do this and promulgate protections under “religious and moral exemptions.” As FRC’s Travis Weber told me on Washington Watch, the “opinion said basically the government had the statutory authority to issue this rule under the Affordable Care Act and related regulations and related laws.” Further, the administration properly followed the Administrative Procedure Act. In addition to delivering a substantial win for religious liberty, the fact that seven justices agreed the administration acted properly affirms the legitimacy of the religious freedom policies the administration had advanced here.
In Our Lady of Guadalupe School, the court outlined First Amendment protections for religious liberty that will have important implications in the years ahead. The case arose because a teacher claimed she was improperly fired from a religious school. Yet as the court noted in an opinion joined by seven justices, religious entities must be the ones to determine who transmits their religious beliefs – the government cannot meddle here. As Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “[s]tate interference in that sphere would obviously violate the free exercise of religion, and any attempt by government to dictate or even to influence such matters would constitute one of the central attributes of an establishment of religion. The First Amendment outlaws such intrusion.”
But which employees carry on the faith of such institutions? As Travis observed, rather than just look at their titles, “the court quite rightly digs down deep, more deeply and says you have to look at what the person does, what the employee does for the institution, whether their role is one in which they’re entrusted with carrying forth the doctrines of the institution or the school and says, look, if they are, the school can determine or the religious institution can determine to fire them.”
Exactly right. More of such protections will be needed in the years ahead. In this case, as well as the first, the Trump administration’s policies and positions advanced through the Department of Justice were vindicated at the court. Both of President Trump’s appointments to the court were on the right side of the cases, and Justice Gorsuch joined strong concurrences in both cases (one authored by Justice Alito and the other by Justice Thomas). Alarmingly, Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor offered words of disdain and hostility to religious belief and dissented in both cases.
Even in the courts, religious liberty hangs in the balance. For those who say elections don’t matter in such cases, they need to think again.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.