In case you’re wondering what Republican lawmakers are up to since they obviously aren’t interested in dealing with the pandemic or fighting corruption or helping people, North Dakota State Rep. Terry B. Jones just filed a batshit crazy bill, HB 1476 that denounces LGBTQ people while rewriting the entire dictionary on how the state should even deal with their issues.
Four pages of the 10-page bill involve defining terms in a way that plays to conservative Christian hate speech:
“Drag queen story time” means a nonsecular event where men dress up as women and display an inherently sexualized performance targeting minors with the purpose of promoting and normalizing the faith-based beliefs and practices that stem from the secular humanist religion. The term describes an event that targets children and promotes licentiousness in attempts to justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of the state from the reasonable observer perspective.
Anyone who has been to a Drag Queen Story Time event knows there’s nothing sexual about it. They read books to kids. That’s it. It’s family-friendly.
“Nonsecular self-asserted sex-based identity narrative” means an unproven faith-based identity implicitly religious moral stance that is not predicated on self-evident neutral truth and is a story that provides the individual with a sense of purpose and serves as a commentary on sexual practices, sexual preference, faith, morality, and life. The term includes expressions and speech that are controversial, sexualized, questionably moral, questionably plausible, and have a tendency to erode community standards of decency and promote licentiousness.
That’s a very long way of saying “transgender people are making it up.”
“Nonsecular marriage” means any form of so-called marriage which does not involve a man and a woman and is inseparably linked to the religion of secular humanism. The term refers to so-called marriages between more than two people, persons of the same sex, a person and an animal, or a person and an object.
He’s just linking together same-sex marriage with bestiality and… marrying your computer or something. In Jones’ view, only straight, cis marriages count — and everything else is heresy linked to the “religion” of secular humanism.
His definition of “secular humanism,” by the way, is just as crazy:
The term includes a belief system that is centered on the unproven assumptions there are no moral absolutes and no one moral doctrine should be used as the superior basis for law and policy. The term includes a series of unproven faith-based assumptions and naked assertions that suggest that morality and truth are man made conventions and that at the heart of liberty is man’s ability to define his own meaning of the universe. The term refers to a religion that tends to promote licentiousness and to justify practices that are inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state. The term refers to the belief that man is merely a bundle of chemicals, animated pieces of meat, or accidental particles, and that nature is all there is…
Considering we recently saw Christian extremists attacking the Capitol, the claim that atheists hold views that “promote licentiousness” and threaten the “peace and safety of the state” is just deranged.
The definitions go on like that for a while. But to what end? What does this bill actually do?
Simply put, it would prohibit the state from acknowledging or assisting LGBTQ people in any way by saying that doing so would be an unconstitutional endorsement of their “religion” of secular humanism.
That means no marriage licenses for same-sex or trans couples.
That means no public money for anything that acknowledges LGBTQ people, covers a sex-change operation, or blocks “conversion therapy.”
That means it would be illegal for the state to put up a Pride flag.
That means it would be illegal to change the gender on a trans person’s driver’s license or birth certificate.
That means it would be illegal to put a trans inmate in the appropriate prison ward.
That means no trans people can play on the appropriate sports team or use the right locker room.
That means “mandating pronoun changes” would also be prohibited.
What about sex education? Jones says any curriculum that includes acknowledging LGBTQ people could not be taught in public schools unless parents give explicit permission “in writing” and the school tells them the content “could expose their child to licentiousness and one particular religious worldview.”
It’s all just a conservative Christian bigot’s fever dream. A similar resolution with much of the same language was introduced in West Virginia last year and got nowhere. Other bills in other states using the same template have also referred to same-sex marriages as “parody marriages.”
This is what Republicans are doing with their power. They’re using it to hurt as many people as possible under the assumption that a traditional conservative Christian view of the world is the only appropriate one. Everyone else is inherently practicing a different religion and therefore, ironically, violating the separation of church and state by asking the government to give them equal rights.
Even in North Dakota, a bill like this probably won’t get anywhere. But it still means Republican politicians are using their time to spread faith-based hate.
Incidentally, Jones made news last week by introducing a different bill that would force state agencies to list “American” as a race, adding that Black people were “glad their ancestors were brought here as slaves.”