Weekly Review

Outlawing Abstinence, Transgender Troops, Pro-Gay Study Retracted, Abortion and the States, and Remembering Lonnie Frisbee

Abstinence Illegal? The Colorado legislature is considering a bill that not only would emphasize LGBT relationships and safe sex, but would actually make abstinence education illegal. The bill, which is expected to become law this session, would prohibit “shame-based or stigmatizing language,” “religious ideology or sectarian doctrine,” and “gender norms and stereotypes.” All forms of legal contraception must be introduced to the students, and the schools are prohibited from endorsing abstinence as a preferred method of contraception. When a woman becomes pregnant, she should have three options: parenting, abortion, and adoption. These three options must be presented in an “objective, unbiased manner and must not endorse or favor one or more pregnancy outcome options.”

Transgender Troops. With Democrats back in control of the U.S. House of Representatives, transgender activists see an opportunity to advance their ideology. Five transgender U.S. service members testified before Congress last week, telling Congress that transgender should not be an impediment to military service. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., recently introduced a bill in the House that would force the military to accept transgender troops. Under current policy, transgender troops are serving in the military, but in March 2018 the Trump administration proposed new policies to block transgender people from the military. Implementation of that policy has, however, been blocked by lawsuits.

Retracted. Gay people have higher rates of suicide and shorter life expectancy than the population as a whole. Even gay activists acknowledge this tragic reality. A hotly debated question is: Why? A 2014 study by Columbia University researcher Mark Hatzenbuehler purported to show that the reason for these outcomes was the prejudice and bullying gay people received. That study was published in the journal Social Science and Medicine. However, the journal recently retracted that publication. The retraction comes in the aftermath of a paper published in 2016 by University of Texas researcher Mark Regnerus. Regnerus documented his failed attempts to duplicate the Hatzenbuehler study. The Hatzenbuehler study has been retracted due to “an error in the study, which, once corrected rendered the association between structural stigma and mortality risk no longer statically significant in the sample of 914 sexual minorities.”

Fighting for Life in the States. State legislatures continue to prepare for a post Roe v. Wade world by passing legislation either to ban or allow abortion in case the landmark Supreme Court decision is overturned. Moving in the direction of unrestricted abortions in the past week was Rhode Island. That state’s House of Representatives voted 44-30 last Thursday to legalize abortion until birth. The bill allows abortion for any reason up until the point of viability and up to birth if the mother’s life or health are at risk. Also moving in the pro-abort direction was New Mexico. A bill there would protect babies from late-term abortions died in committee, and a bill to legalize abortion passed out of a Senate committee. But all the news is not bad. The House of Representatives in both Tennessee and Georgia passed bills that would protect unborn children from abortion after they have a detectable heartbeat.

Ash Wednesday selfies. Posting Ash Wednesday selfies on social media has apparently become a “thing.” A number of organizations are promoting the practice, encouraging the use of the hastag #ashtag. The irony here is, of course, that the imposition of ashes is to remind us of Christ’s humiliation and our own need to be humble and repentant as we reflect on Christ’s sacrifice and our own rebellious nature. Years ago, I asked a mentor if I should wash the ashes off after the Ash Wednesday service. He said: “If you’re embarrassed by them, leave them on. If you’re proud of them, wash them off.”

Milestones. Evangelical leader and “Jesus Movement” pioneer Lonnie Frisbee died on this date in 1993, of complications related to AIDS. To learn more about this enigmatic figure, sometimes called the “hippie preacher,” click here.


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