Through the Looking Glass in Boston

Readability

Through the Looking Glass in Boston

Why, some­times I’ve believed as many as six impos­si­ble things before breakfast.”

Queen of Hearts, Alice in Wonderland

When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — nei­ther more nor less.”

Humpty Dumpty, Through the Look­ing Glass

Our Con­sti­tu­tion is meant to pro­vide the frame­work within which a gov­ern­ment that “derives its just pow­ers from the con­sent of the gov­erned” can func­tion to “ensure the bless­ings of lib­erty to our­selves and our pos­ter­ity.” Of course, our soci­ety is ordered to pro­vide another insti­tu­tion apart from gov­ern­ment to pro­tect our pos­ter­ity: the fam­ily. As soci­ety has rec­og­nized for mil­len­nia, the fam­ily unit serves the invalu­able pur­pose (one of many) of pro­vid­ing par­ents to pro­tect chil­dren from, among other things, mak­ing bad deci­sions that could have life­long consequences.

In Mass­a­chu­setts, we do not allow a child to drive until he or she is at least 16, to vote or serve in the mil­i­tary until 18, or to drink alco­hol until 21. We all agree that chil­dren are not able to make impor­tant deci­sions for them­selves until their brains and bod­ies have matured enough and they have expe­ri­enced enough in life to have the proper con­text in which to eval­u­ate con­se­quences. So how is it pos­si­ble that the Leg­is­la­ture is debat­ing a bill that would give pre­pu­bes­cent chil­dren the legal abil­ity to decide that they are the “wrong” gender?

There are actu­ally two iden­ti­cal bills being debated by the Joint Com­mit­tee on Chil­dren, Fam­i­lies and Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties, Sen­ate Bill 62 and House Bill 1190, both titled “An Act rel­a­tive to abu­sive prac­tices to change sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and gen­der iden­tity in minors.” Now, of course, no one is in favor of “abu­sive prac­tices” used on chil­dren, no mat­ter what the cir­cum­stances, but the bills’ sup­port­ers, based on their tes­ti­mony from last week, seem to think that any coun­sel­ing aimed at help­ing chil­dren who suf­fer from gen­der dys­pho­ria or homo­sex­ual attrac­tion is, by def­i­n­i­tion, abusive.

As Andrew Beck­with, pres­i­dent of the Mass­a­chu­setts Fam­ily Insti­tute, has cor­rectly pointed out, if the pro­po­nents are con­cerned about the use of elec­troshock ther­apy or other clearly abu­sive prac­tices, then the bill should out­law those ther­a­pies explic­itly. But to claim that coun­sel­ing a child to feel com­fort­able in his own body is abu­sive, while pre­scrib­ing hor­mones that could lead to per­ma­nent ster­il­iza­tion or phys­i­cally muti­lat­ing a healthy body is not, is just Mad-​Hatter-​crazy. This bill is set up to do the exact oppo­site of what its spon­sors falsely claim it is intended to do.

So we find our­selves fac­ing the very real pos­si­bil­ity that the leg­is­la­ture will pass a bill that severely lim­its the rights of par­ents to decide what is best for their chil­dren, and the Free Speech and Reli­gious Lib­erty rights of coun­selors and pas­tors who would seek to help chil­dren escape from these mis­guided feel­ings, even if the feel­ings are unwanted. I have a source in the State House who tells me that the com­mit­tee chair is dis­in­clined to attach a crim­i­nal penalty to the leg­is­la­tion, as if that would some­how make it okay. It would not.

We must oppose this mis­guided bill. If you are a Mass­a­chu­setts cit­i­zen, I urge you to con­tact your State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive and Sen­a­tor to make your voice heard. At least they haven’t yet tried to take that right away from us.

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Queen of Hearts, Alice in Wonderland

“When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

Humpty Dumpty, Through the Looking Glass

Our Constitution is meant to provide the framework within which a government that “derives its just powers from the consent of the governed” can function to “ensure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” Of course, our society is ordered to provide another institution apart from government to protect our posterity: the family. As society has recognized for millennia, the family unit serves the invaluable purpose (one of many) of providing parents to protect children from, among other things, making bad decisions that could have lifelong consequences.

In Massachusetts, we do not allow a child to drive until he or she is at least 16, to vote or serve in the military until 18, or to drink alcohol until 21. We all agree that children are not able to make important decisions for themselves until their brains and bodies have matured enough and they have experienced enough in life to have the proper context in which to evaluate consequences. So how is it possible that the Legislature is debating a bill that would give prepubescent children the legal ability to decide that they are the “wrong” gender?

There are actually two identical bills being debated by the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities, Senate Bill 62 and House Bill 1190, both titled “An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors.” Now, of course, no one is in favor of “abusive practices” used on children, no matter what the circumstances, but the bills’ supporters, based on their testimony from last week, seem to think that any counseling aimed at helping children who suffer from gender dysphoria or homosexual attraction is, by definition, abusive.

As Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, has correctly pointed out, if the proponents are concerned about the use of electroshock therapy or other clearly abusive practices, then the bill should outlaw those therapies explicitly. But to claim that counseling a child to feel comfortable in his own body is abusive, while prescribing hormones that could lead to permanent sterilization or physically mutilating a healthy body is not, is just Mad-Hatter-crazy. This bill is set up to do the exact opposite of what its sponsors falsely claim it is intended to do.

So we find ourselves facing the very real possibility that the legislature will pass a bill that severely limits the rights of parents to decide what is best for their children, and the Free Speech and Religious Liberty rights of counselors and pastors who would seek to help children escape from these misguided feelings, even if the feelings are unwanted. I have a source in the State House who tells me that the committee chair is disinclined to attach a criminal penalty to the legislation, as if that would somehow make it okay. It would not.

We must oppose this misguided bill. If you are a Massachusetts citizen, I urge you to contact your State Representative and Senator to make your voice heard. At least they haven’t yet tried to take that right away from us.