Rather than recount individual developments, I want to remark upon a few trends I have noticed. Perhaps these remarks might provide “talking points” when you are confronting arguments nowadays equating liberty for women with women’s (and girls!) sexual license.
First: the Obama administration is not relenting in its push to force religious institutions to provide “free” contraception and early abortifacients in their health insurance plans, despite mostly losing to religious plaintiffs in lawsuits from coast to coast. In a few weeks, I’ll have a (HUGE) law review article published describing how the federal government has never articulated the link between “free” contraception and women’s health. I’ll share it as soon as I can. It is clear that the government’s position is born of an ideology about “freedom,” not reason.
The Becket Fund (religious liberty law firm) has a wonderful summary of the litigation here:
Second: I was at the U.N. for the Commission on the Status of Women meeting, which, this year, was supposed to focus on stopping violence against women, globally. The final product is here:
Some good—even very good—statements were made about women’s dignity and the obvious necessity of stopping all violence against women; but it is also true to say that the negotiations were characterized by wealthier nations’ continually pushing against the objections of less privileged and more religious nations, for women’s “sexual rights,” and the idea that sexual identity is completely self-made/self-constructed. Privileged nations also ensured that the final document contained no mention of a “right to life and security of person,” – even as applied to born women!! – nor to women’s right of religious freedom. They claimed, falsely, that more religious delegates even wanted to allow violence if done in the name of religion. The New York Times repeated this lie, and refused to retract it when presented with the evidence; they only published my letter to the editor, here:
It is overwhelming to see such a powerful news outlet lie, and to be at their mercy when it comes to setting the record straight.
Finally, I recently met with a renowned Mormon scholar on international religious freedom. He recounted how often he is now hearing the argument that sexual rights trump religious freedom. This insistence is a global phenomenon indeed. If you like, I will send you some recent – and longer – intelligent literature on this. What can we do?
- Be willing to articulate the MEANING and IMPORTANCE of religious freedom to us in our daily lives and in the lives of our families. Write about it in “first person” when you get the chance, because I think people don’t understand as easily, how believing in God, and living as if God really exists shapes our lives in ways that benefit us, and our little communities, and large nation.
- Be willing to explain why sexual expression is too important to be reduced to the level of a brief entertainment. Sex – whether we intend it or not – forms a relationship. And it makes human life itself. When its power is forgotten, women are its first victims, along with children. This is simply true at the level of data.
At this holy time of Easter and Passover, may you be blessed with peace, hope, and (my favorite….) a passion for spreading the truth!