Why Blue States Are Legalizing Kidnapping
The State of Washington recently made news with legislation allowing the state to give so-called “gender affirming care” to minors who run away from home. “Permissible interventions” include surgeries to cut off the children’s genitalia. Perhaps the most outrageous part of the legislation is that it specifically allows the state to withhold information from parents about what’s happening to their child. The bill does not admit it legalizes kidnapping, but if you’re the parent who is looking for your child — and the state knows where that child is and won’t tell you — it’s going to feel an awful lot like kidnapping.
To be fair, it’s not entirely unprecedented for the state to make decisions they believe are in the best interest of children without approval from parents. However, until recently, it was not allowed unless the parents were declared unfit. These days, the only thing parents need to do to demonstrate unfitness is to disagree with progressive politicians.
Washington State is not the only place to legalize this kind of kidnapping. California is on the verge of passing a law allowing officials to take temporary custody of any child — even if they don’t live in California — for the purpose of making them look like the opposite sex. In addition, a bill like Washington’s is currently moving through the Minnesota legislature as well. On a related note, the state of Oregon told a Christian mother, Jessica Bates, she could not adopt children unless she agrees to “respect, accept, and support” a child’s claimed sexual orientation or gender identity. If denying that boys can become girls disqualifies you from parenting your own children, of course you can’t be trusted to take care of orphans.
As troubling as this is, there’s much more to the story. A world that believes truth is flexible and personal asserts that living authentically is the only path to happiness. Authentic living mostly involves obeying your feelings, specifically when it comes to your identity and who you have sex with. The only thing as important as obeying your feelings is making sure you cheer loudly when other people obey their feelings. This message is being carried in virtually every cultural institution.
Much of corporate America has already drunk the Kool-Aid. Bud Light, which once appealed to Americana with Clydesdales and American flags, now uses a guy dressed like Audrey Hepburn to sell beer to truck drivers. Good luck with that. Nike is using the same man to advertise sports bras to women; anything to ameliorate the gods of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
The media, of course, carries the message with enthusiasm. They have no hesitations about turning off customers; they understand that any customers who would be offended should be banished to outer darkness and not included in focus groups. The media are the true believers.
Educational institutions have been co-opted as well. Colleges allow men to own women’s athletic records and government run elementary schools tell their teachers they must lie about the sex of their students if the students ask them to. The weird schools are the ones that won’t tell children you can be anything you want. Even the military spends an unusual amount of time on sexual and racial identity politics.
Standing in the way of a cultural monopoly for the sexual revolution are two institutional holdouts: the family and the church. This is part of the reason the hostility toward each of these institutions is likely to intensify in the years to come. Of course, there are plenty of families and churches that are fully cooperative with the sexual revolution, but if it weren’t for the family and the church, no one would have any idea that we haven’t always believed men can get pregnant.
Once upon a time, in a land far away, we thought differently. We believed four-year-olds needed to be trained, not obeyed, and we thought the family was the best place to train them. We believed parents had the best interest of their children in mind and were the best people to help children grow to become virtuous, self-controlled, contributing members of society. We believed the church played the same critical role for people of all ages. We believed the family and the church were critical, not to helping people obey their feelings, but to helping them understand why they shouldn’t.
But times have changed. What we once understood as formation is now seen as oppression, so the critical work of the family and church is now seen as an effort to prevent a child from living as their “authentic selves.” This is why Washington State just passed a bill allowing them to kidnap children from parents who dare suggest the feelings of their 13-year-old might not be permanent.
It isn’t just that sexual revolutionaries think parents are a danger to their children, they believe the nuclear family is an obstacle to the utopia that can only exist once everyone thinks and acts just as they do. Until the family has been completely subjugated to the state (which the sexual revolutionaries should control, of course), children can’t be happy. So, as bad as legalizing kidnapping for the purpose of cutting off a child’s genitals is, there’s more where this came from. A lot more. After all, there are children to save … from their parents.
Joseph Backholm is Senior Fellow for Biblical Worldview and Strategic Engagement at Family Research Council.