I touched on this last week in my post on civility and decency in public discourse, but since our debouched overlords are not likely to have read my blog post or decided to repent yet, I want to send up another flare. So what’s the big deal? Why should Christians be bothered by Drag Queen Story Hour at the local library? And even more pointedly, why should Christians ask their civil magistrates to protect the public square from sodomite parades, prostitution, porn shops, and these drag queen potty hours? Why should these things not be protected forms of free speech? And how is pushing to ban these public obscenities not a form of religious persecution?
No one believes that anyone can just do anything in public. There are still laws in most cities against indecent exposure. Despite periodic topless protests to the contrary, most cities still have ordinances requiring a bare minimum of coverage. Why? Because public nudity is indecent. It is not in the interest of public good. It is obscene. It is offensive. But isn’t this discriminating against people who feel they have the right to be nude in public? Yes, it is. But laws by definition discriminate. They discriminate between actions that are allowed and actions that are not allowed. They are indiscriminate in that they apply to everyone in the city limits or in the county or state of jurisdiction. They discriminate between what is considered conducive to the public good and not conducive to the public good. Examples could also include sound ordinances, speed limits, and zoning restrictions. My freedom of expression is limited by all of these things all day long. I may not play my favorite Mark Knopfler song above a certain decibel level at 2am. I cannot drive the speed that feels most free to me. Nor may I build whatever my heart desires in certain sections of the city. I am not free to express myself in any way I wish. And while I happen to believe that many of these ordinances have gone overboard into realms of oppression and tyranny, I also maintain a fundamental respect for the principle of protecting the public good.
My problem is that in many cities the public good is no longer actually being protected from profanity and obscenity, the latest wave being the Drag Queen Story hour sewage sweeping the nation. The reason this sort of thing should be banned is because it is an unsightly assault on the eyes to be subjected to ugly men in dresses. And on top of that, it is also perverse and obscene. These things should be banned by city ordinance for the same reason that loud music at 2am is banned and indecent exposure is banned. It is indecent and toxic for a sexually confused man to be allowed access to children while wearing a tutu and eye shadow. Particularly, in our so-called #metoo moment, which claims to have concern for victims of sexual abuse, this is pure and utter insanity (the silence of the #metoo crowd on Drag Queen story hour is deafening). But just read any of the literature on sexual abuse, and the common theme you will find is that most sexual abuse occurs in contexts of trust. Predators are usually well-known friends or family members who exploit relationships of trust. And then, in a context of trust, the predator slowly grooms his victims. And he does this by slowly but surely transgressing certain boundaries in order to normalize them, in order to wear down natural resistance or embarrassment or repulsion. While public libraries have long since given up their positions of trust, they are still publicly advertising to be such places, what do they call them? Safe spaces? Many cities are panic stricken at the thought of fourth or fifth hand smoke drifting in the air within six city blocks of a child. But cities will stand by while creeps cosy up to their kids?
The same thing goes for laws against prostitution, pornography, and gayshame parades. These are not merely sins — they are also a public menace. They are public blasphemies, public obscenities, public profanities, and they are acts of public grooming. We are allowing sexual predators to advertise, normalize, and seduce the weak, the vulnerable, and frequently our youth. But of course all of this assumes a morality, a standard, and the libertarian impulse inside most conservative people triggers at the thought of handing weapons to the enemy. If the civil magistrate is allowed to ban Drag Queens and sodomite parades what will stop them from banning public evangelism or protesting abortion clinics? Well, nothing will stop them except virtue and a generally virtuous society. But notice our inconsistency: who balks at the criminalization of murder, worried that someone might use that power to ban Christian churches? Who balks at criminalization of rape or indecent exposure, worried that some punk politician will leverage those laws against Christians? Could they? Sure. What stops them? A general respect for virtue, righteousness, goodness. This is why it matters who you elect, why it matters who is put on your city council, county commission, state house, etc. But the myth of neutrality is a sucker punch that keeps on giving (bruises). You cannot build a virtuous society out of non-virtuous bricks. You cannot insist that everyone make room for a virtue-free zone and then wait for everyone to grow virtuous backbones. The neutrality myth and all attempts at value-free public square are scams made up by the enemies of God and freedom to fool gullible Christians. We are like Charlie Brown agreeing to let Lucy hold the football for us one more time, while she promises to hold it there for us, swearing by all the gods of neutrality she will not pull it away this time. Heh. Don’t we know better yet?
Christians must insist on virtue in the public square within the limits of God’s word. Certain virtues are given to the Church to proclaim and protect, others are given to the family and individuals to teach and enforce, but some are given to the civil magistrate. His job is to punish evil doers and provide for the common defense of the people, and to praise the righteous (Rom. 13:3-4). And this includes upholding God’s law that it is an abomination for men to wear women’s clothing (Dt. 22:5). An abomination is something that defiles the land; an abomination is a public menace. Christian magistrates who are committed to submitting to God’s limitations on the spheres of government will of necessity be working to deregulate a ton of the totalitarian gunk the soft-socialists have imposed on us over the last number of decades. But this is not so that we may return to some sort of blank and deregulated neutral zone. No, it is so we may worship and serve the Lord Jesus, which means there are certain regulations and laws which must be upheld in the name of Jesus, namely prohibiting public blasphemy, obscenity, and grooming.