Driving kids to Vacation Bible School would become a misdemeanor in Nebraska if a recent proposal by Nebraska Senator Megan Hunt (D) passed into law. Hunt proposed to “amend” a bill that would protect children from adult-themed drag performances (LB371) by striking all the language and replacing it with similar language to bar children from attending a “religious indoctrination camp” instead.
Hunt’s amendment (AM74), filed on January 23, defined a religious indoctrination camp as “a camp, vacation Bible study, retreat, lock-in, or convention held by a church, youth group, or religious organization for the purpose of indoctrinating children with a specific set of religious beliefs.”
The amendment would prohibit anyone under 19 (Nebraska’s age of majority) from attending such a camp and declared anyone 19 or older who “knowingly brings” someone under 19 to a religious indoctrination camp to “be guilty of a Class I misdemeanor.” The amendment would also prohibit anyone under 21 from a “religious indoctrination camp” with alcohol, “regardless if such alcoholic liquor is being served as part of a religious ceremony.” Finally, the amendment slaps a $10,000 fine per offense on “any business, establishment, or nonprofit organization that hosts a religious indoctrination camp” and permits underage persons to attend.
The amendment specifically targets Christian parents, churches, and faith-based organizations in its sweeping ban on virtually all youth outreach efforts — including communion, in some denominations.
The legislator who introduced the amendment said she did it “to make a point.” “It won’t pass,” tweeted Hunt. “I would withdraw it if it had the votes to pass.”
Somehow, she expects others to take her point seriously when she doesn’t even take her own job seriously. But it’s not immediately obvious what point Hunt was trying to make.
One option is that Hunt is legitimately concerned about the safety of children. This option is suggested by the one subsection of her amendment that does not parallel the language of the original bill:
“There is a well-documented history of indoctrination and sexual abuse perpetrated by religious leaders and clergy people upon children. Abusers within churches and other religious institutions often use events like church or youth-group-sponsored camps and retreats to earn children’s trust and gain unsupervised access to such children in order to commit such abuse.”
In other words, because some wolves don sheep’s clothing, Hunt suggests shepherds should never gather the flock. It’s hard to consider this amendment with a straight face. Ultimately, by declaring that she would withdraw the amendment if it stood a chance of passing, Hunt herself admits that child safety isn’t her true motivation.
Another option suggested by this added subsection is that Hunt’s point is mere “whataboutism.” If you think kids are being groomed at drag shows, says Hunt, what about grooming in the church? Sadly, sexual abusers do target children in the church, and every crime is one too many. But Hunt tries to prove more than the evidence will justify. Words such as “well-documented” and “often” imply that everyone knows that abuse is rampant at church camps. But if that were really true, parents would keep their children home. In reality, most church camps come off without incident, and many churches observe child protection policies to prevent abuse. Additionally, the phrase “indoctrination and sexual abuse perpetrated … upon children” insinuates that religious instruction and sexual abuse are 1) equally bad for children and 2) related. Yet not even Hunt attempts to prove that religious instruction harms children. Charity requires us to find this explanation unsatisfactory also.
A third option is that Hunt introduced the amendment to demonstrate a parallel between church camps and drag shows. That may sound surprising — nay, offensive — but it’s actually quite revealing.
Imagine for a moment that the LGBT ideology is really a religion — not an independent religion, mind you, but a photonegative, cult mockery of Christianity. It has its own deity — the self — and core doctrines, such as “identity is self-determined.” It has its own system of positive and negative morality, requiring affirmation and rejecting all constraints on sexual expression. It has its own community, which, like a church community, cares for its own. The parallels could go on.
In this analogy, a religion built around sexual perversion — and therefore hostile to procreation and family — must find some way in which to sustain itself, and it does so by imitating Christian evangelism strategies. Just like a church camp or Vacation Bible School proclaims the gospel and other Christian teaching to children (including some who wouldn’t otherwise hear), so an “all-ages” drag show exposes children (including some who wouldn’t otherwise be exposed) to the doctrine and values of the LGBT religion: sexual promiscuity, defiance of gender norms, and celebration of “uninhibited” self-expression.
LGBT apologists often distinguish themselves by their uncompromising religious fervor, and Ms. Hunt is no exception. In addition to AM 74, Hunt proposed an array of amendments — more creative than sincere — to challenge and parody the drag show bill LB371. One amendment (AM204) ordered that “No manufacturer shall distribute chocolate-coated candy” to minors “without … explicitly identifying the candy’s gender assigned at birth on the packaging.” That amendment is a clear nod to the short-livedM&Ms female “spokescandies” campaign, but it makes no sense in the real world. She introduced two amendments that would forbid minors from watching R-rated movies (AM206) or “any television program depicting sexual themes or violence” (AM178).
In fact, Hunt has introduced ridiculous amendments to numerous bills that would protect children from exposure to the LGBT religion. The Let Them Grow Act (LB574) prohibits the performance of “gender altering procedures” on minors. Hunt introduced an amendment (AM72) to change the phrase to “gender affirming procedures.” She introduced another amendment (AM71) to change the bill so that it prohibited gender altering procedures on “a legislator appointed by the governor.” That amendment takes an ill-informed swipe at the bill’s sponsor, Kathleen Kauth (R), who was appointed by the governor to fill an empty seat before winning reelection in her own right.
Additionally, Hunt proposed an amendment (AM73) to LB575, a women’s sports bill, that would replace the word “violation” with the word “compliance” in a phrase allowing a student to bring “a civil cause of action against the school committing such violation,” which would completely reverse the meaning and contradict the bill’s overall purpose.
Hunt’s progressive activism extends to the abortion issue, too. She has introduced a whopping 34 amendments to mock or derail the Nebraska Heartbeat Act (LB626), including amendments as petty as “Strike the enacting clause” (FA7). You might say that Hunt proposes bill amendments serially, and you’d be correct; her amendments to LB626 bear the filing numbers AM13-AM27, AM29-AM42, and AM59-AM62 (she also filed AM71-AM74 on the gender bills). In fact, of the first 75 amendments to receive an “AM-” number, Senator Hart filed 37 — all goofy.
Hunt has moved to indefinitely table all four bills, LB371, LB 574, LB 575, and LB626. All that means is the legislature will have to vote down that motion before beginning floor debate — a motion that will have little effect if the bill is likely to pass anyways.
It must be hard to serve as a progressive Democratic legislator in a chamber with a permanent Republican majority, but surely Senator Hunt could do better. With all her energy and creativity, there must be some way she can work to improve the lives of her constituents in a way that is respected by her GOP colleagues. Instead, she simply works to gum up the legislative gears with a paste thick with bitter irony. Her pro-LGBT worldview and value system — one might even say, “her religion” — stands so entirely opposed to the state’s conservative majority that she believes obstructionism is the most productive use of her time.
How else do explain an amendment that proposes, instead of barring kids from attending drag performances, let’s ban them from attending Bible camp and VBS instead?