Transgender America Fights Back
The Wall Street Journal’s Stephanie Armour and Jathon Sapsford report that while Republicans in 21 states have enacted bans on medical interventions for transgender youth, 14 governors on the other side of the aisle have signed legislation or executive orders allowing transgender families to take sanctuary in their states. Last year, after Texas’ child welfare agency began investigating parents who provide gender-affirming care to their children, one parent sent her children to school with the name and number of their family lawyer. “This shouldn’t be happening to us,” their mother said. Last year, PRRI found 68% of Americans believe there is a lot of discrimination against transgender people.
Something Deeply Un-American Is Happening in Oklahoma
At The New York Times, Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State writes about the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board’s recent decision to approve the nation’s first religious public charter school. Despite Oklahoma law stipulating that charter schools must be “nonsectarian,” St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School is scheduled to open in 2024. Oklahoma’s current attorney general called the charter school board’s decision “unconstitutional” and said Christian nationalism is behind this attempt to “eviscerate the establishment clause.” PRRI finds that less than a third of Americans (30%) agree with the statement “Being Christian is an important part of being truly American.”
New Louisiana Laws Go Into Effect in August
Carlie Kollath Wells for Axios reports on the dozens of new bills now in effect in the state of Louisiana affecting education, law enforcement, healthcare and more. In the sphere of public education, SB 7 prohibits children from checking out “sexually explicit” books from public libraries, though most books mentioned are LGBTQ+ materials, and HB 8 requires all K-12 classrooms to display “In God We Trust.” Another law that passed during this past legislative session, but won’t go into effect until 2024, is HB 648 which bans gender-affirming healthcare for those under 18. PRRI finds that less than half of Americans (43%) agree that “young people are being peer pressured into being transgender,” although this belief diverges on partisan lines with nearly three-quarters of Republicans (74%) agreeing.
Joseph L. Kimmel of The Conversation describes the newest presentation of Jesus for the digital age: AI. Viewers can go onto the Twitch channel “ask_jesus” and ask a chatbot Jesus questions ranging from how to interpret the Bible to finding motivation to exercise. Reinterpreting Jesus to fit the modern day context isn’t new: 19th century Americans wanted to reflect the masculine expectations of the time so they put more emphasis on his physical prowess, Indian theologians represented Jesus as a Hindu mystic, and Dr. James Cone depicted Jesus as Black to emphasize the oppression he faced. In recent months, AI spirituality has led to sermons preached by ChatGTP and the creation of Buddhist chatbots in both Thailand and Japan.
Read PRRI’s spotlight “‘Identity Politics’ and Transgender Equality” survey here.