Today in the newsfeed, there was an article in the National Review stating that the GOP State Legislature in Montana actually did something right for a change and passed a comprehensive ban on so-called Drag Queen Story Hours. I realize that it should have been done about ten years ago, but the Legislature's sudden surprising spasm of Manhood deserves some recognition. The bizarre phenomenon known as 'Drag Queen Story Hours' began in the mid-2010s along with the
Deep State's Obama Administration's push for homo 'equality.' Some medical doctors warned that normalizing such behavior could lead to a rise in Sexually-Transmitted diseases. They were run out of the system and the AIDS Epidemic suddenly disappeared from the front pages, and has become something of a Third Rail Topic in that it's considered "unsuitable for any kind of public or academic debate and where offenders are at risk of (usually unspecified) serious adverse consequences."
Psychological theories which opposed the New Normal (on the grounds of decades of actual scientific and clinical research) were cancelled and blacklisted too. What's now known as the 'LGBTQ Orientation' was found to be a curable mental illness up until Scientism and NGO dollars changed the definition. The illness itself is characterized by antisocial behavior, the inability to form healthy relationships with the opposite sex, and proclivities towards violence, depression, addiction, and suicide.
What's happened during the decade or so since we've embraced the New Normal? Well, among people under 25 (who were brought up under the new attitudes) we have skyrocketing rates of novel STDs, gender dysphoria, violence, depression, addiction, suicides, and a high percentage who have no interest in starting or raising families. The reaction of the Whacko Left Wing has been to double-down and call for more of the same, hoping for a different result.
Whenever the Left is confronted with the uncomfortable truth that their settled science isn't working out so well, their knee-jerk reaction is to blame Religious people---Christians in particular. I have to keep from bursting out laughing whenever that gets mentioned. In the Cultural Wars, American churches are about as intimidating as beachfront sand-castles would be to a modern army. It's been said that all churches have three flags: an American flag, a denominational flag, and a White flag that they keep in case of surrender.
A case in point came from Pastor Stephen Underwood, leader of the flock at Central Christian Church in Great Falls, Montana. Reverend Underwood wrote a furious editorial in the Daily Montanan defending Drag Queen Story Hours (yes you read that correctly). He actually claims that the prophets of the Old Testament would approve of such spectacles if they were alive today.
Let's examine some of Underwood's reasoning on this topic. He says: "When I asked my senator if he had ever attended a drag show, he told me that he had not, which I imagine is true of most of the people backing the bill." Typically, that's about as deep an argument as most on the Left need to hear. It's about like a few knee-jerk types on the Right who claim that one can't criticize the Military unless they've 'served.' Fortunately, he does go into some deeper discussion:
"These bills mischaracterize drag as inherently sexual in nature, 'appealing to prurient interest.'" and then goes on to note that if the Legislators would enlighten themselves by attending Drag events, "they might realize that nine times out of 10, particularly in the case of all-ages shows, drag performers have more in common with clowns and ballerinas than with actual adult entertainment performers."
Leaving aside for the moment that the promoters of these events openly admit that grooming and sexualizing children are among their stated goals; this pastor is clearly very ignorant of how children develop sexually. Despite what Postmodern Scientism teaches, boys and girls are born with instinctual sexual drives that in normal development first attaches itself the parent of the opposite sex. With their underdeveloped sense of Reason, they go through a period as toddlers where they act out aggressions against the same-sex parent (e.g. 'The Terrible Twos'). They soon realize around the time they begin interacting with other children that, unlike wild beasts, they can't simply kill their mother or father and have the object of their desire to themselves. In normal development, they soon notice other males and females among their peers and develop 'crushes.'
These 'crushes' seldom end in a glorious romance; and this second disappointment the child faces typically results in bonding with peers of the same sex. This is time before the onset of puberty, and is the time when children are most vulnerable to predatory homosexual grooming. We're talking roughly 3rd-6th grade age here. Most homosexuals, it has been found, never progressed psychologically beyond this stage. Clinical studies show (and most of us can actually observe) that most homosexual patients have the emotional maturity of a typical 9 or 10 year-old.
Transgenderism typically follows a different trajectory, using manifesting itself in puberty. Without going into too much detail here, the major cause of transgenderism comes from a dysfunctional familial or social dynamic where masculinity is depreciated and femininity unduly celebrated. It really has a closer relationship to OCD than to sexual dysfunction and actually had about a 90+% cure rate when psychiatrists were still allowed to treat it.
Comparing drag-queens to clowns and ballerinas is absurd on the face of it. Children are not shocked and confused by seeing such costumes. While they're trying to make sense of their own gender identity, contact with a gender acting completely out of character makes them doubt their own reason because it's obvious---even to children---that males and females are different.
Underwood continues: "The real reason they want to ban drag performances from the public sphere is because drag, emblematic of queerness itself, is a threat to entrenched systems of power...Drag is dangerous for that very reason. It points out the farce of rigid black-and-white—or rather, pink-and-blue—thinking and imagines a rainbow of possibility for God’s beloveds. We really are all born naked, and the rest—as Mama Ru says—is drag."
Thus, after comparing drag queens to clowns, Underwood asserts that gender really isn't defined by much more than what clothes we wear, and then deduces from that premise that God doesn't worry about such things. While I don't think that God considers dressing in a clown suit---or, for that matter a man wearing an expensive suit or a girl in a sleeveless summer dress---as sin; I do believe that God strongly disapproves of wearing disguises to lure impressionable young people and children away from their responsibilities to the opposite sex. In a more enlightened age, such people were known as 'traps'---and with good reason.
Though I'm not quite sure what Underwood means about "threatening entrenched systems of power" the only logical inference that I can draw from this is that he means the traditional, nuclear family. If so, he shows not only an ignorance of how societies actually function but shows an extremely dangerous train of thought. Threats to the family structure are an uncontroverted threat to society itself. This is why legislators have not only the Right, but the Duty, to suppress threats to the family and to encourage their growth and stability. "Public Safety is the First Law" is the ancient maxim upon which all of our laws---including our Constitution---are premised upon. True, in this century that principle has been abused a lot in the name of 'National Security'---even Montana recently banned TikTok on that pretext---but the idea of 'Free Speech' doesn't apply to the case of Drag Queen Story Hours or Pride Parades. This was decided in 1973, in fact, by the United States Supreme Court:
“Whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value...It is neither realistic nor constitutionally sound to read the First Amendment as requiring that the people of Maine or Mississippi accept public depiction of conduct found tolerable in Las Vegas, or New York City.”
Underwood is apparently aware of this difficulty and tries to squirm through it with the sophistry of claiming that drag shows are not only 'works of art' but Biblically-sanctioned as well. "The intersection of artistic expression and social critique terrifies those with vested interests in maintaining authoritarian control." he spouts, "As Bible scholar Walter Brueggemann says in The Prophetic Imagination: 'Every totalitarian regime is frightened of the artist. It is the vocation of the prophet to keep alive the ministry of imagination, to keep on conjuring and proposing futures alternative to the single one the king wants to urge as the only thinkable one.'”
All of which proves that he is as ignorant of Art as he is of Theology. Aside from his ridiculous interpretation of Hebrew Prophets as "performance artists" he fails to grasp that Art is a product of the Imagination. As R.G. Collingwood (a real philosopher) wrote: "A work of art, like any work of the spirit, must be a complete and coherent whole, systematic through and through, and built upon one consistent principle of unity; but the unity is not the same as that of a philosophical theory or an historical narrative, but is the principle of imagination. A philosophical theory must be capable of being conceived as a whole; an historical narrative of being narrated as a whole---that is, being narrated as true---a work of art, of being imagined as a whole." It's not surprising that someone who thinks that gender is only a matter of clothing would fail to grasp the meaning of Art, or of prophecy for that matter.
The troubling thing here vis-a-vis American churches is realizing that Underwood is not some theologian who got his credentials from a shady diploma mill---he holds an M.A. in Divinity from Vanderbilt University, one of America's supposedly 'elite' universities. A specimen of the Theology he apparently learned there reads: "The same people concerned about the psychological damage a child might experience witnessing a man in a colorful dress read a storybook about being kind to people have no problem telling the same child that unless they pledge their eternal servitude to an invisible being who watches their every moment and knows their every thought, they will be tortured for all eternity—out of love." This kind of stupidity hardly needs comment except to say that the Protestants really need to start evaluating the quality of their Divinity schools. Suffice it to say, if this is coming out of Vanderbilt, your churches have a real leadership problem.
The State of Montana---at least on this issue---has taken the correct approach. Hopefully, other States will follow suit and enact sensible legislation