- - Saturday, March 7, 2020

Over the course of the past two weeks, while Michael Bloomberg was spending more than $600 million to get, oh, about two votes, and while Joe Biden was trying to remember how to put on his socks, the Oklahoma State House of Representatives moved a bill out of committee known as HB2790 by a vote of 14-0.  

Now before you stop reading because you’re thinking, “Who cares about what’s happening in Oklahoma?” let me cut to the chase. Who should care? You should. And here’s why. 

Oklahoma is the reddest of the red states. During the last three presidential elections, not one county in the entire state was blue. In 2008, John McCain received 65.65 percent of the vote, while Barack Obama earned only 34.35 percent. Mitt Romney swept the state in 2012, with 66.77 percent. President Obama took only 33.23 percent.

And in 2016, Donald Trump easily carried Oklahoma with 65.3 percent. Hillary Clinton received 28.9 percent, and Gary Johnson got 5.75 percent. At present, 75 percent of the Oklahoma State House of Representatives is Republican, and more than 79 percent of the state Senate is likewise. Republicans hold both the governor’s and the lieutenant governor’s offices.

Here’s the point: You can’t get more conservative than Oklahoma. And with that as context, it’s fair to say that if something foolishly liberal is happening here, you might want to sit up and take notice. Because if it’s happening in Oklahoma today, you can bet your bottom dollar it will be happening in your own backyard tomorrow.   

So, back to Oklahoma’s House Bill 2790. What is it? What does it do, and why should you care?  

In laymen’s terms, HB2790 requires all state boards and commissions that oversee child welfare services to give preference to at least one member who “self-identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender non-binary, or gender non-conforming among other preferred traits.” 

This is a terrible idea, and it would be a terrible law for the following reasons. 

First, HB2790 elevates a specific group of people to official minority status based on subjective feelings rather than biological facts. This would be the first time Oklahoma has ever embraced such an emotive rather than empirical definition of what it means to be a legally recognized minority class. The consequences of such subjectification of human identity are predictable and dire. 

For example, this law would open up a Pandora’s Box of endless demands for minority recognition. Everyone should be asking, “what’s next?” Minority status for those inclined to polymorphism? How about those who identify as inclined to adult incest? What about the guy who is “minor-attracted?” And why not include minority recognition for adulterers, philanderers, cheaters and liars?

Or those who identify as “trans-racial?” Or the growing group of people who now claim to be “trans-abled?” Why not include anyone and everyone who defines themselves by any given desire, feeling, passion or proclivity? Why stop with LGBTQ? There are so many more letters in the alphabet to consider. 

Second, HB2790 would elevate preference above reality as the defining predicate for what it means to be a human being and a minority. Membership on state boards and commissions would be granted because of the kind of sex a person says they prefer rather than one’s objective gender, race or nationality. Everyone with an ounce of common sense should be asking why someone’s sexual appetite would ever take precedent over someone else’s real minority status, such as Asian, Hispanic, Jewish, African-American or Native American? 

Third, HB2790 is merely the first step in marginalizing evangelical Christians, Catholics, Mormons, Jews and Muslims who believe sexual behavior is a moral discussion. Why not give preferential consideration to these religious groups for committee membership rather than to someone simply based on the kind of sex they claim to enjoy? Doesn’t the U.S. Constitution protect religious conviction and expression first and foremost? Even above sexual license? 

Fourth, HB2790 furthers the exploitation of children. This bill shamelessly treats our youngest boys and girls as little more than lab rats in our arrogant race to create Huxley’s “Brave New World.” Our job should be to protect the innocence of our children, not experiment with them in our grisly games of moral nihilism and sexual politics.  

Finally, HB2790 is an egregious compromise of women and women’s rights. In principle and practice, it denies that women are even real. It denies the biological fact of the female. It denies women their own showers, their own restrooms and their own sports. It takes away their privacy, their dignity and even their identity. This bill actually “black-faces” women by mocking them as little more than a cartoonish construct — a fantasy and a fabrication — rather than an ontological fact. 

HB2790 is a terrible bill and would be a terrible law. It is nothing short of blatant misogyny, child abuse and racism.  

And this is happening in Oklahoma, the reddest of red states. If it is happening to us, it is happening to you.

Remember the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. “Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.” It is high time to speak and to act. Otherwise, human dignity and freedom are lost.

• Everett Piper, former president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, is a columnist for The Washington Times and author of “Not A Day Care: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” (Regnery 2017).

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