“Why should people be ‘god-fearing’ when nonconformists demonstrate that there is nothing to fear?”

Tuesday, Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBT hate group, sent out an email to supporters titled: The wrong pronouns? ADF is attempting to raise money off of Nicholas Meriwether who is suing Shawnee State University in Ohio (Meriwether v. Hartop).

But this time was different. This time, that student approached Dr. Meriwether after class, informed him that he identified as transgender, and demanded that Dr. Meriwether refer to him as a woman, with feminine titles and pronouns. When Dr. Meriwether did not agree, the student became aggressive, circling around him, getting in his face, and even threatening to get Dr. Meriwether fired.

The student then filed a formal complaint with the university, which launched a formal investigation.

What really happened is that Meriwether first went to his union. The union entered into a discussion with the administration and then determined not to bring the matter to arbitration. Meriwether had several discussions with the dean and repeatedly refused to comply.

Moreover, note the conservative Christian bullshit including misgendering the student and the phrase “identified as transgender.” In the real world, in polite society, we refer to that student as a transgender woman. ADF will never do that just as they would be reluctant to refer to someone as a “gay man.” They would usually “a man who [self-] identifies as [homosexual|same-sex-attracted].” ADF’s communications require a libretto to be fully appreciated for their indecency, bigotry and obtuseness.

Immediately following that paragraph is the expected:

You can help defend Dr. Meriwether—and others like him—from unjust punishment. And thanks to a $900,000 matching grant, any gift you give today will be doubled dollar for dollar.

Matching grants are fiction. Not bearing false witness only matters when it is convenient.

Dr. Meriwether is a Christian. He believes that God creates every person as male or female—and God does not make mistakes. To call a man a woman or vice versa would violate his conscience. So Dr. Meriwether offered a compromise. He would refer to this particular student by a first or last name only in an effort to accommodate the student.

Personally I believe that the consumption of shrimp salad wards off evil spirits. But I digress. In practice what this schmuck did was to address every other student as Ms. or Mr. followed by their last name. The transgender woman was referred to only by last name. He singled her out for an expression of disapproval. He also called her “sir” on more than one occasion.

They formally charged Dr. Meriwether—claiming he “created a hostile environment” for the student—and told Dr. Meriwether that he must refer to students with the pronouns of their self-asserted gender identity. Otherwise, Dr. Meriwether would be in violation of the university’s non-discrimination policy.

Note the “self-asserted” crap. Their implication is that gender identity is a choice. It is not. People have a reasonable expectation of being addressed according to their presentation. If in doubt, a simple conversation resolves the matter. Forget workplace policy for a moment. In polite society we address people as they choose to be addressed. A failure to do so is boorish and unnecessary.

University officials are trying to force Dr. Meriwether to embrace and communicate their ideology, even if that means violating his religious beliefs. David, how would you feel if someone tried to force you to speak a message that violated your conscience? Or if someone tried to force you to speak something other than truth?

To answer the rhetorical question, if I found it impossible to comply with workplace policy I would resign. “Violate your conscience” my ass. This is all about approval and disapproval. Meriwether and the folks at ADF find it essential to demonstrate their disapproval at every opportunity.

The currency of religious conservatism is shame. They want to humiliate people into conformity. Their book does not work unless everyone conforms. LGBT people lead perfectly normal, happy and productive lives. They do not get struck by lightning. Why should people be “god-fearing” when nonconformists demonstrate that there is nothing to fear?

These self-righteous fools know that they are driving trans people to self-harm. They are indifferent to the damage that they cause. They then have the opportunity to assert that it was gender affirmation that was responsible. All the while they are claiming to be as kind as Jesus. These are not kind and considerate people; not when they engage in this kind of behavior. These are sanctimonious hypocrites.

Dr. Meriwether refuses to be bullied. That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit against Shawnee State University on his behalf.

No. ADF filed a lawsuit to a) raise money and; b) in an attempt to get a new case before the Supreme Court. Let’s step through this:

  1. The university has a policy requiring personnel to address students according to their gender identity.
  2. Because of the approval/disapproval scheme, adhering to the policy translates to a demonstration of approval.
  3. They are seeking a religious exemption which can only come from the Supreme Court. Defying existing precedent, (Employment Division v. Smith) their wet dream is that such an exemption would apply to every nondiscrimination law in the nation which protects LGBT people.

In the current case at the Southern District of Ohio their primary claim is that requiring proper pronouns is compelled speech which is a First Amendment violation. That’s not going to fly.

In 2006 the Supreme Court ruled in Garcetti v. Ceballos that government employees do not have free speech protections unless they are speaking as private citizens and not in performance of their duties. It was a recognition of the need for workplace orderliness. The majority in that case were Kennedy, joined by Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito. The only way around that now is to carve out a religious exemption.

At a state university, nothing is more fundamentally simple than policy regarding how students are addressed. It is the most basic ministerial function of faculty and staff.

We are all paying for this exercise. When they lose at the district court they will appeal. When they fail they will appeal to the Supreme Court where, thanks to Trump, they could very well succeed.

Apparently God was not involved in the selection of a judge. They drew Susan J. Dlott, a Clinton appointee who is a Jew (married to a fabulously wealthy Jew). The magistrate is Karen L. Litkovitz. Perhaps ADF’s god is sending them a message.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.