Catholic extremist Philip F. Lawler | via Regina Magazine

An extremist Catholic polemicist promotes homophobic and transphobic prejudice.

Piety and religious doctrine do not excuse bigotry.

Philip F. Lawler is urging parents to pull their kids out of public schools. The rationale is based — in part — on the promotion of the idea that the existence of LGBTQ persons poses a danger to children. Apparently, religious dogma is more compelling than scientific truth.

Mr. Lawler is well known in fanatical Catholic circles. Lawler is the editor of Catholic World News. In 2000 Lawler — as the nominee of the Constitution Party — vied for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. Lawler received 1.62% of the vote.

Lawler asks a series of rhetorical questions. In the process he claims that children should neither be required to wear masks nor “pressured” into being vaccinated. He also makes the dishonest appeal to not being subjected to critical race theory. They are not. These days, any mention of slavery or segregation is frowned upon in some quarters and falsely attributed to critical race theory.

I will confine my criticism to the blatant homophobia and transphobia:

Do you want them to learn that a male can become a female, and vice versa, by an act of will? And to acknowledge as a woman someone who has obviously male physical characteristics? Do you want them taught to assert as true something that their common sense tells them is untrue?

Is Phil Lawler and ignoramus or a propagandist? Does it really matter? It is a scientific fact is that a male can have a female gender identity (“and vice versa”). Moreover, gender identity is not an “act of will.” It’s most certainly not a choice and it has a durable biological component.

“Mr. Lawler is well known in fanatical Catholic circles.”

Furthermore, and more importantly, what danger is present if children learn scientific facts? The “danger” is that those facts might conflict with Catholic dogma which holds that transgender people do not really exist. Lawler would prefer that kids slurp the Kool-Aid.

Moreover, it is true that some transgender persons have some secondary sex characteristics. That is particularly the case when, as adolescents, they are not on puberty blockers. Lawler is suggesting that those people be held out for ridicule.

“Lawler does not approve of marriage equality. Overall he doesn’t approve of the fact that his approval is irrelevant.”

“Common sense” — and civility — demand the understanding that gender incongruence produces (sometimes extreme) depression and anxiety. Those symptoms are often relieved when individuals present according to their gender identity. Mr. Lawler seems to believe that those people (0.5% to 0.6% of the population) should suffer for his god.

Furthermore, the very fact that some transgender folks have some cross-gender characteristics is the very reason that children should learn:

  1. The science associated with gender identity and;
  2. that people should not be judged based on their appearance.

After some nonsense about critical race theory mixed with Christian nationalism:

Do you want them to act out scenes of same-sex romance? To share bathrooms with members of the opposite sex?

“Act out?” Lawler does not approve of marriage equality. Overall he doesn’t approve of the fact that his approval is irrelevant. Bathrooms are an idiotic talking point. First of all this pertains to trans girls who comprise 0.2% to 0.3% of the population. Secondly, so what?

I mean trans girls go to stall, do what they have to do, flush, exit the stall, wash their hands and leave. It is precisely what cisgender girls do. It is all private. It’s not a problem. It is a manufactured controversy. It was manufactured so that blowhards like Philip F. Lawler can peddle fear.

“Christian fanatics seem to have a very fluid definition of morality depending upon their individual needs at any time.”

Off topic but another example of Lawler’s embrace of bullshit:

And now the Biden administration has launched a campaign to silence any opposition to the radical educational agenda, with Attorney General Merrick Garland ordering the FBI to investigate “disruptions” of school-board meetings. This utterly unprecedented federal order—an order to treat citizens as suspects if they express themselves too forcefully in public meetings—was issued because of an alleged “rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.”

According to the DOJ memorandum:

Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation's core values. Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their work without fear for their safety.

That doesn’t “silence” anyone. Moreover, Lawler puts “disruptions” in quotes. The word does not appear anywhere in the memorandum. Lawler is falsely claiming the existence of something that does not exist.

The following is a baseless lie:

So now if you object to something happening in your local public schools, you can bring your concerns to a school-board meeting. But be careful! If you raise your voice, or if a querulous school official claims to be intimidated, you might be the object of a federal investigation. You might even be investigated if someone else, who shares your views, crosses that invisible line.

The memorandum is clear. Intimidation means a threat of physical violence. In law:

Intimidation (also called cowing) is intentional behavior that "would cause a person of ordinary sensibilities" to fear injury or harm.

Mr. Lawler — aside from being an odious bigot — is full of crap. Christian fanatics seem to have a very fluid definition of morality depending upon their individual needs at any given time.

The truthful argument is not objectionable. That would be that parochial schools are preferable for maintaining Christian values in children. I do not agree with the argument but at least it is intellectually honest.

Philip K. Lawler chose a different path. An extremist Catholic has made extremist arguments. He has smeared LGBTQ persons. Moreover, he found it necessary to lie in order to make a point.

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.