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How a new executive order would promote gender ideology and silence free speech at schools

By Matt Hadro for CNA


Washington D.C., Mar 11, 2021 / 11:30 am (CNA).- A new executive order could promote gender ideology in public and some private schools while affecting both the privacy of women and the intellectual freedom of children.

President Biden on Monday issued an order reinterpreting federal civil rights law to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. The order instructs Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to begin reviewing actions taken by the Trump administration, the first step toward reversing those actions.

The order states the Biden administration’s policy, that “all students should be guaranteed an educational environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex…including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.” This policy, the order said, applies to schools receiving federal aid.

This language about fighting “discrimination” against one’s sexual orientation or gender identity, said Mary Rice Hasson, the Kate O’Beirne Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), is not about preventing “bullying,” but is rather a promotion of gender ideology.

“This sets the stage for massive indoctrination of America’s children in a worldview –gender ideology—that is fundamentally at odds with Christian beliefs,” she said.

“This administration intends to use the force of law to transform every public school (and private schools that receive federal funds) across the country into a venue to promote LGBTQ identities and behaviors, regardless of what parents and local school boards want,” she added.

A representative of the legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) told CNA on Wednesday that the order carries “two likely applications,” one of them being “denying women a level playing field in athletics.”

ADF is currently involved in a lawsuit against the state of Connecticut over its policy that athletes identifying as transgender may compete in athletics based on their gender identity. They have alleged a Title IX violation in the case because girls have already been forced to compete against biological males identifying as transgender females. Two of them participated in girls’ track events in recent years and won a combined 15 state championships.

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally-funded education activities.

Four female runners sued over the state’s policy, claiming that they were denied an equal opportunity to compete under Title IX. While the Trump administration sided with the girls and ruled that Connecticut’s policy violated Title IX, the Education Department in February walked back that stance.

New Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has said that athletes identifying as transgender have a right to compete in sports.

Hasson agreed that girls’ sports would be compromised under the policy.

“A male 7th grader who identifies as a ‘girl’ will have the right to use the girls’ bathroom, play on the girls’ basketball team, and insist that teachers and classmates call him ‘she’—or he can claim he is being discriminated against,” Hasson said.

However, Biden’s order reaches beyond sports and is an attempt to completely change the culture in schools receiving federal funding, she said.

“All students will be taught the language and worldview of gender ideology, as if gender ideology were grounded in facts rather than ideological beliefs. Children will be taught that it is ‘discriminatory’ to refuse to affirm the “transgender” identity asserted by a teacher or classmate,” she said.

Furthermore, the policy could ostracize students who are in any way opposed to gender ideology at schools.

“It’s already trendy for middle and high school adolescents to choose edgy identity labels for themselves, such as ‘pansexual, bi-sexual, or gender-queer,’ without really understanding the implications,” Hasson noted.

“Peer pressure and school policies will pressure kids into conforming and ‘exploring’ new ‘sexualities and genders,’ or risk ridicule or shame for refusing to go along with it,” she said.

The order would remove due process protections for those who disagree with gender ideology at schools, the ADF representative said.

Religious schools could be affected by the new order, as Title IX applies to federally-funded education activities. Many private schools accept federal funding in some form.

“I expect to see lawsuits brought by faith-based schools as well as by teachers and administrators who have conscience-based objections to participating in the promotion of gender ideology,” Hasson said.

She added that Catholic schools may have to stop receiving federal funding in order to uphold Church teaching in their curricula and policies.

“The Church may well come to a crossroads where, to be faithful to the Gospel, she will have to spurn government money that comes with ideological strings attached,” Hasson said.

The policy underscores the need for authentic Catholic education as an antidote to gender ideology, Hasson said.

“Gender ideology, in many respects, looks very much like a quasi-religious cult. Parents need educational alternatives that will allow them to raise their children without fear of indoctrination. They need authentic Catholic education, in all its varieties. And they need it now,” she said.

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  1. It was predictable with the election of Biden, that protection of homosexuality would become enforcement. Pan sexuality covers the spectrum of depraved sexual behavior, dangerous to religious rights, dangerous to children, perhaps your pets. Uncle Joe’s championing of licentious liberty, is what Justice Anthony Kennedy postulates in Casey, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Among others, “Michael Uhlman labeled it a thing of almost infinite plasticity; the editors of First Things called it the notorious mystery passage” (Clifford R Goldstein). Despite this acknowledgment Clifford Goldstein Liberty Magazine calls it fundamental conservatism. “At the heart of Justice Kennedy’s at-the-heart statement is the essential message of political conservatism, and that is personal liberty”. Goldstein has touched a live wire, that Liberty understood by liberals has an identity with conservatives and personal freedom. The grounding for this view is conscience. Either formed or misinformed. The gospel for conscience as unconditionally inviolable, absent of meaningful moral parameters is Amoris Laetitia. “The faithful very often respond as best they can to the Gospel amid their limitations, and capable of carrying out their own discernment in complex situations. We have not been called to replace conscience (Amoris 37). Conscience can do more than recognise that a situation does not correspond objectively to the demands of the Gospel. It can also recognise what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, that this is what God himself is asking” (Amoris 303). For 21st century Catholicism and Biden conscience is the final arbiter of truth. Biden then fittingly claims consistency with Pope Francis. Perceived as a variable subject to personal perspective, truth is mysterious and elusive, echoing Kennedy’s “mystery of human life”. That is exactly the rationale of the German Fundamental Text: “There is no one truth of the religious, moral, and political world, and no one form of thought that can lay claim to ultimate authority.” German bishops have reached an astounding conclusion, which is, if there is no one truth, there is no One God. There are only the idolatrous gods of one’s fancy. Jettison “rules” and worship of God turns to the Adversary.

    • In the clerical abuse crisis conscience was weighed in the balance and found wanting. The modernist concept of conscience has turned it into an idol. Our free will is always subject to God.

    • “…Perhaps your pets.” Thank you Fr. Pete for a little levity in discussing this worrisome evil decree. With every anti-Catholic proclamation of the president another stain is added to Our Mother Church’s immaculate cloak of righteousness. How long are we to watch her defamed as the Church leaders wring their hands in indecisiveness.

    • Father, I agree with your statements, but for your PRESIDENT Trumpism… BIDEN not PRESIDENT BIDEN? “Uncle Joe” not JOE BIDEN? Trump has been compartmentalized by our faith, so much so, that his diatribe has become the norm. “Little Marco, Adam Sh#t, Sleepy Joe, Crazy Nancy…”. “I can do anything I want, COVID will just disappear, injecting Lysol will cure the disease in minutes”, and on… Unpresidential?

      Our children are vulnerable to the machinations of the current culture shock. Family cohesion and daily prayer is vital to ours and their moral survival.

      Although we did not vote for President Biden we want to see his administration succeed. If he does not, we all lose. We want him to seek moral counseling from Cardinal Gregory in an attempt to revive his Irish Catholic roots.

      • MorganB. Zany as he was at times with the Lysol cure he thought unconventionally and able to hurdle obstacles like the incredible Middle East Arab Israeli realignment, rapid development of vaccines, raising the minority standard of living, Judicial reform, a rapidly growing economy, extracting the US out of China’s sphere of economic influence, securing our borders, most important for us restoring our religious freedoms. Now President Joseph Biden is purposely and rapidly seemingly vindictive, undoing it all with executive order after executive order, which he previously promised he would not do because that was “dictatorial”. Pres Biden was labeled Uncle Joe by fawning Dems. Pres Biden hasn’t displayed the least interest in protecting yours, and my Catholic faith and freedom of expression. I have no problem calling him President Biden if that suits sensibilities that I don’t wish to offend. Insofar as Cardinal Gregory I call him Cardinal Gregory, I haven’t insulted him although I cannot respect his rebuke of Trump over a prayer, or his interference with bishops who hoped to remind the President of doctrine on receiving the Eucharist. A President who is striving to constrict the practice of Catholicism and presbyters like myself from defending it, not politicizing it from the pulpit on homosexuality, abortion, education of our children. The sword cuts both ways. Nevertheless I take your criticism to heart, and I do pray for the spiritual good of all clergy and politicians.

      • I don’t know where you live, but in New York, EVERYBODY is like President Trump. Its a blunt spoken, “stand with me or get out of the way” type of personality who thrives here. He is in fact no different from the vast majority of New Yorkers I know. Much of what was ever reported about Trump in the regular media is a lie or an exaggeration. He never attacked a person first but would always respond and defend himself when attacked, and why shouldn’t he? I personally, prefer a President who actually has a spine . At the very least, you knew he had a working brain and you knew where he REALLY stood on issues, as he was not surrounded 24/7 by “handlers” and always spoke for himself. He would sometimes be sarcastic, or like all of us would exaggerate, and the partisan media would jump to say he was ‘lying”. They are disgusting. He NEVER seriously suggested people inject themselves with Lysol. Yes, during a brief minute when it looked like the only covid cases were at that moment confined in quarantine, it looked as though we had caught it in time, and he hoped ( as we ALL did) we would escape unscathed and it would eventually “disappear”. I was not aware that hope was a criminal offense. Or a “lie”.Sadly though the left seems to thrive on hysteria and panic. I recall President Bush being viciously attacked for not fleeing a presidential visit when the 9/11 attack happened as he was reading a story to some children. Personally I prefer my presidents with some calm and a lack of panic, and yes, hope, when they are executing their duties. A panicked population serves no good purpose. But gosh, stopping those nasty tweets was certainly worth the price of destroying the country. Right?? Biden has managed in short order to undo border security and create a crisis on the border ( blaming THAT on Trump is a VERY BIG LIE).He has bombed Syria a few times and is now planning to restore aid to the Palestinians which had been used to pay off terrorist bombers families. We already know how well this benighted Catholic supports not only rare abortion but SUPER abortion to the day of birth and beyond.He supports the removal of all voter integrity laws and evidently he believes as his whole party does that persons of color are too inept to obtain an ID. Now he supports the Equality Act which will endanger freedom of religion and attack the church’s right to accept or reject in its hiring and rental practices the multi varieties of sexual distortions that some people wish to adopt and are increasingly accepted by secular society. Supporting riots by “taking a knee” sure sounds like incitement to riot to me. Lets not even get into the myth of “institutional racism” and “white privilege” supported by this party which is being indoctrinated at the kindergarten level into our children. If you can tell me with a straight face that the country is in a better place now with Biden leading the country than President Trump, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

  2. “Hey look fellas, this kid ain’t a gender-fluid non-conformist. Let’s BULLY xim!”
    “No, please, mercy my kings- I mean my queens!”
    ^^I am sure this scenario will play out in your readers’ minds for the next four years… with varying degrees of excitement(!?).

  3. Those who look in this direction see one woman. However, *WE* identify as nine persons; specifically *WE* identify as the nine members of the Supreme Court and *WE* preemptively declare that nonsense to be unconstitutional and *WE* forbid the president to do anything of the sort.

    And if the president claims that *WE* are not really who who *WE* say *WE* are, he is bullying *US* and denying *US* the right to create *OUR* own worldview, and is therefore a nasty bigot, and the full power of the government should, must be brought against him.

  4. I first thought the answer to this dilemma was homeschooling, and totally private support of private schools…then realized that children schooled this way would be ostracized and perhaps denied when they apply for colleges, discriminated against when looking for jobs based on their education. This is so far-reaching. Terrifying in its implications.

    • I cannot speak about going forward, but that has not not been my experience. A local boy got into Princeton (we are in the mid-West), another to Grove City College. My own boys have stayed local–one is now at a fairly pristegious grad school (yes, we do have those in the mid-West).
      Join HSLDA and don’t loose hope. There are a ton of non-public school options, and while so-called top-tire colleges and universities are a hot mess of wokism, that isn’t necessarily true for smaller local colleges. And do NOT forget trade school options in your area, even if you have girls. Welding programs often want girls because girls are better at some types of welding than boys.
      I will say this, however, if I were a young adult (man or woman) today considering marriage or having children, I’d think real hard on that. I don’t believe we live at the End of the World, but the signs seem pretty clear we are living at the End of an Age and society as we know it is collapsing around us–not too dissimilar to what St Paul faced.
      Devoting one’s life to chastity and making the world less grim for those already here has always been an option, but now it might be an especially attractive one.

    • The same way that we have had Popes who committed murder and adultery. The Pope may be the Vicar of Christ, but Christ he is not.

  5. ““This administration intends to use the force of law to transform every public school (and private schools that receive federal funds) across the country into a venue to promote LGBTQ identities and behaviors, regardless of what parents and local school boards want,” she added.”

    Well, it would be possible to file a lawsuit and get a court order, but federal funds for education are technically unconstitutional, and they have been and are probably being used as a means of unlawful control by administrators and hostile presidential administrations.

    If it means losing federal funds, then a school should take the moral path and live with the loss. However, schools shouldn’t be subjected to such invidious discrimination.

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