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Florida Bans Teaching Christian Marriage

Bizzlebin

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After 3 months of wrangling, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 1557 into law on Monday (2022-03-28), meaning that, as of July 1, it will be illegal to teach schoolchildren about Christian marriage in Florida. While some non-Orthodox religious groups have taken to calling it the "Don't Say Gay" bill, the text actually doesn't say "gay"—it makes no mention of any non-heterosexual themes at all. Instead, it bans outright any official instruction regarding sexual identity and gender, thus preventing nearly all in-class dialog regarding Christian marriage, natural human sexuality, and the religious basis of male and female. The prohibition is absolute for K–3 classes, but cleverly restricted in higher grades by the phrase "developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards". In other words, this gives Florida a 2-pronged way to restrict religious institutions and traditional marriage, both of prongs occurring outside of direct control of the people or religious oversight: secular psychology ("developmentally appropriate") and centralized educational planning ("state standards").

Here is the full text of the bill (PDF), including introductory remarks, which details all the specifics (including many other limitations to student healthcare and the *right to sue a school* that teaches Christian gender roles):

 
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Kids will learn from their classmates and TikTok, unless their parents actually care to teach.
 

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Bizzlebin

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What will they replace it with?
Atheistic, sterile androgyny? Though I've made mention a lot about marriage (something I've taught on extensively, by clergy invitation, at the parish level), the text of the bill attacks gender more broadly. So, it will be illegal to mention that Gov DeSantis, for example, is a male. I have no idea how they will deal with the fact that he (I mean they) has children—mention the governor's (supposed) sexual acts but without noting their marriage (that's gender role), probable feelings for their wife (that's sexual orientation), or maybe even which one of the two had the (gender-unspecified) children (because assuming it was the wife would imply gender stereotyping!)? The sky is the limit, so to speak, as of July 1st—just think of all the current and historical figures who cannot be named as male or female anymore!
 

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TheTrisagion

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Is Christian marriage, natural human sexuality, and the religious basis of male and female often a topic of conversation in public schools in grades 1-3? I think its probably best if teachers stick to teaching how to read, how to do math, and other fundamental subjects rather than getting into those topics.
 

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Trisagion and I can agree on something.
 

Bizzlebin

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Is Christian marriage, natural human sexuality, and the religious basis of male and female often a topic of conversation in public schools in grades 1-3? I think its probably best if teachers stick to teaching how to read, how to do math, and other fundamental subjects rather than getting into those topics.
That's the thing, though: take a simple story like "Mary had a toy. Her toy was red. She liked her toy.". That story is now illegal in grades K–3 because it involved Mary's gender identity (in 3 places!)—even the most basic children's stories have to be redone to use only gender-neutral language, and that is just the beginning. They could even conceivably use the bill to strip out all Spanish-language instruction, for example, because gender is an inherent property of that language—that is an extreme reading of the bill, but we're already into pretty extreme territory here, and it goes far beyond what one might call "religious" matters (though that remains a primary concern for me and I do not believe reading, math, and "fundamental subjects" have meaning apart from Christ).
 

TheTrisagion

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That's the thing, though: take a simple story like "Mary had a toy. Her toy was red. She liked her toy.". That story is now illegal in grades K–3 because it involved Mary's gender identity (in 3 places!)—even the most basic children's stories have to be redone to use only gender-neutral language, and that is just the beginning. They could even conceivably use the bill to strip out all Spanish-language instruction, for example, because gender is an inherent property of that language—that is an extreme reading of the bill, but we're already into pretty extreme territory here, and it goes far beyond what one might call "religious" matters (though that remains a primary concern for me and I do not believe reading, math, and "fundamental subjects" have meaning apart from Christ).
I highly doubt the law will be interpreted in that manner. It says it prohibits classroom discussion of gender identity. Merely using a pronoun is not a discussion. Also, there is a difference between gender and gender identity. If I say, "Mary is a girl", that is a statement of gender. If I say "Mary identifies as a girl" that is a statement of gender identity. The courts, when making rulings on stuff like this, often go to the intent of the law, and I think it is pretty clear what the intent is. I'm not sure its necessary to be alarmist about that law at this point.
 

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I highly doubt the law will be interpreted in that manner. It says it prohibits classroom discussion of gender identity. Merely using a pronoun is not a discussion. Also, there is a difference between gender and gender identity. If I say, "Mary is a girl", that is a statement of gender. If I say "Mary identifies as a girl" that is a statement of gender identity. The courts, when making rulings on stuff like this, often go to the intent of the law, and I think it is pretty clear what the intent is. I'm not sure its necessary to be alarmist about that law at this point.
Just to clarify, the phrase "discussion" is part of the intro text and is not binding. The change in law itself is much more explicit: "classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties". In any case, the distinction between gender (you mean gender expression?) and gender identity is still very much a topic of public debate, so I cannot say how this law will be interpreted by any given person on July 1st, much less N number of years from now.
 

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Just to clarify, the phrase "discussion" is part of the intro text and is not binding. The change in law itself is much more explicit: "classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties". In any case, the distinction between gender (you mean gender expression?) and gender identity is still very much a topic of public debate, so I cannot say how this law will be interpreted by any given person on July 1st, much less N number of years from now.
Instruction is even more narrow than discussion, so I think that would mean less cause for concern, not more.

No, there is a difference between gender, gender expression and gender identity. Mary is a girl is a statement of gender. Mary dresses like a girl is a a statement of gender expression. Mary identifies as a girl is a statement of gender identity. I'm not aware of any need for elementary school teachers to really get into instruction about any of those topics. If a boy comes into a classroom wearing a dress or something, the teacher merely needs to tell the class that we need to be kind to everyone and not say mean things. They don't need to go into an explanation of gender identity. If the child is doing that, he will probably explain to his classmates himself why he is dressing up like a girl.
 

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Instruction is even more narrow than discussion, so I think that would mean less cause for concern, not more.

No, there is a difference between gender, gender expression and gender identity. Mary is a girl is a statement of gender. Mary dresses like a girl is a a statement of gender expression. Mary identifies as a girl is a statement of gender identity. I'm not aware of any need for elementary school teachers to really get into instruction about any of those topics. If a boy comes into a classroom wearing a dress or something, the teacher merely needs to tell the class that we need to be kind to everyone and not say mean things. They don't need to go into an explanation of gender identity. If the child is doing that, he will probably explain to his classmates himself why he is dressing up like a girl.
I would say instruction is the broader category (it includes not just class discussion but lectures, assignments, activities, videos, and much more), but I really wanted to ask about your definition of gender in this context. By gender, do you mean society's understanding of their gender vs their own gender (self) identity? More broadly, I guess I am trying to understand what you believe this law will do—as per your example, your teacher would avoid talking about gender expression, but that is the one thing we both agree this law does *not* forbid.
 

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it bans outright any official instruction regarding sexual identity and gender, thus preventing nearly all in-class dialog regarding Christian marriage, natural human sexuality, and the religious basis of male and female.
Yikes, talk about the secular West's war on creation. I haven't followed it closely, just seen the mainstream media reports and protests by which you'd think this was an anti-gay bill sponsored by Christian conservatives. From your post it sounds just as harmful to traditional religious education. I hope the courts don't interpret it to include private schools.
It’s been this way, adjusted for technology, since forever.
That chidren learn from one another has certainly been around forever, that much I agree with, but the range of ideas that kind of contact exposed them to pre-Internet was naturally confined by local culture/religion/experiences. The kind of global connectivity that allows a few influencers to push ideas on millions of children anywhere on Earth from anywhere on Earth instantly has only been achieved recently. Since young kids don't yet have the life experience to reject the media they're consuming, it turns into a form of mass mind control.

In my opinion it's never been more important for Christian parents to not let their pre-teen kids be exposed to technology unsupervised and to teach them discernment before giving them a portable Internet-capable device for just this reason.
 

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In my opinion it's never been more important for Christian parents to not let their pre-teen kids be exposed to technology unsupervised and to teach them discernment before giving them a portable Internet-capable device for just this reason.
That’s a fair point about technology.

It’s important for all parents to do that for their children, though. That’s a mental health thing, not a Christian thing.
 

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I skimmed over the bill but was unable to find any mention or flavor of it being opposed to Christian marriage. The only thing I saw was:

"prohibiting classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels or in a specified manner"

I don't see it as anti-Christian/anti-heterosexual at all unless I'm missing something.

The bill seems, to me at least, to lean more AGAINST the LGBT/OTHER agenda that has been running rampant in schools. By "sexual orientation/gender identity" I can only imagine it is referring to this.

And hopefully the ending of the following:

"Last month, public schools across the U.S. participated in the annual Jazz & Friends National Day of School and Community Readings, where adults read books promoting transgenderism to young children. One of the books listed as recommended reading for students in kindergarten through second grade is titled CALVIN: Time To Be ME! The book tells the story of a biologically female child “who has always been a boy even if the world sees him as a girl.”
 

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I don't see it as anti-Christian/anti-heterosexual at all unless I'm missing something.

The bill seems, to me at least, to lean more AGAINST the LGBT/OTHER agenda that has been running rampant in schools. By "sexual orientation/gender identity" I can only imagine it is referring to this.
It is a very skillfully crafted bill, I must say. I think there has been outcry by some LGBT groups, as you noted, but they are not the ones to be primarily impacted. Let me give an analogy.

Say there was a school of 100 kids and 99 were openly practicing Christians who regularly prayed at school. 1 was not—he was not anti-Christian, but just not from a Christian home—and somebody decided he might be a closet Satanist or something comically extreme. He is not—his only "crime" might have been getting spotted at Hot Topic in the mall—but that's the gossip. Suppose then that the school creates a document, Against School Satanists: Help Out-Law Evil, that prevents prayer in school, allegedly to target Satanism. Regardless of the stated motivation, what is the end result? The one kid doesn't care—he doesn't pray to anyone and is just trying to figure things out. But now the 99 Christians cannot pray. So the document ultimately bans *Christian* prayer and does nothing against Satanism (it even indirectly supports it).

My concern about this law is similar. You are correct that it is cleverly non-specific in its language. But the statistics show that the vast majority of people in Florida are Christian of some sort (Pew Research Center) and cisgender (just basic biology).
 

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I see your point, but it seems extreme. I really don't see the original intention of this bill swinging the other way too far. But, it will for sure stop the example I gave above, such as transgender books being read in schools to kids. How the teachers are to impliment this practically is yet to be seen when in the matter of heterosexuality/male/female. I agree the verbage should have been more clear and say what it really means. I don't think it was intentionally left vague in order to destroy Christianity or heterosexuality. I think it was due to fear of backlash or lawsuits by the LGBT.
 

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I see your point, but it seems extreme. I really don't see the original intention of this bill swinging the other way too far. But, it will for sure stop the example I gave above, such as transgender books being read in schools to kids. How the teachers are to impliment this practically is yet to be seen when in the matter of heterosexuality/male/female. I agree the verbage should have been more clear and say what it really means. I don't think it was intentionally left vague in order to destroy Christianity or heterosexuality. I think it was due to fear of backlash or lawsuits by the LGBT.
I hope so. When I was in high school in the US, the district I was in had a similar situation come up and made it a policy to offer no officially-sanctioned extracurricular activities that weren't instruction-based—that solved the problem handily. To misquote a popular song, there are 99 ways to solve this problem, but this won't be one.
 

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I get it. We shall have to see. Lord have mercy.
 

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My first post, and I'm calling "April Fools" on this one. :p
 

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HB 1557 ...illegal to teach schoolchildren about Christian marriage in Florida.
Christianity isn't an educational priority in USA schools with or without new legislation.

My impression is it is more about sex education /human sexuality for Grades K to 3.
Why some things can't be left to 4th Grade and above is beyond me. Why not let kids be kids for a while.

Christian Marriage Prohibition scare sounds more like a hyped up fundamentalist conspiracy theory than anything else, frankly.

If the bill was concerned with prohibiting K-3 children about "Christian marriage" what's wrong with leaving Christian teachings to parents or the Church? If someone wants a Christian emphasis for school children these days they should probably consider a Christian school.

Christian morality isn't the priority of secular education K-3 or otherwise, but for K-3 in particular the focus tends more toward skills persons of all faith or none need in common like math, reading, and writing.
 

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Please tell me I’m not the only one with Pink Floyd stuck in their head now...
You're old.

But you do have decent taste in music.
 

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I would say instruction is the broader category (it includes not just class discussion but lectures, assignments, activities, videos, and much more), but I really wanted to ask about your definition of gender in this context. By gender, do you mean society's understanding of their gender vs their own gender (self) identity? More broadly, I guess I am trying to understand what you believe this law will do—as per your example, your teacher would avoid talking about gender expression, but that is the one thing we both agree this law does *not* forbid.
Gender is social and cultural differences between the sexes. If the teacher talks about how the boys like to roughhouse more than the girls, that is not going to violate the law. If the teacher talks about how we need to be kind to George who is wearing a dress, that is ok. If the teacher talks about how we need to make sure to ask everyone what their pronouns are and then go into a discussion about how people can identify with the opposite sex, that is gender identity and out of bounds. Honestly, I think the whole thing is kind of a tempest in a teapot. Gender studies is not in most elementary school curriculum. If there are schools that did have it in their curriculum, they should probably spend their time teaching more traditional subjects. The reason why I say instruction is narrower is because if a student comes up to a teacher and says, "my friend George thinks he's a girl", a teacher could talk about that with the student, (ie ask What do you think about that? How does it make you feel?) and that would not be instruction. If the teacher tells the student "well, you need to celebrate that! Let's make George a trans flag decoration!" That would be instruction. Discussion is what we are doing now. Instruction is telling someone what they should or should not think.
 

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Wow, I've been here since I was 18...

Well, I would have definitely done worse with my time online otherwise.
I didn't realize you joined after me. Time flies. 😵
 

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🤣 Write that down and read it to yourself in 15 years.

And don’t blink.
Just teasing ya dude. For me time is kicking up into the next stick-shift gear, the last three years feel like one year ago. I'm getting old too.
 
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