Christian groups react to Biden’s executive order on gender identity, sexual orientation

Hand holding a paper sheet with transgender symbol and equal sign inside.
Hand holding a paper sheet with transgender symbol and equal sign inside. | Getty

As President Joe Biden signed a flurry of executive orders on his first day in office, Christian and conservative groups are criticizing one of his moves to unilaterally enact one of the more controversial aspects of the progressive social agenda.

The executive order that has received the most pushback from Christian conservative organizations and individuals prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The critics of the executive order take issue with its implications for religious liberty and women’s sports.

“Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports,” Biden wrote in the executive order. The aforementioned statement implies support for allowing biological males who identify as females to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity as well as compete in women’s sports.

Critics of the Equality Act, a legislative package supported by Biden designed to accomplish the same goals as the executive order, note that allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports puts biological females at a disadvantage because men have physiological advantages over women in sports.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., listed Biden’s Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation as one of several “ill-advised” executive actions signed by the president at the dawn of his administration.

Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Ryan Anderson and Emilie Kao, director of Heritage’s DeVos Center for Religion & Civil Society, warned that under the new policy, “men who identify as women must be allowed in women-only spaces, boys who identify as girls must be allowed to compete in girls’ athletic competitions, healthcare plans must pay for gender-transition procedures, doctors and hospitals must perform them, adoption agencies may not only seek married moms and dads to care for children in need.”

Terry Schilling, the director of the American Principles Project, issued a statement Thursday in response to Biden’s executive order: “So much for ‘unity.’ Despite the rhetoric of his inaugural address yesterday, President Biden’s actions speak louder than his words. And this action has revealed the radical policies which Biden and his administration will now try to foist on the American people.”

“This executive order proves what we always expected: the Biden administration will prioritize forcing schools to allow biological males to compete in women’s sports and to access women’s private spaces. Moreover, they will force hospitals to disregard medical science in favor of ideology, and business owners to act against their conscience and common sense,” he added.

“On a day where Biden and Democrats could have actually backed up their ‘unity’ talk by prioritizing assistance to American families amid the continuing pandemic, they instead have chosen to place their radical leftist agenda first. Those who value women’s rights, religious liberty, and simple biological sanity must prepare for a political fight.”

“President Biden’s executive order effectively targets people of faith and faith-based organizations that provide social services that are even more vital in the midst of a pandemic,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, in a statement Thursday. “Ultimately, if this executive order is able to be fully carried out, it will affect everyday Americans who hold biblical and conservative values. In his inauguration speech yesterday, President Biden called for unity, but he is now demanding uniformity.”

“With a stroke of a pen, President Joe Biden has turned 50-year-old civil rights legislation on its head, hollowing out protections for people of faith. President Biden is unilaterally enacting a sweeping policy change that has routinely failed to win the approval of Congress, the body the Constitution actually tasks with passing laws,” he added.

After warning that “the Biden administration is planning to go much further in its assault on biological reality and is expected to order schools to abolish girls’ sports and force boys and girls to use the same showers and locker rooms, and maybe even bunk together on school trips,” Perkins concluded that “the party that claims to be the party of science is advancing policies on day one that deny reality.”

Notable public figures in the Christian and conservative communities have also spoken out against Biden’s executive order on an individual basis. Abigail Schrier, the author of the book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, argued that following the executive order, “a new glass ceiling was placed over girls.” She also noted that by signing the executive order, Biden “unilaterally eviscerates women’s sports.”

Shortly after Biden signed the executive order, the hashtag #BidenErasedWomen began trending on Twitter. It was not just conservative Christians using that hashtag. British feminist Sonia Poulton and former Evergreen State College professor Bret Weinstein, who has been described as a “liberal Darwinist atheist biologist,” were among those using the hashtag when criticizing Biden’s executive order.

While Biden’s executive order has received pushback from both sides of the aisle, LGBT advocacy groups were quick to praise it. “Biden’s Executive Order is the most substantive, wide-ranging executive order concerning sexual orientation and gender identity ever issued by a United States president,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign.

“Today, millions of Americans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their President and their government believe discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is not only intolerable but illegal,” he continued. “While detailed implementation across the federal government will take time, this Executive Order will begin to immediately change the lives of millions of LGBTQ people seeking to be treated equally under the law.”

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