Christie announced his intent to sign a law banning quack "psychiatric" treatment programs purporting to turn gay children straight, aka conversion therapy, which experts say is frequently cruel in nature and can itself lead to serious harm. The main effect of this will be that if parents drag their insufficiently heterosexual-acting children to be forcibly indoctrinated by quacks, they'll have to do it with hacks that don't care about keeping their professional licenses, which does not seem to be all that big a hurdle to meet. You can find a quack to teach your children anything, if you're the sort of person who enjoys subjecting your children to cranks and quacks and religious zealots.
This is of course an outrage.
On his radio program, Sean Hannity ignored the fraudulent quackery of "ex-gay" therapy to frame the debate as a matter of religious freedom. "Is there freedom of religion anymore, or is that banned in New Jersey?" Hannity asked, before concluding that it "sounds like" the answer is the latter:More on this below the fold.
America is actually very used to this entire discussion—you may have missed it, if you've been asleep for several hundred years or if you've been irreformably stupid for any single period therein—of where an individual's individual religious rights end and the rights of those around them (including, indeed, children) begin. You are not allowed to make a blood sacrifice of your children to Flapjack, God of Mildly Satisfying Meals, not even if you and all those around you believe with all your hearts that it will assure next year's butter-tree harvest. You are not allowed to rape children under the guise of "marrying" them, not even if your Holy and Perverted Prophet claimed that as the highest and most noble sacrament, the One True Way of life, and so on. You are not allowed to deny medical care to your children that would easily save their lives because you claim that if God wanted them saved he would come down and give them the injection themselves. You can do a lot, mind you, and you can brainwash your wee little tots in a thousand different socially crippling ways without anyone in government or the rest of your community so much as saying boo to you, but the concept that you may not do certain things to other people even if you think God told you to is a rather well-established—foundational, in fact—premise of this nation and of all others that are not rancid hellholes; we only quibble about the boundaries.
The American Family Association's Bryan Fischer - displaying a newfound concern for the welfare of gay adolescents - tweeted on August 19 that Christie's decision "condemns gay teens to [a] lifetime of depression and disease":And Bryan Fischer is exactly the sort of crooked and malevolent quack that we are attempting to keep far away from our children.
"The bill is so broad that parents would be prohibited from seeking help for their son who developed unwanted same-sex attractions after being molested by the likes of Jerry Sandusky," [Liberty Counsel's Matt Staver] said, referring to the former Penn State football coach convicted of child molestation.Don't be stupid, stupid person. Parents will still be able to get help for molested children; we are just making it considerably less likely that they will get help from people who will tell them that the molestation is all their fault, and that in order to repair it they must alter the fundamental nature of who they are or go to Hell forever. We are taking those "helpers" and putting them in a nice, big box marked rotten rodent meat—do not eat so that nobody goes near it unless they are very, very determined to take a runny, chunky spoonful of the thing.
I actually have more sympathy for the true-believing cranks and quacks like Staver than I do for the outrage-of-the-moment hucksters like Hannity. Hannity's notion that the bill marks the end of Religious Liberteez seems a dull, rote response, something all the supposed deep thinkers of the party have written on a little rubber stamp sitting in their desk drawer. No, you cannot torture children because your personal version of God demands it. And by that I mean you can, but the rest of us will occasionally set limits on how much we are willing to help.