In February, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) gave a short speech proscribing how people of faith should conduct themselves. She delivered this speech at a House of Representatives' hearing on the Trump Administration's policies on same-sex and transgender issues. She brought up the case of Evan Minton, a transgender person, who unsuccessfully applied to a Catholic hospital in California to have a hysterectomy. Even though Evan Minton was successful in having one at another hospital, Evan Minton sued the Catholic hospital for discrimination. A trial court sided with the hospital, which stated that it does not perform sterilization procedures and this policy is protected by its First Amendment rights. The First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco overturned the trial court decision, ruling that Minton was illegally denied medical care. The Court of Appeal stated that it made no difference if the hospital was motivated by religious conviction. Here is a link to the background of the case. The source is actually a site supportive of Minton's legal argument.
In her 3:44 second speech, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez begins by stating she doesn't know whether to speak as a legislator or as a women of faith (1st 18 seconds). I'll let that pass with a question: are the two mutually exclusive?
From 19-53 seconds, she introduces the theme by which she hopes to suppress Evangelical belief in the innate differences between men and women. She declares that scripture is being used to "weaponize" bigotry. She correctly points out that slave holders, white supremacists, and those who opposed integrating schools claimed the Bible supported their bigoted views on race. But then she engages in the progressive canard that links the Church's traditional views on sexuality and gender differences with racial discrimination. Her aim is to shame Evangelicals into silence on these issues as well as justify government harassment of those Evangelicals who dare to oppose her viewpoint. Later on, she will use the Minton case to further her objectives.
From 54 seconds to 1:30, the Congresswoman speaks of Christ's message: loving our neighbor and our enemy, welcoming strangers into our midst. She quotes Jesus telling the Disciples that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. She then declares that if Jesus proclaimed this message in the halls of Congress, he would be maligned as a radical and would not be welcome. Lets us suppose for a second that Jesus' message and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez's progressive economics are one and the same. If that is the case, how did she manage to become a member of Congress? But her message and Jesus' are not one and the same, and I digress. From 1:31 to 2:04, Ocasio-Cortez declares that all people are holy, all people are sacred. Unconditionally. It is this belief, she claims, that transforms us. I know these were only opening remarks, but she gives us no grounds to agree that all men and women are holy. She doesn't define what a holy or sacred person is.
All people are sacred in that we are all created in the image of the triune God (Gen 1: 26-28). But a person is not to be considered holy irregardless of how that person lives. A holy person is one who lives out holiness in their own bodies, their own conduct. "Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, 'Be holy, for I am holy.' " (1Pet. 1: 13-16, NKJV) All Christ followers are transformed, but not because of their beliefs concerning others. In Gal. 2:20, Paul reveals the source of our transformation: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (NKJV)
From 2:05-2:30, the Congresswoman speaks in general terms in her attempt to stigmatize the Catholic hospital for not performing a hysterectomy on Evan Minton. She states that there is nothing holy about a hospital refusing to give medical care to those in need. Then from 2:31-3:20, she goes in for the rhetorical kill. She specifically links the Catholic hospital's course of action to religious bigotry and sexual discrimination. She states that Evan Minton should receive the same treatment she would be entitled to. According to her, the hospital refused treatment because Evan Minton is transgender, not because of any Christian convictions. And when any Christian institution, or individual Christian, defends religious liberty, it is only to support bigotry. So says Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. When a Christian institution defends its First Amendment rights, it is because that institution has been weaponized. And she is tired of this. In other words: Christians, don't dare defend your right to practice your beliefs because the Congresswoman has declared her intention to shame you into submission. And if shame fails to produce the desired outcome, government power will be employed to coerce conformity to progressive ideals. She even confers upon herself the power to decide what is a true community of faith, and what is a corrupted, or weaponized Christian institution. Religious convictions are nothing more than excuses to discriminate. So much for considering traditional Christians 'holy and sacred.."
Some Christians might object to my use of the term "Christian Persecution" to describe Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's use of her office to shame traditional Christianity into silence and submission. They might accuse me of trivializing the trials of our brothers and sisters overseas. I understand that. I used to agree with them. My position concerning the use of the term has changed. I will address why I changed my position in a future post.