Lawmaking and culture

For a Columbia Law School summary of what is known about conversion “therapy,” go to

The Nevada Legislature is fueling the culture wars with divisive bills on sensitive issues.

Senate Bill 186 would create an Office of New Americans in the governor’s office empowered to lobby and make recommendations on immigration policy.

The Democrats lost the 2016 election because they segregate Americans into a multicultural collage of special interest groups. I have an idea: I would support this if there could be an Office of Irredeemable Deplorables, as well. But, then again, where would it end?

People are flocking to the Southern Nevada Detention Center in Pahrump to protest allegedly harsh prison conditions endured by Ryan and Ammon Bundy, awaiting trial on charges stemming from the Bundy family standoff of 2014. Ammon is in solitary over an extra shirt on his bunk, while Ryan filed suit over excessive body cavity searches.

Creating a special bureaucracy for immigrants just reinforces the alt-right argument that there is no state protection for white workers.

The legislature’s Democratic majorities have several bills supporting Planned Parenthood, whose federal subsidies were threatened for the umpteenth time by Republicans and for the umpteenth time left untouched.

Perhaps the most contentious bill for religious conservatives is Assembly Bill 348, which would allow outside experts (i.e. Planned Parenthood) to give sex ed courses that parents would have to affirmatively opt their children out of. Religious conservatives are OK with the school nurse teaching about the birds and bees, but do not want Planned Parenthood “experts” coming to public school to talk about gender fluidity and—most of all—abortion.

Progressives say they want the most up-to-date scientific teachings about sex and gender and abortion rights. But religious conservatives want their children to know more about traditional virtues than what they consider sin. So it really boils down to religious liberty in a socialized environment where individual rights are hazy and the dominant political correctness sets the rules. The real answer to this is school choice.

During the transgender bathroom access controversy in Elko, parents of transgender children who were bullied often found private schools that welcomed them. School choice works as well for the Wiccan child as for the Mormon child.

Religious conservatives also object to S.B. 201, banning conversion therapy for children under 18. Conversion therapy to “convert” teens with gay feelings to a straight lifestyle is considered ineffective or harmful for minors by most studies, but the social studies profession is overwhelmingly liberal, and conservatives feel the studies could be subject to confirmation bias. The debate over whether nature or nurture causes sexual orientation, like other politicized scientific debates, has not been settled.

Conversion therapy today is talk therapy and no longer involves physical aversion techniques. The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the third and ninth circuits have upheld state bans on conversion therapy for minors, but dissenting judges worried about the slippery slope of banning speech. There is a bill in Congress that would ban conversion therapy even for adults, so free speech is in danger of sliding down that slope soon.

Banning conversion therapy is a violation of parental rights and religious liberty. This is not about refusing blood transfusions to a dying child. This is about parental rights until children reach 18 years to inculcate religious training. If the child and/or the parent is willing to undergo the therapy, I believe the presumption should be to allow it.

Progressives should recognize the State cannot overturn 2000 years of religious tradition in a decade.