Nebraska bishops ‘deeply regret’ school group’s vote on transgender issue

| April 14, 2016 | 3 Comments

Disappointed but not giving up.

That might summarize the reaction of Nebraska’s Catholic bishops to the Nebraska School Activities Association’s statewide representative assembly vote April 8 to retain a pathway for transgender participation in high school sports and other activities.

The 51-member assembly voted 27-23 to oppose a proposal the bishops’ backed — formalizing the long-standing practice of basing high school sports participation on a student’s sex as noted on the birth certificate. There was one abstention.

“We deeply regret that the NSAA representative assembly did not approve the ‘sex on the certificate at birth’ proposal,” Archbishop George J. Lucas of Omaha and Bishops James D. Conley of Lincoln and Joseph G. Hanefeldt of Grand Island said in a statement released by the Nebraska Catholic Conference, based in Lincoln. The conference is the public policy arm of the state’s bishops.

“The Catholic member schools of the NSAA, through the Nebraska Catholic Conference, will continue to urge the NSAA to rescind the board of directors’ policy and to require that students participate in NSAA activities according to their sex at birth.”

The bishops said all people are entitled to respect, concern and support, but such support must consider fairness, safety, privacy and rights of all students, and the truth about the human person.

“Recognizing the truth about each person’s biological sex, and basing policies upon that fundamental truth, would serve the best interest of Nebraska’s students, families and schools,” the bishops said.

The assembly’s vote came after the association’s board voted 6-2 Jan. 14 to approve a policy allowing male students who identify as females to compete on girls’ teams — and females who identify as males to compete on boys’ teams.

Earlier in January, four of the association’s six districts approved the “sex-at-birth” proposal, prompting the state’s bishops to note that proposal reflected the majority of the association’s member schools, including a majority of public schools.

“The failure of the delegates’ vote to reflect the position of the majority of member schools — including public schools — expressed at the January district meetings is contrary to what one would expect of a ‘member-driven organization,'” the bishops said in their April 8 statement.

Prior to the vote, they said in a March 31 statement: “Parents recognize the vital role that school activities play in the mature development of their school-age children. It is important that these activities, together with children’s overall educational experience, uphold and affirm the fundamental nature of the human person and the family.”

Tags: , ,

Category: U.S. & World News

  • Charles C.

    This comes from Catholic News Service. I wonder if they are celebrating there. Until yesterday, the head of CNS, the bishop’s official news organization was Tony Spence.
    WASHINGTON, D.C. April 14, 2016 (LifeSiteNews)—The editor-in-chief and director of the U.S. bishops’ official news service resigned Wednesday at the request of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference general secretary.

    Tony Spence, who had worked for Catholic News Service since 2004, had publicly criticized religious freedom and bathroom privacy legislation on his Twitter feed.

    The news comes mere days after the Lepanto Institute issued a report highlighting Spence’s controversial tweets, wherein he had called religious freedom laws “pro-discrimination” and “stupid.” LifeSiteNews ran an article on the report Tuesday.

    The National Catholic Reporter indicated that Spence was considered “a member of the [USCCB] senior staff.”
    So, for a dozen years, CNS had been run by this man who was opposed to the “Sex at Birth” proposal of the Nebraska bishops. Had three of the fifty-one votes changed, the bishops would have won. Did Mr. Spence have any influence in the vote? I don’t know.

    Now the bishops are asking him to leave, but only because laymen called him out for his un-Catholic beliefs and made a fuss about it. I do hope the bishops will take a closer look at their staff in the future.

  • Paula Ruddy

    What is the reason the bishops give for not affirming transgender people? Is it about the cost of accommodating them in schools and other institutions? I’m wondering why that personal liberty is not honored. Why does the gender on the birth certificate have to be the only way a person can identify? The answer to this question has probably been given, but I do not see it in this article.

    • Charles C.

      Hello Paula, good to see you.

      “Affirming”is a nice, warm positive word. What does it mean? That’s one of the smallest of the problems. If it means “accepting that the person has that belief about their identity,” that’s one thing. (Although it is possible for someone to falsely claim that belief in order to access facilities designated for the other sex.) I think I can live with that.

      If “affirming” means accepting that the person actually is the sex they claim to be and treating them as such, then, not so much.

      Here’s a test. I’m a 6′ 8″ Black Chinese Lesbian who weighs 110 pounds. I’m allergic to all foods except steak, baked potatoes, and arugula salad. Will you “affirm” me and require people, schools, churches and governments to treat me that way? The only honest, sane answer is “No, because you’re clearly not any of those things. That can be proved by experiments and tests.”

      Ah, but sex, that great issue of the world system, is different somehow. Sorry, that’s inconsistent and illogical.

      You’re mistaken in thinking that personal liberty is not honored. It is and always has been. Anyone can go up to a teacher or Bishop and say “I know I look like a (boy/girl), but I feel like a (girl/boy). No problem with that, although in more rational ages the person addressed might begin considering whether therapy is indicated in the same way people would wonder about me if I insisted to all and sundry that I was a Black Chinese.

      One other little slip which I’d like to correct. Gender is not reported on birth certificates, sex is. My sex is male, was, is, and always will be. No amount of surgery, hormones, clothing, and makeup will ever be anything more than an elaborate and expensive disguise of the truth of an individual’s sex. Now, if that makes the person feel more comfortable, fine with me, wear what you want. But it’s not all about what that person wants.

      You asked about the cost as though you thought the main cost was measured in dollars. Let’s try an experiment (in my head only). An 18 year old boy with all of the appropriate hormones and urges decides to use the school showers, except he uses the girl’s showers. While there he displays the typical male reaction to such a situation. Much screaming and “What the Hell-ing” ensues. The principal shows up with a security guard and pulls the boy out for questioning.

      The boy says “I’m gender questioning and I thought I’d identify with girls this month. Oh, my physical reaction? I see myself as bisexual.” The principal thinks it over and decides to talk to the girls.

      Talking with the girls is a little harder than he anticipated. One of the young ladies is curled up in a ball screaming her head off. She’s suffering from PTSD resulting from a violent sexual attack the year before. She may need hospitalization to get past this invasion of her private, safe space, in such an obviously sexual manner.

      The other girls listen to the principal and ask “Why do the 20 of us have to give up our privacy and feel extremely uncomfortable to please one guy who thinks he’s a girl?” The principal has no answer, none is possible, so he mumbles about policy or law. This has the effect of convincing the girls that no in any position to influence this decision has any brains whatsoever, and they can’t count on sanity among the authorities any longer.

      Those are costs.

      Oh, and why are the Bishops taking that position? Perhaps it’s because the Pope, and common sense, say that if you are born one sex and reject it, you are rejecting what God gave you, telling Him he was wrong. Besides, what’s better, to live in a fantasy world, or deal with reality, however hard the struggle might be.