President Joe Biden has hyper charged the culture war in his first 100 days by weakening religious freedom, women’s rights, and prohibitions on taxpayer funding of abortion, among other things. From his first day in office, Biden attempted to erase the legacy of his predecessor, President Donald Trump. Yet he has also railroaded Americans’ constitutional rights, and the Christian law firm Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is fighting back.
“We’ve seen since literally Day One that the Biden administration has been advancing a variety of policies that endanger our constitutional freedoms,” Matt Sharp, senior counsel at ADF, told PJ Media in an interview on Thursday, which marked Biden’s 100th day in office.
Sharp highlighted six ways Biden has threatened Americans’ constitutional rights in his first 100 days, and he pointed to three potential threats that loom on the horizon.
1. The transgender threat to women’s rights
On Biden’s very first day in office, he signed an executive order endorsing the nebulous concept of gender identity over biological sex. This order requires schools to open girls’ restrooms, locker rooms, and sports leagues to biological boys, and requires health care plans to pay for experimental transgender “treatments.”
As Sharp put it, Biden’s order “directed federal agencies to adopt rules to open up women’s spaces for biological men.”
This order violated women’s rights to privacy in intimate spaces, threatened to violate religious freedom and free speech when it comes to dissenting from transgender orthodoxy, and undermined fairness in women’s sports.
ADF represents three Connecticut high school girls and their mothers who filed a Title IX lawsuit against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference. Under the Trump administration, the Department of Justice came to the girls’ defense.
Under Biden, “We saw immediate reversal,” Sharp noted. “The Trump administration had been not just standing with the female athletes but following Title IX to protect women’s opportunities, and yet the Biden administration begins reversing that.”
“Now the Biden administration is actively working to take a level playing field away from them,” he lamented.
2. College dorms
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), implementing Biden’s transgender order, issued orders that apparently require Christian schools to place biological males who identify as female with females in women’s dorms. ADF is representing the College of the Ozarks, a Christian college in Missouri, which sued HUD over the order.
“HUD had issued a rule saying that colleges, their dorm rooms, in particular, had to be open to allow biological males to stay in female dorms, which often have communal restrooms and even communal shower spaces,” Sharp explained. “We are representing College of the Ozarks, which maintains separate dormitories for men and women consistent with common sense and religious beliefs.”
The order “violates the privacy of the women, and it forces the college to violate its religious beliefs, as well.”
3. Defending the transgender mandate
Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under Biden filed to appeal a court ruling that struck down an Obamacare mandate that forced Roman Catholic health care providers to violate their consciences by performing experimental transgender surgeries that many doctors consider to be harmful. In other words, the Biden administration is fighting to force doctors to violate the Hippocratic Oath.
Sharp told PJ Media that ADF has “filed amicus briefs supporting the right of faith-based hospitals and medical providers to not be forced to participate in so-called gender transition.” He noted that many doctors “don’t believe it’s good medicine or consistent with their faith to do surgeries that remove healthy body parts and have not been show to address some of the psychological problems of gender dysphoria.”
Indeed, research shows that there are significant risks with sex reassignment surgery, including heart conditions, increased cancer risk, and loss of bone density. There is no evidence that transgender surgery improves the mental health outcomes of gender dysphoric people. Many realize they are not transgender, but instead gay or lesbian — like detransitioner Charlotte Evans, who launched a network for formerly transgender people.
“We do support medical conscience rights for doctors, hospitals, and others… for their freedom to do no harm,” Sharp told PJ Media. He noted that the Biden administration appears to be “taking a pretty clear position that the government should pay for transgender surgeries and that hospitals should provide them.”
“We saw this play out during the Obama administration with the HHS mandate. They were using Obamacare not just to force religious organizations, nonprofits, and businesses like Hobby Lobby to pay for abortion-inducing drugs but was also very strongly pushing that hospitals must be providing these gender transition services,” Sharp noted. “We fully expect Biden to follow suit on that and ADF is going to continue to fight it.”
4. Pushing the Equality Act
Biden once again urged Congress to pass the Equality Act in his speech before the joint session of Congress on Wednesday.
“We at ADF know firsthand what happens when laws like the Equality Act are passed,” Sharp told PJ Media. “We’ve seen it with [Masterpiece Cakeshop baker] Jack Phillips and [florist] Barronelle Stutzman, who have been prosecuted, and are being sued under laws like the Equality Act.”
“When the president of the United States stands before Congress and says we need to pass the Equality act, it means private individuals will be forced to violate their consciences,” Sharp said. Such laws “impact the free speech and freedom of religion of creative professionals, religious organizations, and many many others.”
He noted that the current version of the Equality Act explicitly removes religious freedom protections in certain circumstances, severely undermining the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
“The real danger of the equality act is that it’s not only a sword to empower the federal government to go after people of faith — saying that you must violate your deeply-held religious convictions — but it then takes away a very important shield that religious organizations have,” Sharp said. “It’s really a one-two punch of government.”
While Biden will likely fail to enshrine the Equality Act into law, Sharp predicted he will achieve a great deal of its goals through executive orders. “I think we’re going to see it through executive orders, through rules like the HUD rule from Biden’s administrative agencies,” he predicted.
Recommended: 6 Reasons to Oppose the Orwellian ‘Equality Act’
5. Abortion funding
For decades in the Senate, Biden supported the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding for abortion. Yet in the 2020 presidential election, he opposed the Hyde Amendment. Sharp noted that in Biden’s first days, the president rescinded the Mexico City Policy, which “ensures that American taxpayer dollars are not going to international organizations that promote abortion.”
“We were very troubled to see Biden Administration rescind that very important policy,” the ADF lawyer said. He noted that Biden “supported repealing the Hyde Amendment and his administration has already proposed changes to Title X, family planning programs. They generally had restrictions on that money being used to perform or promote abortions. The Biden administration is changing that.”
Biden has also indicated that he will restore the HHS contraception mandate, forcing employers, religious organizations, and others to pay for forms of contraception that are abortion-inducing.
Sharp also discussed some looming threats that “ADF is monitoring and looking out for.”
He noted a recent case in Madison, Wisc., in which ADF defended parental rights after a school district undermined them. “If a child was experiencing confusion about their gender identity, the school’s policy was ‘We are going to withhold that information from parents, we are going to hide it from parents.’ We sued over it and got a victory.”
“We are concerned that we are going to see similar things from the federal government,” warning that the Biden administration will likely try “to deny parents from knowing what’s going on in their kids’ lives.” He pledged that ADF will defend parental rights if that happens.
Sharp also noted the threat of leftist propaganda in classrooms. “Whether it’s curriculum, encouraging kids to explore gender identity or sexual orientation, or critical theory, schools are compelling kids to speak things which the kids and their families may not believe,” he said. “ADF has long stood against any effort by the government to compel speech.”
If schools start “telling kids, ‘You must affirm LGBT ideology or critical race theory,’ it’s the government telling students what they must think and what they must believe about controversial issues,” Sharp said. He noted that the Supreme Court prevented the government from forcing kids to pledge allegiance to the flag in West Virginia v. Barnette (1943).
He cited Justice Robert H. Jackson, who wrote that “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in matters of politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion[,] or force citizens to confess by word their faith therein.”
Finally, Sharp mentioned the current Supreme Court case challenging the State of California’s law mandating that nonprofits disclose their donors, potentially subjecting donors to intimidation and harassment. While Biden has not supported the donor disclosure law, he has supported H.R. 1, the Democrats’ election overhaul bill. Sharp noted that even the American Civil Liberties Union has condemned the donor disclosure rules in H.R. 1.
“One thing is for certain: people of faith, women athletes, people who believe in freedom have no greater ally than ADF,” Sharp declared. “We are monitoring the things coming out of the Biden administration. We are going to stand against any effort, large or small, from the Biden administration to undermine religious freedom, life, or parental rights.”
He urged Americans to visit the website adflegal.org/standforfreedom.
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