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In a rare bit of good news for conservative culture warriors, last week a Christian philosophy professor won a ruling in his favor against an Ohio university that had sought to punish him for refusing to refer to a biologically male student by his preferred female pronouns.
Thanks to the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Shawnee State University philosophy professor Nicholas Meriwether, a Christian, may now pursue a lawsuit against the school for marring his previously spotless disciplinary record in 2018.
Long story short, a “transgender female” student tried forcing Meriwether to refer to him as “her.” He refused in accordance with his Christian beliefs. For this, a warning was placed on his disciplinary record ordering him to refer to the student by his preferred pronouns to “avoid further corrective actions.”
In response, Meriwether filed suit, and last Friday he scored his first victory when a federal appeals court ruled that he may pursue the lawsuit. But why did he push it this far? Why didn’t he just bend the knee to the “woke” mob like so many others have done?
Speaking on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” this Thursday evening, he said that, besides trying to prevent his firing, he’d also been motivated by concerns over the gradual erosion of academic freedom.
Listen, though do note that Carlson makes an error by claiming the disciplinary action was applied in 2016. That’s wrong. It was applied in 2018:
(Video: Fox News)
“Well basically, if I had not [sued], I would have been fired, I would have been terminated. That was one reason. It wasn’t the only reason,” Meriwether said to Carlson.
“The other reason was … I think we need to stand up against it, and I do think that we are losing our academic freedom. We are losing our freedom to disagree, and unless and until people stand up to it, I think it’s just going to get much, much worse much, much faster,” he added.
Indeed, which is why the court’s ruling is of such paramount importance. Speaking alongside Meriwether, his attorney Kristen Waggoner of the Alliance Defending Freedom noted that the precedent now set by the court will be vital for free speech.
“We won on both free speech and free exercise grounds, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said very clearly that the use of titles and pronouns is a part of a debate that this nation is engaging in right now, and that those terms are infused with great meaning,” she explained to Carlson.
“[I]t’s not the government’s role to set the terms of that debate or to weigh in on one side or the other. In fact, the court’s decision actually referenced what would happen if the government demanded ideological purity. It used examples like, the government could then force a pacifist, for example, to have to support war. It could force a civil rights icon to criticize the freedom riders, or it could even force a Christian to deny the existence of God,” she noted.
Members of the transgender community would vehemently disagree with this line of thinking, because they claim their “lived experiences” don’t amount to something that can be classified as an ideology.
Case in point (*Language warning):
Trans lives are not an ideology. Framing a minority group’s existence as a sinister ideology is violence.
— Rozie Suppozie 🛡️ (@rozietoez) March 27, 2021
1) There is no such thing as “transgenderism”. I’m a transgender woman. It’s not an ideology. It’s who I am.
2) Being transgender has nothing to do with sexual morality. There are gay trans people. There are straight trans people. There are asexual trans people.
— Natalie (@natgrace79) March 23, 2021
transgender people are actual people, not an ideology you stupid fuck. disliking trans people is a clear example of discrimination
— Salty 🏳️⚧️ (@SireSalty) March 28, 2021
Being transgender is not an ideology but being transphobic is.
— Diana RN (@georgie1801) March 21, 2021
But liberal journalist Michael Tracey, a former member of “The Young Turks,” made the case recently that contemporary transgenderism has in fact become an ideology.
Writing for Substack last week, he noted that when members of the transgender community spend so much time trying to censor and silence people by “agitating to have books purged from Amazon” and “using the tattle-tale astroturf outfit Media Matters to pressure corporations to crack down on political speech,” it’s hard to see transgenderism as anything else other than an ideological movement.
Corinna Cohn, a heterodox “transengender woman,” agreed.
“There are tenets of gender identity ideology that you can clearly define. The central tenets of this ideology is that trans women are women, trans men are men — and it has been recently amended to add that non-binary identities are valid,” Cohn said to Tracey.
This is of extreme importance because the acceptance of these tenets “would necessitate the implementation of far-reaching policy reform, as well as sweeping overhauls of people’s private attitudes relating to the most elemental conceptions of sex and gender,” according to Tracey.
He added, “Namely, the abolition of all social constructs around sex and gender — because those constructs are now thought to have been generated by power disparities and other sources of ‘intersectional’ oppression.”
There’s very little that’s non-ideological about such radical demands, no?
Yes, There Is Such Thing As Gender Identity Ideology, And Saying So Is Not “Violence” https://t.co/BX7PNB1HbW
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) March 26, 2021
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit seemingly sides with the likes of Tracey.
Writing the majority opinion, Justice Amul Thapar, a Trump appointee, argued that the very notion of transgender identity is “a hotly contested matter of public concern,” meaning it’s not something set in stone.
And so if something isn’t set in stone but a group of people are demanding it be set in set, what do you call those people? Ideologically driven activists perhaps?