Do you know what SOGI laws are? That stands for Sexual Orientation Gender Identity laws, and they are about to change your life. They concern securing gay identity and chosen gender identity as legally protected classes, while promoting penalties for people with convictions that we are created male and female and that male and female are created for each other.
Espying the SOGI Future
You may feel uninterested. After all, given the current cultural climate and current Supreme Court nominee, you may think that the federal
government will not favor these laws, so those who would incur penalties from these laws will not. But, even if the current winds are against such federal legislation or rulings (and winds change), these laws are being aggressively pursued in individual states. They are coming to a legislature near you.
We may espy the portents of the future in how these laws are being considered, accepted and, in some cases, welcomed by large and unlikely groups, like the state of Utah, The National Association of Evangelicals and the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. The laws are currently progressing in scenarios that promise a modicum of religious freedom in packages called “The Utah Compromise” or “Fairness for All” (as explained in Sarah’s Eekhoff Zylstra’s excellent report on the Gospel Coalition website). But there really isn’t a compromise. The laws create these new protected classes and then try to mitigate the religious liberty harms that ensue. Usually the “compromise” grants limited exemptions, mainly to religious organizations, but not for individuals and only for the time being.
SOGI: Bludgeoning Discrimination Rather than Ending It
A superb (and understandable for non-lawyers) treatment of SOGI laws can be in found in a paper Dr. Ryan T. Anderson prepared for the Heritage Foundation available here. His work addresses all the foibles of the SOGI Law approach while never losing sight of the actual needs of the LGBT community.
Anderson demonstrates the problems in comparing Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity to race and sex, as the SOGI laws try to do. He also shows how different cultural and legal means are far more appropriate and effective for protecting gay and trans folks from invidious discrimination, while not penalizing religious folks.
Such clarity and sensitivity are refreshing. But it is unlikely that Anderson’s reasoning will halt the progress of SOGI. If they do become law of the land, religious freedom will be over. Allowing freedom of conscience will have been a nice idea. Good try, America.
The Biggest Reason SOGI will change your life
Even so, if the SOGI laws prevail, the loss of religious liberty will not be the biggest loss. It will be the redefinition of identity in your country.
One’s feelings and perceptions about one’s body will become the definition of identity (the GI part), rather than the body itself. This is the exact opposite of the Bible’s guidance, which teaches that we should look to our body to teach us our deep identity.
Similarly, one’s sexual desires (the SO part) will become normative for identity. That is, if I desire it, that desire is me. Certainly sexual desire is meant to teach us something about ourselves and God, but not as a norm, so that whatever we want, that must be our identity. SOGI laws take that step, officially.
My concern is how two things that the Bible helps us see are decidedly not components of human identity, desires and feelings that run counter to His loving plan for us, are about to become official identity markers. Our government will stamp it as law for us and our children. The effects in how people treat each other will be profound.
It is the national redefinition of identity that is about to change your life.