Fla. governor signs trans athlete ban in religious photo-op

Desantis

The Freedom From Religion Foundation condemns Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis not only for signing into law a discriminatory bill to ban transgender girls from school sports, but for making it a religious photo-op.

DeSantis made a show of signing the bill at Trinity Christian Academy, a private Christian school, even though the new law will only apply to public schools, betraying his religious motivation. The school DeSantis chose for his photo-op has a long-winded Statement of Faith that is thoroughly anti-LGBTQ and anti-science. “We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, tran-sexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex,” the statement includes. Signing a transgender athlete ban at this school sends a clear message that the bill is not about protecting women’s sports, but rather is about advancing a particular religious belief that everyone should be heterosexual, cisgender and Christian.

To emphasize the cruelty of the new measure, DeSantis selected the first day of Pride Month to sign the anti-trans bill into law. (FFRF’s Strategic Response Attorney Ryan D. Jayne has written extensively about bills just like this and why they are misguided.)

Ironically, at the signing ceremony DeSantis stated, “We’re gonna go based on biology, not based on ideology when we’re doing sports.” However, the bill is not only motivated by an anti-trans ideology, but also was signed at a school that rejects biology and explicitly states: “We deny any form of atheistic or theistic evolution.” The school’s anti-science beliefs go even further, asserting that “the Genesis account of creation is to be accepted literally and not allegorically or figuratively; that the creation was accomplished in six (6), twenty-four (24) hour days.”

The school’s Statement of Faith also includes a belief that Armageddon is coming “at any moment,” that those who do not agree with the church are “wicked and under the curse,” and that Satan is “the malignant prince of the power of the air and the unholy god of this world” and “the author of all false religions.” It even says that church members should not sue one another, or the church, in civil courts; instead, they should trust the church itself to resolve such issues.

By signing anti-trans legislation into law at this anti-LGBTQ institution, DeSantis signals not only his anti-trans bigotry, but his approval for all of these abhorrent and unscientific beliefs. Floridians deserve a secular, evidence-based government that works to advance science rather than discrimination, and that works to protect all Floridians rather than advancing a divisive religious mission.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

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