FFRF stands against trans fearmongering in wake of Nashville shooting

The Freedom From Religion Foundation applauds a student walkout by New Hampshire law students countering anti-trans hate by a local chapter of the Christian Legal Society.

Students at the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law walked out of class yesterday, March 29, to protest the administration’s failure to act on complaints about campus groups that have been spreading anti-trans hate. As New Hampshire Public Radio reports, more than 100 students and faculty members rallied, held signs and chanted, “UNH! Stand against hate!”

The walkout was sparked by an email that the Christian Legal Society sent to the entire student body on March 28, inviting students to join them for a candlelight prayer vigil in honor of the lives lost in the tragic school shooting in Nashville, which killed three students and three adult staff members. In the email, the legal society claimed law students had unfairly “maligned Christian students and CLS as bigoted, hateful or unfit for public recognition or acceptance.” Rather than honoring the lives lost in yet another senseless act of gun violence, the Christian Legal Society exploited the killings to feed growing anti-trans hysteria sweeping the country. It claimed that the movement for trans rights has fueled anti-Christian hate and suggested that trans rights advocates bear some responsibility for the shooting:

Nashville school shooter Audrey Hale identified as transgender and had a detailed manifesto to attack the Christian academy. By all accounts, this terrorist attack on a Christian school was motivated by anti-Christian hate.

Tragically, this incident comes after a barrage of rhetoric demonizing Christians and anyone perceived to oppose the ontological premises of transgenderism. Activists, actors in the media, and others have fueled this hate and paranoia by telling stories to falsely and spuriously imply that anyone who opposes the trans agenda is in favor of a “trans genocide.”

As of the writing of this statement, law enforcement officials have not released an official motive for the Nashville murders. The shooter, who was killed by police, is identified as a 28-year-old who attended The Covenant School in the third and fourth grades and is believed to be transgender. Writings by Hale being analyzed appear to indicate plans for shootings at multiple locations.

After receiving the email, University of New Hampshire administrators held a “listening session” for students to voice their concerns but offered no resolution to the issue of the Christian Legal Society being permitted to use official channels to twist a tragedy to attack the trans community at a time when trans and gender nonconforming people are experiencing historic levels of violence. Dissatisfaction with the administrative response then led to the walkout.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as an incident where at least four victims excluding the perpetrator were either injured or killed, the shooting in Nashville was the 129th mass shooting in the United States this year. While statistics on the number of mass shootings vary across sources, it’s generally agreed that over the past four decades, only three mass shooters have identified as transgender or nonbinary. There is neither any data to support the claim that there is a meteoric rise in transgender people committing violent acts nor any evidence that such acts were motivated by “anti-Christian hate.”

Among the others exploiting the tragedy to target the trans community are tweets with the hashtag #TransTerrorism and politicians such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Like the rest of the nation, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is appalled and saddened by yet another mass shooting targeting a school. We join others in decrying this senseless violence and in demanding meaningful reform to protect our school children. The anti-trans rhetoric surrounding this horrific shooting is serving only as a distraction from the common denominator in any mass shooting: the egregious lack of gun control laws, especially against assault rifles, in this country. The real question is why Hale was able to access firearms capable of doing such harm. Until our lawmakers take action to adopt rational gun safety laws, these horrifying slaughters, regardless of shooters’ identities or motives, will continue.

Fully 94 percent of FFRF’s members support common sense gun safety restrictions,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor points out. “Our lawmakers, at both the state and federal levels, have the ability to address this recurring carnage if they choose to do so, but instead offer only ‘thoughts and prayers.’”

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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