The Governor of Tennessee, Bill Lee, just signed a law aimed at criminalizing drag events in his state. Not only is that likely to encourage more anti-LGBTQI+ violence, it’s also an elaborate distraction from the very real problems facing the people who live in Tennessee.
See, politicians love to distract people with things that are not actual problems so they can appear like heroes when they solve those “problems” and make it look like they’re actually doing something of substance for the people who voted for them.
This Drag Queen issue is a perfect example of this sort of political distraction strategy.
Step 1: Create the false impression that Drag Queen performances are harming children in some substantial way.
Step 2: Get local and national news outlets to run stories about the “controversy” and the “dangers” of Drag Queen performances.
Step 3: Introduce legislation to “solve” this perceived threat to our children and give a press conference you can use in your next campaign ad.
Step 4: Ignore all the actual problems in your community that you have no intention of doing anything to fix, like poverty, unemployment, infrastructure, crime rates, etc.
Step 5: Get re-elected and continue to dream up fake dangers and problems that are easy to solve so you keep looking like a hero and people stop getting upset about the lack of jobs, increased rental costs, unsafe roads, neglected children, and reduced quality of education.
Case in point: Tennessee has the highest rate of medical bankruptcies, poor education outcomes, and rampant poverty. Is the Governor hard at work to solve any of those problems?
Nope. Not at all.
What is he concerned about? The made-up fake dangers of Drag Queen Story Time.
For the record, here’s a picture of Governor Lee from his days in High School…[that’s him in the wig, dress and pear necklace below]:
The fact is this: Children in Tennessee [and everywhere else] are MORE at risk in a Christian Church than they are at a Drag Show.
That’s right, our kids are more likely to be sexually assaulted and abused by their Youth Pastor or Senior Pastor in Church than they are at a Story Time event featuring men dressed in drag.
Neither does the woman in Maury County (Columbia, TN) who stood up in front of the County Board of Trustees a few months ago and said this:
“I’ve never been sexually assaulted at a drag show, but I have been in church––twice. The men in that church told me it was my fault. There aren’t that many places kids can turn to help them understand [being queer]. And they want to take that away from children? That is disgusting. That is child abuse!”
Does the Governor of Tennessee [or ANY Governor in ANY State] seem to care about the thousands of women and children who are sexually abused and assaulted in Christian Churches across the nation?
No. They are not. At least, not based on the legislation they introduce. Pastors and Youth Directors and Sunday School teachers aren’t on any Governor’s radar when it comes to protection our children from sexual predators.
But we DO have hundreds of cases where women and children and young boys are sexually abused and assaulted in Church by Church leaders.
Child Sexual Abuse in Protestant Christian Congregations [STUDY]:
Utilizing data from 326 cases of alleged child sexual abuse that occurred at or through activities provided by Protestant Christian congregations between 1982 & 2014.
- The overwhelming majority of identified offenders were male. Specifically, male offenders were represented by 98.8%
- Specifically, offender ages at the time of the alleged sexual abuse ranged from 18 to 88 years of age.
- The overwhelming majority (80.1%) of offenders were employed in an official capacity within their respective churches with a substantial minority (19.9%) being volunteers. Pastor 34.9% – Youth Minister 31.4% – Youth Volunteer 8.3% – Associate Pastor 5.4% – Music Minister 4.8% – Volunteer 3.2% – Sunday School Teacher 2.9% – Deacon 2.2% – Church Member 2.2% – Church Camp Worker 0.6%.
- The most frequent male offender role was a Pastor at 34.9%
“There are studies that demonstrate that the faith community is even more vulnerable to abuse than secular environments. The Abel and Harlow study revealed that 93% of sex offenders describe themselves as “religious” and that this category of offender may be the most dangerous. Other studies have found that sexual abusers within faith communities have more victims and younger victims. “
“Recently, a study of over 300 alleged child sexual abuse cases in protestant Christian congregations found the overwhelming majority took place on church grounds, or at the offender’s home, most frequently carried out by Caucasian, male clergy or youth pastors (Denney, Kerley, & Gross, 2018).”
And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The Southern Baptist Convention has been exposed as a breeding ground for sexual assault against women and young boys and girls as per the recent expose in the Houston Chronicle and subsequent admissions by leaders in the denomination that they have known about – and covered up – these abuses for decades.
Need more proof that Governor Lee and others who sign these types of smokescreen laws against the LGBTQ+ community don’t actually care about protecting our kids?
Try this: What’s the number one cause of death for children in America right now?
Guns became the leading cause of death for American children in the last 2 years, but it’s been the leading cause of death among Black children for the last TWO DECADES.
Where’s the Governor’s action on that? Where is the legislation to protect our kids from gun violence? They are actually being KILLED and the Governor has nothing to say about that. Not one word.
But, he wants to protect our kids from Drag Queens reading “Goodnight Moon”?
Dreaming up fake problems to solve isn’t legislating with integrity. It’s not standing up for the safety of our children. It has nothing to do with taking a hard look at the very real problems facing people on the street and working to lift them out of poverty, provide a good education for their children, ensure jobs for them when they graduate high school, making sure their bridges and roads are safe to drive, or ensuring they have clean water to drink or safe food to eat.
Don’t fall for it. Don’t get swept up in the selective outrage about drag show story time when our kids aren’t safe in their own classrooms, or churches.
Sorry Governor Lee. We see you. We know what you’re doing. It’s sick and hypocritical and it creates more danger for our trans, gay, intersex and queer children.
If you really care about protecting children, start cleaning up our places of worship where we know for a fact our kids are being sexually abused, and passing laws that protect children from gun violence – the number one threat to their life in America today.
Anything else is a smoke screen and a distraction from the actual problems we’re facing today.
Time is running out.
You only have until Monday – March 13, 2023 – to register for our next 3-week online course: Jesus Unexpected.If you want peace of mind about the Second Coming and want to sleep better at night without fear of the Rapture or being Left Behind, I hope you’ll join me starting this Monday for Jesus Unexpected.
Keith Giles is the best-selling author of the Jesus Un series. He has appeared on CNN, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and John Fugelsang’s “Tell Me Everything.” His latest book, SOLA MYSTERIUM: Celebrating the Beautiful Uncertainty of Everything is available now on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.