“People’s feelings” “real or not” and… because the other kids are doing it… Is THIS why we pass a law?

CHAMBERSBURG – With regard to the fifth meeting of the Special Exploratory Committee charged by the Chambersburg Borough Council on the possibility of adopting an LGBTQ non-discrimination ordinance expansion, and a local Human Relations Committee to enforce such a code, there was much that was elucidated as to why there is a push for this new local law. There is also much to unpack.

Five guest testifiers at the meeting July 22nd were, Wesley Fugate, Ph.D. Philosophy in Education, the recently elected President of Wilson College; Megan Shreve, CEO of South Central Community Action Program (SCCAP); Drs. Robert Hewitt PhD Social Work and Nicole Hewitt PhD Administation and Leadership Studies, who conduct Human Service Trainer and Consultant workshops; and Pastor Scott Bowerman Central Presbyterian Church and leader of group Racial Reconciliation Franklin County.

The following is roughly the information I sent in an email to the Exploratory Committee following the meeting, edited for the op/ed, using their special email address: exploratorycommittee@chambersburgpa.gov – the only way btw they have allowed public interaction with this group. I’ll take them at their word that they are reading and considering all these emails but I’ve yet to get a response from any of the council committee members indicating that they have read my emails directed to them.

Onto the comments on the meeting interaction:

Respectfully to Kathy Leedy, who asked the speakers at least three times their opinion of those in the community who say Chambersburg has “no problems” with discrimination, racially or otherwise, it is not true that anyone ever said this. No one has denied we have any problems, or that there might be frustrations or hurt feelings or feelings of unwelcome. All that was actually expressed was where is the evidence that non-discrimination law was needed for legal rights violations in Chambersburg. 

From the speakers of the 5th meeting, besides unsupported feelings that were described, the committee were mostly shown examples of disparities as proof of something wrong. But disparities alone are not proof of racial rights violations. There was also much generalizing from the whole country, while detailed local examples were not given.

Truthfully what was presented, was a lot of Critical Race Theory/Critical Social Justice talking points, not examples of discrimination. 

CRT/CSJ is actually teaching People of Color (POC) and LGBTQ and the younger generation to feel this way, that is, to believe in idea that marginalization and oppression of minority groups is “systemic” in our country, ie “these problems are everywhere” “not unique to here” as the guests said over and over. 

CRT/CSJ is being pushed in both Wilson College, before and even more so since Dr. Fugate became president, and Shippensburg University, where the Drs. Hewitt both teach. This is true of most universities across the country, so indoctrinated students opinions from these institutions which were quoted in this meeting, are not very reliable. Many are also constantly hearing this ideology pushed in social media, Hollywood, the rest of pop culture, and all of this was put on steroids after the events of last summer, while corporate media also took up the cause in this past, very political, year. Many are now hypersensitive to seeing discrimination even where it does not exist – in a letter that disagrees that rural conservatives are “historically racist” for a local example.

“Hidden” racism and feelings unsupported by objective facts are part and parcel of this ideology.

There was only one concrete example given of discrimination that could be considered actionable, as I recall, from among the five speakers. This was an incident that was described at presumably a local hospital of a gay spouse/partner being asked to leave  when visiting hours were over as heterosexual spouses/partners were not, which I believe is currently illegal and for which the hospital could have been successfully sued.

Much was said of “personal lived experiences“ – “whether it happened or not “ – Jeffrey Stonehill, Heath Talhelm and the guests agreed on this. How individuals felt, not necessarily based in reality, was of paramount importance it seemed.

Of course feelings are important but so is reality and unless there was a violation based in objective reality, a new ordinance and adjudicating group is not the appropriate vehicle to deal with such things.

Where should things like this be dealt with ? I suggest a church, a counseling group or community support groups, not ordinances and laws and “commissions” that cannot be impartial.

A Human Rights Commission should not be established here to be a grand HR system for our town. CRT/CSJ ideology wants these social commissions established to influence social behavior, to guide us in critical social justice as it defines it and as it sees the world.

When groups with Critical Social Justice perspective do focus groups, as described in meeting, they tend to lead the group to comments. It would also be critical to know how the people for the focus group were engaged to be part of the group, and how this session was conducted. And frankly this was such a small selective sample sample presented, very little can really be gleaned about proof required to show we are in need of new laws. 

“People soldering in community for years “ was how the focus group was described. This sounds like a group that already had a point of view they wanted to get out.

Unless I missed it, not one example of civil rights violation besides the hospital one was given, not even one based on expanded-not-as-yet-legally-defined groups in LGBTQ+.

Dr. Fugate also said whether it is true or not that we have significant discrimination, we should pass this because this has passed in other places, hardly a good reason to do this.

We heard about “testimonies” given from the last guest to his Racial Reconciliation group, but these were all very vague. No examples were given by Pastor Bowerman though he made it quite clear he is a believer in Critical Social Justice ideology and views the world that way. And he’s free to do so but he is not free to impose that belief on other people, just as he is not free to impose his version of Christianity on other people. 

Racial Reconciliation Franklin County, Bowerman’s group he was there representing, is named for one of the central themes of this ideological perspective. But this is only one way of seeing the world and while popular with many right now, should not be imposed on all through law.

And finally, as far as religions and organized belief systems, which were brought up in the discussion, there is a problem with only looking at this for a religious organization.

It’s not only congregations and church organizations that should be protected. This law would impose on others’ personal belief systems that differ from CRT/CSJ. These personal beliefs would include traditional religious perspectives (christian, islamic, judeo, etc) and other philosophic/ideological perspectives including atheistic/secular rational liberalism or humanism. This should never be codified into law in the United States of America.

These presenters at the 5th Special Exploratory Committee meeting couldn’t have made it more clear that this is mostly based not in reality of true civil rights violations in need of law, but on perceptions of racial and LGBTQ+ slights, based on a hyper-sensitive Critical Theory world view ideology in need of a way to force others to accept it.