Don’t Let Anti-Discrimination Laws Become a Weapon against Religious Liberty and Common Sense

One night in January, a man, dressed in a nightgown, injured and inebriated, arrived at a church-affiliated women’s shelter in Anchorage, Alaska and asked to be let in for the night. The shelter’s director refused, but gave him money for a taxi to the hospital. He returned the next morning and was again turned away—in part because he arrived before regular admitting hours and in part because, although he is a transsexual who identifies as a woman and goes by the name Samantha Coyle, it is the shelter’s policy not to let biological men spend the night. Thereafter Coyle filed a complaint with the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission, which, over objections from the shelter’s lawyer that the shelter was protected on religious-liberty grounds, decided to proceed with the investigation. Aylana Meisel and Howard Slugh write:

If this case alone wasn’t disturbing enough, the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission sued [the shelter’s] lawyer after he made comments to a local reporter defending the shelter. According to the commission, publicizing the facts of the case also violated the anti-discrimination law. And so the commission’s fervor also led it to abandon the First Amendment.

The [shelter] acted not out of animus toward the transgendered: it was simply protecting the women sheltered there. The shelter does not discriminate against transsexuals. Biological women are allowed admittance even if they identify as men. Such women have slept at the shelter without incident. The shelter even tries to accommodate biological men to the extent it can do so without jeopardizing its core mission of helping vulnerable women. The shelter has previously offered Coyle himself services, serving him meals and allowing him to shower by himself—he simply could not sleep there.

It is almost certainly true that most supporters of Anchorage’s anti-discrimination statute had good intentions. . . . Most of the statute’s proponents probably believed that it would prevent restaurants from turning prospective customers away because of issues related to their sex or “gender identity.” . . . They almost certainly did not imagine a situation in which it would be used to allow a drunken biological man, with a history of violent criminal behavior, to sleep next to women who had escaped abusive homes and sex-trafficking. . . .

A person can support respect and tolerance for transsexuals while also considering it ludicrous to force [a women’s shelter] to allow a biological male to sleep next to battered women. It is well past time to restore sanity to anti-discrimination law, and the Anchorage Commission can begin by dismissing Coyle’s claim.

Read more at National Review

More about: Discrimination, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Politics & Current Affairs, Transsexuals

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7