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Threat to liberty 

Let's just ban everything, jail everyone who disagrees, or better yet, not simply defeat the opposition, obliterate them! Such are the sentiments being expressed in print, in speech, and manifesting themselves in legislation in the Golden State.

We are a divided people and, I fear, hopelessly divided. How this ends does not bode well for anyone who simply wishes to be left alone, as progressives will not allow you to be neutral. You will conform, you will comply, and you will celebrate, or else!

The latest overreach by the state's progressive/liberal Democrats in the Legislature is Assembly Bill 2943, which has thus far passed through two committees where once sanity ruled and such a bill would never see the light of day.

AB 2943 bans books with subject matter with which the bills authors disagree. More specifically, it attempts to prohibit the sale of any material, under the auspices of consumer fraud, any publication that addresses gender, gender reassignment, or any of the orthodoxy of the LGBT community. It codifies in law as accepted scientific fact that gender is not biologically established at birth but may be determined at a later date. The fact that no scientific theory is ever absolutely definitively proven, let alone beyond any future scientific inquiry, goes against 500 years of scientific inquiry.

This bill is simply another attempt to silence conservative opposition to the militant LGBT agenda by criminalizing political and medical disagreements regarding the transgender lifestyle. There is a vast body of science contradicting the LGBT agenda promoting the transgender movement. It describes the serious physiological and psychological risks posed for children and adults subjected to radical hormonal gender transformation drugs and procedures, especially if rendered before or during puberty. Society needs to have all the information available on such life-altering procedures, yet this bill seeks to criminalize discussion of the issue by banning under the auspices of consumer fraud the sale of any material contradicting LGBT orthodoxy on the subject.

AB 2943 also takes direct aim at the religious communities in the state that have internal book shops within their ministries and would shut them down under threat of fines or imprisonment for pastors. I would imagine that the first targets of this law would be Christian bookstores that provide a wide variety of materials on current social issues, especially those topics regarding sexuality and the Christian life. To the glee of militant atheists, even the Bible might be prohibited for sale in California due to its very stringent and specific prohibitions on any sexual conduct outside of marriage between a biological man and woman. Those who think that is absurd need only look to Canada which has long since banned specific books of the Bible from being used in sermons, such as the Book of Romans which quite emphatically addresses sexual sin along with other moral issues. Canadian pastors who violated this prohibition have found themselves facing significant fines and jail for breaches of Canadian "hate speech" laws.

Would such a law pass muster in the courts as a violation of the First Amendment's protection of freedom of the press, religion, and speech? It shouldn't but this is California, and the state Supreme Court and the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals are heavily dominated by ideological progressives, not known for their tolerance of issues of religious conscience or speech. This is a state where an attempt to ban Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto or even Hitler's Mein Kampf would be vigorously opposed by civil liberty groups, but in the case of defending religious speech and publications, I hold little hope for fidelity to the Constitution.

At the U.S. Supreme Court level, I believe the current court majority would overwhelmingly strike down any attempt at government censorship of religious or political speech. A future court however, packed with progressive Democrat appointees, lends no such assurance. Past and current progressive justices have voiced reservations about the relevance of the Bill of Rights in a modern era.

As a political movement, Progressives have a history of intolerance toward anyone in disagreement with their agenda. Democrat/progressive President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) actually employed more than 100,000 citizen monitors to report on neighbors who voiced criticism of Wilson's war policies during WWI. People were imprisoned under his sedition laws, which forbade any criticism of the government and its policies during the war, according to Jonah Goldberg in his book Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left.

Progressives have pretty much taken over the California Democratic Party. According to my sources, they demand rigid ideological conformity on a host of issues and the harshest discipline for those not toeing the party line. AB 2943 is just their latest assault against the First Amendment and Californians' right of free speech and religious conscience.

The right to read what you want to read, speak your mind in public, or privately and freely exercise religious conscience is your cherished birthright. If you allow government to censor ideas, even those with which you vehemently disagree, all of your rights will be at risk of being lost forever as will your right to protest any policy or law enacted by any leader, including President Trump. Δ

Al Fonzi is an Army lieutenant colonel of military intelligence who had a 35-year military career, serving in both the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Send comments through the editor at clanham@newtimesslo.com.

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