Quotes and terminology - Catholic Courier

Quotes and terminology

To the editor:

"Questionable use of ‘scare quotes’" ("Faith & Intelligence" column by John Garvey) in the May 2016 Catholic Courier decries the "increasing tendency" of the media to enclose "religious liberty" in single quotes, calling them "scare quotes." It interprets that usage as indicating "that religious liberty is not, properly speaking, concerned with how people live their sex lives." A detailed explanation of the significance religions attach to sexual practice is given to demonstrate that concern with how people live their sex lives is in fact a matter of religious liberty.

But that is all in reference to laws intended to regulate what bathrooms transgender people can use. This leads me to suggest it is likely the single quotes surrounding "religious liberty" in reports about these bills merely indicate skepticism that how people live their sex lives is an issue to be dealt with by regulations about access to public bathrooms.

For if there is a true need to guard against individuals being moved to engage in sexual activity in a public bathroom, how would requiring everyone to use the bathroom reserved for the sex on one’s birth certificate, as the bills in question do, discourage sexual relations between persons of the same sex, on which, as the column notes, religions frown?

Care should be taken in calling a matter one of religious liberty, for the skepticism with which an inaccurate or imprecise application of the term is likely to be met may extend to other uses of the term.

Grace K. LaDouce



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