Climbing the Walls of Controversy: Sacred Space and Media Revision

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Toledo’s historic St. Anthony Church eyed for climbing gym
Community full of ideas for how to repurpose St. Anthony Church

“French Connection” Refresher

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Show Transcript

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[0:00] Representative Marcy Kaptur swooped into town in 2018 to save her childhood, Catholic Church from demolition. She promised to find a use for it for the, struggling surrounding Junction neighborhood. Five years and many community meetings later, the best they can come up with is a rock climbing gym? We also look at recent removal of objectionable material from classic media, properties. Who gets to decide? Finally, we explore the collusion of two religious, hate groups bent on harming the LGBTQ plus community. I’m Doug Berger and this is Secular Left.

[0:46] Music.

[1:00] My group, the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie, was founded in May of 2018 and Pretty much that month and the month after, one of the first things that we took on, was protesting the attempt to save, St. Anthony’s Catholic Church that was in the Junction neighborhood. It’s at the corner of Nebraska and Junction in South Toledo, South area of Toledo. And it’s over 100 years old, I think like a 130 year old church.

Representative Kaptur’s Efforts to Save Catholic Church

[1:42] Had not held services since 2005 at the time because the Catholic Diocese of Toledo, had closed that parish and merged it with another because of low numbers. And this building is just a gigantic, gargantuan, Victorian style with a tall steeple, a really tall steeple, and you walk in, I’ve seen pictures of the inside, and it’s just cathedral ceilings and large stained glass windows. And it was slated for demolition in the summer of 2018, and Congressperson Marcy Kaptur of, the 9th District swooped in to try to save it because her and her family attended that church back when the neighborhood was mostly Polish. Polish and Eastern European people were in that in that neighborhood. It’s now more African-American. There’s still some Polish people still living there. It’s the junction neighborhood is struggling. One of the master plans that I looked at recently said that there was 60% vacant land in this neighborhood.

[3:06] This large neighborhood. But it also was cut off from the core of Toledo by Interstate 75. And so it’s been redlined and chopped up and diluted and everything you could ever imagine. Factories that were on the edge of the neighborhood moved out and the people that could afford to leave at the time left.

[3:29] And so what you have remaining is a lot of churches. There’s a lot of churches, a scattering of businesses, and just a lot of decay and rot, and vacant properties. And so Marcy Kaptur and some other politicians swooped in and talked the Catholic Diocese into selling it to the Lucas County Land Bank, which is the public entity that can purchase land and buildings and things to either reuse them or bulldoze them and give the land away or at low cost. So at the time that it was saved, the talk by all the politicians, including the mayor and former councilman Peter Yevagi, they said, you know, we’re going to repurpose this for the community. To have these listening sessions and talk about what we can do with this building and We’re going to make it so that it’s part of the community for years to come.

[4:42] And they got some grant money and some tax dollars from city council to stabilize it, because the Diocese hadn’t been maintaining the building as much as they would have.

[4:56] Had it been used. It was a vacant building at the time, and so it needed some structural support, structural work to make sure it didn’t collapse. And so that’s what they decided to do. And it was the position of our group, and myself in particular and some other people, was that they should just bulldoze the building. It’s a church. There really isn’t much you can do with a church, especially one that looks like a Gothic cathedral. It’s not like one of these modern day churches that were built in the 70s or early 80s that’s one story and and it’s got a gambrel roof and a spire in the middle that you can just take down. This looks like the the Church of Notre Dame in Paris, essentially, in a smaller package. It’s just a humongous building and there’s not much you can do about it. Plus it was falling apart and needed a lot of work. It needed millions of dollars in renovation just to make it safe for people to be in it. There was holes in the floor and paint was peeling. It was probably lead-based paint and.

[6:18] All that stuff. And the plumbing didn’t have any working HVAC system. So it was going to cost a lot of money. And so if you’re going to spend a lot of money, if the public politicians, if a city or county or state is going to pump in millions of dollars into something for the community, then you need to listen to what the community needs and do that. So they did. They had some focus groups, and some talks with what they call stakeholders, people in the community, like the Junction Coalition, which is one of the community groups down there, and really didn’t hear anything come out of that initially. But they said they were still going to keep talking about it, and then the pandemic hit, and that pretty much put the brakes on a lot of stuff around here. So it was kind of mind-boggling when the other day I’m reading the Toledo Blade, and they had an article about St. Anthony’s Church being a location for a rock climbing gym. St. Anthony’s Church Repurposed as a Rock Climbing Gym

[7:35] Yeah, you heard me right, a rock climbing gym. And so basically what these rock climbing gyms are is it’s an indoor space that has like rock-like walls with handholds and footholds that people climb. Now, some gyms have things like this, and some other recreation areas have things like this, but this was going to be the only thing that was going to be put in this former church. Land Bank Approves $300K for Climbing Gym Study

[8:16] And what really got me was at the beginning of the article in the Blade, It said this week the Land Bank’s Board of Directors unanimously approved up to $299,500, for Toledo-based firm The Collaborative to study the church to see if a climbing gym could work and draw up plans. They’re going to spend $300,000 to see if a climbing gym would be appropriate.

[8:45] And I went back and I looked for articles previous in The Blade talking about trying to figure out what to do with the church. And in 2020 or 2019, I believe it was 2019, the Land Bank was going to spend $150,000 on a pre-feasibility study. And they also contracted with Lourdes University and another group to talk to the community and get ideas and issue a report. And a report was issued. And so they had, you know, and they even had an article in the Blade that talked about this and they interviewed quite a few people that attended these meetings that said they had quite a few ideas about what to do with the church. So imagine my surprise when they quote members of the board of the land bank, Lucas County Land Bank, who claim that they just have no idea what to do with the place. There is no ideas. They have no ideas. Yeah, it says here, we’ve had multiple meetings with the neighborhood about the climbing gym proposal, said Lindsay Webb, the Lucas County treasurer who also leads the land bank’s board. People are skeptical, but there’s been lots of discussion on on how to integrate the neighborhood into the space.

[10:06] And then another board member, Mike Beasley said, something that brings people into the core of the community and also can present opportunities for people in the neighborhood is worth exploring. When I’m bereft of ideas of how to retask spaces like this. And so the land bank then is talking to a company, a newly started up company here in Toledo called Adventus, and they are building a climbing Jim off of Reynolds Road over by the ProMedica Wildwood facility and so they’re going to talk to them about possibly building one inside St. Anthony Church. Now not to denigrate people who enjoy climbing rocks, rock climbing indoors, outdoors, wherever, and being adventurous, and riding on bike trails, and camping in the mountains, and all that stuff. I get that. Climbing Gym in Distressed Toledo Neighborhood a “Stupid Idea”

[11:13] But I think a climbing gym in a distressed neighborhood near downtown Toledo is a stupid idea. It is a stupid idea. And I think that basically what they’re doing, what the Land Bank is doing, is they’re totally ignoring what the community wants. Because it will probably be too hard for them to do it. And so they’re just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. Feasibility studies requested for rock climbing gym

[11:52] So, it’s going to be interesting. I’ve requested to look at some of the reports and things that they, feasibility, other feasibility studies that they’ve done. But the reason why, I guess, let me back up just a minute. The reason why, one of the reasons I think that rock climbing, Jim, is a stupid idea, is the fact that it’s going to cost money to participate. It just is. It’s just gonna cost money to participate, you know, and that money has to come from somewhere. You know, I looked at the Aventus, their website, because they’re still building their first gym, and they’re selling memberships for like $85 a year. You know, if you’re gonna have a climbing gym in this old rickety old church, you know, you’re gonna have to pay, you’re gonna have to have liability insurance, you’re going to have to have people to man to operate it, and you’re going to have to charge money to use it. Plans for a non-destination climbing gym in Nebraska

[13:00] And so you know and one of the comments was they’re expecting it to be a destination, place for people that are interested in climbing climbing. It’s like no it won’t be. People are not going to drive to the corner of Nebraska and Junction to participate in a climbing gym. The Neighborhood’s Needs

[13:22] This neighborhood needs something totally different than a rock climbing gym. They need affordable housing. They need to relieve the food desert situation. They need to be able to get, you know, a grocery store would be a perfect use of that building.

[13:44] You know, and they’ve been talking about doing a public-private partnership to set up a, grocery that caters to low-income people, you know, that would have affordable prices, much like you could find in big box stores that won’t locate in poor neighborhoods. That’d be a perfect use for that. A community center, yeah, there’s one, the Frederick Douglass center is, I don’t know, two or three blocks away. Yeah, you probably wouldn’t want a community center like that, but they could make it like a one-stop, center for all kinds of social services, city services. You could put a police precinct in there, be part of it. You know, whatever you wanted to do with it. But to turn it into a Rock climbing gym that’s going to be run by a third party, That’s going to make money off of it because they’re not gonna do it unless they make money. I, Just don’t see that being being a Bonus for the neighborhood. It really doesn’t they should have they should have torn that church down in, 2018 when they had the chance. Land Bank Board Ignoring Community

[15:06] Because now it’s an albatross. Now it’s just like hanging there like a dead weight from the land bank and they’re just going to do stuff that typically, you know, a lot of these people that are part of this land bank board, they don’t live in the Junction neighborhood. I can tell you that, they don’t. And the fact that they’re ignoring the community, it seems to be that they’re ignoring the community. And I don’t know why the Junction Coalition hasn’t raised a bigger stink. But I sure as hell would not want my tax dollars to pay for something like that, because it It really is not going to help the neighborhood. And so it’s going to be interesting. I did a public records request on some of the documents involved in this scheme to put a rock climbing gym in a former church.

[16:09] I just came up with another use of the church. Do art classes for kids. I know the Toledo Museum of Art kind of went away from doing that during the pandemic and that’d be perfect because it’s pretty close to the to the Museum of Art. They could use that as like a satellite location and do art stuff for kids and adults and you could build a stage, a small stage, a small performance and have open mic night for people that are aspiring musicians or rappers. You could have it and put on little plays. You could have a children’s theater workshop there. When I used to live in Columbus, that’s what they did a couple of times. Some old churches were bought and turned into performance spaces. There was a church that was turned into a coffee shop. Naturally it was a smaller church than St. Anthony’s, a much smaller church. But yeah, you could have on one part of it, you could have like a community restaurant coffee shop thing that that people in the community could work at to gain employment experience.

[17:35] You know, that’s just off the top of my head, and I’m sure some of the people in the actual community came up with some of these ideas, but the land bank is just like myopic and spending thousands of dollars, hundreds of thousands of dollars to put up a stupid rock climbing wall. Bulldoze the Building or Create a Community Garden

[17:55] No offense to rock climbers. More power to you. But I’m telling you, if the only viable thing to go in that building is something that people in the neighborhood can’t normally afford.

[18:14] Because they have other things that they have to pay for, like utilities and rent and food, then just bulldoze the building, you know. An empty lot, an empty lot would be a more benefit to the community with a community garden, put it, yeah, put in a community garden. That would be more benefit to the community than a rock climbing wall or gym, a rock climbing gym. And it’s just, it just really gets to me. So, you know, I did that public records request. I’m going to take a look at some of that information, You know, maybe they might change my mind. I don’t know. I just want to see what actually has happened. I, Want to see what the response from the community actually was, Because this is just really really disheartening You know and they also got four million dollars in the in the latest, US budget An earmark from Representative Kaptur, four million dollars for an old rickety church that should have been torn down five years ago. It’s just amazing. For more information about any of the topics covered in this episode, check out our show show notes at

[19:37] Music. Conservative Ban of Books vs. Revisiting Offensive Material

[19:43] Most of us are familiar with the recent, in the news, past year or so, is conservatives trying to get books banned from libraries and public schools because they say that they’re inappropriate for kids to read or they’re pornographic or they’re grooming children and usually the books that they want banned are about LGBT people, they’re about being inclusive, they’re about racism, calling out racism, and things like that. Things that we need to read about so that we can become better people in the world and treat people better. These conservatives and religious conservatives are trying to ban these books. And an ironic twist to that is, that there’s some commercial properties that are revisiting some of the material that has been published in the past and they have found that they are.

[20:56] Are going back through and taking out some of the more offensive parts that weren’t necessarily offensive back then or considered really offensive to be in a film or in a book, But now that we’ve re-evaluated that maybe it’s not a good idea for some of this to happen there’s been some news reports like the estate of Dr. Seuss, they’ve gone back and they took out a couple books I believe or they’re revising some books. The James Bond estate is revising some of the James Bond novels to take out some of the more purient misogyny and racism that was prevalent in the books that weren’t necessarily in the films. Twitter Complaints About Disney’s Censorship of The French Connection

[22:06] And so, one of the things that caught my eye the other day was a tweet by somebody that was complaining that Disney was censoring The French Connection. The French Connection was a film that was released in 1971. It starred Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, and Fernando Rey, and it was directed by William Friedkin. One of the notable things about the French Connection is that there is a car chase, a car train chase that’s kind of iconic in filmmaking. Gene Hackman plays a police narcotics detective, Popeye Doyle, and he’s chasing after this drug dealer who hopped on a subway train and he’s chasing the train on an elevated line and he’s in a car underneath it, and driving like mad. And it was basically filmed and composed by the same people that did the famous car chase in Bullitt. That was in 1968. So the French Connection won some awards. It won the Oscar for Best Picture. Gene Hackman won the Best Actor Award in 1972. Roy Scheiderer won Best Acting for Supporting Role and William Friedkin won Best Director.

[23:31] And the screenwriter, Ernest Tidyman, he won for Best Writing Screenplay based on a material of another medium. It was based on a book. But basically what it is, is it’s New York in the early 70s, the 90s, which if you check back in your history books and old video, was a really kind of a gnarly, sketchy place, except for some of the enclaves like Times Square was really bad. Porno establishments in Times Square.

[24:09] But it was a really seedy city back in the late 60s, early 70s, and drugs have always been a problem, and so they’re hunting this drug, they happen on this heroin ring, and they’re trying to capture the drug kingpin. Well, Gene Hackman’s character is not a very virtuous cop. He’s known to break the rules, threaten the lives of people to get information out of them, things like that. He’s not a nice guy. And he’s also racist. And he acts more angrily towards African Americans than he does to white people. And so this Twitter guy was talking about Disney censoring the French Connection. So I decided he had a link to a blog post somebody else wrote about it.

[25:13] And what the complaint was that this 9 second, 9 or 10 second scene in the middle of the movie was taken out. It’s about at the 10 minute mark of the movie and Roy Scheider’s character had been stabbed, by a drug dealer that they were trying to apprehend and he was pissed off about it when he was getting back to work. And so he comes up to his partner, Popeye Doyle, and he’s complaining about it. And so Doyle says, you know, you shouldn’t trust anybody. It’s basically the gist of the scene. But in telling that scene and in the dialogue in that scene, he uses two offensive words.

[26:02] And so what I’m going to do now is I’m going to play the audio clip of that scene that, supposedly was censored, quote unquote, so that you can get some context into what I’m talking about. He’s dumb. How the hell did I know he had a knife? Never trust a liar. He could have been white. Never trust anyone. All right, so that was the clip and yes, I did censor the offensive words. Now what’s kind of ironic about it is this guy that’s writing this blog post about it, and I’ll have the blog post up in the show notes, he’s talking about it, he types out the first offensive word, but not the N-word, which was the second offensive word. Because the first one is the Guinea, that’s the offensive word, that was used as a slur against Italians, Italian immigrants. And the fact that Doyle tells that to his partner just shows you what kind of guy he is.

[27:06] And then, you know, and then he says, you know, the guy was the N-word, and he says, well, what if he had been white, and then Doyle says, you don’t trust anybody, okay? Well, so these people, the Twitter guy, the guy that tweeted about it, and this guy that wrote the blog post, seem to think that Disney has destroyed this film, this classic film, Oscar award-winning film for taking out basically a 9 or 10 second scene. And in this case, I’m going to have to disagree with the take by these two people that the. Changing Source Material: The Case of The French Connection

[27:47] Removal of that scene from what is streamed on, in this case, the Criterion channel, which normally doesn’t, you know, chop up movies very often. I don’t have a problem with it because the reason why I don’t have a problem with this change at all is because it’s a throw-off scene really. It doesn’t change how, Roy Scheider’s character, Cloudy, how you get him and Popeye Doyle. You know, there’s other scenes that don’t use those offensive words where you get the gist of how these characters relate to each other and relate to the job. It seems like Doyle is the bittered veteran cop and and Cloudy is relatively new-ish and he’s trying to learn the ropes from Doyle and, you still get that in other scenes. So the fact that they removed that scene doesn’t take away from the whole entire movie. Now could they have garbled it? Probably. They could have just dropped the sound out, sure.

[29:06] I guess, but that is what they decided to do in this case. Now, and I think it’s a little bit more political. The reason why they’re talking about it is because of the feud between Disney and Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis. And so, you know, they’re kind of taking it on the chin. And it’s not a false attempt to complain because Disney does own that film now. They purchased 20th Century Fox in their film library several years ago, so they do own that film. Now whether or not they ordered Criterion Channel to do that, I don’t know. I have a blu-ray of that movie that was the 20th Century Fox collection. It was a special edition. Has that scene in it, unchanged. And I’m sure there’s other people that says where you can find that scene. If you want that scene, in fact, on the IMDB page, somebody actually put that whole scene, quotes from that scene on the IMDb page for the film.

[30:32] You know, because they think that they’re they think it’s a great quote. It’s not a great quote. It really isn’t. It’s not one of the better quotes in that movie.

[30:42] Somebody had a video up with that is that scene as part of the quote. And and I seem to think sometimes that they do that because they want to get that N-word in there. You know, it’s white people wanting to say the N-word all the time. And they get upset when they can’t. and I think that’s a lot of the amicus behind the complaints about changing.

[31:06] Contents of books to take out some of the more offensive material. And again, as long as the owner of the property is taking out the material or changing the material, they’re more than legally able to do that. They own it. You know, it’s kind of like when Even the Star Wars fans complained about George Lucas changing the first three films, Episodes IV, V, and VI, and redoing a lot of the scenes because the CGI was better now in the 90s when they re-released them than they were in the 70s when they tried to make them originally. He was able to complete some shots that he wasn’t able to back then. People lost their minds. They thought that George had killed their childhood. The properties do not belong to you. They belong to the people that own the copyright, or that produced the movie, or wrote the movie. And if they want to go back later and change it, they’re within their rights to do that, and we don’t need to be complaining about it.

[32:22] So anyway, I just wanted to bring that up, because I’m a film buff, I like movies. Changing the source material or changing the film decades after it was produced or a book decades after it was published, I don’t have a problem with that. Now if we could just stop with the superhero reboot, I’m tired of every few years having a new Spider-Man movie. Anyway, but that’s my personal preference. And I just wanted to bring that to people’s attention today. Did you know we have a merch store? Now you can buy a select number of branded items through our shop on the website. All funds go to support the show and help us get better. Check it out at slash shop. Generally, when you’re talking about public policy, you want to create public policy and pass laws. Creating Laws and Policies Based on Evidence

[33:26] That have some kind of basis, either in science or some kind of evidence, some kind of concrete evidence, that calls for that law or public policy to be created. For example, let’s say you have cars like the Ford Pinto getting hit in the rear and blowing up and catching fire and hurting people. Well, what you would do as, like a federal agency, is you would pass a law or get a policy passed, that would require the manufacturer to fix that item. It was because of the public health, you know, public safety. Same thing with the pandemic lockdowns that we experienced a couple of years ago, was that you had to do these lockdowns because you needed to protect the wellbeing and the health and safety of people. Alliance Defending Freedom’s Unethical Actions Against Transgender Students

[34:34] And in 99.9% of these cases, you’re going to have concrete evidence to justify these policies, like the lockdowns. On the other hand, if you were unethical and wanted to push your particular agenda, through the power of the state, by lobbying or creating certain laws and policies that would advance your particular agenda, you would go looking for evidence. And if you could not find evidence to justify your hurtful policies or laws, you’d find somebody to make them up.

[35:24] And that’s exactly what happened with the Christian Nationalist group Alliance Defending Freedom. They are an anti-LGBT group who supposedly fights for religious freedom, but it’s not religious freedom for everybody. It’s religious freedom for Christians. So that way then Christians can discriminate against people like LGBT people in hiring and things like that. And so Alliance Defending Freedom were starting to hit back against transgender students in public schools being allowed to use bathroom facilities or locker room facilities back in 2014. And they sent letters to school boards in Minnesota, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Wisconsin, warning that they could be open to litigation.

[36:23] The problem was they didn’t have any evidence to back up their claims that they made. Collusion Between ADF and American Academy of Pediatricians Exposed

[36:30] So again, if you have an agenda that you want to get pushed through and you don’t have any evidence, what you do is you go looking for it. And what they did was they contacted this group called the American College of Pediatricians. And American College of Pediatricians is also an anti-LGBT group, and they are also made up of people that aren’t necessarily doctors, and they come up with the medical justification to exclude gender identity protections.

[37:06] And so they helped manufacture legislative, legal, and public relations challenges to medical science and public policy throughout the 2010s that resulted in a rollback of abortion rights and nearly unprecedented restrictions on bodily autonomy in the U.S. and also the targeted attacks on trans people. And then what makes their actions even more unethical is that they hid the collusion between the ADF and the American Academy of Pediatricians. So that they tried to keep it all secret. But unfortunately somebody had a Google Drive that got hacked into or exposed or something like that. They had all these emails and memos from ADF to the pediatricians group. That laid it all out. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which keeps track of hate groups in this country, has a report about all of this.

[38:12] So let me just read a bit from the report. ACPEDS members recruited to testify on anti-LGBTQ+ bills

[38:42] ACPEDS and are being introduced around the country. The minutes indicate that to that point, ACPEDS members have been recruited to testify on, behalf of these bills in Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, and Ohio. And in fact, when the bill to ban gender-affirming care in Ohio was introduced in the last session, Bill 454 by Reverend Pastor State Representative Gary Click. If you look back on the historical.

[39:17] Website for that, because that bill didn’t get voted on, you do see that there was a proponent, testimony from Matt Sharp from Alliance Defending Freedom and Andre Van Mol, M.D. from the American College of Pediatricians, and it says Christian Medical and Dental Association. And he is known, well known for his anti-LGBT views. And in an article that I found about him, written a couple of years ago, and I’ll quote from that article, it says, Affirmation of any kind for LGBTQ individuals just isn’t in Dr. VanMol’s repertoire. He claims concepts such as sexual orientation and gender identity that are experienced by human beings and studied by psychiatrists, psychologists, and social scientists are post-modern ideological constructs, perhaps designed by cultural Marxists, that don’t exist in reality. It’s all fake science.

[40:27] His Transgenderism is a belief system that increasingly looks like a cultish religion, a modern-day Gnosticism, denying physical reality for deceived perceptions, being forced on the public by the state, reads the subhead to his article that he wrote called Transgenderism a State-Sponsored Religion, a cultish religion that denies reality for deceived perceptions. That sounds an awful lot like the stuff that they’re teaching down at his church.

[41:01] He acknowledges that gender dysphoria, the distress caused when a person’s gender identity doesn’t match their biological sex, is a serious mental health issue, but he ignores the growing body of scientific evidence and severe cases which can begin as early as age 3, affirmation therapy allowing the child patient to explore their gender identity, and the possibility of making a non-medical, non-surgical social transition has shown positive results.

[41:28] So that’s how this collusion works. They try to look like they’re two separate organizations, that they’re not working together, but they are working together. Alliance Defending Freedom decides what policies and laws that they want to support, and then they ask the American College of Pediatricians to provide the justification, the medical justification. Typically, that’s how it’s supposed to legislation. You know, again, you’re supposed to have concrete evidence that there is a problem that needs to be addressed with this law or policy, or something needs to be fixed, or something needs to be addressed. And that’s how it’s usually supposed to happen. I know it doesn’t always happen that way now, as we saw with here in the state of Ohio with all the the trans bills and, and trying to rework all the public education and forcing colleges to teach conservative stuff, they don’t use any evidence. Unethical collusion between Alliance Defending Freedom and ACPEDS

[42:43] They just do it because that’s their agenda. But in establishment circles, this is how it was supposed to work. And so Alliance Defending Freedom would come in and say, you know, you’ve got to do this because of this and then the American College of Pediatricians would come in and say here’s the evidence to support what ADF is saying.

[43:03] And it’s just unethical. It’s unethical to do that. Especially when you have two hate groups working together. It even makes it more unethical. Because people get hurt from this stuff. And so not only are they making up this so-called evidence, but it’s the complete opposite of what actual pediatricians and scientists have their consensus, that they’ve molded their evidence to fit their religious conservative agenda.

[43:41] And so the Southern Poverty Law Center report continues, The trove of internal documents also shows the group’s leadership has, for years, disregarded questions about its credibility and even Critella’s own qualifications for treating transgender people in favor of anti-LGBTQ advocacy. In an email from Critella, and that’s Dr. Michelle Critella, who is the Executive Director of American College of Pediatricians, dated August 28, 2017, the former Executive Director says, In the past, I’ve been told by lawyers on our side that I do not qualify as an expert witness because I am not an academic and do not have experience caring for children with gender identity disorder. The same year, Critella authored dozens of letters to elected officials opposing gender-affirming health care and LGBTQ plus non-discrimination and policies.

[44:40] And of course, we’ve seen that when they reintroduced this transgender ban on gender affirming care here in Ohio. There wasn’t any people who actually treat transgender people that were in support of this bill. Dr. Van Maal, who was offered up as an expert for testimony, he is also not a pediatrician by trade. He is a family doctor, and he does not treat children that have gender dysphoria, yet he is also presented as an expert on gender dysphoria. There was over 200 people that were opposed to House Bill 454, and many of those people are medical doctors. There was somebody on the committee who actually treats teens with gender dysphoria, and she.

[45:37] Tried to, when she was talking to Reverend Click, he just dismissed her. Dismissed her completely. And he does that frequently on his Twitter feed, is that when somebody brings up some scientific evidence that refutes what he’s saying, he just dismisses it out of hand. That’s not how science works. I think it was Neil deGrasse Tyson had a famous quote and I’m thinking that he said it. He said that science still is true whether you believe it or not. So you know if the scientific consensus is, that gender-affirming care helps trans people, then just because you don’t think it does, or it doesn’t fit your religious conservative notions, doesn’t mean it doesn’t help people.

[46:36] And so, that’s one thing to look at is, you know, I don’t think Reverend Glick, Reverend Glick is intelligent enough to have written that bill. And I’m pretty sure that ADF wrote it, and the Center for Christian Virtue here in Ohio, the other right-wing Christian Nationalist group is the one that got him involved. And it’s going to hurt a lot of people, and they don’t care. Thank you for listening to this episode. You can check out more information, including links to sources used in our show notes on, our website at Secular Left is hosted, written and produced by Doug Berger and he is solely responsible for the content. Send us your comments either using the contact form on the website or by sending us a note, at comments at Our theme music is dank and nasty, composed using Amplify Studio.

[47:51] Music.

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