Democrat files bill to ban church youth camps as hotbeds of child abuse & “religious indoctrination”
In response to a Nebraska bill seeking to ban anyone under 19 years old from attending drag shows, a progressive lawmaker in the state has proposed an amendment that would ban “religious indoctrination camps,” which she defines as “a camp, vacation Bible study, retreat, lock-in, or convention held by a church, youth group, or religious organization for the purpose of indoctrinating children with a specific set of religious beliefs.”
The proposed amendment came from State Sen. Megan Hunt (D) and states, “The Legislature finds that there is a well documented history of indoctrination and sexual abuse perpetrated by religious leaders and clergy people upon children. Abusers within churches and other religious institutions often use events like church or youth-group-sponsored camps and retreats to earn children’s trust and gain unsupervised access to such children in order to commit such abuse.”
It also suggests a fine of $10,000 for any organization that hosts a “religious indoctrination camp” for anyone under 19 years old. The original bill proposes the same penalty for any organization that hosts a drag show and allows those under 19 to attend.
Hunt admitted on Twitter that she proposed the amendment to make a point and not with any intention of it actually passing.
“This is an amendment that I will use to make a point about the underlying bill, LB371, which bans all-ages drag shows,” she wrote. “It won’t pass, I would withdraw it if it had the votes to pass. It’s a device to make a point. We need not clench nor worry.”
While some may wonder if Hunt is wasting time with something she never intends to pass, others have pointed out that methods like hers are essential to spark conversations.
“She’s using the tools at her disposal to make a larger point and get conversations going,” wrote journalist Hemant Mehta, adding, “It’s not that different from proposing mandatory vasectomies in response to Republicans forcing women to give birth against their will.”
Mehta continued, it can make a big difference in public opinion when lawmakers help make a point about how ridiculous a bill is if they don’t have any other recourse for bringing it down. In such a red state, Hunt is outnumbered regarding votes. Nevertheless, Hunt is doing more than just making a point. She is also actively working to kill the bill, having filed a motion to “indefinitely postpone” it.
When the bill was proposed in early January, the legal and policy counsel for the ACLU of Nebraska, Jane Seu, called it “an unconstitutional attempt rooted in a coordinated national effort to push LGBTQ+ people out of public life.”
It is one of several bills across the country targeting drag shows, the result of a far-right smear campaign accusing drag queens of being “groomers.”