Guest Commentary by John Hanna
“Inclusion” is a word that’s often cited as a motivator supporting the decisions and developments taking place in our society.
“Inclusion” is a good word on its face. But how is it actually functioning?
I’ve seen it and heard it often used as a conversation stopper. Once something is labeled “inclusive,” then its virtue can’t be questioned.
“You’re not against inclusion, are you?”
Sometimes, it’s meant to reassure. “We’re just being inclusive.”
What I offer isn’t a full analysis of a concept that I think has many layers to it. But I do believe that this is the way this word/concept is being employed.
So here’s what I think is key: In order to be inclusive of those who struggle, are “different,” reality and meaning and language are being redefined for everyone.
In that case, “inclusion” doesn’t have to do with how we treat others, whether we’re kind, compassionate, etc., but whether we are accepting of the redefinitions of reality and language, including physical, biological reality and language.
Actually, kindness and compassion assume a normalcy of development or experience that some are struggling to be within, which requires special attention and care. The concept of health in general requires such a standard or target.
Today’s cultural understanding of “inclusion” rejects that and instead deems such normalcy as oppressive and even bigoted. Such ideas, words, thoughts are to be excluded, as well as the people who “stubbornly” hold onto them.
One result of this view of “inclusion” is the rejection of puberty itself as the normal path of development because it is not “inclusive” of those who identify as trans.
Another result is the loss of the capacity to speak meaningfully. For example, the word “woman” is inclusive of those who are biological men (“trans women”). If that’s the case, what is a woman?
To ask that question – what is a woman? – is not at all at the expense of empathy or compassion for the person in distress. But, it does lead us to the realization that reality and language require us to make distinctions regarding what something is or isn’t and what health and well being are or aren’t. Language requires definitions. And any definition is inherently exclusive, in that whatever doesn’t fit within it is excluded from its meaning.
These examples could be multiplied many times over (i.e., the replacement of the word “woman” with terms such as, “menstruater” and “birthing person,” reducing women to body parts or functions).
This rejection of norms and standards extends to just about all aspects of life, including health, medicine, and science.
This is an attempt to love without truth. And it results in neither.
Instead, it results in a world of meaninglessness in which we manipulate children’s minds and break their bodies, hindering their development and ruining their lives in the name of “inclusion.”
When he hung on the cross, Jesus hung onto both truth and love. And it killed him.
In a world devoid of both truth and love, holding onto both is dangerous. But Jesus has gone ahead of us, overcoming the world with his truth and love, inviting any and all to take up our cross and follow him. His invitation includes everyone.
So, what can we do?
“You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.” Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
Do not advance the lie. Do not agree to the lie.
Once you give into the lie, you become defenseless to it and its insatiable demands. It has you in its grip and will not let you go.
As much as it depends on you, live in truth. Love the truth. In so doing, we love our neighbor too, being willing to die for him or her if faced with that necessity.
John Hanna is New Jersey State Capitol Minister with Ministry to State, serving those who serve in government.