A variety of people, ranging from political centrists to conservatives, have increasingly looked with skepticism on the supposedly unbiased “fact-checkers” at Snopes, as the outlet has long displayed a decidedly left-leaning bias in its pronouncements of what is true and false.
The suspicion that Snopes has a heavy liberal bias just received a significant boost in the case of the outlet’s take on California Assembly Bill 2943. The law, currently working its way through the state legislature, would prohibit “sexual orientation change efforts” — referred to by the left as “gay conversion therapy” — on any resident in the state by any other resident if any sort of monetary transaction or exchange of goods or services is involved.
The bill cites numerous studies claiming to prove that SOCE doesn’t work and actually does more psychological harm than good for gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals. The legislation outlaws SOCE, calling it a deceptive and “unlawful business practice.”
As noted by Snopes, the bill’s opponents argue a literal and logical reading of the bill would lead one to believe that the law would effectively prohibit the sale of Bibles in the state, as the Holy Word of God obviously declares homosexuality to be a sin and urges individuals not to engage in such behavior.
Of course, Snopes dismissed that worry out of hand and declared it not just “false,” but “demonstrably and clearly false” as the bill makes no mention of the Bible, Christianity or any religion at all.
However, in a story exposing Snopes as a “sneaky liar” in regard to its coverage of the California bill, The Federalist pointed out the outlet was at best being disingenuous, and at worst outright lying with its assessment of the concerns surrounding the law. Indeed, the broad wording of the legislation would certainly lend itself to the worrisome interpretation.
Snopes argued that the law would only apply to “mental health providers that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation.” A previous state law that banned SOCE on minors under the age of 18 did the same thing. But even Snopes admitted in its dismissal that AB 2943 “also appears to prohibit SOCE from being performed by any individual, not just by mental health providers.”
A logical reading would lead one to presume that the new law could be applied to any pastor, Bible study leader or member of a church-affiliated organization with a focus on serving and counseling LGBT individuals, if any sort of monetary transaction or exchange occurred.
Furthermore, Snopes was compelled to add, “The Assembly Judiciary Committee’s analysis notes it is not clear whether the text of A.B. 2943 would amount to a blanket prohibition on any and all SOCE.”
“It does not apply to the sale of books or any other kind of goods, and it does not prevent anyone from speaking or writing on the subject of conversion therapy in any forum,” insisted Anthony Samson, a Sacramento attorney and policy adviser.
But for those who haven’t been paying attention lately, “unclear” meanings in legislation tend to leave doors open for laws to be used in unanticipated ways — such as banning the sale of a Bible both because of its anti-homosexuality message and how that message could be used to “change an individual’s sexual orientation.”
The Federalist also pointed out Snopes declared it “clear” that the “bill does not seek to outlaw all religious or moral instruction regarding sexuality and sexual orientation.” Emphasis on the word “all,” which could be construed as meaning the bill might seek to outlaw “some or most” religious or moral instruction in regard to sexual orientation.
It was further noted that there is no sort of religious exemption in the bill and the wording of the proposed law seems to apply a blanket prohibition upon “efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions” or “sexual orientation.”
Thus, sharing what the Gospel has to say about the sin of homosexuality or that Christ can save one from a life of such sin would be outlawed if any sort of monetary transaction were involved at any point.
As The Federalist wrote, “Selling religious or secular books (pamphlets, videos, audios, etc.), holding conferences, teaching courses in a college or seminary where tuition is paid, giving a speech at a paid venue, counseling people for a fee, or perhaps even posting online articles in a site that requires a paid subscription, in which it is asserted (in whole or part) that it is morally wrong for people to engage in homosexual practice or identify as ‘gay’ or ‘transgender, all could be treated as a violation of California Assembly Bill 2943.”
What this bill in essence boils down to is an attempt by California Democrats to criminalize “orthodox Christian beliefs” about morality and sexuality, whether such an outcome was intended or was merely a pleasant — for them — and unintended consequence.
Snopes would have everyone believe that there is nothing to fear from this particular piece of legislation, but logic and reason would dictate otherwise.
Let this serve as an object lesson on why “fact-checkers” these days aren’t to be completely trusted and their assessments of what is true or false should be taken with a grain of salt.
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