Inclusive America needed

Illustration by WILLIAM NIES


On Feb. 8, 2024, a community gathered to honor the memory of Oklahoma student, Nex Benedict. Benedict, a 16-year-old transgender student, had faced severe bullying.

The day before their passing, an alleged physical altercation involving three older girls resulted in Benedict receiving brutal head injuries along with a two-week suspension. 

No immediate medical attention was sought, nor was any action deemed necessary by the school district. The increasingly fierce movement to embed Christian ideals within the education system and society should be fought against at all costs to prevent violence and hate, protect freedom and erase the surge of hypocrisy in the United States. 

When we generally evaluate the political system in the United States, a set of bills guaranteed to protect our right to religion, freedom of speech and more comes to mind. 

In recent years, those rights continue to be stepped upon by right-wing nationalism. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in 2022 alone, 278 bills were introduced targeting the LGBTQ+ community, specifically trans youth. These bills mainly focus on restricting growth in areas of school and education, healthcare access and freedom of speech. 

Oklahoma senator Tom Woods defended the legislation, saying, “We are a religious state. We are going to fight to keep that filth out of the state of Oklahoma because we’re a Christian state.” 

Across the country, the Alabama legislature approved bills to protect IVF. The Republican-led majority decided that, essentially, frozen embryos were now considered to be children. 

This ruling has alarming implications for IVF in Alabama. It suggests that unintentional damage or destruction of a microscopic embryo by a medical professional could be construed as injuring or killing a legal person. As a result, a medical professional might be held liable for punitive damages reaching into the millions. 

According to Chief Justice Tom Parker, the people of Alabama have embraced the “theologically based view” that “life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God.” Despite lacking a medical degree, Parker then outlined an alternative method of IVF that he alleged would comply with the Alabama Constitution and God’s will, as interpreted by him. 

In local news, a proposed 18-page ordinance designating Amarillo as a ‘sanctuary city for the unborn’ is set for a vote in the coming months. 

This ordinance, which establishes its roots entirely in pro-life rhetoric, lacks any basis of medical reasoning but instead stems from Christian morals. 

If passed, this ordinance will prohibit any abortions within the city, possession of any abortion-inducing drugs in the city, traveling and transportation of anything and anyone regarding abortion and an instant designation of any organization as criminally offensive if operating to induce abortions. 

Once again, the lawmakers of the United States are cosplaying as doctors, replacing medical facts with religious text. Within the bible belt of the South, any signs of the “radical woke left,” especially those associated with the LGBTQ+ community, are synonymous with ‘evil’ and must be eradicated. 

America has forgotten that the land we live on was once utilized in the escape from religious persecution. Yet, time and time again, history sees a repeat of oppression. 

It was the differences that intertwined people from all over the world in a single country and allowed an evolution of freedom. And while that should be what makes us the greatest nation in the world, many people now think of diversity as America’s downfall. 

Our country is setting a precedent for more of a conservative and traditional law-making style that will undoubtedly affect the next generation’s freedom. 

So, what’s the solution? A new era of renewed empathy and education toward inclusive practices of society is needed. No one should have to face the same fate as Nex Benedict. The need for breaking down barriers that discourage gender stereotypes, push for the banning of literacy and even encourage the stigma of talking about our creation, needs to be stopped. 

When a child is shrouded in hate and confusion, hate and confusion will be the only output available. A child’s mind may be young and developing but is impressionable. 

It is time for America to wake up and watch the history that is being set into motion. It is time for America to do right by her future generations.

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