But as University of Chicago law professor Mary Anne Case notes in a recent scholarly article titled "Trans Formations in the Vatican's War on 'Gender Ideology,' " the Vatican, in its capacity as a non-governmental agency and a religious institution, has for decades sought to discredit LGBTQ rights movements and influence developments in secular law globally.
This has been the case over the course of the last three pontificates, beginning with Pope John Paul II's catechetical pronouncements about "gender complementarity" in what his devotees call "the theology of the body," and it continued through Pope Benedict XVI's identification of what he termed "the dictatorship of relativism" and in Pope Francis' own ad hoc statements signaling his personal displeasure with what he calls "gender ideology," comparing this amorphous concept with "nuclear war" and "Nazism."
Case explains, "Pope Francis's popularity and appeal beyond traditional conservatives, as well as his highlighting of trans[gender] issues in particular, has allowed the specific language of opposition to 'gender ideology' and the rhetorical and pseudoscholarly apparatus associated with it finally to begin to take root in the United States," which explains the recent rise in the phrase's usage. This trend is notable in light of the recent Supreme Court decision, which extends workplace protections to LGBTQ people under Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act, because the U.S. bishops' conference statement on the ruling alludes to themes frequently associated with so-called "gender ideology."
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