When Peter Meijer declined to host a drag show featuring performers with Down syndrome at an art venue he owns in Grand Rapids, Mich., he thought the decision would protect the vulnerable. Instead, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a discrimination complaint against him with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.
“I fundamentally don’t understand how someone can take my very good faith concern about the potential for exploitation and spin it into discrimination against people with a disability,” Meijer told The New York Times. Meijer, whose family founded the Meijer grocery store chain, is running as a Republican for Congress in the district in Michigan currently held by Rep. Justin Amash, who left the Republican Party in July.
Meijer said that after consulting with disability advocates, parents of children with Down syndrome, and national groups dedicated to Down syndrome, he concluded the performers might not be able to give their full and informed consent. “The involvement of individuals whose ability to act of their own volition is unclear raises serious ethical concerns that I cannot reconcile,” Meijer wrote in a letter to the executive director of the organization facilitating the show.
But his opponents have a different ethical framework: total commitment to the LGBT revolution. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a WORLD News Group board member, said that while culture is increasingly concerned with the hypersexualization, commodification, and objectification of the vulnerable, it has at least one notable exception: drag performance. In his podcast The Briefing last week, Mohler tied the ACLU complaint to stories of people celebrating sexualized drag performances by children, another group of individuals ripe for exploitation. —K.C.