Upholding Clarity in an Age of Confusion: The Nashville Statement, Part 5

Challenging a False Assumption

[I]t is not an act of justice but of foolish injustice to pretend the sexes are the same.
J. Budziszewski

 

Key point: The idea that both sexes are identical and that individuals can choose which sex they will be places both individuals and society in bondage.

 

You can access summaries of all the articles in this series here.

Harry Houdini (1874-1926) had reputation of being able to escape from any cell, box, trap, cage, or chamber—no matter how tight or secure. As an expert locksmith and escape artist, he would challenge anyone and everyone to find a means of confinement from which he could not break free.

A British bank heard of the challenge. Having installed a safe its officers believed to be completely secure, the bank’s leadership got in touch with Houdini and offered to let him try to crack their safe. The world-renowned performer confidently accepted and made his way to England.

On the appointed day and hour, Houdini was bound and placed inside the safe. The door then was closed, and the skillful showman began his normal routine. Houdini firmly believed breaking out would be a cinch. Why shouldn’t he? He’d perfected his craft through the years and had escaped confinement in one spellbinding scenario after another.

This time, though, a different situation emerged. After an hour, Houdini’s confidence began to weaken. He’d tried every approach he normally used, but to no avail. He continued working relentlessly but was unsuccessful at every turn. Sweat poured down Harry Houdini’s face as the master showman kept at it, but his efforts produced no breakthrough. Finally, after two hours of nonstop effort, Houdini was totally exhausted and leaned against the door to the safe. To his amazement, it swung open. It had been unlocked all along!

It’s true that several different versions of this story can be found—go herehere, and here for three additional versions—and some believe the incident never occurred. Others have found it plausible, however.

Assumptions Matter

Either way, the story illustrates a truth all people—Christians and non-Christians alike—would be wise to heed. Houdini was trying to open a door he assumed to be securely locked, only to find out it was merely shut—and not locked at all! Have you ever tried to complete a project and worked at it unsuccessfully, only to discover that your primary assumption about the situation was totally wrong?


To successfully and effectively accomplish a task, the person performing it needs to hold correct assumptions about it.


I believe this is what people who have embraced politically correct teachings on sexuality and gender identity are doing. Many, perhaps most, are doing this without understanding the ominous implications of their beliefs for themselves and society. Assuming the door to satisfaction and fulfillment regarding sexuality and gender to be locked, they’re trying to “pick the lock” with the false assumption that males and females essentially are the same. In this brand new Prager University video, Ashley McGuire, author of Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female, explains. You can download a transcript of this video here.

I first want to echo Ms. McGuire’s plea for respect, compassion, and practical help for everyone experiencing gender dysphoria. Yet, as Ms. McGuire forthrightly declares, “we don’t need to overturn biologically defined sex differences to” preserve people’s dignity or to assist them. Misinformation on this subject abounds, and people need to hear the truth, both individually and corporately.

The cultural rhetoric on gender identity not only creates an atmosphere of frustration and confusion; it also exacerbates it! Moreover, it incites fear in the hearts of those who might otherwise consider challenging the politically correct line. Still, this is a dead end street! In the language of our illustration, it is a lock that cannot be picked!

What then, is the solution?

Affirm the Obvious!

Walt Heyer

The solution is both simple and profound, but it will be difficult for many to accept. In fact, it will be extremely difficult for some, and not instantaneous, but a process. The door already is unlocked! Fulfillment and satisfaction in this area of life can be found in accepting reality as it is. This means accepting one’s biological sex and affirming it as good. It further means enjoying the characteristics one possesses as a boy or girl, man or woman—and celebrating the innate differences between males and females. Walt Heyer agrees. Born a man, Walt transitioned to a woman, then later, back to a man. He now has a website dedicated to promoting the truth about the transgender movement. Its address is www.sexchangeregret.com. (Also go here and here.)


Fulfillment and satisfaction in the area of gender identity is found in accepting reality as it is.


Article 3 of the Nashville Statement states the liberating reality from a biblical perspective.

WE AFFIRM that God created Adam and Eve, the first human beings, in his own image, equal before God as persons, and distinct as male and female.

WE DENY that the divinely ordained differences between male and female render them unequal in dignity or worth.

We will unpack this statement and consider some of its theological implications next time, but for now we need to be clear that a person does not have to be a Christian to acknowledge what nature teaches about the sexes. Being a Christian helps, certainly; because ultimate purpose and meaning in life are rooted in an understanding of having been created by a personal and loving God, in His image.


Ultimate purpose and meaning in life are rooted in an understanding of having been created by a personal and loving God, in His image.


Even so, it is just as Ashley McGuire says:

The idea that gender-identification is now a personal choice might sound enlightened to some, but it’s actually a very anti-scientific view of one of the essential facts of life: men and women are inherently different. Their brains are different, their hormones are different, their chromosomes are different, and, of course, their bodies are different (emphasis added).


Denying the differences between males and females is anti-scientific!


It doesn’t help, and it even is harmful, to deny the undeniable or to try to change the unchangeable. Here are 50 documented differences, generally speaking, between males and females.

To acknowledge the differences between the sexes readily can, but doesn’t have to rest on any religious principle or sentiment.

Actually, it’s just common sense.

 

Copyright © 2017 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All rights reserved.

Related articles:

Toxic Masculinity? Not in Las Vegas
A Boy’s Life with Unisex Scouts

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

America’s Real Problem

If any human society—large or small, simple or complex, based upon the most rudimentary hunting and fishing, or on the whole elaborate interchange of manufactured products—is to survive, it must have a pattern of social life that comes to terms with the differences between the sexes.
—Margaret Mead, anthropologist1

John and Beth had lived in their home for fifteen years before they saw it. Beth noticed it first—a long, thin crack in the living room wall. John made an appointment with a repairman and painter, and after the hired man completed his work, everything looked as good as new.

Then, six weeks later, the crack was back. John called the painter and asked him to return. The painter did so. With putty and paint, he repaired and touched up the wall once more, and all appeared to be well…until about a month later, when the fissure in the living room wall reappeared. This time it was larger and longer than before.

When the repairman came back, he carefully studied the wall and the network of cracks that had infected it. Then he said, “John, I’m sorry, but I can’t help you. You don’t have a crack-in-the wall problem; you have a foundation problem. The cracks are symptoms of a bigger issue. The foundation of your house is shifting, and until you repair it, cracks are going to continue to form.”2

In America, we can see “wall cracks” in a great many places. Often we will try to repair the cracks, but our best efforts produce no long-term positive results. Our core problem isn’t one crack here or another there; the breaks and ruptures are symptoms. The real problem is that nationally, our country rests on a shifting foundation. We must repair it!

For the last few weeks I’ve written about transgender bathroom policies that will allow a man who self-identifies as a woman to use the women’s restroom, and a woman who self-identifies as a man to use the men’s room. The fact that such policies make women vulnerable to predators is a real problem—no bathroom policy should compromise women’s safety. There’s another important matter, however, and it relates even more directly to America’s main difficulty. Nationally, we have grown unwilling to affirm the truths that nature declares through biology about being male and female.

Please do not misunderstand. We must have loving concern for the man who feels he is really a woman, and for the woman who believes she’s a man in a female body. Yet, if we’ve come to a place where we’re unwilling to say a biological male is a man even if he feels he is a woman on the inside, then our unwillingness is like a crack in the wall resulting from a soft foundation. Moreover, this reluctance is symptomatic of a much bigger stumbling block: an unwillingness to accept and affirm the truth.

Nationally, the debate over gender identity reflects an unwillingness to accept and affirm the truth.

You may remember that several months ago, Ben Shapiro received a lot of heat for publicly challenging the idea that a biological male who claims to be a woman ought to be called “he” rather than “she.” Calling him “she,” he said, is “mainstreaming delusion.” The other panelists on Dr. Drew’s show were offended, but Shapiro was absolutely right. Watch the most heated part of the exchange below, and read about it here.

The truth, at times, offends. Nevertheless, hearing the truth also can be a first step toward addressing the core problem. Just how bad is our national inability to recognize and declare the truth? Take a look at this video from the Family Policy Institute of Washington (FPIW) and see for yourself.

Note especially the sobering concluding words words of interviewer and host Joseph Blackholm.

It shouldn’t be hard to tell a 5’9” white guy that he’s not a 6’5” Chinese woman, but clearly, it is. Why? What does that say about our culture? And what does that say about our ability to answer questions that actually are difficult?

You see, this brilliant clip showcases America’s real problem. It also demonstrates how we as believers can and should challenge erroneous cultural assumptions. On the April 26th edition of his one-minute radio commentary series “The Point,” John Stonestreet highlighted not only the truth the video exposes, but also the gentle, good-natured prodding Blackholm used to expose it:

These students have been so brainwashed that they’re willing to affirm obvious nonsense. But most laughed at themselves even as they said it. Why? Because they know it’s not true. Even in the midst of so much cultural pressure, self-perception doesn’t change reality.

It’s a good reminder that Christians still have home court advantage, because this is still God’s world. And a few well-placed questions, as Blackholm demonstrated, can reveal nonsense for what it is.

You can hear the entire commentary here.

Another FPIW video also illustrates powerfully the surreal place to which relativism has taken us, as well as our nation’s desperate need to embrace reality, despite our feelings.

As a society, we indeed have come a long way from acknowledging what biology tells us about our lives and identity. Take, for example, the medical community’s approach to someone who is confused about his or her gender. A man’s self-identifying as a woman or vice versa once was called “gender identity disorder,” but now it is called “gender dysphoria.”

One medical website states,

Diagnosis and treatment are important. People with gender dysphoria have higher rates of mental health conditions. Some estimates say that 71% of people with gender dysphoria will have some other mental health diagnosis in their lifetime. That includes mood disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, and suicide attempts.

Instead, might these problems result because, at its root, the individual actually is denying reality? I submit that this is the case. You won’t find that assertion in the popular culture or even, generally speaking, among a great many medical professionals:

The goal is not to change how the person feels about his or her gender. Instead, the goal is to deal with the distress that may come with those feelings.

Talking with a psychologist or psychiatrist is part of any treatment for gender dysphoria. “Talk” therapy is one way to address the mental health issues that this condition can cause.3

Beyond talk therapy, many people choose to take at least some steps to bring their physical appearance in line with how they feel inside. They might change the way they dress or go by a different name. They may also take medicine or have surgery to change their appearance.4

Note this statement in the material quoted above: “many people choose to take at least some steps to bring their physical appearance in line with how they feel inside” [emphasis added]. This may provide some temporary relief, but ultimately it won’t resolve the issue. Living by feelings and continuing to deny reality only deepens the problem, both for the individuals experiencing it, and corporately, on the national level.

Here are three among eight key points made on gender confusion by the American College of Pediatricians, a group of medical professionals that, thankfully, hasn’t succumbed to political correctness. (You can read the entire list here.)

  • Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: “XY” and “XX” are genetic markers of health—not genetic markers of a disorder.
  • A person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking.
  • Rates of suicide are twenty times greater among adults who use cross-sex hormones and undergo sex reassignment surgery, even in Sweden which is among the most LGBQT- affirming countries.

The word health in the first point is a critically important word. Actually, one finds authentic freedom in accepting and affirming the gender of the biological sex he or she was assigned genetically, even before birth. While moving from gender confusion to acceptance of biologically determined reality can be very difficult, the one confused about his or her gender identity won’t find real resolution and freedom without it. Let’s put it another way: Once we affirm the truth, our feelings eventually will align and stabilize. Actually, in embracing truth, we will find fulfillment and contentment that otherwise would prove elusive. Again, the journey is difficult. It often requires professional help, and it certainly cannot be made overnight. Yet the destination makes the journey worth the effort.

In the first hour of Thursday, April 14, 2016 edition of the Eric Metaxas show, Eric interviewed Navy Seal Commander Rorke Denver, author of Worth Dying for: A Navy Seal’s Call to a Nation. During the interview, Metaxas and Denver discussed the current assault on masculinity in American culture, and the importance of a man’s affirming his masculinity and a woman’s affirming her femininity. Note in particular the words I’ve chosen to emphasize with bold type in this exchange.

Metaxas:  What I’ve written about sometimes also is this issue of celebrating manliness, for example, has gone out of fashion—except in the warrior class. I mean, when you watch a move like 13 Hours, or whatever, you see it, right there in front of you. You can’t deny it. But in the wider culture, we don’t talk about what it is to be a man, to be a woman. Those things are sort of politically incorrect. And it’s amazing because it saps the strength that men and women both are meant to have by owning their gender and saying I am this, I am that. And it matters.

Denver: My bride and I talk about it all the time. I feel like we’re a throwback couple. She wants me to be a man and she has no desire to be one herself, as much as she knows she can’t be. And I don’t want to do the things that she does for our family and our kids, these things that I’m absolutely incapable of doing. So we split those jobs, I think traditionally and appropriately, and we’re healthy because of it. I hold things dear that I think, exactly like you’re saying, we don’t value anymore. I mean the fact of the matter is our world has become so litigious and so combative in the wrong way. If somebody says something disrespectful to my bride, they’re going to get punched in the mouth. That’s going to happen. I’ll deal with the fallout after the fact. And she knows she’s with a guy that’s going to do that. And she likes that. And I want to be that type of person. You mess with my kids, you’re going to have a bear to deal with. We’ve gotten away from that, and that’s not a good thing.

Metaxas: In my mind, you’re exactly right, and it amazes me that we’ve so quickly moved away from that kind of thinking.

Many years ago, addressing the issue of sexual roles, an issue that arises from gender identity, psychologist W. Peter Blitchington observed, “The strength of a nation can be fairly effectively gauged by the strength of its families, and the strength of a family can be estimated by the quality of its sexual roles.”5

The strength of a nation can be fairly effectively gauged by the strength of this families, and the strength of a family can be estimated by the quality of its sexual roles.
—W. Peter Blitchington—

In Genesis 1:26-31, we read not only of God’s creative activity, but also of the purposeful assignment He gave to His highest creation, the man and the woman:

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, it still is true: In these statements from Genesis reside principles that, when embraced, foster fulfillment with regard to gender identity. God created humanity male and female, and aligning ourselves—individually, corporately, and culturally—with this reality is essential for wholeness and good health.

Because, as long as we keep denying reality and pretending to live contrary to the truth, the cracks on the living room wall of our national “house” will continue to appear.

Related post: Ten Ways Same-Sex Marriage Denies Reality

 

Copyright © 2016 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Notes:

1Quoted in W. Peter Blitchington, Sex Roles and the Christian Family, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1981), 174.

2Adapted from Tony Evans: http://tonyevans.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/OneFamilySermonNotes.pdf

3http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/gender-dysphoria?page=2

4http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/gender-dysphoria?page=3

5W. Peter Blitchington, Sex Roles and the Christian Family, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1981), 13.

 

 

 

Updates on Efforts to Protect Privacy Rights and Religious Liberty

You’ve seen those ridiculous “Coexist” bumper stickers, right? You know, the ones where the word is spelled out using religious symbols from Christianity, Islam, Paganism, Gay rights, Judaism, and so on?

coexist-blue

I call it ridiculous because, as someone once wrote: “The C wants to kill the E, X, T, and the O. The O offers peaceful non-resistance, which will be ineffective if real trouble breaks out. The E feels like it’s been oppressed, making it intolerant of the C, the X, and the T. The I and the S are numerically irrelevant, but are just necessary to spell out the word. And the sticker is mostly directed at the T (or the Christian), who ironically poses no threat whatsoever to any of the others.”

John Stonestreet, in a BreakPoint commentary dated April 21, 2016—

Many points can be made in opposition to laws and policies that would allow transgendered individuals to use the restroom different from the one designated by their own biology. One of the strongest such arguments affirms what ought to be obvious—that these policies allow predatory men to feign having gender identity issues and invade women’s restrooms. Of course, no one should lightly dismiss the needs of someone struggling with gender identity. At the same time, we also must care about how women would feel about sharing a restroom, not just with a predatory man, but also with a biological male who identifies as a woman. Female objections to a transgendered man in the ladies’ room aren’t indications of bigotry or hate, but of the legitimate desire for privacy when using the bathroom, locker room, and shower.

Do we really need to wonder how most women would feel about a man—any man—in the women’s bathroom? For anyone who does wonder, help is available. In his most recent Internet video, You Tuber Joey Salads conducted an experiment to find out. You can watch his video here.

In writing about Salads’ experiment, Michael Cantrell observes,

Interesting how most women aren’t comfortable with the idea of going to the bathroom with a man who pretends to be a woman. Perhaps the world isn’t quite as crazy as I originally thought.

If the majority of women aren’t comfortable with transgenders using their restrooms, why are their concerns being ignored for the sake of a very small minority?

Liberals claim to be about women’s rights, yet here they are, forcing ladies to do something against their will and stripping them of their right to privacy.

The hypocrisy is astounding.

Unfortunately, a bathroom bill that would have protected privacy rights in Tennessee’s public schools was withdrawn by its key sponsor in the Tennessee House of Representatives. Rep. Susan Lynn’s action effectively killed the bill for this legislative session, although passage was far from certain. Because children are of infinite worth, one wonders why, despite fierce opposition to the proposal, the legislature and the governor were not willing to draw a line in the sand to protect students in the Volunteer State.

Meanwhile, in North Carolina and Mississippi, which passed a religious liberty law, economic threats continue to mount. The NBA has scheduled its 2017 All-Star game in Charlotte, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is demanding changes in the law. Yet he, along with a host of other business leaders and entertainers like Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, and Boston, are either threatening to exercise or are exercising outright the very freedoms they wish to deny those whom they disagree. So much for coexistence!

deeply-held-belief-635x635

The bathroom bill in North Carolina actually can be called a privacy rights and business rights law, because it not only protects women, but also allows private businesses to set their own bathroom policies. Even so, politicians like President Barak Obama, New York Mayor Bill de Blaiso, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, to name a few, continue to revile and mischaracterize the law. They’re even trying to punish North Carolina for it. Even Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke out against it, effectively ignoring the risk to women that the law mitigates. Ted Cruz, who supports the law, criticized Trump, accusing him of giving in to political correctness.

Returning to the debate in Tennessee, we note that the Obama administration said it was pleased the state’s bathroom privacy law (of course, the administration didn’t call it that) had failed to pass. This shouldn’t surprise us, since, as we noted in a previous post, the Justice Department filed a “statement of interest” in court that argued Title IX requires that transgendered individuals be allowed to use whichever restroom they choose. In the case, a Virginia school district had dared to limit access to its restrooms on the basis of students’ biological sex. The lower court ruled against the administration’s arguments, but the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals now says the lawsuit against the Virginia school district may proceed.

It was a 3-judge panel at the 4th Circuit that made this decision, with 2 of the 3 judges having been appointed by President Obama. According to one report, this panel ignored the plain language of Title IX, just as federal bureaucrats also have ignored it in recent months. In his End of Day email report to his supporters dated April 20, 2016, Gary Bauer wrote that

the federal court did not decide the issue. But their 2-to-1 opinion does allow a lawsuit against a Virginia school district to proceed, suggesting that gender specific bathrooms represent some form of unconstitutional sex discrimination.

The ACLU and other left-wing groups are applauding the decision as “a complete vindication of the Education Department’s interpretation of Title IX.” But the Obama Education Department’s interpretation is utter nonsense!

Title IX was passed by Congress in 1972 to eliminate blatant sex discrimination between men and women in educational opportunities. No one in 1972 had transgenderism in mind.

But that is how Obama’s radical bureaucrats are interpreting—rewriting—the law today. And left-wing judicial activists on the courts are going along with it.

Fortunately, Judge Paul Niemeyer’s dissenting opinion made the case for common sense. He wrote:

This holding completely tramples on all universally accepted protections of privacy and safety that are based on the anatomical differences between the sexes. . . This unprecedented holding overrules custom, culture, and the very demands inherent in human nature for privacy and safety, which the separation of such facilities is designed to protect. More particularly, it also misconstrues the clear language of Title IX and its regulations. And finally, it reaches an unworkable and illogical result. [You can read more from Judge Niemeyer’s dissent here.]

Where is the left’s concern for the privacy rights of young girls?

Are you prepared to accept boys using your daughter’s bathrooms and locker rooms at your local public school? Are you prepared to share a public bathroom with someone of the opposite sex?

Are you willing to accept this assault on common sense?

The good news is that there is some indication that a great many people aren’t willing; this evidenced by the fact that when Target Stores announced a company-wide bathroom policy that allows biological men in women’s restrooms, and vice versa, a backlash began. Go here to read a handful of the negative reactions to Target’s guidelines.

Encouraging its readers to push back against the retail giant, an article at www.barbwire.com stated, “Clearly, Target’s dangerous new policy poses a danger to wives and daughters. We think many customers will agree. And we think the average Target customer is willing to pledge to boycott Target stores until it makes protecting women and children a priority.” On the American Family Association’s website, tens of thousands of angry consumers expressed their opposition and pledged to participate in a boycott.

This indeed is good news, but we’re actually not ready to leave Gary Bauer’s statements just yet. Read them again. Note that Mr. Bauer said, among other things, that the court is rewriting the law. It is critical that we understand this point—and that courts are not authorized to make or rewrite laws. Only the legislative branch of government pass laws. Judges are charged with the task of interpreting them.

Watch legal expert and Family Action Council of Tennessee’s David Fowler explain  how 2 members of the 3-judge panel are rewriting the law. If you don’t remember anything else from this post, remember what Mr. Fowler says here. Fowler makes some comments that are specific to Tennessee, but that doesn’t take anything away from his case that the ruling is unlawful. Everyone in America needs to understand why.

Members of the judicial branch will get away violating the Constitution in this way only if we permit them to do so. Yet, if we are to succeed in holding them accountable, we first must comprehend how we got to the place in our culture where we are debating whether or not we will allow men in women’s restrooms, and why, for millions of people, this issue isn’t a “no-brainer.”

We’ll explore this question next week. Stay tuned, and stay in prayer for our nation. America needs prayer perhaps now more than ever!

Copyright © 2016 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

For further reading:

Turning American Law Upside Down for the Transgendered by David French

Capitulation on Religious Liberty Laws Is Shameful and Shortsighted by the editors of National Review

 

Bold Declarations Needed

Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying,…“So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: ‘Thus you say, “If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine away in them, how can we then live?”’ Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’”
Ezekiel 33:1,7-11

Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, has locker room facilities it shares with two high schools—Olympia High and Capital High. The Evergreen Swim Club and Aquatics Academy also use the facilities. Keep in mind that Aquatics Academy has students who are six years old.

On September 26, 2012, a girls’ swim team was using the locker room. A biological male identifying as a female also was present, and he exposed himself to the girls through a window in the sauna. The girls’ coach, as well as the mother of one of the team’s members, reported the incident to the police, but they were told that the school would not act to prevent a man from using the women’s locker facilities. According to an eyewitness, the girls subjected to the incident were 6 to 18 years old.

If there ever were a clear case of indecent exposure, you’d think this would be it. Yet the county prosecutor indicated he would not pursue the matter in court to prevent it from occurring again. For its part, Evergreen College provided curtains and directed that the girls change behind those. A spokesman for the school, Jason Wettstein, declared, “The college has to follow state law.…[It] cannot discriminate based on the basis of gender identity. Gender identity is one of the protected things in discrimination law in this state.”

The offender was a student who was 45 years old! He dresses as a woman and calls himself Colleen Francis. He chose to live as a woman beginning in 2009—and this is not the first time he’s behaved this way at Evergreen. He said of the incident, “This is not 1959 Alabama. We don’t call police for drinking from the wrong water fountain.”

David Hacker, Alliance Defending Freedom’s Senior Legal Counsel, came to the aid of the girls and others who were outraged by the incident, declaring that the school’s giving preference to the whims and desires of an adult man over the clear need to protect young girls is “beyond unacceptable.”

DavidHacker

He also said, “Little girls should not be exposed to naked men, period. A college’s notions about ‘non-discrimination’ don’t change that. The idea that the college and the local district attorney will not act to protect young girls is appalling. What Americans are seeing here is the poisoned fruit of so-called ‘non-discrimination’ laws and policies.”

“Poisoned fruit” is absolutely correct. At the time, in a BreakPoint commentary, John Stonestreet described just how far and how fast society had fallen. Two factors have been strongly influential: first, an emphasis on individual rights (including sexual rights) as absolute, and second, a cultural shift that stresses gender over one’s biological sex.

John_Stonestreet_photo

Until very recently a person was either male or female and the determination was based on objective physical criteria. While it isn’t always as simple as I just made it sound, the rule generally held.

Today, we speak in terms of “gender identity,” which “refers to a person’s private sense…and subjective experience.” It doesn’t matter if Francis has had sex-reassignment surgery or not—all that matters is his self-identification as “transsexual.”

It’s not an exaggeration to say that there are potentially as many gender identities as there are people. And under Washington law, each of these is protected from “discrimination” by state agencies such as Evergreen College.

When Francis walked into the women’s locker room, he was a rights-bearing individual whose “right” to use the facility trumped any other interest. Even the mental and sexual health interest of six-year-old girls.

Obviously this is absurd, but it didn’t come out of nowhere—it is where American law and culture have been headed for some time. And there aren’t enough screens to cover this damage.

Unfortunately, the legal situation has worsened in the state of Washington since 2012, further subjecting the general public to the whims of a miniscule few who have certain issues. Certainly we must not minimize these issues, but there are better ways to address them than trouncing on the privacy rights of the public at large. In the name of being sensitive to the tiniest of minorities, the doors have been thrown open to outright predators who will think nothing of feigning transgender experiences to gain access to vulnerable members of the opposite sex. Whatever happened to protecting the majority—especially innocent children? This noble principle is being increasingly ignored.

Apparently some city leaders are all too willing to throw the majority, including young, impressionable children, under the bus. Recently, in February of 2016, Dr. Michael Brown cited the incident at Evergreen State College in a speech warning the leaders of Charlotte, North Carolina, not to adopt a non-discrimination policy that, among other things, would allow a biological male to use a women’s bathroom or locker room facility, and vice-versa. City leaders, wisely, had rejected it in 2015. The text of the speech is available here.  Unfortunately, even against the backdrop of overwhelming opposition to the policy, Brown’s speech and other pleas against the proposal fell on deaf ears. The bill was adopted 7-4.

Billy Graham, the widely known and widely respected evangelist, grew up near Charlotte, which now is home to the Billy Graham Library and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). Graham’s son, Franklin, BGEA’s CEO, was bold in his response to the proposal both before and after it was adopted.

There is much more to discuss here than we will be able to consider in this one post. For now, I would like to highlight some of the words Brown and Graham used in expressing their opposition to the the non-discrimination bill. Note that Brown used the word warning in the title of his public remarks. He called the policy madness. Note as well the underlined words in these quotations from Graham’s Facebook page. Before the vote, Graham said,

Franklin-Graham-Featured2

It’s really hard to believe that such a ludicrous law would even be seriously considered…! Are people just not thinking clearly? This law would allow pedophiles, perverts, and predators into women’s bathrooms. This is wicked and it’s filthy.…It should be inconceivable that Charlotte’s mayor and the supporting City Council members have succumbed to the pressures from depraved sexual activists and are willing to put women and girls at risk like this. The ordinance was defeated last year, and the mayor shouldn’t have allowed it back on the table. Shame on her.

The next day, Graham stressed once more, “Shame on Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and the City Council members who voted last night to pass an ordinance that would allow people to use the bathroom of their choice, not based on their biological sex.”

Especially taken together, these words reflect a rich prophetic tradition of confronting evil directly and forthrightly. Brown and Graham are to be commended for their boldness and candor. Neither man lacks compassion for those struggling with gender identity issues; however, to his credit, neither allowed compassion to overshadow the truth about the bill and the destination to which it certainly will lead. All too often today, out of fear of offending people, ministers fail to present the whole truth about the seriousness of sin and the severity of sin’s consequences. Without abandoning compassion or love, we need to warn people about the road down which society is heading. If we fail to do so, we are complicit in the moral degradation that occurs (see Ezek. 33:7-11). Mark it down! As believers, we don’t just have this responsibility to individuals, but also at the corporate level, in the society in which we live! We’ve been told that we don’t have the right to yell “fire!” in a crowded theatre, but we actually have a duty to do so if there really is a fire! We cannot let a packed theatre burn to the ground simply because we didn’t want to offend anyone!

“But wait!” someone will say. “Society abandoned absolute truth a long time ago, so people don’t have a set of standards by which to understand right and wrong. How can we speak of evil and wickedness and expect people to understand?” This person has a point. As Francis Schaeffer declared in the late 1960s,

Absolutes imply antithesis. The non-Christian went on romantically operating on this basis without a sufficient cause, an adequate base, for doing so. Thus it was still possible to discuss what was right and wrong, what was true and false. One could tell a non-Christian to “be a good girl” and, while she might not have followed your advice, at least she would have understood what you were talking about. To say the same thing to a truly modern girl today would be to make a “nonsense” statement. The blank look you might receive would not mean that your standards had been rejected, but that your message was meaningless.

Francis-Schaeffer

Schaeffer was right in saying that the abandonment of absolute truth has led to a generation—to generations now—who have no familiarity with truth (moral and ethical standards of right and wrong) as far as a societal consensus is concerned. Yet this vividly underscores the critical need to help people see the benefits of such a consensus, and to uphold it and point them to it. Now more than ever, we are witnessing the devastation to which an abandonment of absolute truth in society has led. Do we really want to continue down this path? After struggling in quicksand, surely some relief comes from making one’s way to solid ground. Not all will escape the quicksand, but some will—and with each one that does, society moves closer to a return to truth. Jonah’s preaching provides a wonderful example of how God can use a strong and even harsh message to bring people to repentance. So does the ministry of John the Baptist.

As the Bible indicates, a lack of experiential familiarity with a societal consensus on absolute truth does not mean a person has no reference point at all for fairness and decency. In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis astutely observed, “Whenever you find a man who says he does not believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later. He may break his promise to you, but if you try breaking one to him he will be complaining ‘It’s not fair’ before you can say Jack Robinson.” Hear Romans 2:12-15 in the New Living Translation (NLT):

12 When the Gentiles sin, they will be destroyed, even though they never had God’s written law. And the Jews, who do have God’s law, will be judged by that law when they fail to obey it. 13 For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight. 14 Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. 15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.

Of course, we know that people are more confused about some sins than others. There is a great deal of misinformation and misunderstanding in society today about homosexuality and about gender identity. The Bible has answers for the questions that arise from this confusion. These answers include the truths that homosexual activity is sinful and wrong (a violation of God’s plan; see Rom. 1:18-27) and that God created men and women, boys and girls, in His image (see Gen. 1:27). We find fulfillment in God’s design, not apart from it. That said, let’s set these issues aside for a moment and consider how Charlotte’s non-discrimination bill exponentially intensifies the vulnerability of women and young girls. Supporters of the bill may not admit it, but they innately know it is wrong to give male perverts unfettered access to women’s public restrooms.

Thus, the strong language from Michael Brown and Franklin Graham is entirely appropriate—and even necessary. As believers, we need to add our voices to theirs if we haven’t already. We cannot effectively oppose evil or even begin to address it if we fail to call it what it really is.

 

Copyright © 2016 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Check out the two-minute Bible studies on Easter!

Breaking Bread: Easter

 

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Note:

1 Francis A. Schaeffer, The God Who Is There, in Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy, (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1990, [The God Who Is There was originally published in 1968]), 7.