By the time you read this, the news will be all over the country. The New York Times reports that President Obama has released a letter directing every public school in the country to recognize and accept transgender identities. In particular, the directive has to do with bathroom and locker room use. Here’s the relevant excerpt from the report:
The Obama administration is planning to issue a sweeping directive telling every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.
A letter to school districts will go out Friday, fueling a highly charged debate over transgender rights in the middle of the administration’s legal fight with North Carolina over the issue. The declaration — signed by Justice and Education Department officials — will describe what schools should do to ensure that none of their students are discriminated against.
It does not have the force of law, but it contains an implicit threat: Schools that do not abide by the Obama administration’s interpretation of the law could face lawsuits or a loss of federal aid.
The move is certain to draw fresh criticism, particularly from Republicans, that the federal government is wading into local matters and imposing its own values on communities across the country that may not agree. It represents the latest example of the Obama administration using a combination of policies, lawsuits and public statements to change the civil rights landscape for gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people.
Just to be clear what this means. The Obama administration is announcing its intent to coerce through force of law every public school to accept this. He expects your local school to allow boys to use bathroom and shower facilities with girls and vice versa. So long as the child’s parents are willing to go along with their child’s new identity, the school has to let students into the bathroom and locker room of the opposite sex.
This directive is jaw-dropping. The Obama administration doesn’t care whether the local or state school system supports such a move. It doesn’t care whether parents want male students showering with the female students or vice versa. President Obama’s letter…
…requires schools to provide transgender students equal access to educational programs and activities even in circumstances in which other students, parents, or community members raise objections or concerns.
The Obama administration is saying that every public school must accept the new rules or face the music. It has decided that anyone (even parents!) who refuses the new rules will be guilty of invidious “discrimination.”
What is going on here? The answer is very simple. President Obama feels the wind at his back in advocating LGBT rights. Gay marriage is now the law of the land, and gay people are now serving openly in the military. Now President Obama is turning to the “T” in LGBT, and he’s making bathrooms and locker rooms the issue. As the Attorney General has made clear, those who refuse to go along will be treated like Jim Crow bigots.
This radical directive is a heavy-handed, unconstitutional overreach in order to force Americans to pretend that some boys are girls and some girls are boys. It is absurd and wrong. And I wonder if this may not be a bridge too far even for people who are otherwise liberal. Are fathers going to be okay with their daughters undressing in locker rooms where boys can see them? No matter how much one may support President Obama, what dad would go along with this?
Transgenderism is a fiction that harms real people and undermines the common good. It is not good to treat boys as if they’re girls nor to treat girls as if they’re boys. That may be how some students “self-identify,” but indulging that fiction doesn’t help them. It hurts them, and it ultimately undermines the social fabric of the communities they inhabit.
There will be much said and written about this directive in days and weeks to come. This is going to cause unrest and conflict all over the country. It is one thing for an individual to embrace a fictional identity. It is another thing for the federal government to coerce everyone else to embrace it too. This is far from over. Indeed the conflict has only just begun.
My government is the enemy of my church and my family. It has come to that. I figured it would one day. But not so soon.
— Rod Dreher (@roddreher) May 13, 2016
Christians must not give in to the distortions of this coercive directive. We must recognize that it is not only harmful to children and adolescents but to everyone who is swayed by it. Why? Because it contradicts what God has revealed to us about ourselves and about His intention for us. Scripture teaches that God has made us in his image as male and female (Gen. 1:26-28). This sexual binary is one that Jesus himself recognized and affirmed as good and right (Matt. 19:4). Understanding this binary used to be common sense, and this traditional understanding is no less true even if it is less common.
This latest transgender battle line points to a much deeper spiritual rot. It exposes what has always been at the heart of the sexual revolution. The Creator’s purposes for male and female must give way to the creature’s autonomous will. If a guy feels like he’s a girl, then he is one even if his biology says otherwise. The Creator’s distinction between male and female must bend to accommodate the sovereign will of the creature. And if God’s will can be defied, then so can everyone else’s.
Even though in a fallen world people do experience gender identity conflicts, the scripture reveals a normative connection between biological sex and gender identity. Attempts to deny this, therefore, are an attempt to suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18). That means that gender identity conflicts—in children or in adults—should be resolved in keeping with one’s biological sex. It is neither loving nor compassionate to conceal this truth from our neighbors—especially from the children.
My previous comment is so short it may not pass moderation, but I’m not sure what else to say.
This is certainly horrific stuff, but it also no more than a logical step in the project to erase all legal signs of our bodies.
“…it contradicts what God has revealed to us about ourselves and about His intention for us. Scripture teaches that God has made us in his image as male and female.” The problem comes from one stage prior to sexual identity, namely personhood. We are made in the mage and likeness of God. God is a person. Gender identity is born of the horror which we call Abortion.
I completely agree with you Denny and other conservative Christians. The concern over protection from other men (perverts, rapists) who want to use this issue to just go into women’s bathrooms all the time and locker rooms is a valid concern.
But TV pundits like Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly (with Montel Williams on her show) are rolling their eyes at the conservative position; and they ask questions like “how is anyone going to know?”
They mocked the conservative view – “what are they going to do; have bathroom police and look up skirts and make people take down their pants to see what they really are?” etc.
They also ask : if they have transitioned, etc. and look like women and used to be men, and they keep to themselves in their own stall, etc. – and don’t bother anyone, how will anyone be bothered?
What is the Christian apologetic answer to questions like these?
another: “Ok, if a transgendered person who looks and acts like their new gender/sex comes into the bathroom of their birth – certificate, won’t that look even more weird and conspicuous and make all the normal men feel uncomfortable?”
If someone like Bruce Jenner goes to the public men’s room, it looks weird. (because he looks and dresses like a woman – cause he sees himself as Caitlyn Jenner)
A lot of Christians also say, “well, only about .1 percent of people are like this, so why are we making a big deal out of it?”
(it seems to me the government and media are the ones who make a big deal out of these things.)
I’ve met 23-26 year olds who say, “some children are gender confused and they got bullied in school, and the other kids were mean to them, so all of this is the result of trying to protect those people from being bullied and hurt.”
Christians, as always, playing the ‘we’re the ones who are REALLY being oppressed here’ card. Christians, as always, painting people they don’t know who aren’t like them as predators. Ya’ll are nothing if not predictable.
Well, enjoy your ‘persecution.’ I know it makes you feel special.
Trolling or just can’t see the logical conclusion to these type of tyrannical changes when fleshed out to it’s natural outcome?
Travis the “huge” issue here is not just the change ordered in our culture and Country, but the president’s unprecedented usurpation of Constitutional Authority! He has asserted himself again, and again, overreaching the lawmakers (the Congress)! This is what ought to trouble everyone, regardless of view. And it’s not just “Christians” that are perplexed with the forced changes on our society..it is people that have what we used to call….”common sense”.
Predator is an interesting term that people use. Relating to the “transgender” issue it seems that many folks, perhaps not the one I’m replying to, qualify a predator as being a violent predator. That’s really a misuse of the term. Predators are hunters, predators are often unseen, they are sly and crafty, they stalk often unbeknownst to their prey. In the “transgender” safety debate this term needs to be qualified by a definition; often it is not.
From Chicago Sun Times
A man choked an 8-year-old girl until she passed out inside the bathroom of a South Loop store last weekend, according to Chicago Police.
She was with her mother at the business in the 1200 block of South Canal when the girl went to the bathroom alone about 1:15 p.m. on May 7, according to Chicago Police.
The woman then heard a scream from her daughter and went inside to find 33-year-old Reese M. Hartstirn carrying the unconscious girl into a stall, police said. He had choked her with his hands, police allege.
Other people in the store helped restrain the man until police arrived to arrest him. The girl was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital, but police did not have information on her condition.
Hartstirn, of the 500 block of North Racine, was charged with felony counts of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated battery of a child. He also faces misdemeanor counts of battery and aggravated assault of a peace officer for taking a swing at an officer who booked him at the Central District station, police said.
He was ordered without bond at a Monday hearing and is due back in court May 16, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office.
Also, in the state of Washington, where transgenders have been allowed to go into public bathrooms designated for the biological sex that they are not, a male went into a women’s shower facility and began to undress to the screams of the women. He later said he was allowed to enter because of the new law.
I’m uncomfortable with the sweeping application of this law. However, it’s remarkable how quickly this new front in the culture wars opened up. Presumably transgendered folks have been using public bathrooms for decades with no one the wiser and without issue. Why do we need laws regarding this, either legalizing or banning, in 2016? It seems to me that the political strategists, both for the social cons and the liberals, see this as another wedge issues to get the partisans riled up and angry enough to vote.
Now that gay marriage is legal this appears to be the next source of outrage. Transgenders make up less than 1% of the population.
Any reason to suspect the guy in Chicago was transgender? Article doesn’t make mention of it. This seems like a crime that could just as easily have happened a year ago before this whole bathroom question came up.
“Schools should let transgender students use bathrooms, locker rooms and other sex-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity, according to the guidance. Staff should address transgender students by their preferred names and pronouns. Schools cannot require students to have a medical diagnosis, undergo any medical treatment, or produce a birth certificate before treating them consistent with their gender identity, the guidance states.”
So teachers are going to be addressing students by THEIR preferred name and pronouns? Take the parent’s rights out of the equation completely? This is lunacy.
All of this for 1% of the population, if that….smh.
We have a state religion right now. It is secular humanism/relativism. Because the “separation of church and state” has been arbitrarily defined as ideological, it has secularized the state, making secularism the religion of the state.
This natural conclusion is where liberalism has brought us. They have no basis for ethics, and so, as Francis Schaeffer said, they have to impose what a small number of people think is best for society at the given moment. It is “sociological arbitrary law,” as Schaeffer used to say. Because of the fact that the courts have been a part of making this sociological arbitrary law, it will not end well.
Very gracious my children go to a private Christian elementary school and will not be subjected to this insanity.
We should all support our local Christian schools.
Denny, would this tyrannical declaration mean that Christian colleges/universities that accept federal dollars have to make these accommodations?
Honestly, I’d be more worried about what my kids would “pick up” at most Christian private schools than I am about them being spied on or abused in public school restrooms.
You’d be surprised how loving most Christian public schools actually are. You can still care for people without agreeing or championing their views.
As a father of two daughters and the husband of a social worker who works with transgender children, I’m far more concerned about my neighbors, family members and the church than the bathroom or locker room.
Because of the great suffering found among people with transgender issues, perhaps the time has arrived for the Church to embrace a pastoral care which recognizes that we may not understand everything perfectly and yet the Church must patiently seek to help people who suffer.
It would be enough now, perhaps, for pastoral ministry to be open to listening to the voices of that suffering, to pray with and for those that suffer, to let them know of God’s great love for them. This compassion is the beginning of renewal through pastoral care.
The Church was never meant to close its doors against suffering people. If anything, the Church is called, irrevocably called, to serve among troubled people with a compassion like that of Our Lord.
Pastoral care: found in the embrace of silent listening, in shared prayer, in offerings of refuge and offers to help longed-for family reconciliations, but most of all, service given with unconditional love for those whose pain was not chosen, but should not be born alone while the Church of Our Lord serves in this world.
The church I attend has always been willing to minister to those suffering for many different reasons. But, you can’t minister to those who hate you because you believe their lifestyle is not the way God would have us live. There is right and wrong. Our struggle, and that is all of us have struggles with sin of all types. We seek guidance and help in repenting and turning away from that sin. It could be pride, alcoholism, bigotry, pornography, adultery, blasphemy, and a whole host of other sin and sons. The problem today is that none of us what to admit that our sin requires repentance before Christ will accept us as his. We want to keep on sinning without any critical thought about our behavior or our thought processes. Christ told the woman at the well after praising her that she should go and sin no more. Not that everything is OK. He was not teaching us to be epicurean in our behaviors nor thoughtless as to the consequences of our actions. He always steered us to righteousness and we never stop struggling in this life. Doing good is not easy and when it comes to moral issues those who practice immorality with no remorse or guilt will not be acceptable in God’s kingdom on earth or in heaven. Those who acknowledge their sin, repent and turn their lives over to Christ will evidence that b by a lifetime of change and growth in morality. They will not become perfect overnight but they will gain momentum as their faith grows. All are welcome in the Church but the true Church Triumphant will continue as it ministers to people to encourage them to “go and sin no more and not anything goes and everything you want is good. Because, it does not and it is not.
MAY GOD BE WITH YOU in your struggles.
A few things I just can’t figure out about people who support transgenderism in kids:
The whole locker room thing is just beyond me. So you want to put boys in girls locker rooms. Girls. Teenage girls. Some of the cruelest human beings to walk the earth. You talk about bullying. Take a look at the number of girls who commit suicide due to bullying other girls. Yikes.
And to put “transgender” kids in locker rooms in direct contact with the thing that they covet the most. Imagine the despondency of a teenager looking at another body knowing that is something they can never be. Surgery or whatever perhaps could be an option but that likely wouldn’t be an option until later in life if at all.
And the advocates for this nonsense claim to be protecting “transgender” kids exactly how?
This is nothing but a mental death sentence for kids.
Congratulations I guess.
Progressive Christians like Jim Wallis, David Gushee, and Tony Campolo will support this under the rubric of Social Justice. Younger Evangelicals may oppose it but will also oppose the opposition on the grounds that doing so is not Missional or Gospel Centered – polls will show that Millennials support the policy and the Church is losing an opportunity for Gospel Outreach to them by coming off as hateful bigots reminiscent of the Republican Christian Right. Others, like Michael Wear, will support it but urge for more dialogue and outreach – but will end up supporting the policy anyway – reluctantly, of course. Culturally Sophisticated Christians will roll their eyes as they’re embarrassed by this iteration of the War-on-Christmas faux outrage – this is a distraction from the real task of Cultural Engagement.
Donald Trump is not the only politician causing (or showing) division among Christians.
Well Andrew, it’s my country too! And standing for right, is always right. As far as the “gospel” opportunities, I believe there will be more, as people will be able to see Bible believers who stand for morality..God approved, not man-approved! And we all will have to deal with Him someday, in Christ, or in our rebellion and sin..
Why does no one seem to remember that this includes dressing rooms and showers? Unlike a toilet stall, it’s kind of hard to hide in a shower! I can’t believe that people are actually ok with their children dressing and showering with the opposite sex. God help us all.
This has to do with everybody. It’s crazy dangerous unjust and twisted. With children nonetheless. And I’ve never bullied anyone nor do I intend to. The end Does Not justify the means.
Replace Obama, not the restrooms.
When the Law of God and the law of man are in conflict, we are to obey God’s Law. Stand firm in the face up of such evil edicts.
This was posted on Facebook:
CA K-12 Transgender Law: Our Daughter’s Experience
I have hesitated sharing anything publicly about this, but since I have had so many questions lately, figured it was time to put it out there. We are withdrawing our daughter from Clovis Unified and beginning a new journey of homeschooling next year. She currently attends a nationally recognized school in a nationally known district; a school that people move into the area specifically for. This is a school that has phenomenal parent communication utilizing emails, texts, and phone calls, and some pretty amazing teachers as well. ? So why are we withdrawing her?
Several weeks ago, our daughter mentioned to us that there was a boy changing in her locker room for PE. I waved my hand, brushed it aside, and said, “Surely you are mistaken. I KNOW that the school would notify us if this were the case.” After all, we still have to sign parent permission slips for her to watch a PG-13 movie in class! Certainly they would not introduce a rated R situation in the locker room without our consent or worse yet, our knowledge!! It turns out I was wrong, and I should have listened to my daughter immediately.
Two weeks later, when I had confirmation from numerous sources that this was indeed the case, I called the school. We met with an administrator who understood where we were coming from, but informed us that his hands were tied (IF this was actually happening, as he could not legally disclose any information). Our options were to accept it and deal with it, or withdraw. We explained that we do not believe that truth is dependent upon consensus of opinion. There are a lot of things that are currently socially acceptable that we do not engage in, and this is because we base our lives on the Bible. I have never been one to force my beliefs on anyone else, and I do not appreciate an agenda, from 1-2% of the overall population, being forced on my daughter while she is in school. We send her to school every day with the knowledge and understanding that they are doing their best to keep her physically safe and protect her innocence, not indoctrinate her with public opinion or chip away at her moral code. She was uncomfortable and anxious, and rightfully so (especially with the upcoming swim unit). She is a MINOR. She does not vote on any laws. She needs permission slips for everything from movies, to books read in class, to field trips, and the like…but yet the government feels they can just pass a law (that is in direct opposition to what the voters expressed), tell the schools they have to enforce it, and quietly sneak these situations in right under our noses as if they know best? God gave us these two children to raise to the best of our ability. They are ours. They do NOT belong to Clovis Unified School District or the State of California.
I realize that not everyone will agree with us, and that is fine. We are not here to try to change anyone’s mind or influence anyone in a particular way. We are not looking for accolades and acknowledgement, OR arguments and debate. This is a personal family decision. And let me just take a minute to say that this has nothing to do with hate. I am SO tired of people labeling ANYONE WHO DISAGREES with anything as a hater. I truly feel for the gender confused individuals, and cannot imagine what they are going through. There absolutely should be programs in place to help them. As Christians I believe it is our duty to show everyone God’s love, and love is not limited to only those who agree with us. However, that doesn’t mean we have to lie down, be doormats, and sacrifice our own children’s innocence. I draw the line at changing in front of each other. That is a boundary that just simply should not be crossed. There is NOTHING good that can come from this situation, and so many loopholes for abuse that it actually ends up creating. I am not willing to take that chance. I read an article recently by a pastor’s wife (in regard to the Target restroom situation), saying we should stand outside the restrooms at Target and hug all of the confused transgender people, because that is what Jesus would do. Show love. And yes, while I do believe we should show love, it does not mean we have to sacrifice truth in the process. In fact, we need fight for truth, because if we as Christians do not, who will? Everyone wants to quickly point out that God is love. And He is. But He is also a God of truth, justice, and consequences. He was not afraid to call people out when they were doing something wrong. In John 2 we read, “14In the temple courts He found men selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and money changers seated at their tables. 15So He made a whip out of cords and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle. He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16To those selling doves He said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn My Father’s house into a marketplace!” He got angry. He called them out on what they were doing, because it was wrong. He stood up for what was right and took action. He didn’t just stand there and hug people, show them love, and HOPE they would do the right thing. While we are not making whips, or shouting at people, or making a big scene, we are doing what we feel is right for our daughter. She is uncomfortable, stressed, and anxious. Her right to privacy has been violated. Her religious beliefs and moral code have been violated. We are thrilled that she is modest and innocent, and make no apologies for that. I know that Clovis Unified School District is just doing what they have to legally do, as this is now a state law. But we do not have to keep sending our daughter to public school (or spending our money at Target). We have other options, and as a family, we feel that this is what is best, given the current situation (and the direction everything seems to be going). She is SO happy now. A weight has been lifted off of her shoulders. We are excited about what the future holds for her, and thankful there are alternatives and options. We cannot simply throw our hands up and say, “Well, I guess it’s a law now. There’s nothing we can do.” We will not just stand idly by. We know we are not the only ones who have found themselves in this situation or who feel this way. As parents, we MUST fight for what we believe is right for our children, because if we do not, who will? We would rather err on the side of caution than to look back and have regrets because we were complacent. My husband and I will not change lives throughout the state with this decision, nor are we attempting to, but we ARE changing life for our daughter. She alone is worth fighting for. heart emoticon
Pass ANY LAW YOU WANT, I will forcefully remove any genetic MALE from any bathroom I happen to see going into a ladies restroom that makes any FEMALE justifiably uncomfortable. I don’t hate transgenders, nor am I afraid of them; as homophobia is misused. But, if I see and do nothing, I believe I am then doing even more wrong than the original offender. A legit transgender is one thing, but I will not tolerate an obvious predator or installation of open urinals in a multi-female occupant restroom. A girl shouldn’t have to worry about seeing a man’s genitalia in a restroom; this is wrong and I stand openly in opposition to it. Unfriend or follow me if you wish, I do not live for other people’s opinions.
I home schooled my children, but now work in the public schools. Ironic, eh? But anyway, if there were a transgender child at the public school where I now work, either the child would be bullied OR seen as “cool”, due to the special privileges given. If other kids start seeing being transgender as “cool”, this whole nonsense of rejecting one’s biological sex could start spreading epidemically. That’s what I worry about, more than attacks by falsely “transgender” students on other students.
Crazy idea, but could transgender students be considered “disabled” and go to a special school all by themselves? We have state schools for the deaf and blind in my current state of residence. Why not for the transgender children? They could use whatever bathroom they want, have whatever therapy they need for their identity crisis, etc.
Well, that’s my two cents.
Pass ANY LAW YOU WANT, I will forcefully remove any genetic MALE from any bathroom I happen to see going into a ladies restroom that makes any FEMALE justifiably uncomfortable. I don’t hate transgenders, nor am I afraid of them; as homophobia is misused. But, if I see and do nothing, I believe I am then doing even more wrong than the original offender. A legit transgender is one thing, but I will not tolerate an obvious predator or installation of open urinals in a multi-female occupant restroom. A girl shouldn’t have to worry about seeing a man’s genitalia in a restroom; this is wrong and I stand openly in opposition to it. Unfriend or follow me if you wish, I do not live for other people’s opinions. We all need to take a stand, for now the time has come to say, “enough is enough!”
Obama is threatening to cut funding to schools for failing to comply. All American parents can also make the same threat if they DO. You see, funding is based on enrollment and attendance; either pull them for a few days or pull them out altogether; and watch the reaction. We could literally grind the system to a halt via this method; screw up their bookkeeping and appropriation system for funding.
That’s a very good point! One thing that a lot of parents lack is wisdom and knowledge about our rights as parents. Many of us fail to investigate about our options. When threats like these are made, it’s our duty to see what can be done for our rights.
So grateful for you Denny. My family and I thank you for providing sober analyses of the many political concerns we have, and for being a faithful servant of God.
I am curious, do you know if Europe has the same laws concerning transgender students? Particularly the UK.
Here’s an update from England… http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3540142/Schools-introduce-gender-neutral-toilets-help-trans-children-feel-comfortable-says-head-Ofsted-Sir-Michael-Wilshaw.html