Well, it’s been a month since the North Carolina legislature passed and Governor Pat McCrory signed House Bill 2 into law. You can read the law here. The current law from the legislature stemmed from Charlotte’s City Council passing an ordinance that allowed transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice, here. Judging from the media and social media controversy, it would appear that North Carolina’s legislature set off a firestorm. President Obama weighed in here, as did other political leaders regarding non-essential travel to North Carolina here. Current presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz took different approaches on this issue, here. The current NBA commissioner weighed in since Charlotte is slotted to be the destination for next year’s NBA All Star weekend, here. Popular musicians, like Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam (among others) have also spoken out against what they perceive as a hateful law, here. Understatement of 2016–HB2 is controversial.
In some ways, this controversy is patently absurd. Common sense indicates that one’s gender is clear. Males should use the men’s room and females should use the ladie’s room. I believe that to argue for anything else is foolish and potentially disastrous. In other ways, this controversy is entirely predictable. The Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage is only a step in the direction of the new moral left. Make no mistake that this is an issue of morality (especially as you read some of the comments above). The problem is “whose” morality?
As a Christian who holds to the inerrancy and authority of Scripture, I believe that God is the author of good. As such, it is his prerogative to define morality. In Scripture, he’s done just that. Of course, biblical morality is not the moral compass endorsed by contemporary American culture. In fact, it is not at all clear that there is a governing moral law being used in this debate. The response and reaction appears to me very postmodernism where morality is private and determined by each individual. In this case, those governed by a moral law (the Bible) or even common sense have no right to tell others they cannot self-identify as a female if they are anatomically male (or vice versa). The obvious problem is that while one group, in this case the LGBTQ community, is allowed to self-identify and publicly opine, the other group, in this case the legislature and morally conservative, are dismissed as full of hate and discrimination.
While we might bemoan this pattern, let me offer this warning—it is not going away. It is not going away because this issue attaches itself to an intrinsic part of humanity—gender. Gender is one of God’s most basic and essential elements of creation. In Genesis 1:27, God created humanity in his own image—male and female. Gender is a part of the created order—for animals and people. The male and female play an unmistakable and necessary role in procreation. The Bible is clear on this issue, and I believe that one’s gender is designed by God himself—determined in the womb and declared publicly at birth. Questioning and attacking gender is not merely an attempt at political correctness. Nor is it primarily an attack on humanity or traditional gender roles. It is most pointedly an attack on the created order, or to be more precise, an attack on God himself.
The Bible predicted this as well. In Romans 1:18-32 Paul declared that man in his unrighteousness rejected God and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator. While Paul’s context would have been idolatry, our context is unfettered human autonomy. Contemporary Western society (as illustrated in this controversy and the LGBTQ community) is an expression of man’s attempt to worship himself rather than God. So, this controversy is predictable.
Questions remain. 1. How should we as Christians think about these issues? 2. How should we respond to this controversy publicly and on social media? 3. What if we are connected to or confronted by someone in the LGBTQ community?
- We as Christians should consider these issues biblically. We have one authority, God himself, who exercises his authority in Scripture. Gender, sexuality, marriage, procreation, pleasure, identity, etc. originated from God. Thus, he gets to set the parameters and rules regarding these issues. By the way, his rules are not meant to be restrictive, but meant to release us into living according to our created purpose. The greatest fulfillment in life will occur as we live within God’s design.
- When responding to this issue, I propose that we consider two angles—the political and the personal. Politically, we not only have a right but a responsibility to speak out. We can and should vote and voice our thoughts in appropriate arenas. The media fascination with this issue will not go away if we become silent. I believe that as Christians we owe it to our founders, our freedom, and our faith to speak out for common sense and biblical morality. If you choose to respond on social media, please do so with informed wisdom and grace. Before you speak or post, read the bill. Before you engage in the public debate, consider the opposing viewpoint. Being well informed before responding can help us articulate with wisdom and grace. Remember that arguing is rarely effective at changing another’s point of view and even less effective when occurring on social media platforms. We must be ready to give an answer for our beliefs and speak out, but with gentleness and respect for others (1 Peter 3:15).
- If you are connected to or confronted by someone in the LGBTQ community or someone who advocates for homosexuality you should be gracious and Christ-like. Unlike the political angle above, we oftentimes have to address these issues interpersonally—with family or friends. We should be Christ-like and full of grace and truth. We should be firm in our stance on biblical truth, but we should do so with grace and love. The LGBTQ community is an expression of uncertainty, doubt, and confusion. We cannot know all the reasons behind each individual’s expression in these communities, but we should be compassionate. I can’t imagine what they are experiencing, but they are searching for something. Let me assure you, they will only find what they are looking for in Jesus Christ. Jesus will receive them as they are, just like he received us as we were. Changing perspectives, opinions, lifestyles, and preferences is God’s job. Our job is to be people who communicate truth seasoned with grace.