Target, Bathrooms, and Retreat
Target’s bathroom policy: You already know about it. You probably have formed an opinion about it. And you’re most likely sick of hearing about it.
But, I ask to consider one more point on the matter; the Biblical position, which seems to be largely absent from the public forum. As a Christian, how should you react to it? Does it affect your faith? Does God say anything about it in the Bible? It might seem like we’re parsing the words of the Bible a bit too thin to say that God cares about department store bathroom policies. But as it is with any situation, you have to get down to the root cause in order to fully understand it. Target’s policy didn’t just poof out of thin air. It was the result of years of subjective conflict against the core principles of God’s Word; a conflict which rages stronger today than ever.
We’ve heard the arguments for and against Target’s change, and that’s part of the problem. After a while, people begin to think that’s all there is to talk about. Some say there’s nothing to be concerned with; that it’s a policy designed to be more inclusive which, from their perspective, is always better. They may also say that no one is being hurt by it. The other side, where most Christians seem to stand, asks what’s to stop a sexual predator from entering the women’s restroom or a pedophile from being alone with a child? They say it creates a dangerous scenario, and it’s hard to argue to the contrary. But sadly, often the discussion ends at one of those two conclusions.
The biggest problem with Target’s policy, and the overall LGBQT platform, is precisely the very thing so many people are overlooking. It’s a moral problem. We’re not just talking about peoples’ civic rights in these issues. Ultimately, it becomes a matter of what we consider to be right and good. From a Biblical perspective transgender ideology is defiance to God and specifically His act of creation. If we open the door to subjective determination of gender, what’s to stop us from allowing any self-made determination that an individual has? The entire transgender movement is built around individual choice. When that reigns, truth is thrown out the window. Eventually, all people must draw a moral line. For the Christian, finding that line is easy because God has already determined it for us.
In the Bible, disobedience to God’s ordered creation is seen as idolatry (see Romans 1). How does this become idolatry? Well, remember, subjective determination reigns in transgender ideology, and other such belief systems that would do away with God’s created standards. The individual becomes the source of truth, not God. Therefore, it becomes self-worship. It is precisely this type of disobedience to God that is the hallmark of the LGBQT movement.
But, hang on a second, isn’t it unloving to judge someone else’s lifestyle? That depends on what you mean by love. Again, for the Christian, God reigns, not subjective desires or opinions. Therefore, God gets to define love. This is actually true for all people, since God is the Creator and therefore the author of truth, reason, and love. But, only Christians who listen to the Bible actually believe it.
God, and specifically Jesus, said this about love:
“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me (John 14:23-24).”
It doesn’t get any simpler than that. Love flows from God and from God’s Word. You can’t claim to have love if you disassociate yourself from God’s commands.
But does the Bible leave the question of gender identification open? Surely, Jesus never said anything about this… or did He? Again, the answer is simple:
“Have you not read, He who made them in the beginning made them male and female (Matthew 19:4).”
For Jesus, God’s own Son, this was the standard from creation, a rule that God set. Male and female. From the beginning. From the Creator. No extra genders. No self-image confusion. No sex transformations. No need for crazy bathroom policies. That alone, outside of tons of other clear passages, not only simplifies the matter, but settles it.
What Christians today seem to be forgetting, or blatantly ignoring, is that the people promoting transgender belief often don’t believe in God, that God created the world, or that God’s Word is the authority for life. If we Christians aren’t willing to compromise on the existence of God (and what Christian is?) why are we compromising on positions that destroy the need for Him in our lives? To dismantle God’s created order is to attempt to dismantle God. And, furthermore, why are Christians allowing atheists to define morality and love? We are not held hostage by man’s opinions, we have life-giving truth! A bathroom policy may not seem like much, but it absolutely deals with these bigger issues.
It’s almost as if Christians in America have come to the conclusion that the fight against the spiritual dangers of the transgender movement is not worth the time anymore. It feels logical to conclude that our country is too far down this path of subjective decision making that no amount of evidence will turn them back. So, the Christian retreats to a more logically neutral place, in the hope of saving some face with society, and the transgender issue shifts from a moral argument of God’s creations to an argument about the safety of our women and children in public restrooms.
As a father and a husband, I share this concern, but I can’t allow it to dominate the discussion. Common sense eliminates many of the potential dangers. My wife is an adult. If she enters the bathroom and a man is inside, she can calmly exit. As a parent, I can accompany my children into the restroom and make sure they are safe. I’m not saying the concern for safety isn’t legitimate, but it’s also not nearly as serious as a person’s relationship with God.
In the end, we don’t get to pick the battle lines. The Lord has already done that through His Word. We have the task of holding that line no matter how much the world is falling apart around us. Think of other Biblical heroes who were faced with difficult circumstances or impossible odds. Just skip ahead and read Hebrews 11 for a summary. When you’re done reading, ask yourself if the Lord wants you to retreat.
But, who will listen!? How will we survive!? What if I’m disliked!? It doesn’t matter!!! God never tells you to worry about these things. In fact, He promises you that if you are indeed following Him, you can be guaranteed that you will suffer for it (2 Timothy 3:12), so be ready! I wonder, what would Christians today have if the early Church gave in, if they retreating from God’s created standard of truth? Remember, they faced many of the same moral pressures that we do today! They held the line, like all God-fearing people do, no matter the circumstances or the reaction from the world. Many of them paid the ultimate price to do so, but it was also the ultimate act of honor to God.
Like most of you, I’m tired of hearing about transgender ideology in the media. But, I also realize it’s only going to increase. We are in the midst of a battle for the truth of God’s Word and the sanctity of His created order, whether we like it or not. Since God has spoken, my task as His follower is to hold that line in the midst of the battle, both in my heart and in my witness to society.
If you are weary, and we are all at some point, don’t fret, you have help. Help to use for personal strength but also the same help to use in the fight.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).”
We all have been redeemed from sin and the many twisted forms that sin takes. We are more than a conquerors through Jesus Christ who loved us (Romans 8:37). Our escape plan from this wicked and sinful world is already in place. Therefore, we don’t retreat. We don’t shy away from the true battle which rages beneath the petty arguments trying to save face with the opposing side. We don’t seek for a neutral position. We seek the truth, and when we find it we don’t let go of it. If we do, we only lose more. No one has ever gained intrinsic purpose, meaning, or value by forsaking the truth. We’d be fools to start trying now. Instead, hold the line. Your Lord and Savior is beside you, ahead of you, and behind you in the fight.