No More Little Boy’s/Girl’s Room

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The Obama administration issued a clear statement this past week encouraging schools nationwide to allow students to use the bathroom which matches their gender identity. In case there is any confusion, this is a change from the previous understanding of bathroom usage – that students would use the bathroom which matches their biological sex. While no law has yet been established, the implication was that federal funding would be cut to schools who refuse compliance.

As though American politics weren’t polarizing enough, delving into the bathroom lives of citizens was a guarantee to create additional angst. Students around the country are starting to protest. My own church body, which maintains a very large school system, is even starting to face some outside pressure.

Clearly our country is encountering some gender hurt right now. Many people on either side of the issue feel unheard and unconcerned for. Media coverage is not helping, but it’s also not the media’s job to help. It’s the media’s job to cover legitimate news.

In honor of Pentecost (this past Sunday’s celebration), however, it IS the Church’s job to offer hope, peace, comprehensible truth, and radical unity, guided by the example, sacrifice, and grace of Christ.

So, since this has quickly become a political issue (as seemingly all are becoming today), let me phrase it like this:

To my friends on the Left…

I think there exists a caricature of the Right – that they fear transgender individuals using bathrooms because “What if they abuse little children?” I haven’t seen any evidence that a transgender individual has any greater likelihood of sexually assaulting someone (minor or adult) and therefore if someone legitimately has this concern, it would seem unfounded.

That said, bathroom behavior that matches gender identity does, however, seemingly create a greater risk. This is because it unquestionably offers greater access to those who seek to do sexual harm to others.

Say, for instance, that a male sexual predator wants to molest a little girl. Since there’s no way to police gender identity, that man now has significantly closer proximity to a vulnerable young woman in a state of undress. This is like the “no junk food in the house” diet rule. Proximity to temptation (i.e. access), creates greater likelihood of transgression. In this case, it would undeniably involve a victim.

So…for the sake of maintaining an important barrier that protects potential victims, does the willingness on behalf of some to use private bathrooms seem unreasonable?

To my friends on the Right…

I think there exists a caricature of the Left – that they not only want bathroom access for transgender individuals, but they want conservative religious people to suffer. If that were true, it’d obviously be a severe form of bullying in a land where we’re supposedly free to coexist with varying beliefs.

But, by and large, my impression is that those in the transgender community don’t have an agenda to torture others. They simply want others to understand some of the pain and ostracization that they themselves have felt, and show some sympathy and humanity towards it.

I can’t imagine what it’d be like to feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body – my brain and impulses communicating one thing and yet my physiology saying another. That has to be a source of immense internal tension. Feeling like the weight and hostility and judgment of the religious world is piling on you I would assume only aggravates the frustration.

So…for the sake of some tender human spirits who have endured a struggle that most of us can’t begin to comprehend, does it seem unreasonable to listen and perhaps reconsider our public bathroom options?

To all my friends…

Anger, panic, and frustration do little for quality decision-making. It often leads to unnecessary either/or thinking.

In the short-term, I hope we can take the emotion out of this issue and come up with some workable solutions. For instance, I’m not sure why we can’t move to an all private bathroom system. As it is, public situations like YMCA locker rooms have always felt shockingly closer to Roman Baths than modern safety and hygiene for my comfort. In 2016, when 90% of people are literally walking around with a video camera, more private places for private parts just makes sense. (Incidentally, that’s also my 2020 campaign slogan, by the way – Make America’s Parts Private Again)

Will it cost money to renovate all these public spaces? Yes, of course. There is always a cost to more peaceful human relations. It’s worth it. And both sides of this issue seem passionate enough that they’d be willing to put their money where their mouths are.

In the long run, I’m going to continue encouraging Christians to consider and reconsider their approach to social influence. The great American evangelist, Vince Havner, once said,

“We are not going to move this world by criticism of it nor conformity to it, but by the combustion within it of lives ignited by the Spirit of God.”

It’s always amazed me that when Jesus was asked a question about paying taxes to Caesar, he nonchalantly said, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (Matt. 22:21) He literally encouraged paying taxes to the very government that would unjustly crucify him! And yet he obviously still didn’t consider that “approving of sin.”

Jesus’ approach to changing the world was not political. It wasn’t forceful. It was self-sacrificial. Jesus never condoned nor dismissed sin. But he also didn’t publicly condemn “sinners.” (John 8:11) Instead, he inconvenienced himself all the way to hell so that those who were in the wrong might experience grace, have their hearts melted, repent and be saved.

It worked. It’s happened a billion times. Including to me.

And I’m convinced that the ones who realize this grace are the only ones who can bring this awful public dialogue out of the toilet.

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12 thoughts on “No More Little Boy’s/Girl’s Room

  1. jgs511 says:

    Pastor Hein, I am glad that you are writing again, my wife and I have said on more than one occasion “that is how I feel but have never been able to say it like that”. We also appreciate your focus and perspective on translating to millennials, we have 2 millennial children and it is very easy to think of things as they were 30 years ago when we were that age rather than what the reality of what younger people face today. The sins are the same, the ways in which temptation comes at them are very different in many senses.

    May God continue to bless you and may His glory be shown through your work!

    Joda Schaumberg

  2. Mattek says:

    “You can’t police gender identity.” — exactly. Every day transgender people use public restrooms, and if they have transitioned to their preferred gender, then there has probably been no issue because they LOOK like a man/woman in a man or woman’s restroom. All the federal government and politicians want to do is make this a political, divisive issue and they chose a non-problem to throw it in people’s faces. It appears they seek to run the narrative of “if you don’t support transgender people using any restroom they want, you are against them.” But again, it isn’t that simple. Where do you draw the line? How do you argue with the pervert who walks into the women’s bathroom because today he “feels like a woman.” My heart does go out to people who have struggled with gender identity… What a harsh struggle that must be. But their plight has been hi-jacked by power-hungry control-freak politicians.

  3. Jesus didn’t live in a totalitarian state. Rome allowed the Jews to carry on with their lives and religion much more than the post-America state occupying this area of the world today. Pilate crucified Jesus because the Jews demanded it and he wanted to keep peace, not because of Roman law.

    I could imagine Black Lives Matter having the current state “crucify” someone for “hate speech”, or possibly even Muslims achieving this result, but I don’t think Jews would stand a chance, and Christians would be thrilled just to not be told how manage their rest rooms and locker rooms. We can see that is even a bridge too far for the current state treatment of the “bad religion”.

    The agenda of the left and Satan is always complete inversion of God’s law. Marriage has now been corrupted by gay “marriage”, so a primary gift of God is now perverted. Satan’s current target is the repeal of Genesis 5:2 “He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” when they were created.” Satan seeks to destroy God’s order and blessing.

    Christians need to recognize the reality of the Satanic Inversion mechanism where left becomes right, good becomes evil, and the natural purpose of creation is perverted to Satan’s will — this is yet another case of it happening before our very eyes, yet most want to deny what is happening. Satan’s greatest strength is to hide in plain sight. Ignoring him is not a proper Christian response — he needs to be exposed for the evil he is.

    There are no “created” transgenders or homosexuals for that matter. There are all manner of desires, nearly all can be channeled for good or ill, and sometimes they just need to be fought. Nobody tells an alcoholic that “this is the way you were born, you would not be authentic if you did not drink!”. Yes, there are MANY “harsh struggles”, but helping an alcoholic drink does not help that struggle.

    http://www.moosetracksblog.com/2016/01/left-and-right-explained.html

  4. dan says:

    “So…for the sake of some tender human spirits who have endured a struggle that most of us can’t begin to comprehend, does it seem unreasonable to listen and perhaps reconsider our public bathroom options?”

    Help me understand Pastor Hein. Are you advocating tolerance to sin?

    • AJ says:

      Good question! I had to read that part again. I am not Pastor Hein so I cannot speak for Pastor Hein, but in context it read to me that this would alleviate practical issues on both sides; people uncomfortable with the current situation would have another option.

      “Jesus never condoned nor dismissed sin. But he also didn’t publicly condemn ‘sinners.’ (John 8:11) Instead, he inconvenienced himself all the way to hell so that those who were in the wrong might experience grace, have their hearts melted, repent and be saved.”

      The whole idea behind this article seemed to me to be more about reevaluating our approaches to social issues as Christians. From what I recall, Pastor Hein has said before something to the extent that he likes to organize his thoughts in writing and he has written on other social issues as well (just read one on a Christian’s right to own a gun). The ending, however, brought the focus back to Jesus.

  5. Tom Potisk says:

    Change all the public restrooms, spending hundreds of millions that could be allocated to homeless and hungry, just to help what is at the most perhaps .03% of the population? That’s your solution?

  6. Nonymo says:

    I also very much appreciate the empathy you express regarding this issue, as well as your solution-oriented approach!
    Thank you for introducing me to Vance Havner via this great quote – I feel the Spirit of God when I read your column. منور

  7. AJ says:

    I don’t see the question anymore, but to Dan (re: advocating tolerance to sin):

    Good question! I had to read that part again. I am not Pastor Hein so I cannot speak for Pastor Hein, but in context it read to me that this would alleviate practical issues on both sides; people uncomfortable with the current situation would have another option.

    “Jesus never condoned nor dismissed sin. But he also didn’t publicly condemn ‘sinners.’ (John 8:11) Instead, he inconvenienced himself all the way to hell so that those who were in the wrong might experience grace, have their hearts melted, repent and be saved.”

    The whole idea behind this article seemed to me to be more about reevaluating our approaches to social issues as Christians. From what I recall, Pastor Hein has said before something to the extent that he likes to organize his thoughts in writing and he has written on other social issues as well (just read one on a Christian’s right to own a gun). The ending, however, brought the focus back to Jesus.

    • Dan says:

      Jesus did publicly condemn sin. When Jesus tipped over the money changers tables that was a public display. I am the guy that questioned Pastor Hein. I truly wanted to know if that’s how he felt or just to understand his position so I could understand. It felt like he was advocating it but I wasn’t sure.
      Allowing another option to me is advocating for sin. That’s my viewpoint. We don’t want to alleviate the pain. We want those who are bondaged in sin to see that their sin will lead them into eternal death. Show them their sin in the Word and let the Word point them to the cross of Christ.

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