How Sport Exposes the Unworkable Logic of Transgender Policy

A story out of Cromwell High School in Connecticut is doing a good job illuminating an obvious but underrated impact of the left’s war on gender.

Sports.

The story features a high school freshman named Andraya Yearwood.  Andraya is a boy, but now identifies as a girl and recently competed in his first track meet with actual girls as a high school freshman.

Take a minute to watch the video and the challenges will become apparent. This boy is athletic (his dad was a college football player) and the slight mustache and muscle tone indicates that he’s developing more quickly than other boys his age.

Of course that wouldn’t be remarkable except for the fact that he’s now racing fifteen year-old girls.  And he’s doing really well.

According to the story, “at her first high school track meet, Andraya won the girls 100- and 200-meter dashes, and helped her 4×100-meter relay team take second place. She ran 11.99 seconds in the 100 and 26.34 in the 200.”

To provide some context, the fastest woman in college sports last year ran the 100 meter dash in 10.95 seconds.  The all-time women’s college record is 10.78 seconds.  The world record is 10.49 seconds.

In comparison, Izaiah Fields, from Curtis High School in Yakima, WA, has run the best boys high school time in the Washington State so far this year.  He ran it in 10.72.  While Izaiah is simply the fastest high schooler in Washington State this year, he is faster than any collegiate woman has ever been.

If we pretend Andraya is a girl, he is less than a second away from a collegiate national championship in his first high school track meet. You can count on him going down as the best female track athlete in Connecticut’s history, possibly by the end of his freshman year.

There’s no need to belabor the point about men generally being better athlete’s than women.

You’re alive.  You know this.

But we are now facing the prospect of a boy in Connecticut repeatedly taking the top of the podium over girls who know that second place is really first place.  Everyone will be thinking it, but the pressure not to say it will be enormous.  Most will politely applaud and some will comment about how beautiful the Emperor’s new clothes are.

This phenomenon isn’t happening just in high school sports, though.

Laurel Hubbard is excelling in women’s weightlifting in New Zealand after transition to being a woman in his thirties.  Fallon Fox, born Boyd Burton, is a man now fighting women in mixed martial arts and broke eye socket of an actual woman, Tamikka Brents, in one fight.

Defenders of the policies that allow men to compete with women attempt to mitigate the damage by establishing guidelines.

The NCAA, for example, requires men to undergo testosterone suppression treatment for one year before they are allowed to compete with women. There are no restrictions for women who wish to compete as men.

Curiously, the NCAA, which does year-round testing to ensure their athlete’s don’t take drugs, will now be testing some athletes to make sure that they do.

In theory, testosterone blockers make you more of a woman and neutralize the natural physical advantages men have.

But this begs an obvious question.

If your anatomy doesn’t make you male or female, why do hormones?

You just got done telling me that some men don’t have a penis but now you’re going to tell me all women have an estrogen level between 40-50 picograms per milliliter?

Please.

Either there’s a meaningful difference between men and women that exists independent of how someone is feeling or there isn’t.

The left’s attempt to turn a genuine psychological struggle into a civil rights movement is predicated on the belief that there is no tangible, discernible difference.

You don’t get to declare war on rules and then create a bunch of rules to deal with the mess you made by trying to get rid of all the rules.

But I understand why you want to.

On some level you understand that everything you’re saying is unworkable.

In your mind, there’s a very clear difference between a man pretending to be a woman and someone who is “authentically” transgender.  I understand what you mean and on some level I agree.

The problem, however, is that you can’t write what you mean.  In fact, you will oppose any attempt to define what it means to be “transgender” or “male” or “female”.

The nature of law and policy is to write clear standards that help people know what is and isn’t allowed.  But your entire objective is to eliminate standards and allow individuals to define reality subjectively inside their own minds and require everyone else to cooperate with their sense of reality.

If that’s the bed you want to make you’re going to have to lie in it.

The day is coming when a “trans female” (male) athlete is going to challenge the requirement that men take testosterone blockers for a year before they compete with women.  He might be sincere, or he might be punking the system.  But he will argue that in light of our new understanding of what gender is and isn’t, the idea that women have lower testosterone levels is arbitrary and misogynistic. “You’re telling me that women are inherently weaker?”

That day is coming because there is money involved.

Title IX requires an equivalent number of athletic scholarships opportunities for men and women.   If men can become women, a merely good high school boy can transform himself into an All-American female athletes with a flip of the gender switch.

And if you think there aren’t some enterprising young men out there trying to figure out how to pay for college, you haven’t tried to pay for college lately.

Go ahead, NCAA.

Make the legal argument for why you can be a man without having a penis or Y chromosome but you can’t be a woman without taking testosterone blockers.

We’re listening.

Bigots.

The University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team recently ended an historically good run of 111 consecutive wins.  But the moment East Tennessee Valley State A&M University’s women’s basketball team rolls out a starting lineup that includes three Adam’s apples who averaged 18 points per game in high school but weren’t quite good enough for men’s Division 1, it’s game on.

Don’t think the rest of the world that happens to care about medal counts in the Olympics isn’t watching either.

China could make their B level male Olympians transition to women and North Korea actually would.

Kim Jong Un will just giggle as, medal after medal,  he hoists the west on their own petard.

Athletics is not the reason the gender revolutionaries picked this fight, but it could be the arena that exposes the irrational and unworkable nature of their position most quickly.

Lord knows its not the fault of kids like Andraya Yearwood.

For most parents, if their 15 year-old came to them and asked for a permission to see an R rated movie, there’s going to be a conversation.

If their fifteen year-old asks them for a tattoo, the answer is no.  “Wait, until your eighteen and then I can’t stop you.”

But if that same 15 year-old tells their parents they want to take a bunch of synthetic hormones in preparation for the mutilation of their reproductive organs, we’re just supposed to applaud.

I have no doubt that his parents love him deeply, but our willingness to abandon every parental instinct in exchange for progressive brownie tolerance points has to stop.

If we’re going to put our kids first, that means we should be willing to take a little heat on their behalf when the culture wants to make a statement out of them.  And shame on anyone who would tell a parent their only alternative to changing their child’s gender is suicide.

A super majority of kids who ever struggle with gender dysphoria ultimately outgrow it.  Despite the best of intentions, this rush to have children switch genders is probably more about the adults than the kids.

Unless the adults get their act together, our future will be devoid of athletic opportunities for actual females and full of chemically and surgically altered kids asking us through tears, “why did you let me do that?”

Gorsuch, Religious Freedom, and Playground Rubber

Today the United States Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch as the 113th Justice of the United States Supreme Court, filling the vacancy left more than a year ago by the death of Antonin Scalia.

This confirmation is validation for those who voted for President Trump mostly or solely because of his promise that he would nominate conservative justices to the Supreme Court.

While the result is encouraging, the process exposed the troubling and disproportionate power the Supreme Court now has.

Rather than being the least powerful branch of government that merely interprets laws created by others, it has become the left’s preferred method of social engineering when those who are elected say, “No thanks” to their best new idea.

Most of the most significant assaults on life and marriage have come through the courts.  Now, the debate over religious freedom is largely being waged in the courts as well. And very soon we will see exactly what we are getting with Justice Gorsuch.

Perhaps the first case he hears as a member of the Supreme Court will be a significant religious freedom case involving, of all things, playground rubber.

The state of Missouri has a recycled program tire.  People pay a fee to the state to take their old, unwanted tires and the state uses that money to fund grant programs around the state that encourage schools and organizations to purchase playground pads composed of recycled rubber. Safer kids, smaller landfills; everyone wins

Their funds, however, are limited.

So the state created a list of criteria they use to determine which applicants will receive grant dollars.  They consider, among other things, the organization’s demonstrated commitment to the community as well as the need in the community being served.

When all the applications were evaluated initially, the application with the fifth highest score (out of forty-four) was Trinity Lutheran Church.

The top fourteen applicants received grant money.

The state, however, was uncomfortable with their status as a church and upon investigation eliminated them from consideration despite the fact that they were qualified based on the criteria initially established.

The state took the position that subsidizing the rubber padding on the playground constitutes the use of government money to promote religion.

Maybe they’re concerned a child will thank Jesus when their head doesn’t break open when they fall?

This case is troubling because Trinity Lutheran was denied an opportunity available to every other individual and organization in the State of Missouri solely because they are a church.

Of course, no one wants state funded religion.

But that does not mean that churches should be deprived of secular opportunities otherwise available to everyone else in the community.

The free exercise clause of the First Amendment was written specifically to prohibit the government from punishing people because of their religion.  One’s faith should make no difference to their legal rights, duties, or opportunities.

Many Americans who feel that way are probably a key reason Donald Trump was elected President.  And now Neil Gorsuch is on the Supreme Court.  Very soon, we’ll see if the people got what they bargained for.

Is North Carolina Going to Repeal HB2?

The North Carolina legislature is currently debating legislation that would change HB2, the privacy law that limits access to locker rooms and bathrooms based on biological sex.

This new proposal was prompted by threats from the NCAA that they will not consider North Carolina as a location for championships until 2022 unless they fix HB2.  North Carolina is home to some of the nation’s best collegiate basketball teams.

The proposal is being discussed as a “repeal” of HB2, but in reality the compromise currently being debated maintains most of the provisions of #HB2.

While the proposal would remove the prohibition on using facilities consistent with gender expression or gender identity, it would not compel public accommodations to allow access either.  In addition, the proposal would:

(1) stop local governments from passing their own access policies for multiple occupancy bathrooms; and

(2) prohibit cities and counties from creating non-discrimination policies for the next  four years.  This would prevent cities like Charlotte, who started this debate in North Carolina, from passing a rule requiring businesses to allow access based on gender expression or gender identity.

The compromise would return the law to where it was before this whole debate began. There would be no liability for accessing a facility that is consistent with one’s gender identity, but businesses would not be required to allow biological males into women’s showers.

Presumably, the NCAA has indicated that it would satisfy their demands.

This morning the North Carolina Senate voted 32-16 for the compromise legislation. Reports are that the votes are much closer in the House of Representatives and that success of the legislation is far from certain.

In the Senate, both the support and opposition were bi-partisan reflecting the controversial nature of the proposal.

Proponents of HB2 are opposing this revision on the grounds that it isn’t helpful and sacrifices privacy.  Opponents of HB2 are opposing the revision on the grounds that it is surrendering civil rights for at least four years.  From their perspective, allowing men to access women’s facilities is a matter of civil rights.

This bi-partisan opposition to the proposal also calls into question the political effectiveness of the maneuver.

Typically, when politicians try to make both sides happy, everyone ends up angry.

But North Carolina loves basketball. So maybe that’s all that matters.

It is worth noting that it is the same NCAA that maintains separate sports leagues for men and women that is pretending to be outraged that a state would maintain separate shower, locker room, and bathroom facilities for men and women.

We will provide updates from North Carolina as they become available.

To follow the live updates on social media, you can follow the hashtag #ncga

What Planned Parenthood Can Teach the Left About Conscience Rights

A debate over conscience rights and religious freedom has been raging for a while now.

But we may be on the verge of a breakthrough.

Just last week, bakers in Oregon who had been fined $135,000 for declining to decorate a cake for a same-sex wedding were in court appealing their fine.

Only a few weeks ago, the Washington State Supreme Court concluded that the state of Washington could force businesses out of the wedding industry unless they were willing to participate in same-sex weddings.

In both of these cases—and many others like them—small business owners asked, “You’re free to be you, why can’t I be free to be me?”  To which an angry mob responded, “Because you’re a bad person!”

And when the small business owner tries to explain how it’s a matter of conviction and not a desire to harm, the mob just yells louder.

Well, an unlikely mediator may have emerged in this debate.

Planned Parenthood.

Yes, that Planned Parenthood.  The nation’s largest abortion provider and progressive darling.   It turns out they’re feeling picked on.

You probably remember that funding for Planned Parenthood was a theme of the Presidential campaign and right now legislation is being debated in Washington DC that would cut off more than $500 million in federal tax funds to the abortion giant.

Earlier this week, President Trump made them a proposal: if you stop performing abortions we’ll keep sending you federal tax dollars.

They weren’t thrilled by the offer.

Dawn Laguens, executive vice president for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told the New York Times, “Offering money to Planned Parenthood to abandon our patients and our values is not a deal that we will ever accept.” [Emphasis Added]

An interesting choice of words, isn’t it?

“Offering money to abandon…our values is not a deal we will ever accept?”

It seems like a some small business owners have made similar arguments, and the left has skewered them for it.

Apparently, what’s good for the abortionist is not good for the florist.

Undoubtedly, they will defend their inconsistent reactions by pointing out that it’s legal to kill babies but it’s not legal to opt out of a same-sex wedding.

And most won’t even pause long enough to acknowledge how messed up that is.

But let’s set that aside for now.

The fact that Planned Parenthood is playing the role of the victim provides an unusual rhetorical opportunity in the debate over conscience rights.

Abortion has been identified not merely as a service, but as a value of Planned Parenthood.  And progressives respect them.

Other people have other values.  Progressives sue them.

And they feel good about it.

“Just bake the cake and it wouldn’t be an issue,” they assure us.

To which you should respond, “So Planned Parenthood should just stop killing babies to keep their federal funding, right?”

Maybe then, they’ll develop some sympathy for those who object to government using its power to force people to abandon their values.

One can hope.

 

Is Your Kid a Good Kid?

One of the first rules of debate is that, “he who defines the terms wins the debate.”

Meaning, if you define the terms in the way that are favorable to you, you’re going to win because everyone is thinking about the issue in the way you want them to.

Recently I came across some information that helped me understand how government schools are employing this tactic when it comes to education indoctrination around sex and gender. It also may help explain why so many young people have lost the ability to think about the subject.

The document below is part of a the FLASH sexual education curriculum created in King County. While the curriculum was designed for King County, it is now being adopted in school districts around Washington State.

This document sought to explain traditional gender expectations.

 

 

My immediate question was, “Who thinks these are expectations of men and women?”

Men are expected to be dominant?

Women are expected to be weak?

I grew up in the world the gender revolutionaries are most concerned about: conservative, Christian, and small-town.  There was, and is, an appreciation of the innate differences between men and women. We often told jokes about those differences and laughed at them without shame.  Still do, actually.

That being said, there is nothing about this description of traditional gender expectations I can relate to. This document refers to these gender expectations as “so common they can influence people even without their knowing it.”

Yet, I cannot think of a single person who would agree with this description.  Living or dead.

It is true that after Thanksgiving dinner the guys often made their way to the couch to watch football while the women cleaned up after dinner, but if grandma said jump, every man in the house would ask, “how high?”

Among the planet’s seven billion inhabitants, is there someone who probably thinks this is how it should be? Sure. There probably is. But the exception doesn’t make the rule.

The problem here is that our schools are presenting the exception as the rule.  They are responding to an argument no one is making in an attempt to make their argument look better.

As one lady in our office responded, “Somebody is projecting their childhood in an abusive home…”

Which, I suspect, might be exactly right.  I think if we knew the stories of the people writing this curriculum, we might all cry at the pain they’ve experienced.  And their efforts here are undoubtedly an attempt to save other children the pain they experienced.

Nevertheless, this characterization of gender expectations is not benign.

Here’s why.

The stated purpose of the FLASH curriculum is to reduce sexual violence.  Everyone shares that goal.

But one way they hope to do so is to convince your kids that there are no biological differences between men and women.

The logic appears to be that the (mostly) men who perpetuate sexual violence do so because they believe women aren’t behaving the way women should.  Ergo, if you eliminate the assumptions about gender roles, you will eliminate the motivation for sexual violence.

Let’s leave aside for now how badly this logic misunderstands human nature.

Effectively, they are approaching kids and asking, “Johnny, do you want women to get raped or do you understand that you can be whatever gender you want?” 

“Ummmm”

“Johnny, are you a good guy, or a bad guy?”

That’s really the point.

Of course its possible to recognize that men and women are different without denying anyone respect.  Men and women are different. Moreover, men are different from other men and women are different than other women as well.  We aren’t supposed to be the same.

But that doesn’t mean that biology is now irrelevant.

The idea that gender is whatever you want it to be is irrational, it is also anti-science.  But that doesn’t matter because they are convincing your kids that its better to be irrational than judgmental.  

Your kids may get queasy when you ask them about history, grammar, or math, but they won’t hesitate if you ask them to explain why gender isn’t binary.

This curriculum explains why.  Every kid wants to be a “good kid”, and this curriculum is teaching them what that means.

He who defines the terms wins the debate.

 

 

 

Would Jesus Just Decorate for the Gay Wedding?

Two weeks ago, the WA State Supreme Court handed down a ruling saying that florist Barronelle Stutzman broke the law when she refused to work at a gay wedding. The reaction in the Christian community was nearly unanimous, and was even joined by many non-Christians as well–she should be allowed to run her business according to her religious convictions.

But another question remains. What of those religious convictions? Was she in the right? Would Jesus have done the same thing in her place? And what would He have us do? This post attempts to tackle that culturally explosive topic – from a Christian perspective.

Christians seem to have a lot of rules. Some might trace the origin of Judeo-Christian law to Moses coming down off of Mt. Sinai carrying 10 Commandments that were literally etched in stone. By the time Jesus shows up on the scene some 2,000 years later, those laws and rules had expanded by many thousands, and the people were literally awash in rules and regulations.

Jesus was asked of all these, which should the people focus on? He broke it down to two.

First, love the Lord God with everything you are.

Second, love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.

As Christians, these two commandments are the foundational guides upon which we base our decisions. Is it loving to God? Is it loving to people?

Critics of the Tri-Cities florist, (and the bakers in OR and CO, and the wedding chapel owners in ID and the northeast,) have charged that these business owners discriminated against gay couples and behaved in an unloving manner. And it’s not hard to see the basis for this thinking. They gladly served heteroxesual couples for their wedding ceremonies, yet refused the same-sex couples for the same service. How is that loving your neighbor?

When asked this question, Barronelle Stutzman said the issue stems with the definition of marriage. Let’s look at that.

The institution of marriage begins in the very beginning of time. In the creation story in Genesis, we see God creates two original relationships. The relationship between Himself and mankind, and then the relationship of a man and a woman — marriage. In a way, like Jesus’ answer about the two great commandments, these two great relationships are the two from which everything else flows.

In Genesis 1 and 2 we see God creating the universe and all that is. Then He creates man, and He stops creating. But what He does next is monumental even though sometimes overlooked. He invites man to join Him now in the process of creation. He tells Adam and Eve to work, even as He had worked. To take the matter that He had given them, and to create gardens, and buildings and machines and games and anything they could imagine. To subdue the earth.

But that wasn’t all. He also invited us to join Him in the greatest creation of all. To create life; human life.

And so He created marriage.

Marriage as created by God from the very beginning, is the union of one man and one woman for one lifetime. It was through this unique relationship that we would participate with Him in the creation of human life. God loved all the things He had created, but mankind was created in His literal image, and He loved us most of all.

God wanted more people. Lots more. And he decide that all future human beings should come to be only through this relationship of marriage. Later on, Jesus would tell us that “God hates divorce.” That has to be because He loves marriage, families and the people that come from marriages, and He hates the pain caused when His design is broken apart by divorce. He designed it, and He loves it.

So God created marriage; and defined it narrowly. It is one man and one woman. The biological evidence is found in that it is the only relationship through which He continues to create life. The number of individuals is precise, and the gender combination is precise. According to God, nothing else is marriage. This is how He defined it.

But some questions remain. Most Christians remember that some Old Testament norms lasted only for a season. We still follow the Ten Commandments (well, maybe not the Sabbath one so much) but God clearly told Peter that shellfish, bacon and pretty much any animal you want was back on the menu. And I don’t know about you, but I have never once sacrificed a bull for my many sins. So has God’s definition of marriage changed with the times maybe?

Jesus addressed this issue quite directly in Mark chapter 10.

“But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his mother and father and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate.”

Here we see Jesus reaffirming His original creation of marriage. He specifically calls out several points:
-marriage was from the beginning of creation
-the specific number of two people
-the specific genders of a man and a woman
-the design for a lifetime commitment.

This was the design, and according to Jesus, remained the design.

As even further confirmation, Paul in Ephesians 5 talks about marriage, and quotes Jesus word for word in defining it. He then points to the fact that even beyond the natural, marriage is a temporary image of the relationship that God will have with the church, His bride. Marriage remains significant in the New Testament, if not even not even more so with the spiritual insight added.

So back to our court case. Though she had sold them flowers many times before, Mrs. Stutzman declined to work the wedding ceremony for the gay couple, and encouraged them to buy from one of her competitors that didn’t share her convictions.

She essentially asked herself, “How can I participate in an event that is celebrating something that contradicts God’s design?” Based on everything I can find in the Bible, God recognizes only one relationship as marriage. And to call something marriage, when God says it’s not….well, it’s easy to see why a Christian would decline to participate in that ceremony.

Our first commandment is to love God. We might tell Him, “I know what Your design for marriage is, but I really want it to be something else.” But to do so is unloving. It is unloving toward God when we don’t respect, or try to alter what He has designed. Those that say not going to the ceremony is unloving may be forgetting the order of the two great commandments. Again, our first commandment is to love God.

That said, I want to finish by addressing a couple questions this may raise.

There are many valuable relationships in life. Parents with children, grandparents and grandchildren, friends, co-workers, teammates and yes, same-sex relationships. God has given us a wide diversity of wonderful relationships. Only one is marriage, but there are many others besides.

And I believe it is right and proper to have a deep, meaningful same-sex relationships. David and Jonathan are such an example. Paul and Silas and later perhaps Paul and Timothy might fit that description. Those relationships can and should be be very meaningful. But they don’t fit under the Biblical definition of “marriage,” and are designed to be platonic.

The best argument against this line of thinking that I’ve heard goes like this. “If God designed marriage to produce children, does that mean couples who choose not to or can’t bear children have a lesser relationship? Are their marriages somehow inferior?”

The answer is no.

We have to go back to God’s design to see this. All marriages are designed to produce children, but due to the fall, it’s possible that not all will. Christians reading this already know the theology of The Fall, The Curse and the rule of sin and death on earth. Almost nothing is exactly as God designed it now, or as it will be again one day, but the design itself remains unchanged. Some legs break, some eyes can’t see, and some married couples can’t bear children, but God’s original design remains unaltered. A marriage with one man and one woman is still a marriage, even if their reproductive systems aren’t functioning or they choose not bear children.

“If marriage is so important, does that mean unmarried people are missing out on God’s best?”

Not at all. In fact, we can see in scripture that God both loves marriage AND wants some people to be single. Probably not a majority, but some. The Apostle Paul was single, and said “I wish you all could be single like me.” And the most obvious of all, Jesus never married.

With Jesus and Paul as examples, I can’t imagine there’s any religion in the world that is in a worse position than ours to make the case that the unmarried are missing out on their ultimate calling.

One last question.

“I have a lesbian relative/friend who is having a birthday party. She’s asked me to bake a cake and bring it. Should I go?”

Without question you should go. Bake the cake and go celebrate. And here’s where we get to the distinction. What is that birthday party celebrating? Is it celebrating something that God is also celebrating? In the case of a friend’s birthday, whether gay, straight, old, young, black, brown or white, you are celebrating a life that God designed and created. God loves that person, celebrates that person (though a sinner, because…human), and expects us to as well. We love both God and our neighbor when we join our friend in celebrating his life. We see Jesus doing this constantly on earth, and catching flak for it from those who loved their rules more than God.

With the gay wedding ceremony, the best I can tell from Scripture is that God does not celebrate when someone redefines something He designed. For this reason I believe declining to attend the wedding, but happily attending the birthday party is not hypocrisy, but the best reading of scripture. We celebrate when we see our Father celebrate.

Finally, a Christian might say, “I hear what you are saying, but I am choosing to go to the wedding anyway. I believe it is honoring to my friend to go. I am not trying to redefine marriage, but I know this is a happy occasion for my friend and I want to share the moment with him/her and show kindness to a person that God loves.”

If this is your position, I can respect it. For me, the first view is more persuasive. But hopefully we will have grace with each other as we navigate these cultural waters together, always seeking to love God first, and love our neighbors as ourselves.

*Caleb Backholm is the brother of FPIW President Joseph Backholm. He resides with his family in Olympia, WA.   

How Should Christians Engage the Current Political Climate?

President Trump’s election has triggered a political climate the likes of which I’ve never seen before.  A few months later and the outrage has not abated.  How should a Christian act in such a contentious environment?  Should we take a break from reading the news and using social media?  Should we unfriend or unfollow Facebook friends with differing opinions?  Is it better to ignore or engage those with opposing views?

These are some questions I’ve asked myself lately, and I’ve found some direction in the Bible.  While the Bible doesn’t answer every political question, it provides a gauge for evaluating political movements and our own participation in the political process: “God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power; and of love; and of a sound mind” (Timothy 1:7).

Whatever our opinion, cause, or level of activism, if we cannot feel love for our fellow man, if we are consumed by worry or resentment, we can be sure we are not working under the direction of God’s spirit.  When I find that I’m feeling contemptuous or hopeless, I know it’s time to spiritually reboot.

As someone clever said, “If life were easy, it wouldn’t be hard.”  Being Christ-like in the political arena is easier said than done.  It is possible, though.  As I’ve tried to engage people of opposing viewpoints in a Christian way, I’ve learned–often through trial and error–some principles of Christian politicking.  Below are a few practical suggestions for maintaining a spirit of power, love and a sound mind while engaging in the political process.

  1. Pray always and feast upon the words of Christ.  When we pray and study God’s word, we put on the spiritual armor we need to feel peace and love in today’s political climate.
  1. Instead of immediately countering someone’s political statement, ask the person if he or she would be interested in having a friendly discussion about the topic they’ve mentioned.  If the answer is “no,” a simple “okay” is all that’s necessary.
  1. Express respect for everyone and admiration for other’s virtues.  Even if we can’t stand a friend’s viewpoint or a politician’s position, there’s almost always room for a sincere compliment.  I, for example, passionately oppose President Obama’s actions concerning gay marriage, but I am glad to say I admire his devotion as a husband and father.
  1. Check your facts.  Don’t spread false information.
  1. Look for common ground.  It’s not a waste of time to point out where opposing parties have some agreement, even when that consensus might seem obvious.  It’s helpful to remember that on many issues we are all on the same page.
  1. Learn to politely end a conversation.  I like to say, “I can see we are not going to reach an agreement on this subject.  I respect your reasoned opinion and hope you will respect mine.”
  1. Be ready to say sorry and try again.  We’ve all said things we regret.  Don’t be too hard on yourself if you say or write something that wasn’t perfect.  Where possible, admit your regret, then try again.

Do you have additional ideas or experiences you’d like to share?  Please leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Is Trump “Repealing Transgender Rights?”

It appears that President Trump is on the verge of reversing another of President Obama’s national policies.

This time, it is the policy that told school districts they would lose their funding for special needs students and lunch programs unless they allowed anatomical males who desire to be female to undress in the girl’s locker rooms.

Per usual, this is being met with howls of indignation from the left about returning to the days of Jim Crow, or whatever.

“He’s repealing protections for transgender students” they insist.

Let’s talk about that for a moment.

Which rights, exactly, would he be repealing?

Is it the right to go anywhere you want any time you want?

Or is the right to undress in front of people you want to undress in front of?

Or maybe it’s the right to force others to undress in front of you?

I don’t recall any of those rights being discussed in law school.

I do, however, recall the right to bodily privacy.  Which, by the way, includes the right to control who sees you with your clothes off.

If you’re inclined to be indignant about the fact that President Trump would allow local schools districts the freedom to deal with these unique challenges on a case-by-case basis, maybe an analogy will help.

Imagine that, in an effort to cure homelessness, President Obama had issued an executive order declaring it illegal to have a lock on your front door because locks on front doors discriminate against the homeless.

Then imagine President Trump reversed that national policy to allow homeowners the right lock their doors again.

People wouldn’t be outraged by the “roll-back of homeless people’s right to shelter” because we still acknowledge the importance of private property rights.

It is discriminatory to lock your front door, but it’s also completely appropriate.

Why then, have we so easily given up on our daughters’ right to bodily privacy?

The same voices that howl about the rape culture scorn women who fight for the right to make healthy boundaries.

But what about the rights of the transgender people?

I hear you.  And, yes, they too have rights.

They should have the right to live how they see fit.  If they want to live as the opposite gender, the law should not prohibit them from doing so.

Similarly, children who experience gender dysphoria also have the right to be treated compassionately in school and otherwise.

However, their reasonable expectation of respect and kindness does not carry with it the right to ignore the privacy rights of every other student.  Nor does their right to identify how they prefer carry with it the right to force everyone else in the world to agree with their new identity and change the way they think, speak, and act to accommodate it.

You cannot reasonably demand the right to be who you are while seeking to punish others for being who they are.

If you wish to receive tolerance, you must also give tolerance.

Tolerance has never been about finding agreement about everything but achieving civility despite our inevitable disagreements.

Should President Trump reverse the Obama administration mandate, he would simply be affirming the idea that parents, teachers, administrators, and school boards are in a much better position to find a solution to these school specific challenges than Washington DC is.

It doesn’t repeal anyone’s rights.  In fact, it once again restores an environment where everyone’s rights are allowed to be taken into consideration.

No one should object to that, unless, of course, you think the best way to solve homelessness is making it illegal for people to lock their front door.

Initiative 1552 has been filed that would require schools in Washington to maintain separate facilities in schools based on students sex and allow businesses to set their own policies.  They need 330,000 signatures by July 7th to qualify for the ballot.  If you wish to help that effort go to www.JustWantPrivacy.org

WA Supreme Court’s Rules Against Arlene’s Flowers and First Amendment

Though it wasn’t surprising, it is still disappointing.

Barronelle Stutzman is a florist in eastern Washington who told long-time customers that she could not decorate their same-sex wedding in 2013.

Despite the fact that she has employed people who identify as gay and is happy to sell flowers (including wedding flowers) to same-sex couples, she stated that she could not be the florist for their wedding because of her beliefs about marriage.

Washington State’s Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, initiated legal action against the grandmother, claiming that it was illegal for her to opt out of the event if she was willing to provide floral services for other weddings.

Today, in a unanimous decision, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that Washington State can force businesses owners to participate in events and communicate messages they object to as a matter of conscience.

This is a radical decision from an increasingly extremist Supreme Court that has also found reasons to find charter schools unconstitutional and claim jurisdiction over how the legislature funds education.

The implications of this ruling should be concerning to everyone in Washington State, regardless of how you feel about same-sex “marriage” or your willingness to provide professional services for causes you personally disagree with.

Until five years ago, it was widely understood that individuals could choose for themselves which causes or messages they supported.

The addition of sexual orientation to some state’s non-discrimination laws combined with the redefinition of marriage has triggered a signification change in how progressives view the First Amendment.

Non-discrimination laws—which were intended to prevent businesses from having signs that say “Whites Only,” “No Jews,” or “No Mexicans”—are now being interpreted to reach far beyond their original scope.

No one believes it is religious discrimination to decline to participate in an ISIS event, nor does anyone feel it is illegal racial discrimination to decline to participate in a white supremacist rally.

When it comes to sexual orientation, however, what constitutes “discrimination” has been widely expanded.  As a result of this ruling, if you are willing to decorate for any wedding, you must decorate for every wedding.

This is true even if you are happy to provide service to people who identify as gay in every other context.

It is truly unprecedented.

The good news is that Mrs. Stutzman is expected to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court of the United States, where it is thought there is significantly more support for civil liberties.

The bad news is that she was sued in her personal capacity as well as her business capacity, which means she stands to lose her home, retirement, and business because of her convictions on this issue.

All people of good will should condemn this decision and do what they can to see that it does not stand.

This is not a gay or straight issue.  This is a freedom issue.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Neil Gorsuch

Yesterday, President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch, from the 10th Circuit Appellate Court, to fill the vacancy left by Justice Scalia’s death on the Supreme Court.

Urge Washington State’s Senators Murray and Cantwell to support Justice Gorsuch’s nomination, as they did when he was originally elevated to the 10th Cirucuit Court of Appeals by signing our petition right here.

According to the White  House Press release announcing the pick, “Judge Gorsuch is a brilliant jurist with an outstanding intellect and a clear, incisive writing style.  He is universally respected for his integrity, fairness, and decency.  And he understands the role of judges is to interpret the law, not impose their own policy preferences, priorities, or ideologies.”

We support the nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and urge his timely confirmation.

Judge Gorsuch’s record shows that he will not engage in judicial activism, and will seek to interpret the law as it is not as he wishes it to be.  That principle is fundamental to the rule of law and abandonment of that principle is at the root of the “right to abortion” the Court found in Roe v. Wade, and the “right to same-sex marriage” the Court found in Obergefell.

His record also indicates that he values the sanctity of human life. He authored a book that provides a keen legal and moral analysis of assisted suicide, concluding that “human beings are intrinsically valuable…and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”

Judge Gorsuch’s judicial record shows that he values the rights of individuals against government action that would force them to violate their beliefs. In two prominent cases, Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor, Judge Gorsuch ruled against attempts by the federal government to compel people to purchase forms of contraceptives that violated their beliefs.

President Trump campaigned on a promise to appoint justices in the mold of Justice Scalia and this pick is widely thought to be a fulfillment of that commitment.

Princeton Professor Robby George, a leading conservative thinker and legal theorist says in an editorial this morning that, “Gorsuch’s combination of outstanding intellectual and personal qualities places him in the top rank of American jurists.”

The National Review says that Gorsuch is a worthy heir to Scalia.

Russell Moore, from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Council, who was consistently opposed to President Trump during his campaign, called Gorsuch, “an exceptional choice for Supreme Court Justice.

This article from the Conservative Review describes 10 things you need to know about Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. It includes some interesting facts about the nominee as well as his perspective on a range of judicial issues.

Of course not everyone is excited about the nomination.

Democratic leadership in the Senate promised to filibuster the nomination before it was announced.

According to House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi, this is a “very hostile appointment”. “Clean air, clean water, food safety, safety in medicine and the rest,  if you care about that for your children he’s not your guy.”

She also said he is “hostile to children and schools” and has also ruled that children with autism don’t have the same rights.  She also cited his decision in the Hobby Lobby case as evidence that he is “hostile to women’s reproductive rights.”

The nomination will now be sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  If the committee recommends confirmation, as expected, it will move to the full Senate for a vote.

That is where things could get interesting.

Typically, the Senate gives broad deference to the President’s appointment for cabinet positions and Supreme Court vacancies. However, Senate Democrats are believed to be angry that President Obama’s nominee to the vacancy,  Merrick Garland, never received a hearing from Republican leadership.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who voted to confirm Judge Gorsuch when he was appointed to the 10th Circuit in 2006, has said previously that Democrats will oppose the nomination “if they don’t appoint somebody good.

The rules of the Senate require sixty votes in the Senate before the nominee is confirmed. There are 52 Republicans in the Senate. That means Democrats can effectively block — or “filibuster” — the confirmation if fewer than eight Democrats support Trump’s pick for the high court.

However, Republicans could change the rules of the Senate to eliminate the 60 vote requirement, as the Democrats did when they were in the majority.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, has expressed his belief that the nominee will receive confirmation through the normal course.

Adding intrigue to the Senate’s ability to mount successful opposition to the nomination is the fact that ten senate Democrats are running for reelection in 2018 in states that Trump won in 2016.  It remains to be seen how strong their desire to dig in their heels against the new administration is.

Of note for voters in Washington State, both of our U.S. Senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell,  voted for to confirm Judge Gorsuch when he was appointed to the Court of Appeals.

Sign our petition right here urging Senators Murray and Cantwell to affirm their prior support for Justice Gorsuch by confirming him for the Supreme Court of the United States.