As the hometown of world-renowned Evangelist Billy Graham, Charlotte N.C., prepares to vote on whether to allow transgenders the right to use the public restrooms that are designated for the opposite sex, his son, Franklin Graham, is questioning the judgement of the city council for even considering such a proposal.
"I cannot see why City Council would even consider this. It is not only ridiculous, it's unsafe," Graham, the 62-year-old president of Samaritan's Purse humanitarian organization and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said in a statement.
"Common sense tells us that this would open the door, literally, to all sorts of serious concerns including giving sexual predators access to children. It violates every sense of the privacy and decency for people."
On Feb. 9, the Charlotte City Council voted 7-4 to to put an expansion of the city's non-discrimination ordinance up for vote before the council. After the vote was originally scheduled for Feb. 23, the council moved to push the vote back to a March 2 council meeting.
The proposed ordinance expansion not only gives transgender people the rights to use public restrooms of the opposite sex, it would also ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, gender identity and gender expression.
The city council has called for public input before they vote on the ordinance expansion and many religious leaders in Charlotte have spoken out against the proposal.
"Pastors are very upset about this, as they were in Houston and San Antonio. They are arming their people to rise up against their city leaders," Tami Fitzgerald, president of the statewide social conservative organization North Carolina Values Coalition, told The Christian Post.
Pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, Mark Harris, told The Charlotte Observer that the proposal would put children in danger.
"Even if there is no ill will [on the part of the transgender person using the restroom], you run the risk of your child being exposed to a biological male in a woman's restroom," Harris said. "That's not good public policy."
Charlotte resident and Christian, David Benham, whose Benham Brothers HGTV show was cancelled because of the brothers' outspoken faith commitments, including opposition to same-sex marriage, also spoke out against the proposal saying that it would put more restrictions on religious liberty.
"What's going to end up happening, with the result of language [of the ordinance] is our religious liberties are going to come under attack," Benham said in the BGEA statement. "Not only do Christians need to stand up for what's right, but America needs to protect our children and our children's children."
"As Christians, we are called to be salt and light," Benham continued. "And we are doing the best we can to rally the churches to be salt and light."
A protest against the ordinance proposal has been organized for outside the city council's chambers on the evening of March 2 by the North Carolina Values Coalition.
"I join David Benham and others in opposing this ordinance and encourage area Christians to take a stand by attending the March 2 peaceful protest outside the city council's chambers the day of the vote at 4:00 p.m.," Graham said. "I also urge Charlotte Christians to voice their strong disapproval by contacting the mayor and city council members in advance, and I ask the Charlotte City Council to vote wisely against this protest."