New Bathroom Bills: Who's Really Offended?

Shane Idleman, founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, Calif.
Shane Idleman, founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, Calif. | (Photo: Facebook/Shane Idleman)

On August 12, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown did what, to many of us, would be unthinkable in California. He signed AB 1266 into law. Now other States are heading down the wrong road. Recently, in Midland, Michigan, Yvette Cormier saw a man in the women's locker room at her local gym. She immediately complained to management, but a gym employee notified her of the 'no judgment' policy, which allows members to use locker rooms based on their self-reported gender identity.

The Pacific Justice Institute offers another situations: "Picture this...your 7 year-old daughter comes home from school in tears. You ask her what's wrong and she says she's afraid to go to the bathroom at school because a boy comes in while she's there. Outraged, you call the school to demand an explanation. You're told that your daughter is telling the truth, but because the boy says he wants to be a girl, their hands are tied. 'It's the law'."

"Imagine your 12 year-old son goes on an overnight camping trip with the Boy Scouts. The Scout troop leader nervously tells you that one of their newest members has been assigned to his tent, and even though she has lived most of her life as a girl, everyone needs to treat her like just another Boy Scout, since that's now what she wants and 'it's the law'."

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The passing of this Bill gives the appearance that most State lawmakers are more concerned with pacifying LGBT activists then protecting children. How have we drifted so far from the truth and perverted it? Pastors are central to the problem and the solution—their silence is deafening. Many are exchanging truth for tolerance and conviction for cowardliness; they simply do not want to address "hot topics." But Edmund Burke reminds us, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

We are not to seek the applause of men but the applause of God. When we fail to proclaim God's Word faithfully, we run the risk of "encouraging sin" and "perverting the words of the living God" (cf. Jeremiah 23). "The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state" (Martin Luther King, Jr.).

For those citizens who say, "I don't want to get involved," we must remember that we're already involved—by saying nothing we say something. Our government is a government of the people, by the people, for the people. This means that we should be involved in running for office, voting, and/or monitoring those in office to assure that they perform their duties. The welfare of society often falls in the hands of the community.

Please don't misunderstand my heart toward those struggling with gender issues. Relating to people on their level and to love them regardless of their lifestyle is a mark of true Christianity. Additionally, bullying or belittling others who are different is never acceptable. This type of intolerance should offend us all. I can't help but believe that this lack of respect for children who are different contributed to the passing of this Bill, but lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

It's unfortunate that Christians often embrace one of two extremes. At one extreme are those who insult those trapped in this lifestyle. Homosexuality and/or transgender tendencies appear at the top of their sin list. With this group, there is very little love or compassion. The other extreme excuses this sin and looks the other way. Both extremes are wrong and offer a false impression of genuine Christianity—Christ asks that we extend compassion but without compromise.

Are those who defend this Bill, or who say nothing, truly loving the transgender community, or are they simply seeking to avoid conflict and cave in? If we are more concerned about being accepted than being truthful, do we really care for this group more than the person who is willing to risk their reputation, and, quite possibly their safety, in order to speak the truth in love? The answer is obvious: We are to do what is right because it's right, not because it is popular.

Authentic Christians love the truth, and others, and are willing to risk the consequences of confrontation in order to help others. This is a genuine act of love, not hate. "When we become so tolerant that we lead people into mental fog and spiritual darkness, we are not acting like Christians—we are acting like cowards" (A.W. Tozer).

One of the greatest shortfalls in our culture today is not being able to discern between right and wrong. The battle cry is focused on "individual rights," instead of what does God's word say. Laws cannot change a person's heart, but we can deter wrongdoing such as preventing teenage boys from walking into girl's locker rooms, and children being harmed in bathrooms.

Times change but God's standards do not change. No matter how many laws are passed in favor of sexual orientation, it will not change God's mind. His principles are guardrails through the canyons of life. State legislators are removing these guardrails.

While groups such as the ACLU and supporters of the Bill work to liberate those who are "offended"; the irony is that they have offended God and countless people, including the children they should be protecting. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap" (Galatians 6:7). Are we prepared to reap the consequences of these Bills?

Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, California, just North of Los Angeles. He just released his 7th book, Desperate for More of God. Shane's sermons, articles, books, and radio program can all be found at Follow him on Facebook.

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