Theologian John Piper is weighing in on Target's controversial bathroom policy that allows customers to use restrooms and fitting rooms based on their gender identity rather than birth sex, saying he would avoid using a gender-open restroom even if it were marked for men.
In a podcast posted Monday on his website DesiringGod.org, the pastor elaborated on his position, saying he would avoid gender neutral restrooms, if he could.
"If I were there and if I had to [use a gender-open restroom], I would — just like I would stop on the highway if I had to," Piper said. "But I wouldn't if I didn't have to." The Bible scholar explained that he wouldn't use such a restroom in order to maintain a clear conscience, and to acknowledge God.
" … I want there to be a small act of protest and life consistency that may have no impact at all on the powers that make such decisions, but that keep my conscience clear and acknowledge God in practical affairs and give a consistency to my life that does help overall in showing the way of Christ to the world."
The theologian highlighted a 1992 quote from Supreme Court Chief Justice Anthony Kennedy in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that he felt embodied the flawed thinking of the concept of human autonomy, which is at the core of the transgender, gay marriage and pro-abortion movements.
Kennedy said, "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."
Piper asserted that the statement was " … probably the most destructive sentence that the court has ever spoken" in that it essentially gives voice and license to the moral corruption of the human heart.
The pastor took time to address the question of how parents will train their children to take unpopular or dangerous stands against sin in a culture where " … profound evil and deep corruption and God-ignoring perversion" are de-stigmatized, pervasive, accepted and defended.
Piper observed that individuals who grew up under different standards in a time when "external biblical patterns of life were normative" at least have a "built-in revulsion" for certain actions and behaviors. These days, however, are much different. The pastor noted, " … Our children are not growing up in that world, and they will not have the same instincts."
Along the same lines, Piper sees gender identify and Target's bathroom policy as applications of Kennedy's statement, and said the younger generation must be fully prepared. " … The depths of the human heart's depravity must be built in profoundly to our children."
Finally, the seminary chancellor decried the concept of gender identity. "Now there is the new term: 'gender identity' ... That is a new code word."
"The word 'gender' is now used not for biological reality of maleness or femaleness, but for desired identity of so-called male or so-called female, even if the biological reality is the opposite of the desired identity. ... That is what gender identity means. And it is the most recent application, and perhaps the strangest, of justice Kennedy's principle: Liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence."