Our discussion here should not be limited to bathrooms. It’s not just a problem of bathroom signs and who comes in those bathroom doors. The problem is not just political. If we leave it there we miss the heart of the issue and we fail to care about hearts.
It’s a matter of concern for people and prosperity. It’s a matter of love. And yes it’s a matter of truth. But I feel and fear that the latter has received the emphasis. And it sounds kind of like a noisy gong.
How is this issue related to prosperity? As we think about all-gender restrooms we need to consider the matter from the perspective of love for neighbor and not just moralism or concern for ourselves or even our kids. We need to look at Jesus as the standard of how we interact with people. We should desire to represent Him in this conversation. Not the Andy Griffith Show.
We should have a concern for our neighbors, whether monogamous, transgender, all-gender, because they are fellow human beings created in the image of God. And we don’t want them to miss out on the good design that God gave.
Thus the issue at hand is an issue of prosperity. How do humans prosper and flourish? How and what were we created for? What leads to our ultimate prosperity? What is our ultimate good?
Obviously, what blurs the issue is many believe we weren’t created and we thus have no ultimate purpose. Yet, if God did say in the beginning “it is good” and intends the world to function in a certain way then we shouldn’t want others to miss out on the good God intended even as we realize the world is broken (physically, spiritually, emotionally, etc.). If, however, many of our neighbors our right, if God is not there and He is silent, then it doesn’t matter. Let us eat and drink, let us gloat and indulge in gluttony, let us define our own identity, let us do what we want for tomorrow we die.
But, if as I believe, God did create the world in a certain way, to function according to to certain physical and moral laws then this conversation matters. It matters not just for me, my family, and those that have my same worldview. It matters for all people. It is a matter of being inlined with the laws of the universe, ever as much as we must account for the laws of gravity.
Yet, if we are Christians having this conversations with others, no matter who those others are, we must not be prideful. We must have the conversation in humility and love. We must have it knowing that all of creation groans with longing for redemption. We are all broken. We all struggle (Rosaria Butterfield’s words are helpful).
Love and Concern for People
As we think of and discuss this issue we shouldn’t do it detached from real people. Real people that have real struggles. We should not demonize other people, no matter who those people are. I don’t think Jesus would have done that even if they were putting up new signs on the restrooms at schools. I think Jesus would have seen the masses as blind sheep without a shepherd.
My reading of Scripture leads me to think Jesus would have loved and reached out in love to all people even transgender people (cf. Matt. 23:37). What people still need today is a shepherd, the Shepherd. A loving Shepherd that will lead His sheep to truth.
We must imitate the Good Shepherd. We must love our neighbors even as we disagree with our neighbors. We must be motivated out of love and not out of fear.
How can we who have been loved so much not reach out with love to others?! Are we in a position to judge? Have we removed our log when we reach for another’s speck (cf. Matt. 7:1-6)?
The Kingdom Question
“Hypothetically” if a certain potitical leader did things that didn’t line up with biblical morality and said things like “What is truth?” I don’t think Jesus would have lambasted the political establishment. I think He would have remembered and perhaps reminded us that as Christians our Kingdom is not here. We should not expect it to be (cf. Jn. 18:33ff).
Are you thinking more about the Andy Griffith Show and what our world should be like? Or are you looking at Jesus and what He acted like? Are you expecting to build your kingdom here or are you looking to Christ’s coming Kingdom?*
*Of course, we should not have an uninvolved escapist mentality. We should hold to our biblically informed views (see Politics?).
We live in a country that says, “have it your way.” And if we want warm coffee that’s what we get. But if it’s too hot, we sue. And we win. We live in a country that is extremely cautious about labeling everything; least something so terrible happens as someone burning his tongue.
We live in a country where the height and depth of steps are regulated, where your building and property isn’t up to code if it doesn’t have a certain height of handrail. We are a cautious people.
We enforce speed limits and fine jaywalkers. We take and enforce caution. We have an administration that monitors our food. We do this to protect our tongues, our bellies, and our lives.
Yet, we also throw caution to the wind as a country. We say we don’t know when a human baby becomes a human baby and so abortion has free reign. Somewhere along the way we lost our caution. It seems wiser and more inline with what would seem is the American conviction to say if we don’t know when life begins we should be cautious. After all we enforce the height of handrails and fine jaywalkers so it doesn’t seem so unreasonable to be cautious in regard to the most vulnerable. However, it seems in our country that “have it your way” is more important then caution when it comes to unborn humans.
People so often bring up the fact that “we don’t know when life begins” but in light of the precautions we take all across America that is really a non-issue. Our government regulates where we can cross the road for safeties sake but is not safe or cautious with regard to the “intersection” of abortion. Actually, it would seem we’ve removed all traffic lights. We’re free to “fly on by,” “let come what may.”
We must take “due diligence” in other matters or be held morally responsible, because if we don’t we are morally responsible. To not be “safe” and “cautious” in regard to human life we know (and see though our legal system) isn’t a light thing. In America we have reduced speed limits outside of schools because we desire to do due diligence and protect our children and youth. We enforce those lower speed limits not because we know someone will get killed if we drive above them but because life is precious and thus we take precautions to protect it.
There is such a thing as child endangerment, as there should be. Parents can (rightly) get in trouble for merely endangering their child. Why? Because human lives are innately precious and we must take precautions to protect human life. We do not even have to talk about the destruction of innocent human life; the endangering, or failure to take “due diligence,” be cautious, with human lives alone is a moral atrocity. And yet our country sanctions it and our tax money supports it.
We pay taxes to enforce no jaywalking to protect people from potentially getting hit, we are cautious to enforce lower speed limits outside of schools, and we pay Planned Parenthood $540 million to disregard caution and disassemble human bodies within their mother’s protective womb. We are anything but cautious, in contradiction to so much of the American way, when we literally go into (i.e. proactively act upon) the protective life-sustaining womb and destroy the unborn baby.
The sentence for vehicular manslaughter in a school zone is obviously a worse offense then if the manslaughter happened outside of the school zone. In fact, if the manslaughter happened in a school zone it can take the charge from second degree to first degree. Yet, in the example of the first degree and second degree manslaughter the guilty person did not necessarily proactively act upon or intentionally kill yet they failed to do due diligence and be cautious and thus they are rightly held accountable. In other words, what should stop “pro-choice” people from being “pro-speeding-in-school-zone” people? There are some choices we don’t have. And shouldn’t have. We shouldn’t be able to eradicate millions of people in concentration camps. We shouldn’t have the right, and don’t have the right, to speed in school zones. We shouldn’t, but do, have the right to destroy unborn babies. We sadly have the right to abandon caution and crush small human skulls within the enshrouded womb of their mother.
Some things, we know, we don’t have the right to do, and shouldn’t have the right to do. We are a cautious contradictory people. Will we be “cautious” or will we continue to culture unborn baby body parts?
How can we know as Christians if we should be involved in politics or even care about politics? Does the Bible teach us anything regarding this question? The Bible is our authority “for faith and practice.” So, yes, the Bible does address politics. Which I personally thank God for, because without God’s Word I’d be on the metaphorical back-roads of eastern Kentucky without a working GPS.
What does Scripture teach us? It teaches, “Significant Christian influence.” The Bible does not tell us what exactly each individual must do. However, we can establish principals that help guide us through the maze that is politics. First, we must realize that we all have different callings, we are not all called to be a William Wilberforce. However, we are called to have significant Christian influence. Ok, you may ask, but where do we see this in Scripture. I am glad you asked.
We see many examples of this in both the New Testament (NT) and Old Testament (OT). Most of the prophets in the OT addressed the sin of Israel and even the sin of other nations. Daniel had a lot of influence in a secular government and used it well (Dan. 4:27). Jeremiah told the Jewish exiles to have a good influence on the city in which lived. This would surly mean influencing laws and the government within that city (Jer. 29:7). Remember, also, the role that Joseph had? He had a huge influence on the government (Gen. 41:37-45; 42:6; 45:8-9, 26) and, of course, there’s Moses. We should also note Nehemiah (Neh. 1:1), Mordecai (Esther 10:3 and also 9:4), and Esther (Esther 5:1-8; 7:1-6; 8:3-13; 9:12-15, 20-32). Thus, we see a precedence for political involvement in the OT.
In the NT, we also see political involvement. I think of John the Baptizer and the Apostle Paul for example (Mark 6:14-20; Matt. 14:1-12; Acts 16:35-39; 24:25; 1 Tim. 2:1-4 also see Rom. 13 and 1 Peter 2). Wayne Grudem rightly says, “Influencing government for good on the basis of the wisdom found in God’s own word is a theme that runs throughout the entire Bible.”
The overarching principle we see is that we are called to political involvement, though this is to varying degrees. We are not all called to be the President, congressmen (Excuses me, “congressional representatives,” I should be politically correct here!), or mayor, and I, for one, thank God for that! But that does not mean politics don’t have their place and importance, they do. We as Christian Americans have ample opportunity and thus responsibility to effect good change in this country. And we, unlike Daniel, won’t be thrown into a big furnace for it (yet!).
I, obviously, can’t tell you who or what to vote for on certain things but there is clear scriptural warrant for us to vote since we have the freedom to and to vote in a way that accords with the teachings of Scripture. May we be faithful with the stewardship that God has given to us as Americans who have such freedom, indeed a responsibility, to do good to God’s glory.
 See Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010) esp. 58-62.
 Ibid., 61.