As Delaware recently became one of the latest states to enact what is known as the ‘bathroom bill,’ which permits males who identify as females to use the womens’ restroom and vice versa, Christians in the state are warning others across the country that similar legislation is sweeping the nation and may come to their state next.
Last month, the Delaware legislature passed the Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Act, which dealt with a plethora of protections for transsexual and crossdressing residents, including allowing those who identify with the opposite gender to be allowed to use the restroom of their choice. Following passage in the House 24-17 and 11-9 in the Senate, Governor Jack Markell signed the bill into law.
“Our mission to build a welcoming and accepting state that can compete in the global economy requires laws that reflect our values,” Markell declared. “Today, we guarantee that our transgender relatives and neighbors can work hard, participate in our communities and live their lives with dignity and in safety.”
However, during the public hearing for the legislation, a number of Christian organizations and pastors expressed their concerns about the measure. Nicole Theis, president of Delaware Family Policy Council, and Mike Fox, pastor of The Trek Church in Smyrna, were two of those who made their voice heard.
“This opens the door to so many questionable and very concerning things,” Theis told Christian News Network. “Women do not want to share [restrooms and locker rooms] with someone–with anyone–who is biologically a man, but thinks that they are a woman.”
“It goes against every single thing that we as Christians stand for,” Fox stated. “God said, in the beginning, He created them male and female. And so, from the very beginning to the very end of the Bible, this [bill] is demolishing every ounce of identity that God created.”
Theis advised that there is no exemption in the law for Christians or any entity that expresses disagreement. She explained that every public facility has to provide a “reasonable accommodation” under the new Delaware statute.
“If you don’t offer that, then you are in a position of being held liable,” Theis outlined. “You’re vulnerable if you are open to the public and you don’t offer that.”
Fox noted that churches and Christian businesses in the state may not realize that they are now mandated to allow men in womens’ bathrooms and vice versa if they identify with the opposite gender.
“If you’re a Christian business owner, it automatically immediately directly affects you,” he stated. “The biggest grieving of my heart is that churches have been apathetic. Christians have been apathetic thinking that it’s really not going to affect them in the churches, and that’s the farthest from the truth.”
Fox and Theis also warned that legal ramifications could ensue for noncompliance.
“[I]f you ever question [anyone] or deny them access into locker rooms, into bathrooms and public facilities, you are pretty much committing a hate crime,” Fox advised. “And so, if you stand up because you have morals and virtue and character, and you don’t want to condone and support any kind of transgenderism, then your business is going to be in trouble…”
“What we are seeing are lawsuits across the country where those reasonable accommodations have been made, but a lawsuit has followed anyway,” Theis explained. “[P]eople who struggle with this condition want to feel normal, and going to a restroom separate from everyone else or separate from the gender they identify with makes them still feel separate.”
While some may believe that the issue is isolated to Delaware, Theis warned that similar bills are being proposed in states across the country, and that legislation will soon be presented at the federal level.
“Already in Massachusetts, we see how there was a mandate in their school system to treat children according to how they identify, not their assigned sex at birth,” she stated. “So, we just see mass confusion coming from this effort to redefine social order.”
As previously reported, lawmakers in California recently passed legislation mandating that school students be allowed to use the restroom that suits their gender identity, and the Colorado Civil Rights Division ruled last month that a school district discriminated against a 6-year-old boy when it stopped him from using the girls’ restroom. Bills similar to the legislation now made law in Delaware have also been proposed in other states, such as New York and Arizona.
“I was just told that this transgender bathroom bill in a short time is now going to come to the table on the federal level, and it’s already hitting states left and right,” Fox said. “So, just like same-sex ‘marriage,’ … once it hits enough states, it’s going to be hitting the federal level, until the federal government says it’s discrimination for you to say anything or for you to make a transgender feel bad.”
He stated that what grieves his heart the most is the apathy of Christians across the country who naively believe that laws such as these won’t come to their state or won’t affect them.
“There’s very little public outcry,” Fox said. “It’s like the old joke: One person said, ‘Hey, did you hear about all the ignorance and apathy in the world?’ And the other said, ‘No, but I don’t really care.'”
“And it’s the same way with the churches — [it’s a] life moves on kind of thing,” he continued. “Why aren’t there Christians marching–physically marching–outside of the legislative halls demanding that this be reversed?”
“We are at this point because we have abandoned this particular area of our culture, and we have left it to people who have a very opposite worldview, and set of values and agenda,” she said.
She exhorted Christians across the country to take action now before similar bills become law in their state.
“What we urge people to do in other states is to understand that this is a part of an overall agenda that is being pushed on state legislatures,” Theis said, “and unless Christians are involved, or people who just believe in maintaining such important social order as to what is male and what is female, [it will become law in their state].”
“I would really encourage people to engage the legislature with excellence and ask questions, and understand where they are in the decision-making process, so that they can help them work through the issue and come to the right conclusion,” she continued. “[We need to help them] understand why this is so problematic, and to have the boldness and courage to vote against such a massive, lucrative, very well-funded agenda that we’re seeing in state legislatures across the country.”
Fox said that it is the duty of every Christian to be salt and light in the culture, and the “bathroom bill” is no exception.
“I would encourage every Christian … to stop looking inside of the church, because the battle is not on the inside of the church,” he stated. “The battle is on the outside. [We must] gather together as Christians and speak up and speak out.”
“Jesus said, ‘If you’re ashamed of Me in front of men, I’ll be ashamed of you,'” Fox added. “And so, it’s easy to talk to other Christians about morality and Christianity, but Paul said, ‘Show me your faith without your works, and I’ll show you my faith by my works, for faith without works is dead.'”