Weighing the morality of bathroom laws

Dr. Glenn R. Sparks Jr. - Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church

As we begin, please allow me to clarify a few matters. I want to share with you my opinion, what I advocate, allow both sides of the argument to be heard and provide action points for readers. The Bible has much to say about human sexuality but this article does not allow space for discussion of that topic, nor is it the focus of the article.

In an effort to be fair to the other side of the subject, I am including the President’s words. I am not attacking him or pressing an agenda against him. His words as the chief advocate for this policy deserve to be heard, and they are direct quotes from the Reuters’ news service. This is about the issue, not personalities involved.

This is my opinion: I am for the previous social construct on who uses which bathroom, and desire for the new policy to be rescinded (overturned) by legislators and judges. On May 13, a joint letter from the Department of Education and Department of Justice went to public schools with guidelines to ensure that “transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment,” the Obama administration said, thus requiring public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom or locker room of their choice. President Barack Obama said June 1, “What happened and what continues to happen is you have transgender kids in schools. And they get bullied. And they get ostracized. And it’s tough for them.”

It seems that any measure of discrimination or intimidation merits intervention by our federal government to protect the minority people group. The difficulty I have with this approach is that when your rights conflict with my rights, whose rights win? If you have the right to smoke and it conflicts with my right to breathe clean air, who must surrender their rights?

Should we live in a culture where the rules and morals, which govern our culture, are derived from God via the Christian Bible? Should we be governed where rules and morals are dictated by a few people in leadership or government at the top to the masses below? Would we be better served by a culture where each person dictates his or her own moral prerogatives?

The problem with the third option is this: if my opinion or moral code differs from yours then the question arises about whose code do we follow? Will you allow me the right to think differently or will you press me into your mold of thinking? If you begin to draw on an outside source (make a new law) to direct my morality, then which source is used?

I have chosen to pattern my life according to an outside, objective standard of truth — the Christian Bible. After reading it and many other religious documents, I find it to be the most comprehensive collection of life principles, which create the best environment for everyone. The bathroom law recently enacted is an example of one person or a few at the top violating the rights of the many for the sake of a few.

The manner in which it was implemented tramples the rights of the state and local governments by superseding their legislative authority. It is this type of autocratic federal overreach from which our founding fathers sought to protect the American people.

Obama said, “My best interpretation of what our laws and our obligations are, is that we should try to accommodate these kids so that they are not in a vulnerable situation.”

I would like for our president to consider the vulnerable situation in which he has placed my daughter when she heads off to college this fall. Any young man “claiming” to be transgender person can walk into the locker room or bathroom and stare at her, removing her dignity and sense of safety. At what point is the right to security, decency and privacy outweighed by a person’s sense of discrimination?

What can we do about it? First we must agree to disagree in a manner that is amiable. Second, we must evaluate how we arrive at our decisions on morality. Are we basing our decisions on our personal feelings and preferences or on sound logic and how it will affect the whole American nation?

Third, we need to contact our legislators and express our views, so they know what the majority of their constituents believe about this issue. Fourth, we should discuss this in the public forum with decency and intelligence rather than with name calling, illogical reasoning, or forcing someone to agree with you or risk losing your friendship

Dr. Glenn R. Sparks Jr.

Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church

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