Twice in the last few days Iwas accosted by someone and asked to sign a petition to overturn California’s law requiring schools to allow transgender students to use the “other” bathroom. I politely declined but it got me thinking.
To what extent should we allow ourselves to be inconvenienced by other people’s “needs?” Should we tell transgender students to just “deal with it” or should we try to accommodate?
So, I got to thinking about all the other people we spend money, time, and effort to accommodate. There is the ADA act. (Americans with Disabilities Act). This law is the bane of many a landlord. By virtue of law, it is illegal to not provide wheelchair access, hand rails, and on and on ad nauseum. Rarely do we encounter a property owner who discovers they have to remodel bathrooms, re-pour concrete steps, build ramps, install rails, lighting and a whatever else just because someone in a wheelchair might want to come in their building! Utterly rediculous, but is it? Personally, I am happy we make ourselves do these things for the very small minority who really needs that helping hand.
The transgender issue in schools fits the same pattern. We are talking about a very small minority who have very specific needs and challenges. Is it really going to overturn society to allow them to use the bathroom they choose? Are we really that fragile?
What about all the trouble that goes into helping students with severe allergies? Is that wrong? Are we ruining ourselves because we keep peanut butter sandwiches away? Really? Of course, there are those who think evolution should be allowed to take its course and “deal” with them, but that is precisely the position I am arguing against.
What disturbed me even more is that both times I was asked to sign the petition, it was within a Christian context. Now that is even more wrong. I have to ask that irritating question, What would Jesus do? Do you really think he would sign the petition? Really?
Think about a time in the past when the government protected the rights of Churches to forbid dogs in the sanctuary. Anyone with a little internet search can look at all the places in the Bible where it talks about dogs, and it’s not very good. Nowhere does the Bible say we can bring dogs into church. In fact it even says that if you sell a dog, you can’t use that money to make your offering (just like you can’t give God the proceeds of your whoring–Deuteronomy 23:18). Dogs are unclean, marginalized, and represent wicked people.
Now think about the first time a blind person brought a seeing-eye dog to church! Believe it or not, it required LEGISLATION to force churches, schools, stores, restaurants, etc. to allow these dogs. Now it is illegal to forbid entrance to a public space to someone who is using a service dog.
Can’t you hear the conservatives howling? This place is going to be overrun with dogs. Every kid who has a mongrel is going to bring it to church! They are going to pee on the posts! We’re going to have dog hair in the communion wine! And, furthermore God says dogs are unclean!!! We are going to stand on the Bible! It is our religious right to keep them out. Of course we LOVE blind people, we just don’t like their dogs. Blind people are welcome, we love them, just leave your dog at home! Love the blind man and hate the dog–what’s wrong with that? And on and on…
Fortunately those arguments ultimately fail every time they are trotted out. They will fail again. Transgender people are part of our human family. I believe it our human duty and Christian obligation to love and protect and even allow ourselves to be inconvenienced if it helps them feel more safe and secure.
That is why I won’t sign the petition.