As if we didn’t have enough battle fronts to contend with in the current culture war in America, which a growing number of pundits are referring to as a potential, new ‘civil war’, in describing our nations divisions in the wake of civil unrests linked to cases of police killings, another battle was quietly waged and lost for the soul of our country and objective truth last week.
It happened when the supreme court ruled that a landmark 1964 civil rights law could be applied to protect homosexual and transgender identifying workers from discrimination in a historic victory for LGBTQ+ supporters, that they will undoubtedly celebrate in the midst of “Gay Pride Month,” in June. I would rather call this ruling a loss for this nation, for the general welfare of its children, families and the idea of Bible-based truth renewing our culture.
The six-to-three verdict in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, is the latest and biggest victory for LGBTQ special rights since the court made same-sex marriage the law of the land in 2015.
The implications and the consequence of this supreme court decision which again practically makes new law where none previously existed (which happens to be the responsibility of Congress- the legislative body of the United States), are far-reaching and will likely be felt deep and wide for some time to come.
Justice Neil Gorsuch (a President Trump appointee joined in the majority by Chief Justice John Roberts and the four members of the court’s liberal wing) in his majority opinion wrote, “Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”
Although the justice’s stated opinion and motive behind it, may seem benign if not worthy of consideration on its face at first glance, danger may be lurking behind it in a way that Biblical Christians should be aware of.
One chilling effect of the decision is that it redefines the category of sex in American law. The Title VII language of the Civil Rights Act forbids discrimination “against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”
Nowhere in the statute does it say that “sex” was intended to include sexual orientation or gender identity. Sex as defined and intended by this law is a fixed and immutable characteristic – meaning an unchanging, physical attribute such as biological gender. Now, by virtue of this decision it includes sexual desires, actions and self-made identity as protected classes worthy of extra-constitutional rights.
Whereas in contrast, the founding fathers and historic American law had always understood sex as it pertains to the law, to follow God’s creative design and purpose for it, as described in its “good”, clear, pre-fall order set forth in the book of Genesis:
… then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature… 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him… 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.. 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2:7,18,22,24, ESV).
Another consequence sure to arise in future courtroom dramas as the result of this ruling, will be what to make of school locker room and bathroom facility policies which still restrict in most states access for safety reasons, to the traditional and binary reality of gender.
Furthermore, couldn’t a male gender-dysphoric youth struggling with his sexual identity, now be able to successfully sue a school – public or private, for access to those female facilities by virtue of his own, subjective identification? I would say that hypothetical will be more a question of how soon, not if.
As troubling, would be the likely pressure exerted upon religious schools (secondary and university) and places of worship that would now be forced to hire employees that don’t live by the tenets or confession of their faith, particularly with respect to God’s created order of sexuality, under fear of a lawsuit should they defy this court decision and unprecedented interpretation of the Civil Rights amendment.
Disciples of Christ must be frustrated and weary of how SCOTUS (The Supreme Court of the United States) has again usurped the will of the people and authority of the legislative branch of our government, by making moral laws from the bench which threaten religious liberty and advance the sexual revolution.
We’ve seen that reality played out already in the legal battles which have economically crippled Christian bakers, photographers and bed and breakfast owners who tried to stand against these kind of judicial decrees by conscience, in the aftermath of the Obergefell decision that legalized same-sex marriage.
Are Christians Discriminating?
At face-value, we might ask, “What can be wrong with anti-discrimination laws? Isn’t discrimination always a sin?” Well, as per the above definition of the anti-discrimination language of the Civil Rights Act, the idea is that we are not to discriminate or show bias against a person based upon their immutable, human characteristics that jibe with reality (i.e. gender and ethnicity or “race”).
Certainly, as per my last post (Cutting Through the Fog of Skin and Sin- Pt. 2), discrimination in the modern sense of the word, as showing prejudice towards or partiality towards another based on their ethnicity or gender or even economic class (Ja. 2:4-9) is called sin in scripture.
However, discrimination in the sense of discernment– meaning to rightly divide truth from error, what is right and wrong and to wisely make decisions, is not only permissible but necessary in order to live life and even share gospel truth.
For example, when we hear preaching or “church” teaching which denies an essential and orthodox truth of the Christian faith, such as the deity of Christ or his substitutionary atonement to justify sinners by faith, we are to be “discriminating” and call out such preaching to be the heresy that it is.
Therefore, words and their meaning matter. The fact of the matter is that the Christian’s opposition to, or discrimination towards homosexuality and transgenderism would not have ‘been a thing’ or controversy at the time the Civil Rights Act was signed into federal law, or up until as recently as less than a generation ago, since our society’s laws and culture reflected the Judeo-Christian values of normative sexuality and identity, affirming two millennia of church history and doctrine.
The legitimization much less the legalization of an LGTBQ community, was a non-issue in American history and mainstream thought until only recently. Bible-based Christians oppose the sexual revolution and its radical agenda to redefine sexuality and family, because God does, as clearly revealed in his word (see Genesis 2 above and echoed by Jesus in Matt. 19:4-6).
God’s written revelation lays out an unambiguous sexual design for mankind consisting of one biological man and one woman, marrying for one life on earth- that’s the blueprint and it’s unmistakable.
Why Does it Matter?
The supreme court decision (Bostock) as described above, jeopardizes the bedrock institutions of family and church, with the former being the first and best community in which children can survive and thrive, in an environment of proper and stable role models, which leads to stable societies.
The latter institution of church, and its freedom to operate and speak as God has intended, is put at risk by such legal warfare, as we draw ever nearer to the day, in the good ole’ U.S.A. when gospel speech may be criminalized as hate speech.
How Do We Respond?
Actually, hope is mandated for the Christian who knows and wonders at God’s story, of which we find ourselves in that section of the timeline we understand to be the time of redemption (Lu. 4:18), with restoration of this broken creation not far behind (Ro. 5:12,15; 8:18-21).
The disciple of Jesus Christ should not be surprised to find our nation in its current state of turmoil (e.g. a COVID pandemic, civil unrest and a sexual revolution), as we are simply joining other kingdoms and epochs of history, in which an “unrighteous” or wicked society, chose to honor and worship the creature and its creation, rather than its creator (Ro. 1:18-23), leading to a period of God’s wrath to be brought upon such a society, often through its inclination to sexual depravity and perversion (Ro. 1:24-28).
Despite the disappointing news of another supreme court decision gone wrong, we have a hope of glory which sanctifies and strengthens the church to continue striving to be the loving and truth-telling dose of salt and light that this nation needs for a time such as now. The war continues for now- but we win in the end.