Americans are livid. The Obama administration has taken the transgender bathroom issue by storm, issuing a
directive via the Departments of Justice and Education to all public school districts across the country, warning officials that transgender students should be allowed to use the restroom or locker room of the gender with which they identify, as opposed to their “sex assigned at birth” (their language, not mine) – or risk having the federal government withhold school funding. And by the way, making separate facilities available doesn’t count.
This is what happens, ladies and gentlemen, when we fail to stand up and declare the truth. When we sit back in fear of confrontation and refuse to speak the truth in love, we risk being violently overtaken in the public square.
In the world of pubic opinion, the faithful have completely lost the argument. But worse, when it counted, few of us showed up. Do you know what we have done? We have allowed something that in the real estate business is called adverse possession, otherwise known by the somewhat crass if visually descriptive term, squatter’s rights.
Let me explain. Say your neighbor lets you know he’s going to build a six foot fence around his property. In an act of good will, you give him your blessing and compliment his choice of building materials. A few days after he begins building, you notice that he has crossed the property line by a few feet. You know this because when you moved in several years ago, the lots were staked out, and you measured ten feet from the lot line so you could plant your garden. It’s not terrible, but you measure, and sure enough, your garden fence is only seven feet from your neighbor’s new construct. You’re in a tough spot. You don’t want to cause any friction or offend your neighbor, who has already begun building. In the end, rather than risk stirring up bad feelings, you let it go.
The problem is that you have not simply allowed your neighbor to build on your property. Five years later, when he moves, he will lay claim to that additional three feet. He will be hard pressed to believe he stepped out of bounds at that point, and the courts will agree. Unbeknownst to you, by your silence, you have ceded part of your property to your neighbor.
When it comes to our relationship with the LGBT community, our efforts to refrain from making waves and avoid being labeled bigots have wrought (or at the very least contributed to) unimaginable cultural losses that may effect the world for generations to come.
As Christians, we tend to be compassionate (contrary to the image we’ve been given in recent years). We know we are called to love. So rather than risk offending anyone, we let things go. After all, the entire LGBT community was comprised of a mere 2-3% of the population. There was a time when many of us didn’t even know someone who was gay or transgender, so we stayed out of the conversation. And if we did know someone, we knew they were good people and meant no harm to anyone – so we stayed silent.
In fact, if we did speak up, many of us (correctly) supported individuals who were mistreated in the name of sexual orientation, advocating love of neighbor as one of the greatest commandments. We thought, correctly, all human beings are deserving of respect (CCC 1700). But we held our tongues regarding the teaching of the Church on human sexuality. After all, we thought, who am I to tell others how to live? What they do in their own homes is between them and God.
And that’s where we went wrong.
The fact is, average Americans have never wanted to address the moral argument. Because – hey – that would be judging. But by keeping the argument on purely legal terms – definition of marriage, a child’s right to two parents, and now, discomfort in the restroom – we have subtlety communicated that we didn’t believe the lifestyles of the LGBT community were immoral; we just didn’t want them to affect our way of life. (Because, after all, everyone knows the “greatest” commandment has become, “thou shalt not impose your morality on your neighbor.“)
Having failed to reasonably discuss the possibility that these individuals who are seeking equal status should actually be seeking help (it took me forever to type those words – I have been avoiding the discussion too), we have allowed enough time to pass that we have unwittingly allowed the LGBT community to advocate its position to the point that now, anyone who argues that there may be “disorder” involved with being gay or transgender is a bigot. Uneducated. A hater.
While we were hemming and hawing over how to avoid giving offense, the LGBT community has been busy making great inroads in the public square. In as little as 15 years, public opinion has done a complete 180. For example, in 2001, 57% of people in the general public opposed gay marriage. Today, even 58% of Catholics support it.
My goodness, the left has been completely indoctrinating the young right under our noses – using our tax dollars, no less! They have even convinced them that there is no such thing as truth (moral or even physical – watch this and this), while all this time we have been pussyfooting around, trying to find the courage to declare it.
Transgender rights are just the latest in a stream of efforts to overturn any semblance of traditional values. Pressure has been mounting at a steep rate. An issue that was little known six months ago has suddenly become a matter of civil rights. To say the trend is disturbing is an understatement. Just a couple of weeks ago (as mentioned in a previous post), an employee of a Catholic university was under investigation for a hate crime after stating that there are two genders.
When the state of North Carolina took a preemptive step in declaring by law that one must use the restroom of his biological gender (something that used to be common sense), the transgender bathroom issue came to a head. Outrage against the state has been palpable.
Then the federal government dove into the controversy, invoking Title 9 and involving the courts. North Carolina fought back. Livid, Obama, sensing a changing tide in public opinion, has thrown down the gauntlet, not only against North Carolina, but daring any state in the country to initiate similar legislation. In a massive overstep of intimidation, the administration has now drawn the big guns, using the power of the purse to threaten schools across the country.
So what now?
I read a quote recently that captures the current pulse of America today:
“Evil preaches tolerance until it is dominant, then it tries to silence good.” — Archbishop Charles J. Chaput
So what can we do about it?
After we collectively pick our jaws off the floor, having been stunned by the sheer audacity of the federal government telling us that our daughters must share locker rooms with boys of the opposite sex, we must go back to the beginning.
The Church is first and foremost a mother and a teacher. A loving mother has compassion for her children. But it is out of that compassion that she teaches them the truth. We must, as Christ’s body, the Church, teach the truth about human sexuality.
In order to teach, we must be informed. It is not enough to know that God has a plan for marriage. For the family. As Catholics, we must know that plan. We must be able to articulate that plan.
We must live out that plan.
Truth is undeniable when light shines upon it.
There is nothing better to display the truth in an excellent light, than a clear and simple statement of facts. – Saint Benedict
Here are some resources that I plan to learn inside and out. Study them and see if they help you to better articulate a simple statement of facts:
- The Catechism
- Love and Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla (now Saint John Paul II) – what is truly meant by human sexuality
- Familiaris Consortio by Saint John Paul II – because what is most at stake in this discussion is the human family, which is the foundation of all of society
- Man, Woman, and the Meaning of Love: God’s Plan for Love, Marriage, Intimacy, and the Family by Dietrich von Hildebrand
- Men, Women and the Mystery of Love: Practical Insights from John Paul II’s Love and Responsibility by Edward Sri
- Address to Roman Curia by Pope Benedict XVI, specifically addressing the dangers of the gender identity movement (and also commentary on it)
- Catholic Answers Resources:
– Video: How do We Relate to People who Struggle with Sexual Identity
– Article: Five Questions for Supporters of Gender Transitioning
– Article: Bathroom Bill is Not Hateful Bigotry
[Note: If you have other recommendations that are in line with the Magisterium, please offer them in the Comments section.]
What You Can Do Today
In the meantime, now is the time to take civil action. Force yourself to leave your comfort zone, step off the sidelines and get involved. Write your governors, senators, representatives, school boards, and anyone else of consequence, encouraging them to stand up to the administration. Texas and Arkansas have already said they refuse to comply. In a profound statement, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick of Texas asserted, “We will not be blackmailed by the president’s 30 pieces of silver.”
There is hope that a groundswell of public opinion summarily rejecting the administration’s reach will prove fruitful. Encourage your state not to give into political correctness.
[Note: If you have other ideas for civic action, please recommend them in the Comments section.]