“Transgender” Battle Lines Reach the Heartland

In April I was a guest speaker in Perth, Australia at the Western Australia Legal Theory Association, an organization of law professors, lawyers and law students who come to monthly meetings to hear important legal issues addressed. I spoke on “The Rise and Fall of Christianity’s Influence in the West.” During the presentation I mentioned that in a book I wrote in 1991, God in the Chaos (Harvest House), I predicted that same-sex marriage would someday be legal (at p. 36). I always add that I am not a prophet, don’t give stock tips, and don’t read tea leaves. Predicting legal recognition for same-sex couples did not require great insight, since the more secular a society becomes, the faster it jettisons biblical morality for the latest progressive permutation of “whatever feels good, do it, call it ‘good,’ and pass laws protecting its practitioners.”

After my presentation, during the Q & A, the Dean of a Perth Law School noted that since I had predicted legal recognition of same-sex marriage, did I have any new predictions about what is coming down the pike? I gave him a very general answer, and only mentioned “transgenderism” in passing. It may well be in Australia that this is not yet an issue, but as I thought about my answer, I regretted not saying more about the growing transgender phenomena. It is clear to me that the transgender battle lines are being drawn in the United States, with President Obama and the progressives on one side, churches on the other, and even many normally-indifferent Americans speaking out against allowing men into girl’s bathrooms and locker rooms because they “feel” like women.

What was once theoretical, because I live in Iowa and not North Carolina, became reality today when I found out that Iowa’s Civil Rights Commission (ICRC) fired a shot across the bow of religious freedom. The ICRC has interpreted Iowa’s Civil Rights Act (Iowa Code 216, the “Act”), which was expanded in 2007 to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” to mean that churches are “public accommodations.” The ICRC contends that the Act “sometimes” applies to churches, then lists an example of when it does apply, namely when “a church service is open to the public.”

As such, the ICRC put out a pamphlet, “A Public Accommodations Provider’s Guide to Iowa Law.” According to the ICRC, churches, when “open to the public” are subject to the Act’s provision against “illegal discrimination,” which the ICRC defines as not allowing men who identify as women from using the restrooms of their choice, and “directly or indirectly…publicizing that the patronage of persons of any particular…gender identity is …objectionable [or] not acceptable.”

Finally, the pamphlet asks, “What types of actions could be illegal harassment? It lists “…psychological abuse” “repeated remarks of a demeaning nature” and “intentional use of names and pronouns inconsistent with a person’s presented gender.” Glad to know that if Bruce Jenner, er Caitlin, returns to his alma mater, Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa, anyone intentionally calling him “Bruce” or “him” can be sued, and, according to the ICRC, that includes churches. Would it be “psychological abuse” to tell Bruce (oops, I’m in violation) that he is a man pretending to be a woman?

The Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a “pre-enforcement challenge” in federal court against members of the ICRC, the City of Des Moines, and others on behalf of Fort Des Moines Church of Christ to stop this scary progressive power grab from being enforced. The Complaint, which addresses both the Act and an almost identical provision in the Des Moines City Code, says “The language of the Act and the City Code are broad enough to include within that prohibition sermons, theological expositions, educational speeches, newsletters or church worship bulletin text, or other statements from the Church and its leaders.” The Act’s chilling effect on churches that want to follow Scripture cannot be overstated if the ICRC’s interpretation of the Act is allowed to stand.

If invited back to speak to legal scholars in Australia, I will be ready with real-life examples of what is “next” in our brave new secular world, including forcing individuals, businesses and churches to accommodate gender-confused individuals under penalty of law. Consequences include the psychological molestation and safety issues of our wives, daughters and granddaughters whose rights are subordinated to the “feelings” of people described until 2013 in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM IV as “mentally ill.” Women, children and men will be subjected to unwelcome encounters with the “transgendered,” and the “normalization” of the “right” to choose one’s gender will be championed by the “progressives” under force of law. It happened with same-sex “marriage,” and it will happen with transgenderism unless citizens speak out and turn back efforts to impose “gender identity” laws on everyone, including churches.