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Opening The Bathroom Door

It would be hard to compose a clearer snapshot of the tragedy engulfing our nation’s culture today than what happened February 26 in the City Council chambers of Phoenix, Arizona.

That night, by a vote of 5-3, the Council passed the so-called "Bathroom Bill," allowing any man or woman (who claims to be a different gender than the one he or she actually is) admission to all public toilet facilities, whatever their demarcation.

The vote drew a noisy, passionate crowd, despite efforts by the Council to keep its agenda under wraps. (The bathroom ordinance was not even made available online until shortly before the meeting.) The hearing room was packed with people from their early 20s to their late 70s wearing "Yes" stickers, many of them strident and belligerent.

The "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence" – a San Francisco-based group of men wearing nuns’ habits – were on hand, clamoring for popular endorsement of homosexual behavior. One huge man angrily raised his fist and voice in support of every speaker who supported the measure.

Of course, those in favor of open bathrooms didn’t have a corner on the anger market. Across the street from the City Council building, opponents of the measure wielded signs and screamed, "God hates men wearing women’s clothes." Sadly, even inside the hearing room, too many of those speaking against the bill were more interested in callously pushing their opinion than in "speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15).

But if anything, the gender-confused people who had pushed so ferociously for this measure were hurt more by their "friends" than their opponents. Several pastors from various denominations lent their vocal support to the bill, explaining that some members of their own congregations share this sexual confusion, so they felt they should be on hand to show these people "that God loves and accepts" them. Two Council members explained that their faith "required" them to vote yes, to show love rather than discrimination.

Many of those who spoke up in opposition – including Alliance Defending Freedom staff and Allied Attorneys – pointed out that, whatever the sensibilities of the transsexual crowd, opening up women’s bathrooms to any man who claims he’s really a woman poses considerable danger to women and girls of all ages. Would a sexual predator hesitate for a moment to present himself as someone of the opposite gender, if it would gain him ready access to his victims at their most vulnerable moments?

"What I felt most that night was not outrage, or frustration, but a kind of weary sadness."

Those arguments, though, were roundly, loudly booed by most of those in the room, who refused to accept opposition as anything but religious bigotry. The fix was in; Council members had consulted only activists from the other side in drafting the language of the bill, and there were just too many political points to be made by supporting their agenda.

Still, what I felt most that night was not outrage, or frustration, but a kind of weary sadness. Listening to some of those pressing for the bill, I could sense how genuinely hurt and beaten-down they felt. And how desperate they were to assuage their pain and guilt and confusion by forcing this bill, and their views, on the public.

But, of course, no legislation will free them from that anguish. Only Christ can. And then only if pastors and public servants alike are willing to invoke His truth, as well as His love, in their decisions. And their rhetoric.

Meanwhile, in Phoenix, the bathroom doors are open. And it’s open season on young girls and grown women now forced to risk their privacy – and their safety – for our society’s increasingly warped sense of tolerance.

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