Title IX protection of transgender students on college campuses is clashing with Christian colleges’ claimed right to religious expression. What to do?
How do we accommodate trans students and protect these colleges’ stated values? It’s a huge question, and it’s not going away.
This Huffington Post piece gives an overview of the battle in many university campuses, including George Fox, Simpson and Spring Arbor.
In a letter to the Department of Education, interim Simpson President Dr. Robin Dummer wrote that the school cannot “support or encourage” an individual who lives in “conflict with biblical principles,” noting that students who violate campus standards for biblical living are subject to disciplinary measures, including expulsion. For example, Simpson would not permit a “female student presenting herself as a male” to use the restroom, locker room and living accommodations of her choice or to participate in men’s athletic programs, Dummer wrote.
Alright, got it. Dummer wants to protect Biblical principles. He did not specify which Biblical principles he means, but I don’t think he included all the relevant principles values in his letter — I found a few more.
- 1 Samuel 16:7 People look at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. We do not know others’ hearts, we can only guess. God sees things we do not see. You may think that being transgender is just an act of defiance or something you can stop by drawing a line in the sand. But God sees more than we do, which is one reason God does not tell us to draw those lines.
- Romans 8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. Why are we so quick to condemn when God does not condemn? Do we know better?
- Matthew 7:3-5 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” That’s really the point. We have so much going on, so much we don’t understand, so much we give a pass on for ourselves but not for others, that we really are in no place to ever determine right and wrong. It goes all the way back to the Tree of Knowledge.
- Luke 18:13 But the tax collector stood at a distance. He wouldn’t even lift his eyes to look toward heaven. Rather, he struck his chest and said, ‘God, show mercy to me, a sinner.’ This is to be our posture. Humility. Gratitude. Love. Period.
- Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? Could that be stated any better? It is enough to fill our plates for the rest of our lives.
- Matthew 7:12 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” If you were transgender, you would not want your school to draw the lines you are drawing — no doubt about it. And to think you could not be there, well here’s another verse for you.
- 1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Figure out a way to make this work for your transgender students. Don’t just stand on your predetermined ideas here. Be tenderhearted toward these people. Sympathize with what they must deal with and all they have gone through. If they were just being belligerent to cause trouble, that would be one thing, but they are not.
Clearly, these Biblical values are not part of many Christian college policies towards transgender students – all stated “in Jesus name.” And they are not part of how much of the church treats anyone they deem as somehow “less than.”
If you understand transgender students, or any human being from a place of humility, God might indeed show you something you have not yet seen.
At the very least, you would glimpse God’s heart toward God’s children.
That reflects true Biblical Values and the “astoundingly good news” that is the gospel.
Susan Cottrell is a speaker, author of Mom, I’m Gay—Loving Your LGBTQ Child without Sacrificing Your Faith, and founder of FreedHearts.org.
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