Picture a man changing in a women’s locker room in front of your daughter. You have not entered the Twilight Zone.
Last October, millions of Americans were shocked when Houston mayor Annise Parker targeted area pastors in response to their efforts to repeal a controversial ordinance that would allow transgendered men to use women’s restrooms. She demanded that pastors turn over sermons, emails, and other communications that were critical of the new policy. Many of us wondered if we’d stumbled into an episode of The Twilight Zone, where freedoms of speech and religion had never made it into the U.S. Constitution.
In fact, many of you responded when I asked Christians across the country to mail the mayor a Bible or a copy of a sermon or a verse of Scripture.
Thankfully, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of the pastors who rallied to bring the transgender law to a public vote. That vote happens tomorrow.
What happened in Houston is hardly the only example of sexual orientation laws being forced onto society. Last month Governor Andrew Cuomo bypassed the New York state legislature and issued an executive order adding transgender to the protected classes regarding housing and employment, calling his changes “sweeping.”
But all of these changes are happening without anyone answering the most basic question of all: What is sexual orientation? Writing in the Federalist, social researcher Glenn Stanton argues that we can’t protect sexual orientation in law because, “it doesn’t mean anything.”
According to Stanton, those promoting these sweeping legal and policy changes all operate as if there is a clear definition of sexual orientation that everyone understands and agrees with. The truth is there is no agreed-upon definition—even among those promoting it.
For example, the Human Rights Campaign, a leading LGBT lobbying group, defines sexual orientation as “an inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to other people.” Yet, Psychology Today teaches that “A person’s sexual orientation is not a black or white matter; sexual orientation exists along a continuum.”
Now wait a minute. Is sexual orientation immutable and fixed or fluid and changeable? The answer depends not only on which expert you consult, but on which social taboo people are trying to make acceptable.
According to Stanton, this glaring contradiction ought to give us pause before we embrace such radical social engineering. If we’re not careful, he argues, such confusion will fling wide the doors to those whose attractions and behaviors are still hovering at the fringes of society, waiting for their chance at acceptance.
If sexual orientation is just about “a person’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person,” how long will it be before we extend protected status to, say, pedophiles? I’m not trying to exaggerate or alarm here. Pedophile activists very nearly succeeded in adding pedophilia to the list of sexual orientations in the recently updated DSM-V, psychology’s most holy book. If every deep desire can be classified as a sexual orientation, then it really doesn’t mean anything at all.
Stanton is right to caution us when it comes to changing laws based on confusing and contradictory definitions. What passes easily enough in pop culture has no place in the exacting world of law. So long as we carve out protected classes based on personal feelings rather than objective truth, employers and others can never be sure if they’re complying with the new laws. And well-meaning people are bound to be attacked, fined, and possibly imprisoned without ever knowing what they did wrong.
Transgender and sexual orientation issues are not going away soon. But by better understanding these matters, we will be more equipped to match nonsense with reason, and hatred with love.
Defining Orientation: Laws without Meaning
Eric rightly points out the legal problems that arise when laws are based merely on personal feelings and not grounded in truth. For further discussion on this issue, check out the links below.
We Can’t Protect Sexual Orientation Because It Doesn’t Mean Anything
Glenn T. Stanton | The Federalist | October 19, 2015
After showdown in Houston, voters to decide on LGBT nondiscrimination protections
Juan A. Lozano and David Crary | Associated Press | October 25, 2015
EEOC Targets Minnesota Company for Alleged Transgender Discrimination
Andrew D. Peters | National Law Review | June 17, 2015
Cuomo Planning Discrimination Protections for Transgender New Yorkers
Jesse McKinley | New York Times | October 22, 2015
A Line Has Been Crossed: It’s Time to Sound the Alarm on Religious Liberty
Eric Metaxas | BreakPoint.org | October 21, 2014
Hand Over Your Sermon, Or Else: Intimidating the Faithful
Eric Metaxas | BreakPoint.org | October 17, 2014
The Liberty Threat: The Attack on Religious Freedom in America Today
Jim Tonkowich | Saint Benedict Press | July 2014