Editor’s note: After an often tearful year, the Christian’s counterattack is hope. The enemy may use the events of last year to strike chords of fear, but in reporting them, we offer notes of hope for 2016. God is in control of this world, and whatever happens, this history being made before our eyes will turn people toward him. He is our hope.
This is our certainty as we anticipate the new year, our hope.
By Lisa Sergent | The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June declaring same-sex marriage to be a constitutional right in all 50 states seemed to open a floodgate.
Olympic hero Bruce Jenner was named Woman of the Year by Glamour magazine after he reimagined himself as “Caitlyn.” Then, almost immediately, transgender issues multiplied, even reaching Illinois.
Consider what happened when Township High School District 211 tried to fight the federal government. A transgender boy wanted to use the girls’ locker room at Palatine High School. He was denied access by school officials. The student, who is still anatomically male, took the demand to the Department of Education. After several meetings, the suburban Chicago school board acquiesced to the demands and submitted to monitoring by the OCR through 2017.
Andrew Walker of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission wrote, “By taking the action it has, the federal government is endorsing a worldview of expressive individualism—a worldview that shuns limits, endorses controversial gender ideology, and opens up society to ever-evolving standards of sexual morality.”
So far, only Texans are successfully standing against the transgender advance. After a citywide “rights ordinance” was defeated 62% to 38% in November, Second Baptist Houston’s pastor Ed Young said, “I think there are enough people in the city who still have and will vote godly principles. A lot of people did some soul searching and said ‘This is enough.’”
What can pastors do? Ahead of these developments, Russell Moore told Baptist editors in February that transgenderism is likely to come first to the church youth department as adolescents copy the blurring of male and female identities in the larger culture. Be ready.
For pastors, the call in 2016 is to preach Genesis 1-2 descriptive of the sexes and the whole of Scripture as prescriptive of marriage, family life, and sexual identity and behavior. Have we ever before needed sermons saying “boys will be boys” is no excuse for sin, but instead a plea for gender sanctity?
Meanwhile, the blurring continues—literally. Pantone Color Institute chose two hues as 2016 Color of the Year. They’re blending pink and blue to demonstrate “gender fluidity.” Pantone calls it “a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.”