“Freedoms come in “threes.” Writes my friend Jim Garlow, “Political freedom, economic freedom and religious liberty coexist together. Take one away and the other two will eventually disappear. One cannot exist without the other two. The genius of America is that it had all three, until recently.”
Well, Ya got trouble, folks, right here in River City. Trouble with a capital “T” And that rhymes with “P” and that stands for… well, you remember the song. It happens everywhere, I’ve heard about it, read about it, why I’ve even seen it with my eyes and now it’s here. According to the associated press, A professor is suing officials at his small, public university in Ohio after receiving a written warning for violating its nondiscrimination policy because he declined a male student’s demand to be referred to as a woman, with feminine titles and pronouns (“Miss,” “she,” etc.). The professor contends they violated his rights by compelling him to speak in a way that contradicts his religious beliefs as a Christian.
I whole heartedly agree with the professor. What’s at stake here is not only his constitutional rights, but ours as well. And I might add, the definition of reality. Reality defined is the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them. The issue before us is the issue of transgenderism. Ryan T. Anderson of the Heritage Foundation writes, “At the heart of the transgender movement are radical ideas about the human person in particular, that people are what they claim to be, regardless of contrary evidence. A transgender boy is a boy, not merely a girl who identifies as a boy.”
Anderson continues, “Gender identity can sound a lot like religious identity, which is determined by beliefs. But those beliefs don’t determine reality. Someone who identifies as a Christian believes that Jesus is the Christ. Someone who identifies as a Muslim believes that Muhammad is the final prophet. But Jesus either is or is not the Christ, and Muhammad either is or is not the final prophet, regardless of what anyone happens to believe. So, too, a person either is or is not a man, regardless of what anyone—including that person—happens to believe. The challenge for transgender activists is to present an argument for why transgender beliefs determine reality. At the core of the ideology is the radical claim that feelings determine reality. From this idea come extreme demands for society to play along with subjective reality claims.”
So, we are back now to the issue of truth. Winston Churchill said, “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” President James A. Garfield remarked, “The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.” And then it was W. Clement Stone who wrote, “Truth will always be truth, regardless of lack of understanding, disbelief or ignorance.”
Imagine picking your car up from the shop after a routine tune-up and the technician says, “This car is in great shape. Clearly you have an automotive genius to take great care of your car.” Later that day, your brakes don’t work. You find out you were out of brake fluid. You could have died. You go back to the shop, and you say, “Why didn’t you tell me?” The technician replies, “Well, I didn’t want you to feel bad. Plus, to be honest, I was afraid you might get upset with me. I want this to be a safe place where you feel loved and accepted.” You’d be furious! You’d say, “I didn’t come here for a little fantasy-based ego boost! When it comes to my car, I want the truth.”
Or imagine going to the doctor’s office for a check-up. The doctor says to you, “You are a magnificent physical specimen. You have the body of an Olympian. You are to be congratulated.” Later that day while climbing the stairs, your heart gives out. You find out later your arteries were so clogged that you were like one jelly doughnut away from the grim reaper. You go back to the doctor and say, “Why didn’t you tell me?” The doctor says, “Well, I knew your body is in worse shape than the Pillsbury doughboy, but if I tell people stuff like that, they get kind of offended. It’s kind of bad for business. They don’t come back. I want this to be a safe place where you feel loved and accepted.” You’d be furious! You’d say to the doctor, “When it comes to my body, I want the truth!”
You see Truth is not simply whatever works; Truth is not what makes people feel good. Truth is not what the majority says is true. Fifty-one percent of a group can reach a wrong conclusion. Truth is not defined by what is intended. Good intentions can still be wrong. Truth is not simply what is believed. A lie believed is still a lie. So, join me if you will and stand with the Professor, and stand for truth!
Tim Throckmorton is the former executive pastor for Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace, Ohio, and Portsmouth First Church of the Nazarene. He is currently senior pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio.