Morality in America
When studying the founding of the United States, you can’t help but encounter the faith of the nation’s forefathers. Time and again they recognized God’s hand in the shaping of America. You will find Him repeatedly mentioned in their words and documents. And you will find Him having an active, vibrant role in the country’s early history.
Today, God continues His work in America – but it’s in a nation that has clearly lost its moral compass. Every week, “Morality in America” will address the myriad of moral concerns facing the United States and undermining its Godly heritage. After you read, remember to intercede in prayer for America – that this nation will return to the Christian standards that once defined it.
Locker Room Wars
Transgender students fight for the showers
By Holly L. Meade
Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn Jenner. As a result, this public transition of the Olympic gold medalist put a spotlight on the issue of transgender rights. However, the battle over these rights in public high school bathrooms and locker rooms is becoming even more intense.
In Virginia, a transgender teen is suing the Gloucester County School Board for the right to use the boys’ restroom. In Southern California, two transgender students recently won settlements with separate school districts over alleged harassment and unequal access.
The Obama administration supported the students in both cases and announced that transgender people are protected from discrimination under the Civil Rights Act. The Education Department and the Justice Department both have issued decisions arguing that these students must be given full access to bathrooms and locker rooms.
The government also recently declared that a Chicago suburban high school district discriminated against a male student who identifies as a female and demanded use of the girls’ locker room. Township High School District 211 was given a month to provide the student full access to the girls’ locker rooms or lose federal funding.
Bathrooms obviously have individual stalls which provide some privacy. Yet, locker rooms involve more sensitive conditions: hormonal teenagers, naked bodies and a communal setting. At Township High School District 211, the line between accommodation and discrimination came down to this: whether the student would be able to choose to use the privacy curtains, or whether the school could force her to do so. The student participates on a girls' sports team and has been required to change and shower separately from her teammates and classmates.
However, the Department of Education states the school can't have a policy that singles out this student for mandatory use of the privacy curtains.
“All students deserve the opportunity to participate equally in school programs and activities – this is a basic civil right,” said Assistant U.S. Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon.
Matt Sharp, legal counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative Christian nonprofit advocacy organization, disagrees. No school has to allow boys in girls’ locker rooms, or vice-versa, according to Sharp. In fact, if it did so, the district could expose itself to legal liability for violating students’ right to bodily privacy. The ADF advocates separate changing facilities for transgender students and sent its sample policy to Palatine Township High School District 211.“Protecting students from inappropriate exposure to the opposite sex is not only perfectly legal, it’s a school district’s duty,” Sharp said. “Allowing boys into girls’ locker rooms when dressing is an invasion of privacy and a threat to student safety. The school district should continue to reject any attempts to pressure it into a policy that puts student privacy and safety in jeopardy.”
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said, “The Department of Education has said for some time that discrimination against transgender students is Title IX sex discrimination.”
Sharp noted that Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity, specifically allows schools to “provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex.” Courts have consistently ruled in favor of schools that require students to use facilities that match their biological gender.
However, before the federal government can strip the district of funds, it must first win its case in court. Given the clear legal precedent, Sharp predicts that the federal government will lose. “We're doing a very dangerous experiment with kids and not really sure of the consequences,” Sharp said. “We need to take a step back and make sure we're not doing more harm than good.”
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute, four in 10 transgender individuals will attempt to end their own lives. Perhaps the real battle is not regarding locker room access but about hurting hearts in search of the One True Love.
Psalm 139:14 says: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
Please pray that:
- Schools will protect the privacy and safety of all students.
- Courts will require students to use facilities that match their biological gender.
- Transgender students and their families would embrace a love relationship with Jesus Christ
Holly L. Meade has a Masters Degree and 20 years experience teaching Journalism, Mass Communications and developing content for the media, including radio and television.
The following expressions and comments are from our members and do not necessarily represent or reflect the biblical, world views or opinions of the Presidential Prayer Team
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