Bostock v. Clayton County
Every now and then a U.S. Supreme Court decision comes along that the Church of Jesus Christ cannot ignore. Bostock is such a case. The June 15, 2020, ruling holds, in essence, that the definition of “sex” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes “sexual identity” and “sexual orientation.” I will leave it to others who are more qualified than I to unravel the tortured legal logic of the majority. I will also leave the fiery rhetoric to those who are so inclined. I, rather, am inclined to weep. The spiritual brokenness from which this case and decision issue, and to which they will lead, is a tragedy now set to effervesce in new ways across our culture, leaving untold human wreckage in its wake.
It can be fairly said that the Court's decision addressed a wrong that had been done to the plaintiffs, and in a narrow sense I can applaud that outcome. But something much bigger was at stake. The unmistakable implication of the decision is that “gender identity” has only an arbitrary relationship to biological sex – not only for the plaintiff, but for everyone. The alignment of biological sex and gender identity is mere coincidence, and therefore meaningless. What does it mean to have a mother and a father in such a world? Or brother or sister or aunt or uncle or girlfriend or boyfriend? Or husband or wife? Fundamental facts that we have come to know through our God-given senses – and have known all our lives through use of our God-given minds – can no longer be regarded as true. At least officially. Or spoken of. Even though we know in our minds and in our hearts that the official dogma is rubbish, and so are the speech codes through which we must strain out an ever-growing list of words and phrases. We are being forced more and more deeply into a world of cognitive dissonance. This latest decision represents a new and massive shift that derives from a worldview that utterly rejects the Creator’s design. Well, not really new. Just one that’s now enshrined in our legal code. And as such it represents a novel, state-approved rejection of biblical revelation that insists God created human beings in his own image, “male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).
Who will be hurt most? Our children, who will have to learn how to navigate the new world, never having really known the one that came before – one that was far from perfect, but in this regard at least was a step closer to acceptance of a reality known to be true from time immemorial. Our children will imbibe the lie in their classrooms, in their social networks, in the entertainment they consume. But it’s not only the children who will be hurt. It’s also those who are celebrating the Supreme Court victory – because it will prove to be Pyrrhic in the long run. God will not be mocked.
I say these things not with animosity or anger. I have long since come to realize that I am as much a wretched sinner as anyone else. I say them not with nostalgia for the “good old days” that never really were. Indeed, the good days are yet to come, when God’s will finally comes to be realized on earth in the way that it is now realized in heaven. I say them not unaware that some fractional percentage of the population really does suffer from some sort of true physical sexual ambiguity, and believing that such individuals are worthy of respect and compassion. I say these things not at all denying – but rather affirming – that a civil society will work hard to provide them equal opportunity, and that if anyone would love them and fight for them, it should be the Church – and that this should also be the attitude of the Church toward all the victims of the sexual lies that our culture tells us.
Rather, I say these things simply with a profound sadness for the brokenness of our world, and for the way that this decision will only magnify the consequences of that brokenness. And I say them to Christians who know and feel the brokenness too, but who have also experienced the healing power of the gospel of Jesus. He has told us that it is not those who are well who need a Physician, but those who are sick. And he spent much of his time in the company of “tax collectors and sinners.” It is from such spiritual sickness that we ourselves have been rescued and are being rescued and will be rescued. We are now here as his ambassadors in a time of deepening crisis. Let us implore the God of heaven that we might be used at least in some small way as channels of his healing power in a world that desperately needs it.