Thousands of shoppers have pledged to boycott Target after the company announced its “inclusive” bathroom policy for customers and employees last week. Target states, “We welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity. Everyone deserves to feel like they belong.” Is Target’s new bathroom policy wrong? How should Christians respond?
In order to start talking about right and wrong, I think it’s important to unpack two key points.
Target is in the business of making money and does not claim to be a church or non-profit Christian organization. This means their primary goal is to be financially successful by making decisions that will yield the most profitable outcome. It is also important to note that Target is a publically held company, which means their decision-making policies must be in the best interest of their stockholders. Therefore, we can safely assume that Target’s new bathroom policy has been put through financial filters and determined to be a profitable move.
Therefore, to hold Target accountable to a morally right or wrong decision is like holding a non-Christian to Christian values. For Target, a right or wrong decision only relates to their bottom line and shareholder return. Now, I may disagree with Target’s decision and show my disagreement by shopping somewhere else, but that is very different than imposing biblical principles on a non-Christian company. If Target were claiming to be a Christian organization, then we would be having a different discussion.
Target’s new bathroom policy uses the broad term “transgender” to include all those who feel their gender identity is different than their assigned gender at birth. This could include but is not limited to, transsexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals, transvestites, or simply people who are neither exclusively masculine nor exclusively feminine. This also means that people can determine for themselves their gender identity and which bathroom they will use. It is fairly obvious to see that this is a slippery slope when definitions are determined by subjective feelings rather than objective facts. It’s like grabbing Jell-O. This is why Christians are called to look to God’s timeless word in order to define truth.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
So when we look to the Bible to define gender, it is clearly a biological discussion (see my blog post, A Boy Named Sue). Yes, today’s culture has certainly blurred genders, but that doesn’t change the definition. Scripture clearly states that God created a man and woman to be biologically different regardless of feelings, propensities, or attractions. Therefore, when Target’s new bathroom policy states customers and employees can now determine which gender specific bathroom to use (i.e. men’s or women’s) based on feeling, it becomes both illogical and in opposition to God’s word.
Either get rid of gender specific bathrooms and let people just use whatever is available or define the genders that qualify. But when you leave it up to the individual, you will have confusion and conflict. And this will always be the case when you depart from the truth of God’s word. So yes, Target’s approach to gender identification is clearly wrong from a biblical perspective and Christians will have to make personal choices regarding their recent decision.
I was initially hesitant to weigh in on this topic because I don’t believe in trying to Christianize non-Christian businesses, but I do think it is important for Christians to think about it from a biblical perspective and not simply go along with culture. That is Faith in the Real World!
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Photo credit: Steven Senne, AP