Andrew Walker raises both questions and brings clarity to what may be the hottest topic in American culture. In a post for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention entitled Are restroom laws that respect privacy the equivalent of Jim Crow laws? Walker writes the following:
Jim Crow laws made arbitrary distinctions based on skin color. For example, the color of a person’s skin matters nothing to their hunger or ability to purchase food, but Jim Crow laws prohibited African Americans from entering certain restaurants. There’s no rational purpose to deny a person access to a particular restaurant because of an arbitrary factor like skin color. Those laws were senseless and irrational. HB 2, however, makes rational distinctions based on the very real differences between men and women.
Therein lies the rub. Are there “very real differences” between the sexes? Walker’s post hangs on that sentence. Astonishingly, one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves today is, “Is gender something?” While so many people fight over definitions of gender this question precedes all other questions. Is gender something? Or, is it nothing?
We should ask the same question about marriage. Is marriage something? Or, is it nothing? We can argue until we’re blue in the face over what marriage is and isn’t, when we should be asking, “Is marriage something, rather than nothing?”
This is the center of the debate. Our nation is dividing over this question. Part of our population agrees with the statement, “Gender is something.” Part of our population agrees with the statement, “Gender is not something.” As it relates to Jim Crow laws almost no one is arguing over whether race is something or not.
I believe the Scriptures teach that both gender and marriage have objective definitions. They are something. They can be defined. Notice, I haven’t defined them yet. I’ve just said they can be defined. I also believe the Scriptures account for a wide range of human experience, human sin, and divine mercy and patience for both me and those I disagree with on public policy. I believe asking the question of the possibility of objective definition can help Christians clarify their understanding of exactly what’s at stake.
My hope and prayer is that Christians learn how to be both unwavering in their commitment to the authority of Scripture and patient and loving and winsome to surrounding culture.
I highly recommend following the ERLC and its President Russell Moore as they model what I believe is a Biblically faithful witness to culture.