In his blog post on April 27, 2016 (https://theboeskool.com/2016/04/27/boycotting-target-is-about-the-least-christian-thing-you-could-do/), Mr. Boeskool makes the case that boycotting Target over its public restroom use is a foolish irrelevancy and harmful to very real people. (And, as an aside, this is not a new policy for Target. It is simply their existing policy which has existed for a while.)
You can go read the article. It’s long and painful, but it’s educational.
And of course, it has received some pushback, especially from people who are concerned that allowing trans people to live in America unmolested is the Worst Thing Ever.
One, in particular, posted an opposing view, which I’ll quote in full here (along with a link to the comment).
Chris – “You’ve been peeing next to trans folks for a long time.” you’re right but the trans lgbt community are forcing these issues to the forefront. In most places/most cases we’da been just fine with the way it was but nnooo the LGBT community is never satisfied… always pushing for more. Now folks with common sense have had enough. “If your kid is going to get molested or sexually assaulted, it’s probably at least 1000 times more likely that the perpetrator is going to be a church youth worker than a stranger in a public restroom.” I think you’re exaggerating but partly right…. so does that mean we should elliminate speed limits on highways because after all the #1 cause of accidents is distracted driving, not speeding? Your logic would say this.. SMH. ” Jesus loved the outcast.” You’re right again but He also told them to ‘Go and sin no more.’ Regarding your transgender photos – These “scare samples” mean nothing to people with a brain and common sense. The people you’re depicting have a lot greater issues in life than deciding where to pee. There is no law that will cure their ills and no law that will make them happy, because they have not come to grips with who they are and how they were created. Why is it OK to discriminate against the 99% because the .0001 percent moan, groan, and complain expecting the world to stop and bow at their feet? Thankfully people with common sense who are comfortable in their own skin but not comfortable with an open bathroom policy are fighting back. We have been pushed over the edge. There have been incredible rights given to the LGBT (owe and now also add the letters “QIA” in there. We’ll soon likely be adding the whole alphabet in there including “D” for dog) community, but they are never satisfied… always thirsting for more no matter whose rights they trample. Chris – I admire you and your churches position on loving all people… I really do… yet you regularly bash Christians who hold traditional values. I’ll admit I don’t understand this. And yes I signed the Target Boycott (but you already knew that). One of the reasons our country is in the mess we’re in is because Christians often haven’t taken a stand so yes, it’s refreshing to see we can make a difference. It’s not just the Liberal Left that can force change in our society. And whether Target will admit it or not they are feeling the heat for their choice to be so inclusive that they actually offend and discriminate against a very large swath of their customers. Yes as Christians we can’t fight every battle but I won’t feel guilty in trying to make a difference where I can.
I responded there, and am copying here what I said. I think it’s important for Christians, no matter which “side” they’re on, to consider something we rush in to—the desire to make our personal convictions into God’s convictions, and to use the grace of Jesus as a weapon to punish and slay our religious AND political opponents.
Here are my responses to Lonnie’s statement. I do not want to seem to be picking on him, but he has made a public post repeating many of the things I have seen elsewhere, so I’m publishing it here again.
1. “You’ve been peeing next to trans folks for a long time.” you’re right but the trans LGBT community are forcing these issues to the forefront.
Actually, no. The issue is that everything was fine until the straight community started thinking it wasn’t fair to deny Americans equal civil rights. Then people opposed to equal civil rights got scared, and started a campaign to undo the attempts to be fair towards our fellow Americans and fellow human beings.
2. In most places/most cases we’da been just fine with the way it was but nnooo the LGBT community is never satisfied… always pushing for more.
To quote the great Jackie Robinson “A man shouldn’t have to ask for what’s rightfully his.” LGBT (and others) who are not “satisfied” are saying this: “We want the same things you have. If you can go into a store or restaurant or hotel or service station or bakery or flower shop or business and get fair treatment in spite of your straightness, we should be able to get exactly the same levels of service in spite of our non-straightness. That’s all it is—saying that “we want the same stuff you get.”
3. Now folks with common sense have had enough.
Not everyone who is against LGBT equality does so due to common sense. The vast majority of the reaction is based upon fear, hatred, and ignorance.
4. “If your kid is going to get molested or sexually assaulted, it’s probably at least 1000 times more likely that the perpetrator is going to be a church youth worker than a stranger in a public restroom.” I think you’re exaggerating but partly right…. so does that mean we should eliminate speed limits on highways because after all the #1 cause of accidents is distracted driving, not speeding? Your logic would say this.
No, logic would say “If 1000x times more kids are going to be attacked by church youth workers, then let’s focus our attention to where the problem is.” I’ve been a church-going Christian for all my adult life, some 45+ years. In all that time, I have never, ever seen a trans person “attack” anyone. In fact, trans people are people. You’re confusing pedophilia, an actual crime committed by straight adults against powerless children, with non-traditional social behaviors, including the behavior of saying “I would like to live my adult, non-threatening life in a way that pleases me, just like you live your adult live in a non-threatening way.” If trans people need to use the restrooms we straight people use, and they can do so as they have always done—by not making a fuss—then what exactly is the concern?
5. SMH. ” Jesus loved the outcast.” You’re right again but He also told them to ‘Go and sin no more.’
Trans people aren’t sinning. Where did you get that idea from? Jesus said a lot of things recorded in the New Testament, in the Gospels, the book of Acts, and the book of Revelation AFAIK. I looked to see where Jesus made a statement on how trans people are sinning merely by existing, and I could not find it. And I looked for a statement by Jesus in the New Testament where he said “You Christians need to use your religion to make the government punish people who don’t fit your biases and requirements.” I didn’t find those passages. Can you share where you get this idea from, based upon the New Testament words of Jesus? If you need to throw in Paul or the other eyewitness apostles, feel free.
6. Regarding your transgender photos – These “scare samples” mean nothing to people with a brain and common sense.
How do you know this? How do you imagine you can reach inside the heads of people you don’t know?
7. The people you’re depicting have a lot greater issues in life than deciding where to pee.
What are those greater issues? How do you know what they are, and how do you know they are “greater” issues? Are you a trained specialist in any field that would lead anyone to believe you speak authoritatively on how humans behave and what humans want?
8. There is no law that will cure their ills and no law that will make them happy, because they have not come to grips with who they are and how they were created.
Of course not – the purposes of the law aren’t to cure personal ills per se or make people happy per se. The purposes of the law are to enforce reasonable restrictions on behavior so that people in general can enjoy their full human existence without interfering with others’ enjoyment or impinging one’s own enjoyment. It’s up to use to figure out what makes us happy and to pursue it. The law won’t make us happy. It will, we hope, enable us to find the right paths to our own happiness. Not everyone chooses the same path to happiness, which is good and proper, because none of us should be telling someone else what they should do to be happy. We who find happiness can share with others where we found it and how we put it into effect in our lives, but we can’t mandate it.
9. Why is it OK to discriminate against the 99% because the .0001 percent moan, groan, and complain expecting the world to stop and bow at their feet?
Because civil rights are granted at the same level to everyone—100%. If one person in 12 is denied the enjoyment of their civil rights, we pass laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ameliorate that. If it is one person in 100, or one person in 1000, we would still need to pass laws to ensure that all humans, and especially all Americans in a country conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, have equal access to the full and complete enjoyment of their civil rights. We don’t want to make the mistake that just because one sheep is lost we should be fine with the 99 remaining. We go out and ensure that all the sheep are found. We go out and ensure that all men have equal access to their civil rights.
10. Thankfully people with common sense who are comfortable in their own skin but not comfortable with an open bathroom policy are fighting back.
What is an “open bathroom policy,” and why are you concerned about it? Most people in my experience in public restrooms go into these restrooms to do the necessary things. The people who use public restrooms to commit petty and felony crimes are doing so in spite of existing laws. It is not a thing that trans people are somehow committing crimes—they are using restrooms like we straight people do—to void and to eliminate in a private, secure, sanitary, and safe setting. Taking away the ability and access for trans people to use public restrooms will result in what, exactly? Do we then expect trans people to somehow “hold it until you get home”?
11. We have been pushed over the edge.
How? What edge? What in the past has led you to believe that right now, if you go into a restroom, you’ll see a trans person using the restroom which will cause such great distress? The essential nature of trans people is that they comport themselves according to the gender they feel. You literally will not know they are trans. So what is this “edge” that so alarms you?
12. There have been incredible rights given …
Literally not true. A completely wrong statement. Rights are something all humans are endowed with, equally. We straight people are not “giving” trans people (or others) some special inclusion into human rights. We are doing two things: we are acknowledging they are human, and we are doing the good, proper, and Christian thing to afford them the liberty to exercise their human, civil rights.
13. … to the LGBT (owe and now also add the letters “QIA” in there. We’ll soon likely be adding the whole alphabet in there including “D” for dog) community…
This is literally an unchristian things to do here, Lonnie. You just compared the humans for whom your Christ allegedly died for to dogs. The Jesus I’ve learned to worship and whom I attempt to serve didn’t go to that level of scorn and abuse. He somehow found it fit to save me, the chief of sinners. We can discuss differences in what we think about people without comparing them to animals
14. … but they are never satisfied… always thirsting for more no matter whose rights they trample.
Whose rights are trampled? And how? What is the “right” being trampled here? Is there some right to use a public restroom that requires people we know nothing about (and socially, shouldn’t be focusing on anyway in public restrooms) to be blocked from access and use? Please do the very hard work of justifying this very bizarre position.
15. Chris – I admire you and your churches position on loving all people… I really do… yet you regularly bash Christians who hold traditional values.
What are these traditional values that he bashes? And are they good values? The key to living a Christian life is knowing how to follow Jesus in changing times, and how to identify behaviors and attitudes that are not Kingdom-oriented, no matter how common or popular. I don’t see any “traditional” value that says “you need to keep unloveable people from public restroom access.” Traditional values have been, I think, focused on marriage and family and respect and focus. None of these values, however, can exist as values if they are enforced by law to the exclusion of people who do not fit into traditional roles. They aren’t values at that point. My family isn’t threatened by trans people having a place in society. My marriage isn’t weakened. My commitment to my career and job aren’t threatened. My ability to stay true to my values isn’t affected. I live a fairly conventional life, and I also interact with people daily who do not live their lives the way I do, and I’ll tell you this: I’ve never felt threatened that others don’t choose my way of living. It works for me to do what I do. Letting them do what they want to do affects me not one whit.
16. I’ll admit I don’t understand this.
No snark here, but I think you’re right, and this is the truest thing about your statement. If you want to understand this, you are on the right path by starting a conversation and listening to others. We are all growing in our understanding of what it means to be human and what it means to follow Jesus. We all start from the place of saying what you just said: “I’ll admit I don’t understand this.” I started there about a decade ago, convinced my ways and methods were Christian, and yet extremely puzzled why my ways were not generating any change in my own life, not to mention the lives of those I loved and was in community with. It took some extensive shocks and some very hard and painful work to change. I’m not done yet. I can tell you, however, that the freedom to love people and the freedom to live my life in Christ as Christ leads me is overwhelmingly worth it. If you want to go on this journey, I’ll offer all the encouragement I can.
17. And yes I signed the Target Boycott (but you already knew that).
I don’t think anyone else knew that, but it’s useful information. Signing a boycott, however, isn’t that effective. You have to stop shopping at Target. Your choices are limited, but you’ll need to seek out others places that don’t offer fair access to restrooms. I have a very strong suspicion that the number of places with trans-friendly restroom policies will increase.
18. One of the reasons our country is in the mess we’re in …
What mess is that? Are you speaking of poisoned water across the nation due to government malfeasance and incompetence? Crumbling highways? Dismal schools? Crushing poverty? Rich people earning money from the poor and then removing their money to offshore banks? Kids going to bed hungry at night, or going to school hungry? Women living in their cars with their kids, or on the streets, because we don’t have shelter for them? People of color being maltreated for centuries, selected for abuse by police, incarcerated for crimes at far higher rates and for far longer sentences compare to we good, white people? Are those the problems you’re speaking of? Because if you think access to restrooms is a “problem,” I’d suggest you’re aiming your attention far too low.
19. … is because Christians often haven’t taken a stand …
What is “Christian” about blocking access to public restrooms? I have searched my Bible high and low, and don’t see this as a command from Jesus or his apostles. I do see literal commends to feed the sheep, tend the poor, care for widows and orphans, heal the sick, give liberally to those in need. Can you share the parts in the New Testament that tell us to ignore these commands so we can focus on public restrooms?
20. … so yes, it’s refreshing to see we can make a difference.
What difference are you making? Target isn’t changing its long-standing policies. Telling Target you won’t shop there is completely ineffective unless you and others like you stop shopping there. A boycott built on hate and ignorance is going to fail. A boycott that consists of signing an online petition is…literally useless.
21. It’s not just the Liberal Left that can force change in our society.
This is a good thing. We as people can change our direction. Go for it. Speak up. Use your right of petition and assembly. Vote. Organize people. I encourage it. It is the way a civil society functions, by examining their values and changing where change is needed.
22. And whether Target will admit it or not they are feeling the heat for their choice to be so inclusive …
Evidence? What “heat” are they experiencing? A business exists to make money, first. Are Target sales down over all, and are other stores with more restrictive restroom policies doing better when compared to Target? It might feel good to imagine that Target “feels the heat,” but the evidence so far is that they don’t.
23. … that they actually offend and discriminate against a very large swath of their customers.
Who is being offended? Target sells outfits for children that I consider inappropriate, as they sexualize pre-pubescent girls. That, to me, is far worse than letting trans people use a restroom. Do you know that some Christians boycott Target because of this? Do you know that Target still sells these clothes, because other customers want them? The “swath of customers” who are offended will be replaced by those who are not offended. Target will offer sales and irresistible prices—and people will go back to shopping at Target even though they’re offended. It’s the way the world of Mammon works.
24. Yes as Christians we can’t fight every battle but I won’t feel guilty in trying to make a difference where I can.
I agree we can’t fight every battle; we have to fight the ones that matter. However, this is not a “Christian” battle. This is a conservative-religious battle. Lots of Christians, including Mr. Boeskool and myself, and others, are not convinced this is a “Christian” battle except that as Christians we are trying to ensure that our fellow humans and brothers and even believers are afforded the simple dignity we have: to use a public restroom without busybodies attempting to shame them and exclude them.
I am not attempting to pick on you personally, Lonnie. I don’t know you from Adam. You probably have a full and rich life, with friends and family and a career.
But I am responding to your statements because you have made a grievous error of confusing your personal, conservative, religious values with those of Christ, and making the extraordinarily wrong statement that your personal convictions are somehow to be identified as “Christian,” to the exclusions of millions of Christians who have examined these issues and have reached different conclusions.
There is no “Christian” policy towards public restrooms. We are left by Jesus to figure things out on our own, and we can glean clues about public behavior and public choices. But it is entirely plausible that Jesus’s words to Peter here are good for us, too: “When Peter saw [John], he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” – the temptation is to enquire of God as to the affairs of others, to ensure that they are following Jesus like we do. Jesus’s response is eternal: “Stop worrying about others’ behavior. Follow me.”