Currently, there is a major scuffle between liberals and conservatives over who can use whose bathroom. Joe Carter (click here for bio) has addressed this issue in a recent article posted on the The Gospel Coalition website (click here for the article). One of the most recent headline grabing events is the suit and countersuit involving the federal government and the state government of North Carolina over bathroom use by transgendered people. And just as some lawyers who benefit the most not from winning a case but by continuing it, it is time that we face the fact that both liberal and conservative leaders benefit more from our culture war like the federal and one of the state governments suiing each other than in winning the battle.
Now Carter gives the story a typical conservative treatment. For example, nowhere in his article does Carter tell us that the medical field considers gender classifications to be continuous rather than discrete values (click here). Nor does he really address the marginalizing experiences of those from the LGBT community. It isn't simply the case of a man using a woman's bathroom as if he can anytime he wants to peek at women. For here Carter seems unaware of the long process that men and women who are seeking gender reassignment must undergo. Nor is he aware of the numbers in which transgendered people are using the bathroom of their new gender identity choice is so rare that without articles like his, we might very well be unaware of the problem.
On the other hand, as much as the government rightfully wants to defend the rights of those in the LGBT community, the government also needs to show a little more sensitivity to those for whom the new status of transgendered people is a culture shock. So the more the government justly pushes the rights of one side without showing any sensitivity to the other side's legitimate discomfort, the more government can be portrayed as a bully.
In the end, those who benefit the most out of the current conflict are, on one hand, Christian and other conservataive leaders and, on the other hand, liberal leaders. Christian and other conservative leaders who oppose those going through the process of being transgendered from using the bathroom associated with their new gender identity benefit because they can portray themselves to their followers and potential followers as brave souls who are swiming upstream to defend the rights of their fellow conservatives. Likewise, those liberals who insensitively push the rights of transgendered people to use the bathroom associated with their adoptive gender identity can sell themselves to their followers as courageous crusaders who seek to slay the dragons of opposition to the progressive agenda. In other words, the leaderships of both groups benefit more from the conflict than from ending it.
How is all that the case? Though LGBT rights is an important issue, it doesn't address the faulty structures on which society is based. The conflict has no potential to change our economic and political systems. Regardless of who wins that bathroom battles, we will still be under the whip of an exploitive economic system that tartgets people for either abuse or neglect. And regardless of who wins the bathroom battles, we will still have a two-party political system where both major political parties receive significant contributtions from those with wealth who wish to write our laws. And regardless of who wins the bathroom battles, our society will still embrace a militaristic mindset and thus as long as the candidate of one's choice, supports America's empire and American exceptionalism abroad.
And none of the above includes the choices our society makes regarding living and working for a cleaner environment.
So as long as we remain mired in these culture wars, the bigger battles will be neglected by those leaders who pretend to save us. But in the end, those immediate leaders are doing nothing more than supporting wealth and power. And for as long as our immediate leaders support wealth and power, we will suffer far more from what we neglect than what we pay attention to.
|This Month's Scripture Verse:|
Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
This too is meaningless -- Ecclesiastes 5:10