Wednesday, March 19, 2014

God Does Not Care Where We Go Potty

Most every week, I check the messages on the answering machine at my little church.  It's not the best way to be in touch with us, honestly, but it'd be hard to have a church without a phone.  Usually, it's just folks trying to sell us things, and I'll hit delete. Sometimes--rarely, now--it's folks looking for information on the church.  Them I call back.  Then there was the message I listened to today, which I'd somehow missed last week.

It was a recorded message from Maryland Delegate Neil Parrish, or Kneel Parrot, or something like that.  Sound fidelity isn't always that great on our low-budget answering machine.   The message, which I don't doubt was being blasted out to every church in Maryland, had to do with something he was calling "The Bathroom Bill."  He sounded very earnest, as he told me that this bill was just like one they passed in California.  He went on, and I'll quote verbatim:

It would allow men to use the women's bathroom and women to use the men's bathroom based on what sex they happened to feel like at the moment.

Unless the Lord intervenes, he continued, this bill will pass. Pray!

Huh.  I looked it up, and discovered that there had in fact been a bill that cleared the State Senate to protect transgendered folks from discrimination in the state of Maryland this month.  Being a Virginian, I'd not much been paying attention.  Among some circles, it's called "The Bathroom Bill," because among other things it would allow individuals who are genetically male but surgically modified to use the women's room, and vice versa.

Not that the robocall said this.  It also didn't represent what it is to be transgender in anything but the crudest and most insulting of ways.  Neither did it deal with issues of potential misrepresentation in locker rooms, or issues of potential abuse of any legal protections by predators.  Strangely enough for propaganda, it didn't try to push those stranger-danger buttons.

As the bill was described, it was just about where we go wee wee.  Because you know, we Christians are such simple folk.

I had two reactions to the call.  First, well, I was a little put out, and personally offended.  Here, I have a confession to make about myself, one that might come as a shock:

I have--on more than one occasion-- used the women's room.

It doesn't happen often.  But sometimes, the only men's room is occupied for waaay longer than it should be.  Or there's significant urgency, like on a road trip when you pull into a Chipotle with your bladder about to explode, and just as you get to the bathroom a dad and his two toddler sons wander in.   In those times of biological krisis, signage means nothing.  Decisions must be made. What do I "happen to feel like at the moment?"  I happen to feel like I need to go to the bathroom. That's just a guy in a kilt on that sign, as far as I'm concerned.

More often, I've seen that happen for women at sporting events or concerts, as a bold sister in need will just line up with the always-faster-moving man-line. I do not, at such moments, mutter the word "abomination" under my breath. A stall is a stall is a stall, and if you've got the ovaries to buck convention, more power to you.

So that bugged the libertarian part of me that prefers pragmatism to social niceties.

But second, and more significantly:  You think I'm going to take this to the Creator of the Universe in prayer?

I have a strong sense of the reality of my Maker, one that has involved potent and life-transforming moments of presence.  We're talking the I Am That I Am here, the God who is a Consuming Fire, the source and ground of all being, the Numinous One who rides the whirlwind and stands above all time and space.

Human beings out there are suffering and starving, oppressed and struggling, hopeless and alone.

And I'm supposed to pray to my Awesome God about where people go to the bathroom?

Lord have mercy.