Politicians, Christians and Bathrooms

It’s hard to know how to make sense of the recent brouhaha around bathrooms that has taken hold in a number of state legislatures and on the presidential primary trail. During a rally in Maryland, Ted Cruz asked if we had gone “stark-raving nuts” in response to Donald Trump’s defense of transgender rights. Cruz went on to say later, during an interview with Glenn Beck, “When you deal with people who are repulsive perverts and criminals — there are some bad people in the world and we shouldn’t be facilitating putting little girls alone in a bathroom with grown, adult men. That is just a bad, bad, bad idea.”


My first response is to wonder what’s going on in Ted Cruz’s head. Should I be concerned about what he’s thinking about when he enters a public restroom? My second response is to wonder who he’s thinking about when he shows concern for “little girls alone in a bathroom”? Who lets their little girl go into any public restroom by herself—regardless of whether or not there might be transgender folks in there?

If there’s anyone in these scenarios who causes me concern, it’s Ted Cruz—as well as all of those other politicians and legislators who point to transgender people as the problem or, that predators will hide behind transgender sensitivity to prey on young children, especially girls. Are the minds of these politicians filled with dreams of dressing up as women themselves in order to visit the fantasyland that is the public women’s restroom?

Allow me to let you in on a little secret: the average public women’s restroom is not the paradise you might have in your mind. We don’t go prancing around in our underwear or sit in chaise lounges sipping tea. Aside from washing our hands and adjusting our makeup, the truth is that most of what we do in there is done alone in a stall behind a closed door.

What’s going on in Ted Cruz’s mind, as well as all of those other legislators, is deeply troubling. It is even more so when these very same politicians claim the Christian faith as their own. Even a cursory reading of the Holy Bible shows us that Jesus held a special affinity for those on the margins of society, those who were a little different than the ordinary, those who were easily misunderstood and cast as scapegoats for all of society’s ills. Jesus hung out with these people. They were his friends and followers.

Ted Cruz, as well as those other politicians, should show their faith by embracing instead of scapegoating, accepting instead of hating, and, at the very least—learning rather than assuming. It’s all too easy—and therefore disgraceful and not in any way Christian—to shame those who are transgender or to point to them as people undeserving of respect or care simply because they are a small group (and actually the people who are truly at risk in the face of these bathroom laws and policies).

Instead of pointing, these politicians should examine what lives in their own hearts and minds. Perhaps the real enemy lives within.

About smaxreisert

I'm a United Church of Christ pastor serving the small, faithful Old South Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, in Hallowell, Maine. I was ordained in Massachusetts in 1995, moved to Maine in 1997 and have served the Hallowell church since 2005.
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