WIPD-300x300Students at my kid’s high school announce that next week is a mufti day and all kids are to come in casual clothing to support students who are transgender, gay or lesbian as part of ‘Wear it Purple Day’.

Wait, hold that…say what?

Don’t you choose to support causes, instead of being forced or co-erced to do so?

Like White Ribbon Day (to support anti-violence against women) or Red Nose Day (to raise support for infant death syndrome), you wear the ribbon or put on a red nose if you support the cause or would like to show support. But no-one goes around forcing you to wear a nose, or ‘outs’ and socially shames you if you don’t.

So why the broad requirement to wear mufti for transgender, gay and lesbians?

At least two things:

1. The rise of secularism -are you ready for it?

Australia in the recent 2016 census showed a marked increase in those identifying as having ‘no religion’.

Recently the Sydney Morning Herald cited increases in numbers of those who identified with as ‘secular’ across all schools, including Christian ones. These statistics will have a bearing on the direction and expression of our education services and the students who attend them.

As our societies become more secular, there will be less tolerance for Christian views and the basis for our values will increasingly become a shifting sand.

2. Oppressed minority becomes the oppressor

Part of it also has to do with the growing over-reach and over-correction of the gay community; once oppressed, now ironically becoming the oppressor.

Promotion of events like the ‘Wear it Purple Day’ can end up being more than just raising awareness of the concerns of LGBTQI students in the campus. It so easily becomes a promotion of anti-Christianism. Instead of allowing differing views to be respected and free speech allowed, it becomes a shout down of all who dear hold a different view.

Being a student lead movement it’s easy for such an event to be announced almost as ‘law’ without appreciating the complexities of running a school and the need to also be mindful of other students who make up the community. Youth are quick to be very zealous about issues. But it also goes to show how quickly we are moving from respect for each individual to respect for one group at the expense of others.

I fear that kids, if they don’t wear it purple, may experience reverse harassment and discrimination. Should your kids choose not to wear the ribbon or dress in mufti, they may be labelled ‘a transgender hater’.

What do you encourage your kids to do?

What do they say to their friends if they don’t wear it purple?

Some no doubt would be appalled that Christians, people of other faiths and other citizens might not want to support such a day.

‘Why are we still discussing this?’

They may ask, as though there is no conceivable possibility that an alternative view might be OK.

Aren’t all people created equal?

Of course, made in the image of God.

So why not wear the (purple) ribbon?

It reminds me of a funny scene from Seinfeld where Kramer is caught not wearing a ribbon in a gay march in New York and isn’t given the chance to defend himself:

“Who won’t wear the ribbon?

Did he say what I think he said?”

“Yes, I think he said he wouldn’t wear the ribbon”

Well, you know what happens to people who don’t wear the ribbon…”

How does a Christian who believes the Bible is God’s unchanging word, respond?

As Christians we want to practice love to all people. We want to stand up against bullying and harassment of anyone.

It may sound corny, but ‘what would Jesus do?’

Jesus showed a willingness to welcome people of all kinds, especially those society recognized as ‘sinners’. He came to seek sinners, including thieves, sexually immoral, prostitutes and the like. Likewise, we show respect and a willingness to be kind to all people, knowing that we are sinners too. We are prepared to come alongside them and love them where they are, as Jesus has done for us.

So, they can wear the mufti? They can don the purple?

After all they wouldn’t they just be saying that they support the needs of others to not be harassed for their sexual orientation? Surely that’s OK?

More than acceptance, it's promotion

‘Wear it Purple Day’ is asking more than just support against harassment. It’s asking for us to celebrate and promote the gay identity. The assumption is ‘this is who they are’ and we should be proud of them being true to themselves.

Jesus’ actions were more than coming alongside and welcoming the rejects of society. He expected people to turn away from their sin, be forgiven and follow Him. He came to seek and save the sinner. So, we don’t leave people in their sin, we seek to ‘save’ them too, as Jesus did. Jesus did not expect sinners to stay sinners, the whole point was to restore them and for them to gladly turn away from their past lives to become reborn and transformed into the true image of God. It’s not something we do to people, it’s something God does through the power of his regenerative word and Spirit.

This means that while we want to show love for all people, we don’t want to be celebrating and approving of what God calls us to leave behind.

What a waste of time, should Jesus die and suffer for us all, if how we live our lives doesn’t matter. Jesus didn’t come to celebrate and promote who we are, he came to denounce us and save us at the same time through his death and resurrection.

Unfortunately, the conditions are ripe for some reverse discrimination and bullying:

Here’s a quote from the ‘Wear it Purple’ website:

‘Wear it purple is a student-run, not for profit organisation dedicated to supporting young people who identify as sexually and/or gender diverse. They work hard to ensure that the wellbeing of rainbow young people is equal to that of their peers and to raise awareness of issues affecting the LGBTQI community’

Sounds harmless enough?

All parents and students should be concerned for the wellbeing of kids, right?

However, it may be implied that you think something is wrong with them if you don’t don the purple. It seems to me that what might stem from a difference of opinion or belief, might be challenged as being harmful to the wellbeing and disrespectful to the LGBTQI community.

Gay teachers have a say in school, so why not others?

On a tangent, I note that teachers who are gay are at times in vocal support for the student lead movement. This raises questions about whether teachers should be quiet about who they are in their private lives. If gay teachers can be vocal about LGBTQI issues in our schools then why shouldn’t Islamic, autistic, vision impaired, recovering alcoholics, survivors of sexual abuse, Hindu or even, dare I say it, Christian teachers, be vocal about their private lives given they will identify with some of the constituents of their school student body and be a good person to speak up for them?

Times are thankfully moving on from the ‘gay bashing’ 80’s. It’s also becoming far less acceptable to slang your mate or anyone for that matter with slurs against homosexuality. All these are good things.

But do I need to go full tilt and encourage my kids to celebrate transgenderism?

Do I encourage my kids to promote lesbianism and encourage their friends to pursue gay and lesbian lifestyles if that’s what the staff and a small band of students are asking of them?

Do we all have to be as ‘proud’ as gay people for their lifestyle choices?

Why can’t we just support their non-harassment and right to be treated as a human being.

Why do we have to be co-erced into celebrating their choices?

The mufti day didn’t go ahead

Thankfully the school didn’t roll out the full mufti day requirement for transgenderism. The folly or inconsistency with other ‘Fundraising Days’ was seen quickly enough. Even more thankfully, the overreach of this mooted day was quickly seen to potentially offend those who have a different view and who make valuable contribution to the school’s life.

But this won’t always be the case in every school. More often it will just happen, and you’ll be outed for not participating. So much for freedom of speech, religion, belief etc.

This 'Wear it Purple' day I'm not sure if it's the ones wearing purple who will stand out.

Wouldn't it be so ironic if those who didn't wear purple were harassed by those who did?

The purple wearers would become the very thing they despise.

You may think the answer is to take your kid out of school, homeschool them or send them off to a Christian school. There are merits in both. There are merits to keeping them there too.

I’m not getting into that right now, because regardless of what you do, the buck stops with you. The values, the attitude to God’s word, the respect your kids have for others and their views, how they speak to ‘outsiders’, well it all comes down to the home.

You and I are in the business of equipping our kids for life. From God’s word we need to show them how to navigate this increasingly secular world they live in…Question is, how will you do that in your home?

I’m here to help.

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