By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
May 27, 2016
RALEIGH – Activists or politicians who try to place the push for transgendered people to use the restroom of their choice on par with the civil rights struggle of African Americans need to learn the difference between immutable characteristics and chosen behavior.
That was the message Tuesday as some 40 pastors gathered at the North Carolina Capitol grounds to challenge the federal government’s attack on HB2, the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act that Tar Heel lawmakers passed in March to keep Charlotte from forcing area businesses to allow anyone who feels like it to access restrooms and dressing rooms other than those designed for their biological gender. The event came a day before Texas and 10 other states filed suit against the White House directive on transgender student access in public schools.
“The Civil Rights Movement was never about people arguing to be who they imagined themselves to be versus who God made them,” said the Rev. Patrick Wooden Sr., pastor of Upper Room Church of God in Christ in Raleigh. “I did not make an appointment to go see a doctor to have color placed on my skin. God made me this way, and He got it right.”
Wooden and seven other speakers led the protest, many chastising President Barack Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch for forcing the transgender agenda on America and commending state lawmakers for taking a stand for common sense and decency.
“HB 2 protects women and children,” Wooden said. “It discriminates against no one, but discriminates against bad behavior, and we believe it is bad behavior for men to have access to the bathrooms, dressing rooms, locker rooms of women and any place women go to change and undress.”
Civil rights activist Clarence Henderson, who participated in the 1960 Woolworth Diner sit-in in Greensboro, told the media he is highly offended to hear the transgender push compared to the civil rights struggle.
“There is a difference between what a human being is and what a human being does,” he said, emphasizing with other pastors that the struggle against the Jim Crow laws of the early 20th century was a fight for the legitimate right to be treated as a citizen, not a battle for special privileges based on chosen behavior or emotions. “There is a difference between feeling and facts….” he added. “I am who I am, but I cannot do what I want to do.”
Kenneth Fontenot, pastor of Bethel Baptist in Wilson, used a plate of bread and a bottle of maple syrup to make his point.
Dousing the bread with the syrup, he asked if it then became a pancake. When the crowd said it didn’t, he added more syrup and asked wouldn’t it be a pancake if President Obama or Attorney General Loretta Lynch labeled it so.
“No matter what people call this,” he said of the transgender agenda. “It is not civil rights.”
Fontenot further differentiated between the intent and the effect of the Charlotte bathroom ordinance, saying that although it may have been intended to help transgendered people, its effect would be that it also “protects perverts and predators.”
Jimmy Bention, pastor of Monroe’s Metrolina Christian Center Church of God in Christ, didn’t mince words, saying even young children can see the differences in male and female genitalia and that denying gender differences is denying the basic narrative of who we are.
Pastor Olden Thornton of Raleigh International Church did not seem surprised by the identity crisis, pointing to the Biblical prophecies of “great delusions” during the last days. He challenged pastors to continue to be watchmen on the walls and to pray morning, noon and night that those in confusion would be delivered, that the church would act on its beliefs, that students would withstand increasing pressure to hide their faith and that Christians would show godly love, which covers a multitude of sins.
Charlotte pastors who fought their city’s efforts to pass the controversial ordinance which led to HB2 also addressed the Capitol crowd.
Gabriel Rogers, pastor of Kingdom Christ Church and a mental health professional, said if HB2 is repealed society will have to deal with the resulting trauma and added confusion of young people exposed to sexual perversion.
“This is a chaotic time, anytime you have to stand on the doorstep of government and defend something as simple as a person going into the right bathroom,” Rogers said.
Fellow pastor Leon Threatt, with Christian Faith Assembly, said he was most appalled by the overreach of government, especially during a time when America faces a weak economy, the threat of radical Islam, a national debt exceeding $19 trillion and rising homelessness and hunger.
Raychon McKoy, an elder at Berean Holy Temple, closed the presentations in prayer, asking for courage and “holy boldness,” and moderator John Amanchukwu, executive director of the Upper Room Christian Academy, opened the event to questions.
Members of the media asked how the pastors would respond to the NAACP’s Rev. William Barber, who has championed the transgender push, whether they are open to compromise on HB2 and how they respond to people in the LGBT community who say they can’t change or, in particular, to African Americans who say they are transgender.
“Our response to the Rev. William Barber is that the African American community is not a monolithic community. We have the right to have differing opinions,” said the Rev. Wooden. “We are not ashamed to admit we agree with God and with common sense. There are only two sexes, and gender cannot be changed. We don’t speak for Rev. Barber, and he doesn’t’t speak for us.”
Wooden said the pastors’ message is not color-coded for any one group, but is very simply that “the notion that one can change their gender is a fallacy.”
As for a specific response to African Americans, he said, “What we would say is, on top of the racial discrimination that a person faces, that an individual should not, through their own actions, bring more resistance to their lives by simply trying to be who and what they are not.”
Threatt took the idea a step further.
“I can assure you that these men of God have the greatest respect, concern and compassion for those who are struggling with confusion over their sexual identity,” he said. “There is another answer to their struggle and challenge. Giving equal access to any bathroom is not the answer.”
Addressing questions about possible compromise on HB2, the pastors pointed out that it was the Charlotte City Council who started the fight over bathrooms and that state lawmakers were simply standing their ground.
Wooden said the people of North Carolina are behind the governor and legislators and will continue to vote for those who support HB2.
Black Pastors Say Attorney General Cooper Will Not Get Their Vote
On Thursday, at another press conference, Amanchukwu and others made it clear who would not get their vote, as they called out N.C. Attorney General Roy
Cooper for not supporting HB2 and not joining the lawsuit with Texas and other state’s against Obama’s order for public schools to effectively eliminate gender-specific bathrooms.
“We’re here to speak out about our attorney general’s failure to speak out and to sign the lawsuit that came out today,” Amanchukwu said at a press conference at a hotel where Cooper was holding an event. “Eleven states, and I will name those states – Texas, Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Arizona, Maine, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah and Georgia – signed on to sue the Obama administration and Loretta Lynch for the false accusations that they have made about transgenderism and the directive that (Obama) placed upon schools to allow space for transgendered students in the school system.”
“But our attorney general, Roy Cooper, has failed to sign onto the lawsuit,” he added. “What we have today is simple: as a black American in this state it’s an insult and it’s a racial slur to compare the transgender movement to the civil rights movement.”
U.S. Attorney General, Loretta Lynch Responds to Black Pastors Criticisms
Meanwhile, Lynch was in Fayetteville this week to talk about police issues and responded to the pastors’ criticism, saying that she respected those who have “toiled in the vineyard,” but did not share their beliefs.
“While the civil rights movement, certainly in this state, focused on racial discrimination, civil rights and human rights are not limited to any one particular issue or any one group of people,” Lynch told reporters.
“Where there are people who feel victimized and are in fact victimized and made vulnerable simply because of a physical characteristic over which they have no control, that is exactly what the civil rights laws are meant to cover.”
The Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said Lynch’s comments shed light on the heart of the issue, which the pastors had already eloquently expressed.
“Just because someone ‘feels victimized’ doesn’t mean they ‘are in fact victimized,’” Dr. Creech said. “That’s the point these men are driving home. African Americans who were denied access to schools, workplaces, restaurants and other parts of the community, and even worse, were beaten or lynched because of their skin color – something immutable. They were true victims. Asking a person to use the restroom that corresponds to their anatomy is not discriminating against them or victimizing them in any way. And I don’t care what anyone says, no one – absolutely no one – can say with any credibility that transgenderism is something immutable like skin color. As a transgender, one can be a man who perceives himself as a woman and then change back to a male later if he changes his mind.”