By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
July 21, 2023
“This is a spiritual battle. It’s no longer right versus wrong, good versus bad. This is moral versus evil.” That’s how former collegiate swimmer Riley Gaines Barker recently described the fight to keep women’s sports fair and free from biological males competing as “transwomen.”
Barker, who graduated from the University of Kentucky last year, has spoken across the nation in favor of legislation keeping men out of women’s sports, including in North Carolina where she recently championed H574, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, and called out Gov. Roy Cooper for his veto of the bill.
“Riley Gaines Barker has hit the nail on the head. It is a spiritual battle, and one that Christians cannot afford to sit out,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “We need to contact our lawmakers to urge them to override the veto, not only of this bill, but also of H808, a ban on transition surgeries for minors; and H49, the Parents’ Bill of Rights.”
Barker, a 23-year-old NCAA All-American, experienced firsthand the negative effects of allowing male athletes to compete against female athletes when she had to swim against and share a locker room with William “Lia” Thomas, who competed for three years on the men’s team at the University of Pennsylvania before switching to the women’s team. Even when the two tied, she told the crowd at a recent press conference, Thomas was given the trophy.
“I knew the unfair competition was wrong. I knew the locker room scene was wrong, but when they had reduced everything that I had worked my entire life for down to a photo op to validate the feelings and the identity of a male, that’s when I had had enough,” Barker said.
At a recent event at Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg, Virginia, Barker told the crowd she has experienced a spiritual awakening that has opened her eyes to see how God moves through people and has led her in this fight. She said expecting women athletes to welcome this invasion of male competitors is asking them to live a lie.
“That’s what they were asking us to do when they’re asking us to smile and happily step aside and allow these men onto our podiums, taking our scholarships and our opportunities and our titles,” Barker said. “That was asking us to lie and asking us to not feel uncomfortable by having this man undressing inches away from us where we were undressing.”
In her Twitter post calling out Gov. Cooper for vetoing H574, Barker stood up for North Carolina high school athlete Payton McNabb, from Murphy, who suffered a concussion and long-term injuries when a biological male spiked a ball into her face during a volleyball match. Barker’s post included video of the September 2022 incident.
“It’s not me who has to go to sleep tonight knowing I’m enabling this,” she wrote.
Following Barker’s testimony during a recent press conference in Raleigh, bill sponsor Erin Pare (R-Wake) summed up the proposed legislation.
“This bill is a pro-women’s sports bill. This bill is a pro-fairness bill. This bill is a pro-safety bill and this bill is a pro-common sense bill,” she said. “And that’s just not me telling you that. That’s the majority of North Carolinians that agree with me. It is not right to allow biological males to compete against biological females in sports.”
The three-page bill, which passed the Senate (31-17) and the House (62-43) primarily along party lines last month, would require that middle school, high school and college teams be designated male, female or co-ed and that an athlete’s sex be recognized based on his or her reproductive biology and genetics at birth.
HB 808, a ban on transition surgeries for minors
Similarly championed by the GOP, House Bill 808 prohibits medical professionals from performing surgical gender transition procedures on minors and prescribing, providing, or dispensing puberty-blocking drugs or cross-sex hormones to those under age 18, with some exceptions. Violators of the law, which was set to take effect in August, could have their medical licenses revoked or face lawsuits.
The Rev. Creech addressed the House Judiciary Committee about the bill, pointing out that by law we do not permit minors to use tobacco, drink alcohol, take drugs, gamble or engage in sex with an adult, all of which may negatively affect their health. In the same way, he said, minors should not be allowed to alter their gender surgically – an act which unquestionably poses risks, including complications from the surgery, hormonal imbalances, and an increased chance of developing mental health issues such as depression and suicidal ideation.
Lawmakers also heard from Prisha Mosley, who described the severe and lasting injuries she suffered as a teen as a result of so-called “gender-affirming care.” Mosley, who now rightly identifies as the girl she was born as, gave an impassioned plea for lawmakers to pass the bill to protect others like her.
HB 49, the Parents’ Bill of Rights
Passed to uphold the fundamental responsibility of parents to make crucial decisions about their children’s education and upbringing, this bill bans curriculum about gender identity, sexual activity or sexuality in kindergarten through fourth grades in public schools and requires school employees to notify parents if their children ask to be called by a different name or pronoun. It also permits parents to review curriculum materials and to find out what materials their children are checking out from the school library.
“By vetoing this bill, Governor Cooper has undermined the invaluable role and authority parents rightfully possess in raising their children. Ushering in government interference in such deeply personal matters infringes upon our cherished principles of individual liberty and parental autonomy,” Creech said.
He called on individuals of faith, parents, sports enthusiasts, and citizens who believe in the values of personal freedom, fairness, and the integrity of women’s sports to rally behind these three measures by contacting their lawmakers and urging them to override the governor’s vetoes.
“By taking action, these vetoes may be overcome and the rights and protections the people of this state rightly deserve can be restored,” Creech said.
Don’t Hesitate to Contact your Representative and Senator in the North Carolina General Assembly about overriding the Governor’s vetoes on these bills. These bills may make the calendar for override votes, but are subject to be bumped to another day. So, we don’t know exactly when they will be taken up. Matters are currently somewhat in flux. This makes it urgent to contact them asap.
The CAL urges its supporting churches and other citizen Christians to ask NC lawmakers to override Gov. Cooper’s vetoes on the following:
- HB 574, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act
- HB 808, a ban on transition surgeries for minors
- HB 49, the Parents’ Bill of Rights
Doing this will take you a few minutes, but too much is at stake not to take the necessary time to do it!
Here’s a good plan for connecting with your lawmakers:
- If you don’t know who represents you in the North Carolina House and Senate, go to the following link and get their contact information: https://www.ncleg.gov/FindYourLegislators
- Send an email in your own words. Tell them you are a constituent. Please give them your name and where you live.
- Follow up your email with a phone call. Leave a message with the lawmaker’s Legislative Assistant or another staff member if your lawmaker is not in the office or unavailable to speak with you when you call. You can also leave a voicemail. Again, it’s critical to tell them that you are a constituent. Don’t forget to give them your name and where you live.
- Reject cynicism. You never know how God may use your voice in this matter. Remember the miracle of how Jesus used a small boy’s few loaves and fishes to feed thousands? God can also use what you give, even if it seems very small.