Heritage Oak Private Education, located in Yorba Linda, Calif., is being sued by the family of an eight-year old boy who is confused and believes himself to be a girl. The private school is being sued for failing to accommodate the boy’s desire to be treated like a girl. According to an article in Buzzfeed, the parents believe that Heritage Oak has failed to uphold its claim to “develop the whole child.” BuzzFeed reports that the content of the lawsuit charges that “Heritage Oak Private Education and its parent company, Nobel Learning Communities, illegally discriminated against the girl on the basis of gender identity in a business, engaged in fraudulent business practices, and intentionally inflicted emotional harm.”
Two things immediately stand out about this lawsuit. For starters, the boy first told his parents that he was a girl two years ago, when he was only six. My heart goes out to this little boy whose parents are not only allowing but are encouraging his confusion for the sake of promoting their own satanic, leftist agenda. Secondly, and obviously, the school being sued is a private school.
While Heritage Oak is a secular private school, this lawsuit has bearing on religious schools. The outcome, of course, will be closely watched by religious school administrators, but the very fact that such a high-profile lawsuit involves a transgender student and a private school bodes ill for religious schools.
Worrying about the future of Christian colleges after the SCOTUS Obergefell ruling in 2015, Samuel W. Oliver wrote in First Things that “the threat that worries [him the] most is the infringement of religious freedom by our own government.” Extending his concern to Christian day schools, Oliver wondered about the future of faith-based schools that hold to a Biblical view of sexuality.
Carl Trueman, one of Oliver’s co-writers at First Things, warned that the expansion of Title IX to encompass LGBTQ rights signals a coming Waterloo for Christian colleges, as well as Christians, in general. Trueman writes:
With Trump in the White House, Christian colleges have four, maybe eight, years in which the cultural and political tide might not flow as strongly against them as it did under Obama. Now is the time to organize, externally and internally. Colleges with a mutual interest in religious freedom and in preserving Christian standards of sexual morality and human personhood should talk to each other, abandon pipe dreams of “dialogue,” and coordinate their legal actions and political lobbying. They have the constitutional right to do so. America is still a free country. The whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. But time, focus, and realism are of the essence.
While it’s probably not going to have an immediate impact on Christian schools and colleges, the lawsuit against Heritage Oak is a serious harbinger of Trueman’s coming Waterloo. But as frightening as our swiftly changing culture is, the Bible doesn’t leave Christians in the dark about how to strategize and prepare for the coming moral darkness.
One of the Bible’s best known true stories is the tale of “the fiery furnace.” Found in Daniel 3:8-30, the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego reveals courageous faithfulness on the part of the three young men. The story opens with King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon issuing a decree. At the sound of a particular song, everyone in earshot was to bow down and worship a golden image of the king. As followers of the one true God, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to violate the first commandment that said, “You shall have no other gods before me.”
Almost everyone knows the rest of the story. The three young Hebrews were thrown into a fiery furnace by an irate King Nebuchadnezzar. By God’s grace, the three were spared and Nebuchadnezzar repented of his sinful and foolhardy decree.
God’s point in including that anecdote in His Word isn’t to teach us that we will be spared all unpleasant and bad things in this life if we obey Him. It’s to teach us that faith in Jesus punctuated by a life of faithfulness to God saves us from eternal death and that God’s people are ensured of His presence during the troubles of this life.
When Nebuchadnezzar peered into the fiery furnace, he was astonished to see a fourth person walking around inside. In shock, the king gasped that “the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
Believed by many theologians to be a Christophany, the fourth person in the fiery furnace was a pre-incarnate appearance of the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ. Even if you reject that in favor of an angel or something else, the meaning is clear — God is with His people and ultimate salvation is through Him. As Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, “Do not fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell.”
For those of us concerned about what this transgender lawsuit against Oak Hill means for the future, we can rest assured that obedience to God trumps the favor of man. Even if we’re threatened with loss of liberty, money, or even freedom, we need to pray for the faith to stand firm and not bow down before our society’s god of aberrant sexuality, including transgenderism. It will be far better for us to lose our schools than to lose our life and soul.