By Jaci Lambert
First of all, my need to write a blog to address an issue as stupid as Target and its bathroom policy proves exactly two things:
1. This country is absurd.
2. We all get our panties and underpants and gender-neutral underclothings in such tight-wound wads that it’s a wonder any of us can even breathe.
Let’s get all of my personal facts out on the table before I tell you where I stand and why. I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus Christ as my very personal Savior. I love Him, and I believe He loves me along with every single person on this planet. Without exception. I am straight. I am married to a man. He is a pastor which makes me a pastor’s wife by default. I’m not always a very good one, but I’m an honest one, so my church at least has that going for it. I am a mother. I have four beautiful daughters, and I would start World War III to keep them safe. I am politically conservative, but I have stopped identifying with the Republican party because I think that the whole of Washington has lost their ever-lovin’ minds … across party lines … it’s the one thing they have in common. I believe in the Bible. I believe that every word in it is true. I believe what the Bible says about homosexuality, but I am NOT a homophobe. Because I also believe what the Bible says about loving people. ALL people. Without exception.
It’s nice to meet you. Now that you know the filter through which I am processing this whole #BoycottTarget debacle, you might be surprised to hear me say that I am still shopping at Target. I love their Dollar Spot, and they have cute shoes. (<—This is humor. Soak it in and lighten up.)
The backstory as I understand it: Target has come out and said that they are now going to allow people to go into whatever bathroom they “gender identify” with. So if a man identifies as a woman, he is now welcome to use the women’s restroom and dressing rooms. If a woman identifies as a man, she is now welcome to use the men’s restroom and dressing rooms. And the whole country has lost their minds about it. I understand. There’s great concern from both sides. The left feels the need to protect the transgendered community, and the right feels the need to protect their values. They have great concern for the safety of their children were perverts and pedophiles to take advantage of this new policy. So in response, the conservative right has started a movement to boycott Target and the liberal left is living in renewed determination to hate the “homophobic Christian community.”
Does that about sum it up? So glad we can all get along. (<—That is dripping sarcasm.)
Since we have established the basics of the boycott, let me tell you why this straight, conservative preacher’s wife and mother of four young girls is still going to shop at Target:
1. Target is not any more liberal this week than it was a month ago. Target has ALWAYS been a liberal company and if Christians took even five minutes to do a Google search (except if you’re boycotting liberal companies, you’ll have to use a different search engine because hello Lefty-Liberalton!) they would find this to be true. Target has NEVER claimed to be a conservative, Bible-believing company. Because they aren’t. They hold hands with Starbucks, another flamingly liberal company whose CEO takes a yearly vacation solely on the dollars he earns from the coffee addiction of my very own preacher husband. If I was willing to spend my (errrr … husband’s) hard-earned dollars at Target a month ago (when their bathroom policy was exactly the same) then there doesn’t seem to be much reason to withhold those dollars now. *Also note the HUNDREDS of other LGBT supportive companies Christians should be withholding business from if they’re really serious about all this boycotting jazz, including, but not limited to: Amazon, Apple, AT&T, CVS, Disney, Ebay, Facebook (say WHA?!?), Microsoft, Nike, Office Depot, Pandora, Twitter, Visa … just to name a few.
2. I am a supporter of the Hobby Lobbys and the Chick-Fil-As and the Christian bakeries and all the other companies that want the freedom to stand up for what they believe in. I think it is W.R.O.N.G. when they are forced to either close or comply for maintaining their values. That being said, it seems a bit hypocritical not to allow other companies (Target, in this case) to do the exact same thing. We can’t have our cake and eat it too … especially if the Christian bakeries all close.
3. Target offers a family restroom for our family convenience that we tend to frequent. Why? Because there are a bunch of us and when everyone has to pee, it’s easiest for this mommy to keep them confined in one small room, with a lock on the door, where no one can escape. This is still an excellent option to be utilized, but there are others.
4. We can pee before we come, we can pee when we leave or we can pee in our pants if we’re that terrified of what we might find behind the restroom door.
5. I am capable of accompanying my children to the main restroom if the family restroom isn’t available. I would like to pretend that I am an amazing mommy who ALWAYS goes to the restroom with her children 100 percent of the time, but in all reality there are four of them so we have been known to do the buddy system, and Mommy continues to shop. However, I will now simply accompany my kids into the main restroom when we’re at Target because IF they ever come across a transgender person in the women’s restroom, they might be confused. And let’s be honest, they might be a little scared. But if Target’s bathroom policy works as it’s intended to, they probably will never know the physical gender of the person washing their hands at the sink next to them. (Please Note: I am NOT in support of every Tom, Dick and Harry waltzing their way into the women’s restroom just because they FEEEEEL like it. I assure you that if I have even the slightest check that something is amiss or that the person in the restroom is there to do anything other than empty their bladder or touch up their lipstick, the police will be my new BFF.)
6. Transgender people have never hurt my children. But believe it or not, a whole bunch of church people have. (Oh, yes, I said that. Hand slap. See how that honesty bit gets me in trouble?) What does that mean? It means that ANYONE is capable of hurting my children. ANY.ONE. And it’s my job to keep them safe. In the restroom, in the parking lot, everywhere. But what if they did see a transgender person in the restroom? Would the world really end? No. Because I would then have the opportunity to explain to my children, who don’t have any choice but to grow up in this messy world, that there are some people who feel like they are different and like they don’t belong anywhere. We could talk about what Jesus would do and how He would expect us to love them and how we would feel if we didn’t belong anywhere.
7. The perverts and the pedophiles don’t care about Target’s policy. Sure it’s one less obstacle in their way, but you really think a store policy is going to keep them from what they desire? Probably not. They can find children unattended in all kinds of places (including the Target toy department, if we’re being honest). And right now, they’d be stupid to step foot in a Target restroom while everybody is up in arms. But if they do, if the perverts and pedophiles decide to hang out in the women’s restroom, Target will have Hell to pay for their decision. That’s on them. Women and children need to be paying attention to their surroundings just like when they’re at the park and when they’re at the grocery store after 10 p.m. and when they’re at church (shoot, I can’t even help myself). Pay attention to your surroundings because perverts and pedophiles like other places besides Target.
8. THE BIG ONE: This boycott is doing more damage to the Christian cause than it’s helping. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in standing up for our rights and in what we believe in. But this isn’t a “right.” This is a privately owned company setting a policy in place. They are free to do that in America. Whether we agree with it or not. And we are free to take our business elsewhere. But with a public temper tantrum? For the sake of what? Of proving a point? Don’t you see that the other side, the side that doesn’t know Jesus, the side that looks to Christians as the hands and feet of a Savior, don’t you understand that all they see is fighting? Is hatred? I understand both sides. I really do. But do you really think this boycott is going to grow your church next Sunday. Do you think this display of “Jesus” is going to make the lost think, “Oh yes, I want what they have. They are such a loving bunch.” I don’t think so. Maybe continuing to shop at Target isn’t about laying down to the left but about responding differently to those who are different. Instead of a boycott, couldn’t they know us by our love? Wouldn’t that be a different, BETTER way to handle this situation, an unexpected response? Wouldn’t responding in love turn the head of the critic? Wouldn’t there be a better chance that he might say, “Oh. They aren’t throwing stones at me. Maybe they do have something different to offer.” Jesus specifically said in John 13 that “they” would know we were His by our love for each other. You don’t really think He intended that we exclude “them” from that love, do you? He never said they would know us by our boycotts, by your stubborn stance for policy and procedure. Somehow that sounds a whole lot like the Pharisees He fought against, not the messy people with whom He purposely spent His time. And I just really think that if He were here, if Jesus were walking the Earth today, He would be standing outside that Target bathroom … not to freak your children out … but to tell that transgender teen who is so confused and alone that He loves him, that He died for him, that He has more to offer him than anything he will find here on Earth. I think He would much rather be inside Target with people who are broken and messy than outside of Target signing petitions to make the outcast feel a little more shunned. Also, with all the Christians gone, it seems like Target might just be the best mission field in all of Suburbia.
But what do I know. I’m just a straight, conservative preacher’s wife.
*A Final Note: Everyone, let’s keep open minds. I wish we could all step back and take a moment to walk in someone else’s shoes. But for real. Both sides need to set their stubborn pride down and breathe. This is the reason Lamaze was even created.
To the left: Please listen to yourselves. You throw out the word “tolerance” like it is your love child, conceived and birthed in some spectacular fashion. You carry it around like your trophy, your greatest contribution, but as soon as someone voices a differing belief (most notably for religious reasons) you turn around and use your tolerance trophy to bludgeon them into a bloody pulp. Then your stance for tolerance is no longer credible. Because you can’t demand tolerance and never truly offer it in return. It’s not tolerance if you always agree with those you tolerate.
To the right: I know you’re freaking out. I know you don’t feel heard. I can hear every single one of your arguments running through my head like a broken record. I live in your world and I agree with many of your things. But please be careful. You’re allowed to stand up for yourselves, but watch the attitude in which you do it. I know some of the left can be abusive to you and what you believe, but don’t return abuse with abuse. I had a Christian, someone I actually know, call into question the salvation of people who continue to shop at Target. Legitimately. And I quote, “If you’re really a born again Christian you will not even cast your shadow on their front door.” And 27 people just went to Hell because after reading that they don’t want your Christ. They don’t want Him if this is how He treats people. So PLEASE!!!!!! This is about more than being right or wrong!!!! This is about how we handle ourselves! This is about REAL LIVING PEOPLE IN NEED OF THE JESUS THAT WE KNOW (or say we know). All I’m asking is that you show kindness when making your decision. I don’t care one way or another if you ever step foot through the doors of Target again, but for the love of all that is holy (seriously) PLEASE be kind. And offer mercy. And grace. And love. That is not the same thing as having your beliefs trampled on. Just walk it out in love. REALLY step back and ask yourself how you think Jesus would handle this whole thing. And then walk accordingly. But remember who you represent, because that includes me. And I know too many people who are too important to lose over something as eternally insignificant as Target and their bathroom policy.
About the Author: Jaci Lambert (pronounced Jackie … leave it alone … half the words in the English language break the rules and she considers herself to be an exception to the rules) is the wife of a pastor and mother of four daughters. She spends most of her days being used as a human Kleenex and trying to reign in everyone’s estrogen. Jaci and her preacher husband, Russ, launched a tiny, baby church plant in February 2016 along with 40 of the most phenomenal, Jesus lovers to walk the planet. She loves stretchy pants, babies, Facebook and hiding in the closet with ice cream because it’s so quiet in there. Jaci is the blogger at ministryinthemommyhood.com where she occasionally vomits her thoughts on life, motherhood and ministry before they slip off the back of her brain never to be heard from again.