Darrow Miller and Friends

Secular Religion in the Bathroom: A Dangerous Moment in America

Secular religion is behind the bathroom bills.

 It is vital that Christians understand what is at stake with the Obama administration’s transgender directive to America’s public schools. It is far more than simply a policy about the use of bathrooms and showers.

The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

The federal government is prohibited from using its power to impose (or establish) a particular religion on the people of the United States. It must remain neutral on matters of religion. It is forbidden to take sides, to tip the scales in favor or one religion or another. It must allow people to hold various religious beliefs about ultimate matters, and to live in accordance with those beliefs, not merely at home or in houses of worship, but in every part of their life.

Obama administration pushes secular religion

What the Obama administration has done with this directive is to use the power of government to effectively impose a particular religion on every American, a secular-atheistic religion. Like all religions, it is a comprehensive worldview that answers all the big questions: What is ultimately real? What does it mean to be human? Etc.

Here is how this secular-atheistic religion defines what it means to be human:  Man is a radically autonomous, sovereign creator of meaning and purpose. Thus, through an act of the will, a man can define himself as a woman if he so chooses (biology notwithstanding) and vice versa. The state is obligated to respect and “dignify” this sovereign choice.

This view of human nature is contingent on an implicit view of ultimate reality, i.e. there is no transcendent, objective reality or moral order. There is no God. Men and women are, in effect, gods and goddesses.

Here is how Rod Dreher describes this secular-atheistic religious view: “We think we are autonomous, willing creatures, who owe nothing to nature, to God, the past, or the future.”

Jeremy Rifkin describes this belief-system using explicitly religious language:

Jeremy Rifkin warns about secular religionWe no longer feel ourselves to be guests in someone else’s home and therefore obliged to make our behavior conform with a set of preexisting cosmic rules. It is our creation now. We make the rules. We establish the parameters of reality. We create the world, and because we do, we no longer feel beholden to outside forces. We no longer have to justify our behavior, for we are now the architects of the universe. We are responsible for nothing outside ourselves, for we are the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.

America was built on the foundation of a Judeo-Christian worldview that made possible the very concept of religious liberty and freedom of conscience. God created man in His image. He created him with a degree of freedom, with a will and the ability to make moral choices. God respects human freedom. He doesn’t impose Himself on us. He doesn’t force us to bow down and worship him, but allows us to freely choose Him or reject Him. We see this throughout Scripture, but perhaps nowhere more powerfully than in the famous “choose this day” passage in Joshua 24:15.

Secular-atheistic religion rejects God

Yes, this is a religious view, but here’s the catch. It is the only religious worldview that allows for the concept of religious liberty and freedom of conscience. Historically, whenever the church has used the force of the state to impose Christianity on others, it was acting contrary to its own foundational teaching. No other religion that I’m aware of can make a similar claim.

This was the religious principle that America was founded on, and it enabled us to grow as a free and tolerant society where a variety of religions and worldviews could not only co-exist, but thrive, and where government was prevented from using its power to take the side of any one religion at the expense of another.

But with this public school transgender directive, that has changed. The Obama administration is openly taking the side of a secular-atheistic religion and using the power of the state to impose this religious view on the rest of us. Get in line, or your school will lose public funds. Get in line or you’ll be fined, marginalized, stigmatized as a bigot, lose your job, and so on.

This secular-atheistic religion rejects God. Man replaces God as the ultimate authority. How does this work out in practice politically? Those who hold power use their power to impose their preferred religion on everyone else. Simply put, if you reject the God of the Bible, you reject the only sure basis for religious liberty and freedom of conscience. Reject the Judeo-Christian God, and  you end up with some form of human tyranny.

So what do we do? We have to first see the Obama transgender directive for what it is. It isn’t merely a policy related to bathrooms and locker rooms in our public schools. It is the government taking the side of a secular-atheistic religion and using its power to impose that religion on the rest of us. It is requiring that it be taught as true, in school, to our children.

Those of us who do not worship at the altar of secular-atheism, who cherish our God-given religious liberty and freedom of conscience, have to be willing to draw a line. The current administration is brazenly flouting our heritage and our Constitution. If we don’t stand up and defend our most cherished rights here, where will we?

  • Scott Allen

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Scott Allen serves as president of the DNA secretariat office. After serving with Food for the Hungry for 19 years in both the United States and Japan, working in the areas of human resources, staff training and program management, he teamed up with Darrow Miller and Bob Moffitt to launch the DNA in 2008. Scott is the author of Beyond the Sacred-Secular Divide: A Call to Wholistic Life and Ministry and co-author of several books including, As the Family Goes, So Goes the Nation: Principles and Practices for Building Healthy Families. His most recent book is Why Social Justice is Not Biblical Justice. Scott lives with his wife, Kim, in Bend, OR. They have five children.