On Saturday, I covered the story of Byron “Tanner” Cross, a Virginia physical education teacher who refused to submit to Loudoun County Public Schools in the way of transgender affirmation.
Here's how he put it to the board:
“It's not my intention to hurt anyone. But there are certain truths that we must face when ready. We condemn school policies…[that] would damage children, defile the holy image of God. I love all of my students. But I will never lie to them, regardless of the consequences. I'm a teacher, but I serve God first. And I will not affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it's against my religion, it's lying to a child, it's abuse to a child, and it's sinning against our God.
That was a problem, as district policies state thusly:
LCPS staff shall allow gender-expansive or transgender students to use their chosen name and gender pronouns that reflect their gender identity without any substantiating evidence, regardless of the name and gender recorded in the student's permanent educational record.
School staff shall, at the request of a student or parent/legal guardian, when using a name or pronoun to address the student, use the name and pronoun that correspond to their gender identity. The use of gender-neutral pronouns are appropriate. Inadvertent slips in the use of names or pronouns may occur; however, staff or students who intentionally and persistently refuse to respect a student's gender identity by using the wrong name and gender pronoun are in violation of this policy.
[Staff] shall allow gender-expansive and transgender students to participate in such activities in a manner consistent with the student's gender identity.
Tanner was subsequently placed on leave.
As relayed by RedState's Kira Davis, Tanner's situation — which follows a series of Loudoun County news-making in the way of left-wing school action — partly prompted Tanner's pastor — Cornerstone Chapel's Gary Hamrick — to distribute a petition.
The petition aims to recall six school board members whom parents accused of pushing Critical Race Theory on kids.
On Sunday, Pastor Gary had strong words from the pulpit:
“We've got to take back our schools. … Are we just to throw our arms up and surrender and retreat and let our country and our county and our kids be taken over by progressive, liberal, Marxist ideology? I mean, this is just…out of control. Someone steps up, free speech, lovingly talks about how, by his faith, he has to be true to reality. And for that, he's placed on administrative leave.
“The school board, some of them — not all, but some of them — are not doing their duty to protect, let alone educate our children. And they are subjecting them to sexually explicit materials…and they are already talking about introducing racially divisive curriculum. They are emotionally abusing our children by perpetuating the lie about gender confusion when they affirm pronouns that are contrary to biology, reality, and the beautiful design of God. So they need to be held accountable. And it's time to step up.”
Well, now more's occurred.
On Sunday, the Loudoun County Democratic Committee demanded Gary take back what he said.
From the LCDC's statement:
The Loudoun County Democratic Committee was extremely disheartened to hear that one of our community's religious leaders made inflammatory and insidious remarks about several Loudoun elected officials during a service at Cornerstone Chapel this morning.
In his Sunday, May 30th sermon, Pastor Gary Hamrick took to the pulpit to accuse six Loudoun County School Board members of “emotional child abuse,” opening his chapel's atrium to political campaigning, and invoking the name of God to incite political action.
It comes down to safety:
We are deeply concerned about the consequences of such rhetoric, having witnessed a recent rise in threats to the safety of the Loudoun School Board members. Furthermore, this irresponsible accusation of child abuse minimizes and tarnishes the people and organizations that seek to protect our children.
We call on Pastor Gary Hamrick to recant his allegations due to the libelous and inflammatory nature of the remarks. Unfounded statements such as these not only hurt our community that he is meant to serve but have dangerous ramifications for the incitement of violence.
We're living in turbulent times.
The culture, it seems to me, has fragmented.
And two side are going head-to-head.
How — and where — will we all end up?
From the pulpit, Pastor Gary noted the difficulty of knowing when to speak out on issues outside the church.
He described the dilemma as Proclamation vs. Refutation:
“[T]here's proclamation, and then there's refutation. There's proclamation of the Gospel, and then there's refutation — refuting things that are happening in the culture that are unbiblical and ungodly that need to be addressed. … [I]f you're only about proclamation, and you only tell people about the Gospel of Jesus but you don't apply it in practical everyday ways, then you're not balancing it with the reality of the culture.”
If I had to guess, I'd say Americans of faith are going to find themselves increasingly weighing those very things.
And increasingly, I'd expect Refutation is going to be getting a lot more attention.
See more pieces from me:
Find all my RedState work here.
Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below.