By Chris Quigg
Over the past several years, I’ve enjoyed opportunities to impact kids’ lives with truth. The school I taught at was not a Christian school, but the founding director was a wise leader. However, when the founding director left, the school’s ability to truly help hurting children faded because the spiritual aspect of treatment was removed.
This removal occurred over several years. As time went on, not only did our Christmas program eliminate Jesus altogether, the atmosphere at the center took on a progressively liberal agenda. So, when I came back to my teaching job after a short vacation, I would discover my teaching methods, which included God, were on a collision course with one of the center’s new policies.
I had a new student, which was common due to the nature of the school because it was within a residential mental health treatment center. But what was uncommon: this young man wanted to be a girl.
The majority of residents’ behavioral issues were rooted in serious abuse and neglect resulting in anxiety, depression, and suicidal tendencies. The center had a good reputation for helping its residents work towards healing and freedom from past hurts and bad habits. To minimize distractions and maximize good treatment outcomes, the center separated boys and girls in their living areas and also during meal times, though they did attend class together.
Suddenly, the teaching staff was expected to deal with this new situation without a plan and little preparation, which was evident from day one. I was told John would sit with the boys during lunch. When I told John this, he asked to speak with the principal. The principal changed his mind. So, John got his way and sat with the girls. The bathroom plan was also vague. Was John supposed to use the boy’s or girl’s bathroom?
An email was sent which included the new LGBT policy. According to the policy, we would have to call John by his girl name and refer to him using female pronouns. The email also said anyone failing to follow the policy would be subject to discipline up to and including termination. While other staff members and residents complied, many with whispered displeasure, I could not.
Speaking Up for Truth
A week later, a meeting was held to explain the transgender policy. I was fearful, so I prayed, “Father, I know this meeting will contain lies. Do you want me to speak up? Please give me wisdom.”
The speaker explained how babies are “assigned” their sex at birth, a sex that later in life may not agree with the reality of their gender. With a racing heart, I challenged her, “Doctors don’t assign sex, they simply make an observation and record the sex.” There was some agreement amongst my coworkers, but the training continued.
I asked, “What if other boys want to do this just to sit with the girls at meal times?” There was some more agreement and discussion. Then I asked the question that put a target on my back and would eventually lead to my forced resignation, “Will the center give an accommodation for those of us who, for religious reasons, cannot follow such a policy?” There was a pause, and then the answer came confidently, “No, this is the law, and therefore, there will be no accommodation.” This was a lie because there was no such law.
More meetings would follow, not public but private ones. With each meeting, God gave me increased boldness to challenge the merits of the policy. In constant need of God’s peace, I repeatedly quoted verses like Isaiah 41:13 to myself: “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” As I did, God’s presence and power enabled me to walk through this valley.
The first private meeting was between my immediate supervisor, the principal of the school, and myself. John had reported that I said I couldn’t call him his girl name due to religious reasons. I may have been thinking that, but I never said it to John.
The second private meeting was more serious and would eventually lead to my resignation. John complained again. He was working his way up the chain of command, and two rungs up he found a new friend. The assistant director called me in with the principal. She questioned me, “Can you uphold this policy? If not, you will be put on an employee improvement plan. And, if you do not make the necessary improvement [to call this boy a girl], you may be terminated, or maybe this is not the right place for you and you need to resign.”
I honestly told her I could not comply with this policy that lacked truthful support when compared to studies referenced by the American College of Pediatricians. I told her I would teach this student, but I would not lie to him or discriminate against him. I said I was looking for opportunities to encourage this young man and help him during his initial days of treatment.
I informed her that this young man had stated in class he knew he was a boy but sometimes wanted to be a girl. I pleaded with my supervisors to help this confused young man: “Why can’t we work together to help him move from gender confusion to being the boy we all know he is?” The meeting closed with no movement towards truth or helping a confused teenager work to achieve mental order and stability. Instead, I was asked to sign an employee improvement plan. I refused because I did nothing wrong.
I knew the policy was wrong. However, I still wondered why I struggled with the transgender part of the LGBT policy (aside from God’s original design regarding males and females). God opened my eyes to Section D of the policy which states, “In general, unless it is detrimental to their treatment, staff will address patients by their preferred name. Staff members (including teachers) are to honor the wishes of a resident who desires to be considered and referred to as the opposite gender of what their biology says. This is accomplished by using a name that indicates the opposite gender of their biology.”
The phrase “detrimental to their treatment” became the heart of my focus. Good and wise treatment necessitates truth. The goal of treatment is healing, and healing comes when we face reality (truth) and are able to cope with it. But the policy encouraged us to allow transgender residents to not face the truth and allowed them to exchange their biological reality for a lie! By perpetuating a lie, what is accomplished? This was a glaring departure from traditional treatment methods.
This lie, in particular, is especially damaging because it strikes at one of the key foundational truths of God’s Word, that He created us male and female and told us to be fruitful and multiply. Our ability to procreate as male and female is intimately connected with having been created in the image of God, the Creator of all things.
For teaching to be effective, it must be based on truth. To teach falsely about the spelling of words, how state names are pronounced or how to add and subtract would be unacceptable. Leading my students into false ways, regardless of their perception of reality, would not prepare them to live successfully. Successful living demands the truth. Future employers will want them to show up on time. Future bankers will know what’s in their accounts. If they break a law, they can expect the police to arrest them. This is the truth.
Students want to be taught truthfully. They understand and respect truth. To depart from truth in the classroom would be detrimental to my students’ futures. To depart from the truth regarding this young man’s mental health problems would also be detrimental to his treatment.
Voice of Consciousness
The final meeting with my principal and the assistant director came on a Friday. The email: “Please meet us at 3 pm.” I was given a choice: resign or be fired. I chose to resign the job I loved because I couldn’t stay and go along with a lie. I knew I had to be a voice of consciousness.
Christian friends, are we willing to speak out against the lies in society? Are we willing to be the voice of consciousness God calls believers in Christ to be? It’s not easy to go against the culture and speak up. It can be frightening for any number of reasons, like the possibility of losing a job or looking stupid in the eyes of our peers. However, the things we might lose are mere temporal things that have no lasting value when compared to eternity.
Please hear my heart. I too have been afraid and have not spoken up for truth. I have lived in fear as a Christian, not trusting God truly is God. But since I took a stand, God continues to meet my needs, financial and otherwise. I lost my job, but He provided another.
Let us not be afraid any longer! Let us speak out against the lies of our day. As in David’s day, the foundations of law and order in America are collapsing (see Ps 12). What can the righteous do? We can remember the Lord still rules from heaven and is still in control. He is searching the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him (see 2 Chron 16:9). Let’s commit fully to God, so He may use our simple acts of obedience to renew this nation for His greater purposes and glory!
Editor’s Note: Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
Chris Quigg has been married to his wife, Karen, for 26 years. They have five children and two grandsons. He works as a special education teacher in a public school. She is a former homeschool teacher and current Christian preschool assistant teacher. Chris and Karen both use education as a tool to share the gospel message. They reside in Lynchburg, VA.
This article originally appeared in The Renewanation Review® magazine. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted here by permission of Renewanation. For more information regarding Renewanation, visit renewanation.org.