November 15, 2018
If the extremists at U.C. Berkeley want Isabella Chow's senate seat, they'll have to come and take it. The Christian at the center of a campus-wide controversy isn't backing down -- no matter how ruthless the opposition is. Believing in basic biology isn't hate. And you'd think any college that wants to be taken seriously in America ought to know it.
For Chow, the last few weeks at Berkeley haven't exactly been easy. She's been kicked out of her campus political party, screamed at on her way to class, and accused by more than 1,000 of her peers of being "violent, hypocritical, and bigoted." All because she dares to agree with thousands of years of human tradition. "As a Christian," she said before a vote to support transgenderism, "...I believe that God created male and female at the beginning of time, and designed sex for marriage between one man and one woman."
That was on Halloween. In the days since, Chow's been the target of campus op-eds, a threatened recall campaign for her senate seat, and -- now -- nationwide attention. When she tried to explain her position in the campus newspaper, they refused to print her column. "What they said was... they reserve the right to not publish homophobic statements. And because in my op-ed, which was worded as an open letter to the Christian community at Berkeley, I referenced my transcript [from the vote], which they considered to be homophobic. Therefore they couldn't publish my op-ed."
The campus's student association blasted Isabella for creating a "toxic space" at Berkeley -- which must be liberal-speak for open and honest debate. On Wednesday's "Washington Watch," it became very obvious that Isabella's experience was just a microcosm of the LGBT movement at large. When she let her sponsoring party know that she planned to abstain from the vote, "... They told me, 'You either fully affirm or you're out.' And that's pretty much been the prevailing view I've been faced with over the past few weeks."
More than anything, that reveals what the other side wants: complete and utter surrender. If you don't affirm and celebrate their lifestyle, you're a hater. As Christians, that's an impossible proposition. You can't be a true follower of Christ and embrace something that's antithetical to Scripture. Isabella understands that and has tried to explain that her position isn't rooted in prejudice -- but love. "... [E]ven last Wednesday, there were 300 protestors chanting, 'Senator Chow resign now!' I sat there, listening to all of the public comments, and I recognized that behind all of the hurt and anger are broken and wounded hearts. And I, as a Christian, am not called to return anger with anger, but I am called to love you unconditionally, even if you don't extend the same respect and civility to me."
Unless they're directly involved in the debate, most people can't grasp the true nature of the LGBT movement. They see the contempt and hostility from the other side and think the Christian in their crosshairs must have done something horrible to have sparked such a vicious reaction. In almost every case, Christians have nothing to apologize for. All they've done is refused to embrace an agenda at odds with God's truth. It doesn't matter how lovingly they express it or how pure their motives are -- if you don't bow at the altar to the ideology of this age, you're a bigot and a hater.
Unfortunately, Isabella's experience isn't at all unlike the choice Christians across America are facing: bake the cake -- or lose your business; cover abortion -- or fork over fines; include same-sex couples -- or kiss your promotion goodbye. Melissa Klein, who was forced to close her bakery for holding a different opinion than state liberals, is living proof that our culture has accepted "two huge lies," she says. "The first is that if you disagree with someone's lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means that you must agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don't have to compromise convictions to be compassionate."
Isabella hopes that's what people take away from her story. "I'm very glad that what I said on the senate floor -- however painful the backlash has been -- has helped spark a greater dialogue in the church about how to love and speak the truth in love." If a young girl at U.C. Berkeley can be true to her faith in the darkness, what about you? Can you stand up in the workplace? Or in the pulpit? What about around the dinner table?
You can send Isabella a message of support on her Facebook page. Then, join us in praying that Isabella's bravery will be an example to a generation of young people who want to live and love fearlessly for God.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.