Target's Aisle of Denial

Target's Aisle of Denial

May 13, 2022

No parent ever thinks it will happen to them. One day, they wake up and their son or daughter is just gone -- lost to a world they never saw coming. Some parents have said it's like living in a horror film or screaming through a nightmare they can't wake up from. Years later, when their children come to regret it -- the cut and scarred bodies, the unfamiliar faces, the knowledge they can't have babies of their own -- they'll wonder about the strangers who sold them these lies. The people in corporate board rooms, behind movie cameras, or stocking shelves who told them the way to get noticed and valued was to be someone else. The soulless companies like Target, who don't care if your son or daughter is next.

"It's in the schools. It's online. It's in cartoons and media. It's in the medical system." Dads like Brenton Netz try to tick off all of the places parents should be on guard for transgender indoctrination. In the end, he settles for: "It's everywhere." Target stores seem intent on proving his point, filling its racks with one invitation after another for young people to reject the bodies God gave them -- chest binders to strap down breasts, compression underwear for boys, or "packing underwear" with a bulge for girls. There are t-shirts with pronouns, baby onesies with "My First Pride," and toddler tie-dyes that declare "Trans Rights Are Human Rights."

This mega-retailer, who helped launch the war on gender six years ago with its open bathrooms and fitting rooms, is taking this battle to the shelves where they can reach your children directly. "Relatable" podcast host Allie Stuckey, like a lot of Americans, couldn't believe it. "It is so profoundly disturbing that Target is playing a part in this," she insisted after announcing that she was saying goodbye to her beloved chain. "Maybe I should have stopped shopping at Target a long time ago... And maybe I should have realized, you know, several, several years back, that Target is not a place where I should be shopping. I know a lot of you have not been shopping at Target because of the values that they have been purporting for the past several years."

But, Stuckey admitted, the store is "a weakness of mine, and I think it's a weakness of a lot of yours, too, because they have a lot of great home decor. They have very affordable clothing. It's just kind of a fun place to go to spend your afternoon with your children. It's a thing to do. It becomes like kind of a social event. And yet, this is it for me. This has to be it for me, because if there are two hills that I will fight on -- in addition to the fundamental hill, obviously, of the Gospel... One of them is abortion... and the other one is this absolutely destructive gender ideology, especially when it targets children... In relation to our beloved Target... this is just the final straw for me. I just can't shop there anymore."

For some conservatives, it was a decision they made back in 2016 in the nationwide boycott over Target's mixed-gender bathrooms. What the stores lost in customers, they gained in predators -- as dozens of incidents of voyeurism, changing room attacks, and attempted molestations dominated the news across several states (and still does). Eventually, enough police reports piled up to trigger a longitudinal study on the dangers of Target's policy. And yet, even after taking a financial beating, the stubborn LGBT ally clung to the extremism that earned it the scorn of almost 1.5 million consumers.

Now, the U.S. chain has a much more serious agenda -- devoting aisles of its stores to selling a lifetime of misery and pain. And these aren't grown men and women Target is after. These are children -- young girls and boys who are hurting, confused, and being destroyed by adults pushing them to chase these identities, despite the cost. And the cost, hundreds of parents and patients will tell you, is irreversible.

"And who's going to help these kids when they're growing up and they're working through their distress and their confusion and their regret and the physical harm?" Stuckey asked. "Is it going to be Target? Is it going to be these clothing brands? Is it going to be the teachers and the psychologist and the hormone doctors pushing this stuff? Is it going to be the politicians pushing this stuff that are going to be there to hold them when they are broken because of the crushing weight of this ideology and the confusion that it causes? No, no. None of those entities are going to care. It's going to be the parents. It's going to be the parents who are told to shut up. It's going to be the parents who were told that if they don't go along with this stuff, their child would kill themselves. Parents who are being bullied, who are being manipulated."

And yet, plenty of Christians will still rationalize turning their cars into the first red bullseye sign they see. "We're uncomfortable with boycotts," they'll say. But surely we're all more uncomfortable funding a war against innocent children. Try clicking through these stories and finding peace at Target -- or any company where your dollars help create more victims. Are the clothes so cute and the groceries so cheap that you're willing to give a portion of every cart to this self-destruction? Ask yourself when you read this plea from a mom whose family will never be the same.

"It's so hard to not shop at Target and not shop at Amazon [now that they're funding abortions]," Stuckey empathized. "It's so hard not to support these companies, but it is possible. Man, I'm really going to try... I know it feels like we're never going to have anywhere to shop, and I'm not saying it's feasible every single time to resist shopping at these places and supporting these places, but... try to just pray for the strength to not support the money that is going into these dark ideologies."

However you decide to set your own boundaries, there's one thing everyone can do: pick up the phone (800-440-0680) or write an email letting Target know how you feel. Explain how this is destroying families and children. At the very least, Stuckey insists, "We can raise a respectful ruckus here for a thing that matters."

For more on the harms of transgenderism, don't miss this brand new publication from FRC's Dr. Jennifer Bauwens, "Diagnosing Gender Dysphoria in Children: An Explainer" or her interview with FRC President Tony Perkins here.

Suspension of Disbelief: Fairfax County to Punish Students over Pronouns

May 13, 2022

Living as a Christian could get a student suspended from public school in Fairfax County, Virginia. Last week, the school board conducted an annual review of its Regulation 2601, proposing edits to a 70-page-long document on "Students' Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R), and parents noticed something shocking. According to a short provision buried deep in the document, students could face suspension for up to five days, and possibly further punishment, for referring to a fellow student according to their biological, God-given sex.

"Using slurs based upon the actual or perceived gender identity (which includes, but is not limited to, malicious deadnaming or malicious misgendering)," reads the offending provision, which appears on Page 21, under the "SBAR Code" "RB9h," three pages into an extensive table aligning all possible offenses and punishments. The corresponding "Level 4" violation (nowhere defined) merits the punishment "circled R" ("®"), defined on Page 19, "allows for a suspension up to 5 days [if frequency and intensity are present]. Also allows for a referral to the Division Superintendent..." (text in brackets is a proposed addition). Is it just me, or is the bureaucratic jargon intentionally designed to confuse and discourage parents?

Glossing over their granting SOGI protections parity with innate categories, this particular provision has three glaring problems. The first is the use of the words "deadnaming" and "misgendering." These words carry no meaning to a normal, sane person who hasn't imbibed the transgender Kool-Aid. They describe using someone's given name and biological pronouns, respectively, when that person identifies with a name and pronouns of the opposite sex. They're mostly used as shorthand smears to apply sinister connotations to innocent behavior.

Secondly, the provision describes using someone's accurate name or pronouns as "slurs," in a list with prohibitions of "slurs" based on someone's race, religion, or disability. This is totally backwards. Not long ago, it was insulting to call a man "effeminate," or to call a woman "mannish." Now, we're told, it insults certain people to not call them the opposite sex of what they truly are. "He looks like a boy in a dress" should only be an insult if it is not true.

Thirdly, Fairfax County wrongly assumes malicious intent in using the "wrong" name or pronoun. They presume that transgender affirmation is the only moral option. They rule out the possibility that someone could have good motives for behaving otherwise, such as a commitment to absolute truth, concern over someone's eternal soul, or seeking their present happiness (as distinct from accommodating their present feelings). In other words, they assume Christians are acting maliciously. After all, every American so far who has gotten in trouble for using the wrong pronouns has been a Christian deeply committed to the Bible's teaching. In fact, the terms of this provision target Christians so precisely it seems as if it were intentionally designed with them in mind.

But not to worry, the students' new overlords, Fairfax County teachers, are merciful--or at least patient. Based on their guidelines, they likely won't suspend a student for a first offense. But they will correct them and expect it not to happen again. "Any student who commits multiple offenses... may... face more stringent disciplinary action as a result," they warn. They aren't out to get your child at first, so long as they get them in the end.

If they can't persuade a student to reject biblical truth about human sexuality, that student had better beware. They could face graver disciplinary action, like suspension. If a suspension doesn't work, they can refer the student to the Division Superintendent, who "will consider all possible sanctions in the same hearing (to include short-term suspension, long-term suspension, reassignment, and/or expulsion)." And even afterwards, the student "may be subject to ongoing consequences, even after the student returns," including "probationary conditions" and "restitution."

If Fairfax County Public Schools aren't promoting moral training in a secular religion, I don't know what is. The irony is, the Supreme Court warned against this very type of pressure in banning prayer from school functions. "There are heightened concerns with protecting freedom of conscience from subtle coercive pressure in the elementary and secondary public schools," said the majority in Lee v. Weisman (1992). "What to most believers may seem nothing more than a reasonable request that the nonbeliever respect their religious practices, in a school context may appear to the nonbeliever or dissenter to be an attempt to employ the machinery of the State to enforce a religious orthodoxy." To transgender ideologues, pronoun affirmation is simply a "reasonable request," but to a Christian (a "dissenter" from their new orthodoxy), this behavior in a school setting amounts to enforcing their religious orthodoxy. And because the controversy is over names and pronouns, students' free speech is at stake, as well as freedom of religion.

Christian students in Fairfax County Public Schools will face an uphill battle against this increasingly intolerant culture--and what begins in a wealthy D.C. suburb will be quickly exported to other school districts as well. One question Christian students will have to wrestle with is, how can they best honor all the authorities in their life when their parents say one thing, but their teachers say the opposite? (Home schoolers don't face that question because their parents are their teachers.)

Parents should help prepare their children to wrestle with tough questions, face the world's pressure to conform, and have a solid foundation on which to stand. Parents bear the primary responsibility for educating their children. They should consider how best to protect their children from this gender insanity. Should they enroll them in a Christian school? Should they educate them at home? Should they run for school board? There are many good options, but "doing nothing" is not one of them.

In the Face of Church Attacks, a Bold Stand for Truth Emerges

May 13, 2022

As the list of vandalized churches and pro-life organizations continues to grow due to pro-abortion extremist attacks in the wake of the leaked Dobbs Supreme Court decision, the silence from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is becoming increasingly deafening.

Normally, the DOJ is quick to rebuke and launch investigations into attacks that damage, deface, or destroy places of worship, since this type of criminal activity is specifically designated as a hate crime. But the Biden administration has made it clear that when it comes to abortion, any type of behavior, including threats against Supreme Court justices, is acceptable as long as it is in favor of killing unborn babies.

"[I]t's been a little bit of a nod and a wink to some of these leftist groups who are continuing to call for disruption in church services and even calling for violence against people of faith, and this is just really disturbing," said Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Texas) on "Washington Watch." As attacks against churches have mounted without a DOJ response, Cloud sent a letter on Wednesday to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking for an acknowledgment of the anti-Christian hate crimes taking place and to launch an investigation.

"This should be something we see a Department of Justice standing up and being clear and strong on," Cloud underscored. "The First Amendment makes clear what we understood to be an inalienable right, and that is the right to freely assemble and to practice our faith and to worship. And what we see is an attack against those things for political purposes. And this is just one of the bedrocks of what this whole civilization is about. ... [T]his is really coming down to be a clear battle between right and wrong. And we've got to begin to see it for what it really is and begin to address it."

Cloud went on to point out a disturbing pattern that is emerging in the DOJ when it comes to the equal application of the law, or lack thereof.

"[W]hat Americans expect ... out of a Department of Justice is that it's really supposed to be the place we go to that's not biased," he said. "There's equal application of the law. We remember all the statues and paintings of 'Justice' having the blindfold and the scales that we're trying to hold. ... [T]hat's the essence of what it means to live under the rule of law. And we're seeing that perverted in a very real way in our country right now and with this government. ... [T]he American people are beginning to realize that there's two sets of justice in our country right now."

Even so, wherever there is persecution, there is also great opportunity. As FRC President Tony Perkins observed, pastors like Father Peter Harris of Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Houston, Texas are only being emboldened in the face of attacks. "This won't stop us; it propels us to continue to be witnesses for Christ in the world," Father Harris said. Perkins echoed his sentiments. "I think that is how we have to say, '[L]ook, if they want to target us for our believing that every human being is sacred because they're created in the image of God, then all right, so be it. But we're not going to go away. We're not going to go silent."

Congressman Cloud expanded on this theme by challenging believers to follow the example of the heroes found in Scripture.

"It's really ... an opportunity for people of faith to remember what belief is supposed to be all about," he said. "When you read through Hebrews 11, for example, what people call the Hall of Fame of Faith -- you see these heroes that, by faith, accomplish[ed] these great things ... And it talks about administering justice and winning battles and doing all these great and mighty and bold acts to bring about right and proper justice in the earth. And so, it's really a time for people of faith to understand that it's time for us to be bold. It's time for us to stand up and be strong and stand for what really is right."