Scripture tells parents they are to, “Train up a child in the way he should go…” (Proverbs 22:6). The phrase “train up” means parents are to “initiate” teaching their children in the way, meaning by pointing to the kinds of conduct that please or displease the Lord. Proverb 22 is founded on the covenant with Abraham as recorded in Genesis 18:19, “For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice.”
Deuteronomy 6:5–9 says: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” The phrasing sit/walk and lie down/rise speaks to any and every time, place, and activity. Parents are always to be teaching their children about God and His ways.
If you are like me and you love the Lord and His word, it’s easy to be dismayed right now. Why? Well, for starters, what almost happened in California.
On September 8, 2023, the California State Assembly passed a bill that, under state law, would require judges in child custody cases to consider whether a parent has affirmed a child’s gender transition by making gender affirmation an equal part of a child’s health, safety, and welfare. I am speaking about the democratic lawmakers’ bill, AB957, which passed the State Assembly by a vote of 57-16.
Now, fortunately, and surprisingly, California’s Democratic governor vetoed the bill. Under AB957, parents who refuse to participate in transgenderism could be guilty of failing to provide for their child’s “health, safety, and welfare” and could possibly lose custody to another parent or the state. Yes, to the state!
The bill was originally introduced in February. It was amended in June to require a judge to consider whether a child experiencing gender dysphoria was “affirmed” by parents. The bill commands that a child’s gender affirmation is an essential need for children living in California. Here is the problem: the term “gender affirmation” wasn’t defined or explained in AB957 or any other California law. This bill made no distinctions regarding a child’s age or how long a child has identified as transgender.
Understand under the California Penal Code, threatening a child’s health, safety, and welfare can lead to arrest and imprisonment. The passing of AB957 could have resulted in parents being charged with child abuse or neglect for not participating in a child’s transgenderism.
Gender dysphoria, by definition, is “a strong state of unease or dissatisfaction with one’s gender.” AB957 is the first bill in the nation to formally place into law that a parent must affirm their child’s gender identity, regardless of that child’s age, or that parent could be guilty of child abuse.
According to MSN.com, California resident and owner of X, Elon Musk, who has publicly said he agrees with the teaching of Christianity but has stated that he is not religious, said: “This bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. What it actually means is that if you disagree with the other parent about sterilizing your child, you lose custody. Utter madness!”
The Washington Examiner reported Hollywood actor Rob Schneider as saying, “It is no longer safe to raise your children in California,” Schneider said. “Children are not old enough to drive, drink, vote, smoke, get a tattoo, but the Democrats in California think children (who are naive and easily manipulated) are old enough to make decisions that permanently remove sexual organs and take castration drugs and risk becoming infertile FOR LIFE!” He concludes his remarks by saying this legislation is “pure evil.”
In a June 13, 2023, California Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, state Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, warned parents to leave California if such legislation were to pass. Both the Washington Times (Tuesday, June 13, 2023) and the California Family Council (June 19, 2023) reported Wilk said, “If you love your children, you need to flee California.”
You have a state senator, a Hollywood celebrity, and a well-known resident and business owner publicly saying California is unsafe for children.
On June 10, 2023, Fox News had a headline that read, “Biden blasts DeSantis-backed ban on transgender affirming care for minors as ‘sinful’.” During an appearance on “The Daily Show,” President Biden attacked a Florida ban on gender-affirming care for minors as “cruel” and “sinful.” The President was quoted saying, “What they are doing in Florida is sinful.”
Signs of the Time
A California state bill presented to become law making it so that parents in custody battles who do not affirm the gender identity of their children may be liable for child abuse, and our President calls banning transgender-affirming care “sinful.” If these scenarios do not speak to the signs of the times, I don’t know what does.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:28 that in the end times, men’s minds would become depraved. God spoke through the prophet Isaiah and said the day would come when people will call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20). Jesus himself, in the Olivet discourse, confirmed that in the last days, society will become more lawless and immoral (Matthew 24). As we painfully watch our society become as evil as it was in the days of Noah, the good news is that all these signs point to the soon return of our Lord Jesus.
The Offering of Hope
Scripture says God created two genders, male and female (Genesis 1:27). The Bible says marriage is between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5). Scripture says sex outside of marriage is sin (1 Corinthians 6:18). And the Bible says same-sex relations are unnatural (Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9).
Sin is sin and sin separates us from God. However, Jesus died to save us from the penalty of sin. Only the innocent shed blood of Jesus has the ability to redeem and reconcile sinful mankind to God and to allow us to have eternal life. That free gift of salvation is offered, but it must be accepted. Believers must remember, despite how evil our world gets, despite how corrupt or perverted society becomes, the message of hope through God’s love can still be, must be, proclaimed.
Maranatha, Lord Jesus!