Will Tennessee Keep Sports Competition Fair for Girls?

Feb 11, 2021 by David Fowler

Will Tennessee Keep Sports Competition Fair for Girls?
This week, a bill sponsored by Tennessee state Representative Scott Cepicky took a first step in the state House toward keeping biological males from competing against biological females in high school sporting events. Here are grounds on which I could oppose the bill, or at least the reasons given in support of the bill (do not jump to conclusions!)

Will Past Be Prologue?

For several years now, the organization I lead has tried to enact legislation of a similar vein, one that would not allow biological males to use locker rooms used by biological females. Those who did not want to use the facility corresponding to their biological sex would be provided an alternative.  
Those bills all failed, and, if the arguments against them are applied to this bill, it will surely fail too.  
But this bill may differ in that is it is about sports competitiveness, honors and records associated with success, and possible college scholarship opportunities. Here the “trans difference” might expose itself in ways different from that which attends bathrooms and locker rooms.

The Grounds Upon Which Opposition to the Bill Could Rest

The Worldview Alternatives
If I believed there was no such God as that disclosed in the Bible—pure personal, Triune being and, therefore, with respect to all things, dependent on nothing nor affected in His being by anything outside of Himself—then I could support the Bill.
As I said last week in this short video (in case you missed), cosmology, geology, and anthropology all hang together. There has to be some measure of correspondence between all three, or one’s “worldview” is fractured, inconsistent, and, possibly, unintelligible.
So, if what exists did not come from the God I described, as a fact of creation outside of Himself (not some evolutionary emanation as in pantheism that denies any creator/creature distinction and any true boundaries and distinctions), then we can be what we want to be. 
In fact, in the history of thought, even in some Platonic views of Christianity that the Bible warns about, the body doesn’t matter; only the soul or the spirit or the mind, call it what you will, matters. This view of reality says my body is at best irrelevant to who I am or, at worst, evil, and only what I think I am in my head matters. There is no giveness and therefore, “right,” correspondence between body and mind, which is why mutilating the body to appear like another kind of body shows this worldview to be confused. What difference can the body make?
The alternative to a God-of-some-kind hypothesis is naturalism (no God). That worldview says what is must be; all is a matter of pure cause and effect. Therefore, no real objective, outside-of-the-thing-itself value, can be said to exist. 
Of course, this worldview can’t explain how matter, by mere means of cause and effect, ever became mind, but I’ll give these true believers a few thousand more years to come up with an answer. After all, naturalism didn’t evolve in our thinking until a few short thousand years ago.
What these worldview alternatives mean.
But, if either of these are your worldview, then, by all means, declare yourself to be what your mind says you are, and then we can all get on with it. Who should care if persons whose bodies do correspond to what they declare themselves to be can’t physically compete in sports any longer? None of us are equal in all aspects of our being anyway.
The bill we really need, if it is really only about fairness and scholarship opportunities –the usual reasons given in support of the Bill- is one that goes to this worldview’s logical end and embraces androgyny. Sports competitions would just need to be differentiated based on body development, not biological sex. We already use age differences with younger athletes, and don’t have junior high students competing against high school students. We already use body size, such as weight limits for youth sports and wrestling.

Why Support the Bill?

If one is a Christian, let’s be honest and not say we are for the Bill strictly because of fairness. As said, there are lots of ways we can be fair without recognizing biologically based sex distinctions. 
But, let’s be a bit more honest. Many will support the bill only on fairness grounds because they have not thought about what the worldview opposed to this Bill or a strict “fairness” argument in support of it means and where it logically will end.
Now I will be brutally honest. Most, if not most politicians and supporters of the bill, do not want to declare publicly that God made us male and female. (I have been guilty!) Within those categories, there is a basic fairness in all regards among those in one of those categories. They do not want to say that those who want to live “outside the lines” of the two biological sexes given us by our Creator will need to play outside the biological, sex-based lines of our sporting events. 

In Conclusion.

What Christians need to do.
I get why Christians and Christian politicians, in particular, don’t want to say what I just said about the givenness of the two biological sexes and that they are given precisely and only because we were created by God, who gets to decide how to create what He creates. Why we don’t want to say that and whether we should are topics for another day. 
But Christians will see no change in a social order that has moved away from God and is moving away faster every day by hiding the “light of the glory of the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 4:6) under a bushel. 
What Christians do not need to do.
At the same time, yelling louder about behavior as if it is more important than knowing God is not going to be effective; in fact, I will go so far as to say this focus is not Christian and yelling is not a characteristic of the Christian.  
True, consistently changed behavior comes from renewed minds, minds that come to know God, not the other way around. True Christianity is about more than moral reform; it is about coming to know God.
And the meek do not need to yell a bit louder (compare Elijah’s taunt—1 Kings 18:27) because they know their God, and they know He knows precisely what He is doing if He deems it best for His purposes for the Bill to fail. 
Moreover, those who are most meek have come to know that God’s work always precedes our work. It is part and parcel of being the God I first described. Thus, yelling won’t work where God has not worked, and where He has worked, yelling is not necessary. (Oh, Lord, help my unbelief!)

Join Me to Learn More

For those who want to know more or understand better what I have said, you might want to:
-Watch this short video summing up in different words what I have said and maybe share it,
-Listen to the “Hope and Purpose” series on our podcast, God, Law & Liberty, and 
-View our upcoming State Legislative Briefing, Thursday, February 25th, at 6:30 p.m. (Central Standard Time). An email will follow tomorrow with information about that event. 

David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. 

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