A dangerous precedent for Christian parents
In Minnesota, the state can now take children from parents who refuse puberty blockers and mutilation
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Just days ago, the Minnesota Senate passed the controversial Trans Refuge Act. The bill offers a haven to individuals fleeing states where minors cannot receive what the state defines as “gender-affirming care.” Such “care” now includes controversial puberty blockers and permanent genital mutilation. Now, Gov. Tim Walz has signed the bill into law, in opposition to what he called the forces of “hatred and bigotry” that oppose such “care” for children. According to Minnesota’s governor, affirming someone’s God-given biology amounts to a form of bigotry the state must use its coercive power to oppose.
Christian parents must take note.
As a local pastor with deep roots in Minnesota, I was involved in the efforts to lobby against this bill. Currently, the Democrats possess only a one-vote majority in the state senate. I had many conservations with one senator considered to be a swing vote. I watched as he moved from opposing the bill to supporting it. As our dialogue unfolded, our side tried to recruit others to speak to him. We contacted several pastors in the area, but none wanted to be involved. One thing is certain: Those who promote this destructive ideology have no shortage of people willing to speak to their representatives. Our side was simply outnumbered.
Why is this bill important? It threatens the fundamental rights of parents to raise their children according to their beliefs. The bill, HF 146, creates a new category by which Minnesota courts can seize emergency jurisdiction over minors. Before this bill was passed, the law recognized only abandonment and abuse as grounds for a court taking custody of a child. This bill adds a third category, “The child has been unable to obtain gender-affirming health” (Section 3.3). If a child is prevented from receiving “gender-affirming care,” then the state has a right to take emergency custody. This is a draconian measure that undermines parental authority.
In Minnesota, refusing to provide puberty blockers and genital mutilation is now the legal equivalent of physically abusing a child. It is now grounds for the state to take emergency custody of children. There is some debate over the circumstances under which the state will apply this provision, but it remains a dangerous precedent for all parents, especially for Christians.
Many in my state think the government knows better than parents. They believe the state has a fundamental right over how parents raise their children. If you stand opposed to the radical trans agenda, you are the problem. This bill and the rhetoric from the governor’s office puts Christian parents in Minnesota on notice. Your views will not be tolerated.
Scripture commands us to pray for our leaders as a matter of first importance (1 Timothy 2:1-2). We are to do this so that we might live “peaceful and quiet lives.” Paul knew it was in the best interest of the church for the state to leave it alone. Yet, this command recognizes that often Christians will be unable to live quietly. Throughout Acts, Paul leveraged his Roman citizenship to advance the gospel and protect the church. What would Paul do with the access we have to our political representatives? How would he leverage his American citizenship to ensure the peaceful lives of Christians? We can only guess.
We do not live in a time when Christians can remain silent. We must seek the passage of righteous laws and oppose wicked laws. In particular, pastors must carefully think about their role as leaders in the community. Our primary responsibility is to our local churches, but our members live under the laws of the land, and that law can now allow the state to take our children.
Christ’s church must openly oppose bills like the Trans Refuge Act, which undermines parental rights and promotes harm to children. If pastors and other leaders remain silent, they will be judged not only by future generations but by God himself. Pastors and leaders who remain silent in the face of these wolves look more like hired hands than real shepherds.
These daily articles have become part of my steady diet. —BarbaraSign up to receive the WORLD Opinions email newsletter each weekday for sound commentary from trusted voices.