Bullied, Blackmailed, Or Blessed?

Nobody likes a bully or being bullied by a bully. Conventional wisdom suggests the most effective way to stop a bully is to stand up to him. When that happens the bully usually stops or moves on to some other target who doesn’t have the courage to stand his ground. Tragic outcomes are occurring in our society today when bullying is allowed to continue unchecked and unopposed.

Does it occur to you as it does to me that the powers that be in the NCAA, the NFL and the NBA are “bullies” in our nation today? They are intimidating cities and states with economic blackmail if those cities or states won’t let men dressed like women be permitted to go into the same bathrooms that our little daughters and granddaughters use.

Many mayors, governors, and state legislators capitulate to such intimidation. They reason: “We can’t afford to say ‘no’. That’s too much money to lose.” Money trumps morality.

It’s not unlike the story of the stranger who approached an attractive lady and asked “Would you have sex with me for a million dollars?” She thought and replied, “Well, I guess I would for a million dollars.” He continued, “Would you have sex with me for twenty dollars?” She haughtily responded, “What do you think I am, a prostitute?” He opined, “We already settled that. Now we’re haggling over price.”

When a governing entity capitulates to “Bathroom” demands, that entity is prostituting itself. What is the threshold for economic blackmail? If the perceived economic impact was a thousand dollars or ten thousand or fifty, would the governing entity kowtow to the demand? Unlikely. But a million dollars or fourteen million? That’s another story. Somewhere in between is the level at which money trumps morality.

I agree with Dave Welch, Chairman of the U.S. Pastor Council who wrote: “The privacy, safety and freedom of our women and children are not for sale at any price.”

Governing officials would do well to note the report given by Dan Forest, Lt. Governor of North Carolina this month in Austin, Texas. Lt. Gov. Forest reported the actual economic impact of not kowtowing to “Bathroom” demands was minimal, far less than fear-mongers had predicted. The city of Houston, Texas, received doom and gloom economic predictions that went unfulfilled when the city went on to host the 2016 NCAA Final Four and the 2017 Super Bowl.

In 2014 the Mayor of Houston introduced the “Houston Equal Rights Ordinance” to add “sexual orientation and gender identity” to the city’s broad anti-discrimination ordinance protecting 13 classes of residents. The city council approved and passed the ordinance in May and within days Houston-area pastors sprung into action launching a petition drive for a voter referendum to repeal the ordinance.

Due to the aggressive actions of the city headed by the Mayor to block the referendum drive by invalidating petition signatures, a legal challenge by the opponents of the HERO ordinance which wound up in the Texas Supreme Court won the day when the court ruled that the city must either repeal the ordinance or place it on the ballot for voter approval in the November election of 2015. A large voter turnout (27%) resulted with 61% of the electorate voting against Proposition 1 known as the “Bathroom Ordinance” effectively repealing the law.

After the defeat of the ordinance, Mayor Annise Parker, the first openly lesbian mayor of a major U.S. city lamented that “[u]nfortunately, I fear that this will have stained Houston’s reputation as a tolerant, welcoming, global city and I absolutely fear that there will be a direct economic backlash as a result of this.”

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick opined on the day of the election that “voters clearly understand that this proposition was never about equality – that is already the law. It was about allowing men to enter women’s restrooms and locker rooms — defying common sense and common decency.”
[Bathroom Fears, Texas Tribune, 11/3/2015]

The God-fearing people of our nation need to UNITE AND STAND OUR GROUND against these “bullies”. The moral fabric of our culture is at stake. Twenty-five percent of the nation’s population is a low estimate for our team. That’s way higher than the one-tenth of one percent transgender population or the less than three percent LGBTQ population. We have far more potential economic muscle than they.

If the NCAA, NFL or NBA pull a major event from a city that will not prostitute itself to economic blackmail, we God-fearing people CAN AND SHOULD WITHHOLD OUR SHOPPING from each of the sponsors of the pulled event whenever we have the option to spend our money elsewhere. We should also contact the Chairpersons of the Boards of such sponsors and tell them why we are taking our shopping dollars elsewhere.

Additionally, we should vote for candidates who have the moral compass and the backbone to stand up to this kind of bullying.

In time the bullies will stop. That will be a blessing.

Gerald Ripley is Pastor of Abundant Life Church in northeast San Antonio. He serves as Chairman of the Responsible Government Coalition, comprised of leaders of several faith-based organizations in San Antonio and other Christians who are actively engaged in the government sphere of society.