Two news articles, both published early this week, caught my attention:

The first headline read, California bill would ban boys’ and girls’ toy sections in big department stores.” The article describes a bill that would require large department stores in California to no longer delineate boys and girls sections for toys or childcare items. The stated reasoning is that girls may be less-inspired to play with toys that are often more readily found in boys sections (Lincoln Logs, science kits, etc.). But, given that children and parents are smart enough to know how to find what toys they want, this seems to be solving a problem that doesn’t exist. The real reason is clear in the article, which highlights that the bill is coauthored by Evan Lowe, chairman of the Legislative LGBTQ Caucus. The bill is yet another attempt to end gender distinction for children. (You can read the full text of the bill here. It includes more than toys—also clothing or any item for children. Furthermore, it specifies that the stores must also remove the gender distinctions on their websites as well.) 

The second headline read, California’s business, resident exodus due to ‘failure of governance,’ UCLA economics professor says.” This article explores the reasons Californians are moving out of state, and it particularly highlights economic failures due to high taxes and governance failures by state policy makers. 

Reading both of these articles—published by the LA Times and Fox News respectively—in the same morning made the first one seem all the more ridiculous. 

We live in a state that is failing in governance to such an extent that large numbers of people are leaving, further hurting the state’s economy. Yet, what do the elected representatives do? Rather than addressing the real needs they have been elected to fix—homelessness, an out-of-control budget, getting people back to work, and getting children back to school, to name just a few—because of an anti-God bent, they tell department stores to take down their “boys” and “girls” signs or be fined $1,000. (The reason department stores currently have the signs in store and tags on their websites is to boost their bottom dollar—they know customers appreciate labeled sections.) Our assembly needs to address our state’s real needs, rather than continuing to play gender games like this. 

I have been a California resident all my life. I have had the privilege of pastoring here for nearly thirty-five years. I love our state, and I love the people of our state. 

If you also live in California, I want to encourage you to do two things: 

Contact your representatives.

You can find the names and contact information for your assembly representative and state senator here: 

So, make a quick phone call or send a simple email asking your representative to remove Assembly Bill 1084 from committee and to vote against it if it comes to the floor for vote. You might mention that as a citizen you’re weary of seeing these bathroom and department store issues at the forefront of agendas when there are far more pressing needs.

Our representatives need to hear from us. It does little good for us to complain that they don’t represent us well if we don’t share our concerns with them. 

Once again, you can find the names and contact information for your representatives here: 

Stay in California and share the gospel. 

Believe me—I get the concerns and understand the “exodus” described in the article above. But I also know that if this and similar bills pass here in California, it’s just a matter of time before the other states follow. So rather than leave, stay and vote your values and contact your representatives with your concerns. 

But an even more important reason to stay is the 39.37 million people who live in this state. If all the Christians move out of state, who will witness to unsaved neighbors and coworkers in California? Who will be salt and light in this needy place? 

The reality is that first-century Christians lived “as lights in the world” in a far more ungodly culture than ours is today. So let us not think that we can’t make a difference. For we have the very “word of life” and the powerful gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s hold it high and declare it wide.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.—Romans 1:16

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