On Monday, April 18, the Ashe County Commissioners voted unanimously to send a resolution of support to Governor Pat McCrory regarding the state’s passage of what is commonly known as HB 2. The passage of this legislation overturned an egregious Charlotte ordinance which robbed individuals of their basic expectation of privacy when using public restrooms. Charlotte’s Bathroom and Public Accommodations Ordinance defied all common sense by allowing individuals, regardless of their biological anatomy, to use any restroom, locker room, showers, or changing room, with whichever gender he or she subjectively identifies. If the ordinance would have gone into effect on April 1, Charlotte businesses would have been forced to allow anyone to use the bathroom of his or her choice, no matter the person’s gender.
As you can imagine, as a husband and father this brought about great concern with me, but not only with me but with countless others across our state. As such, the NC Legislature acted quickly to overturn the dangerous overreach of the Charlotte City Council. However, since that time, Governor McCrory and others have faced a backlash from the entertainment industry, corporate America, and the ultra-liberals. This past Monday, our county’s elected officials acted in a united effort to show their support for the passage of HB 2.
I was there. On Monday morning I arrived at the County Courthouse and took my seat with many other Ashe County pastors and citizens who were concerned about the issue. But as has been customary, and is in no way surprising, Ken Lynn decided to weigh in on Monday’s meeting, not by addressing the commissioners in person as I did and as many others did, but by his usual Jefferson Post editorial rant. Since I don’t eat breakfast at Hardees, he won’t have to concern himself with me asking him to step outside. But as usual, Lynn misconstrues facts for his own political bias claiming that I equated transgender individuals as predators and then slips in an insult about what I am able to define. What I find conspicuous is that he never asked me personally.
What I did say to the commissioners is, “Now, we see things today like you and I would have never seen, and the fact that we have to be here today to even protect our children from predators in public bathrooms.” Notice I did not equate transgender individuals as predators but rather I addressed predators as a whole because I recognize that the Charlotte ordinance created a loophole that sexual predators could exploit, putting women and children in situations of danger. Certainly Ken Lynn would not object to a husband and father standing for the protection of his family. Certainly Ken Lynn understands that he served as a military officer to afford me this right. Certainly Ken Lynn would do this for his own family.
Do I believe a transgender is a predator. Not at all. Do I believe predators exist, whether identifying as heterosexual or homosexual? Without a doubt. Criminals exist in all shapes and sizes, and I think we can safely assume that Ken Lynn has locks on the doors of his dwelling place. Now, as it pertains to HB 2, do we need common sense legislation that protects from unlawful discrimination while affording full protection to all citizens simultaneously upholding their basic rights of privacy? I cannot answer for Ken Lynn, but I believe we do.
Was Ken Lynn present Monday at the County Commission meeting? I really do not know as the meeting room was mostly full and it was difficult to ascertain who was there. Did Ken Lynn stand to address the commissioners as many of us did? No. Did Ken Lynn unite with the homosexual couple/family who courageously stood on the steps of the courthouse and loudly declared their objections to HB 2? Not that I saw. What did Ken Lynn do? He wrote an editorial. Customary and not surprising. Next time, maybe Ken Lynn will attend the county commissioners’ meeting so that he can stand to address the issues in person and Commissioner Gary Roark will not have to search for him at Hardees.
Rev. Sonny Thomas is an Ashe County pastor. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from East Tennessee State University and a Master of Ministry degree from Crown Seminary. The views expressed here are his own.