By Bob Allen
A past president of the Southern Baptist Convention is front and center of a campaign by Houston pastors to convince voters to say no to a controversial equal-rights ordinance scheduled to be on the ballot Nov. 3.
Ed Young, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Houston, joined other conservative pastors in a press conference Oct. 7 denouncing the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance — also known as HERO — barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
“Those of us who are against it, we are positioned as racists, as bigots, as those who discriminate against others,” said the megachurch pastor elected SBC president in 1992 and 1993. “The very reverse is true.”
“I think this ordinance discriminates against men and women and those who believe that female women and children and male men and their children need to have separate facilities — as we have throughout our history — in bathrooms and in showers and in other public entities.”
Opponents to Proposition 1 say it would violate women’s and children’s rights to privacy in public restrooms, showers and locker rooms and allow male sexual predators to sneak into women’s restrooms by dressing up as women and pretending to be transgender.
Houston Unites, the group supporting passage of the ordinance, says many people who do not know a transgender person might understandably have questions, but nothing in the ordinance changes the fact that it is illegal to enter a restroom to harm or harass other people.
In a video displayed prominently on the Vote No on 1 anti-ordinance website, Young said the proposal “opens up our city and in short order all of the metropolitan area of Houston to something that I think is absolutely godless.”
“You say, ‘Well, you’re getting political,’” he continued. “No, I speak out on a very serious moral issue.”
Claiming his wife recently entered a public restroom in downtown Houston as a man was walking out, Young challenged the argument that those opposing HERO discriminate against the LGBT community.
“The bottom line is that if we open up our facilities where someone can choose their sexual orientation those of us who believe that men should use men’s facilities and women should use women’s facilities, we will be discriminated against,” Young said. “It will carry our city further and further and further down the road of being totally, in my opinion, secular and godless.”
Another speaker at the Oct. 7 press conference, Pastor Greg Matte of Houston’s First Baptist Church, said gender is not based on a desire or personal decision but is biologically determined.
“God is the architect of the Bible, and God is the architect of biology,” Matte said.
Matte disputed claims by opponents that the goal of Proposition 1 is equal rights. “The goal of Proposition 1 is to normalize gender confusion,” he said. “It’s not to equalize. It’s to normalize something.”
Young warned that passage of HERO would result in discrimination beyond what people could ever imagine.
“Ladies and gentlemen, my brothers and sisters, it is reality,” Young said. “Sit back, be quiet, do nothing and say ‘oh me, oh my, oh me, oh my’ won’t get it in the 21st century.”