Over the last few days we have been inundated on both the news and social media with yet another controversy about political correctness and accusations about discrimination against those who identify themselves as being transgender. With all the attacks, criticism, condemnation, and outright rude behavior on both sides, my desire is to try to interject a voice of reason into the discussion in the hopes that it would at least begin to calm some of the strife that this has brought.  While my intent is to foster peace, with a topic like this, I am sure I will offend some. You can’t please all the people all the time…..especially when there are some who simply thrive on being offended.

I’ll not leave you guessing where I stand by giving you a quick look into who I am, and I only hope that you will not shut down or prejudge me before you read this in its entirety as I have comments both for and against both sides.  I am a very conservative, Bible-believing, born again, gun-carrying Republican.  I believe that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong, but before you get angry and call me a prejudiced bigot, I also believe that heterosexual adultery is wrong, lying is wrong, stealing is wrong, hating others is wrong…….  I also believe NONE of us are guiltless and stand righteous in front of God apart from the forgiveness given by Jesus and his sacrifice on our behalf.  I have violated God’s law as much as anyone else and I don’t stand in judgement of any other person’s sins but my own.  If you are an atheist or agnostic, I am not asking you to believe exactly as I do, just give me the right to my beliefs the same as I give you the right to yours.

Fortunately for us all, we live in the best designed country in the history of the world that recognizes our inalienable rights so we can experience countless freedoms that we would not be able to experience in other nations in the world.

I want to draw a comparison between living as a LGBT person in today’s society with something I can relate to, having a weapons permit and carrying a gun for self-defense. At first glance, you may think this is an absolutely ridiculous comparison, but please humor me for a minute and you may see my point….or you might not. Please have an open mind as you continue, and when you finish reading, you can choose to agree with me, or disagree….that is the beauty of the freedom we enjoy as Americans.

As a person who chooses to exercise my 2nd amendment right to bear arms I really feel like I can relate to discrimination in a world that is very accepting of people regardless of sexual orientation.  Perhaps in some ways even better than a LGBT person because how often do you walk up to the front door of a store, restaurant, or bank and see a sign that reads “no LGBT allowed”?

Practically never, and certainly not without great outcry (and rightly so I would add) from those who experience such discrimination.  I can tell you from experience that way more often you see signs that read “no weapons allowed.” This infringes on my 2nd amendment rights.  Even my employer has such a policy, which prevents me from carrying at work or even in my car in the parking lot. Now there are lots of ways discrimination against LGBT people is MUCH worse than “you are not welcome here”, so please don’t think I believe they are not discriminated against by angry and hateful people. I know that they are and that needs to stop. Bullying, violence, and hatred of those that are different has been a human trait for a long time and I pray for the day that stops and people learn to agree to disagree and live together in peace. There will always be differing opinions, but those differences don’t have to result in fear, hatred, anger, and strife.

Iowa is an open carry state, meaning it is within my legal right, having been issued a permit to carry by the county sheriff, to carry my sidearm out in the open.  When you open carry, many people are either oblivious or don’t care at all either way, but you can always hear people whispering “look at that” or “he’s got a gun” and looking or pointing your way. I think the LGBT community, especially those who choose to dress the way they feel and not the way they look, can especially relate to that feeling. Nobody likes that, so I choose of my own free will to avoid that conflict and the fear it brings out in others by carrying in a concealed manner. I’m not saying I stop following my beliefs and stop carrying, nor do I have any issue with admitting that I carry a gun when asked or the conversation leads that way. It is part of who I am. Unfortunately today many LGBT people feel like they have to open carry their sexuality in a confrontational way and although I think that is very much their legal right, it is not always the best option. You don’t need to hide who you are or deny your feelings, but you don’t always need to wear it in the open like a sign saying you are inviting conflict. Sometimes it is proper to just be who we are without announcing it to the world, while other times, it is time to announce it to the world at the top of your voice. Know the difference.

Earlier I mentioned that there are places that “ask” us not to carry, but there are also times we are “forbidden” to carry. Examples of this would be federal buildings, courthouses, post offices, airports/airplanes, and public schools and parks to name a few. While I don’t agree with all of those, it is not my choice to make as it is the law and I must comply or suffer the consequences. My question to you is, am I being discriminated against in those cases?  Don’t I have the right, granted by the constitution, to carry my gun? The constitution does not set any limitations on that right, so don’t the limitations violate my constitutional rights? Yes, they do, but here is the critical part, they limited for a good and logical reason. Think about for a second, honestly is TSA concerned that some middle-aged man with a registered weapon and a state carry permit is going to just arbitrarily start shooting up the airport? No, their real concern is that if they allowed this at all someone bent on harm and destruction would abuse this right to do the evil they intend. Perhaps they fear that someone like this would acquire my weapon by force and then wreak havoc. In this limited instance, I believe is proper to limit my constitutional right to carry for the safety and wellbeing of the public and those around me. Please don’t take that to mean I won’t put up a fight if someone tries to take my overall right to carry, any more than I would expect a LGBT person to lay down their beliefs and stop being gay.

This whole bathroom issue is similar in many ways. While there are those that don’t want to see ANY man go into a women’s restroom or locker room I believe most would say it is not really the LGBT community they are afraid of, but sexual predators and pedophiles who would abuse this right sought by the LGBT community to do harm to others. Do not open this door, not because we want to infringe on the rights of a few, but because we want to protect the safety and wellbeing of the public just as they do by restricting my 2nd amendment right in a very limited number of situations.

In a short period, there have been dozens of instances of men abusing this newfound “liberty” to peep on women in locker rooms and bathrooms across the country. While many states have had laws on the books for years banning discrimination in public restrooms based on gender, all the media hype has shown many of those that would abuse this is that they were missing a golden opportunity. We have seen the damage that can result from this open door and we need to close it before it gets worse.  Sometimes it is not about “my rights”, but about what is common sense. Let’s try to work together to find a solution instead of badmouthing and name calling on social media, or boycotting states or stores.

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