Gender confusion, fuzzy lines, CBMW, Franklin Graham, and Target removing signs
“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27 NASB
This tweet has caused quite an uproar!! Some people love it, some people hate it.
Recently, Target announced a new change to their stores and this new change has gone viral. There are many big-name Christian leaders speaking out against this move. What exactly did Target say? Here is the gist from the Target website:
Right now, our teams are working across the store to identify areas where we can phase out gender-based signage to help strike a better balance. For example, in the kids’ Bedding area, signs will no longer feature suggestions for boys or girls, just kids.
So, in other words, when you see pink Barbie doll bedding, you won’t see a sign above the aisle saying “girl bedding.” Likewise, you will not a Boys’ Legos sign.
What is the beef? Why are Christians so upset?
Part 1 – Grant Castleberry of CBMW
Grant Castleberry, Executive Director at The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), has a big-time problem with Target and wrote, Missing the Target: Some Brief Thoughts on Target’s Cultural Capitulation. I’m sensing fear in these ominous words:
But in a world where the very concept of gender is being neutralized, and in a society where parents themselves are trying to outrun their own gender identities, dragging their children onto their own dark labyrinths (look no further than Bruce Jenner at the ESPY’s), this only adds to the problem.
Rather than reinforcing maleness and femaleness, this confuses it.
Instead of helping guide children towards embracing who they actually are, this blurs reality.
I’m sorry, Grant. I can assure you that when my daughter, Hannah, was a little girl and played with Legos (“boy” Legos), she was not confused about her gender. She still wore dresses and wanted to see how far the skirt would twirl. When my son changed his baby doll’s diaper and wore the doll in a carrier like I wore my babies, he didn’t lose his maleness. Instead, he learned how to nurture babies, a gift and skill he will use when he becomes a father. He can’t wait to become a dad.
More from Mr. Castleberry:
Despite the culture’s belief that we can outrun our gender—and the God of the universe who created it—we are ultimately destined to be as God has intended: male and female.
Come on. we are talking about sheets and toys, for crying out loud. Sheets and toys do not make a gender! Where is he getting this stuff?
The Bible teaches that men are wired by God to protect and to pursue, so it is not surprising that they naturally like toys that by-and-large involve fighting, building, and racing. Women, on the other hand, are wired by God to nurture and to be pursued, so it is also not surprising that they largely enjoy playing with American Girl Dolls, Barbies, and Disney princess dresses.
I would really like to see the Bible verses on this.
The problem with gender roles for the secular mind, and in this case, gender-designated signs for the toy aisles at Target, is that they confine.
Based on how my children played with toys, I think the signs did confine. Thankfully, my daughter didn’t mind shopping in the boy aisle when looking for her Legos. Why should our children be limited in what they play with or what they sleep on? When we talk about confining, CBMW and their like-minded friends are promoting confinement and calling it Biblical. To them, it’s inappropriate for a dad to be a stay-at-home dad while mom works full time. To them, a woman should not be in the military or have positions of authority over men. Castleberry continues:
After all God’s good design, which includes our gender, is not meant to restrict, but to enable us to flourish.
I agree that God’s design enables us to flourish, but not if you read much of CBMW. Their co-founder, Wayne Grudem has 83 rules for what women can and cannot do in the church. Those are restrictions and many of those rules are nowhere to be found in the Bible. The reality is CBMW and complementarians have a prescription formula for what they (read: men) deem women can or cannot do. Women, you do not have a voice in this matter.
In Marg Mowczko’s article, 25 Biblical Roles for Biblical Women, we see women doing far more than what Council for Biblical Manhood (CBMW) and Womanhood and The Gospel Coalition think “Biblical” women should be doing, here are just a few so-called manly jobs that God ordained women in the Bible to do:
- Deborah led and judged Israel
- Sheerah built towns
- Daughters of Shallum helped to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem
- Co-worker or laborer in the Gospel: Euodia, Syntyche, Junia, Phoebe, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis, etc.
Back to Grant Castleberry’s article:
Ultimately, God has created boys and girls for more than toys.
Amen, I can agree with that!
He’s created them for a purpose far greater than Mattel or American Girl Doll.
Amen, I can agree with that, too!
He’s created every boy and girl for himself, to display his image and glory in the world. And he has created them as male and female.
Amen, and that doesn’t mean abiding by the rules and restrictions of CBMW – the restrictions they call “Biblical,” when in fact they are not.
And no Target sign can change that.
Okay, wait, so why the article and griping about the Target signs if they know removing Target signs isn’t going to change a thing?
Part 2 – Franklin Graham Speaks Out
Franklin Graham has also spoken out publicly against Target. Here are a couple of recent tweets:
Toys have nothing to do with gender.
Here is what Graham posted on his Facebook page:
The Washington Post reports that Target will stop using gender specific signage in their stores. In order to be gender-neutral, they won’t be separating things like toys and bedding into boys’ and girls’ sections. Oh really? And they won’t be using pink and blue colors to identify sexes. I think Target may be forgetting who has made their stores strong. It’s not gender-neutral people out there—it’s working American families, fathers and mothers with boys and girls they love. What’s next? Are they going to try to make people believe that pink or blue baby showers are politically incorrect?
Pink for girls and blue for boys is a cultural fad. Franklin has obviously bought into our culture by adopting this fad.
Take a look at this pretty girl. Isn’t she sweet? Look at the ruffles on her dress. Are those patent leather shoes?
Ok, I lied. This is really Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1880s.
I have pictures of my great-grandma and her brother from the late 1800s. Both siblings wore white dresses and had long hair. We might have a difficult time distinguishing between boys and girls when looking at pictures like this unless there was some other gender-specific accessory.
I read an article on Smithsonian.com, When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink? discussing the history of children’s clothing in America. Jo B. Paoletti, historian at the University of Maryland wrote the book, Pink and Blue: Telling the Girls From the Boys in America, about gender and color of children’s clothes:
The march toward gender-specific clothes was neither linear nor rapid. Pink and blue arrived, along with other pastels, as colors for babies in the mid-19th century, yet the two colors were not promoted as gender signifiers until just before World War I—and even then, it took time for popular culture to sort things out.
The article then goes on to say first it was pink for boys and blue for girls, and then later the US settled into pink for girls and boys for blue. Franklin Graham’s insistence in keeping with a cultural fad is just that, a cultural fad. He’s stepping on his celebrity Christian leader soapbox spouting off a bunch of extra hooey. When you’re a Christian celebrity leader, people seem to think whatever you say is stamped with the Biblical seal of approval and people buy it.
Mr. Graham continues:
I have news for them and for everyone else—God created two different genders. Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female (Matthew 19:4). You can’t get any clearer than that.
I don’t remember anything in that verse about pink for girl and blue for boy. The Bible doesn’t talk about boys not being able to sleep on Cinderella sheets or girls not playing with pirate Legos or any other boy toy, for that matter.
If you agree, share in the comments below—and let Target know what you think. Let them know that you are perfectly willing to shop where the genders God created are appreciated. (1-800-440-0680) Target is way off-target on this one!
Sorry, Franklin and Grant, when I read your words, all I see is blah, blah, blah.