I’m not sure how anyone keeps a job these days.
The story behind this headline is being presented at a lot of websites as an issue of Christian workers being fired. But when you look at the local news reporting, it seems to be more a case of “sane, rational” workers being fired.
You wouldn’t have to be a Christian to think the workers in this case were probably right, and were trying to do the right thing. What seems to have been demanded of them was a sort of open-ended irrationality, and bad faith with the parents of their little charges.
The basic facts are that one of the 6-year-olds at a Children’s Lighthouse daycare/pre-school in Katy, Texas reportedly came to school one day with instructions from her parents, a gay (male) couple, that she be treated as a “he.” She was to be called “John,” and referred to by male pronouns. Her classmates were to be told to conform to these requirements.
The child in question didn’t seem to be at all sure about this transformation. According to one of the two fired workers, her opinion changed from day to day.
“One day, she wanted to be a girl, the next day she wanted to be a boy,” says [school manager Madeline Kirksey, one of two fired workers]. “The other kids are confused as well, calling her a boy and she would start screaming, ‘I’m not a boy!’”
I don’t think you have to be a Christian for your heart to go out to this kid. But when you pull the string on the reporting about this, what you find is that Madeline Kirksey – who is indeed a Christian – wasn’t actually refusing to call the child a boy.
What she objected to was keeping all the staff management of this strange development – something the children were bound to have profound questions about – inside the classroom, without discussing it with the children’s parents.
Kirksey thought the school should tell the other parents, presumably so they would know that their kids might be coming home with questions, and could address the issue as they saw fit.
Kirksey was a manager at the school and says she suggested informing all parents. Instead, school administrators allegedly gave staff a handout to refer to if students have questions.
“I don’t think we should be talking to other people’s children who are under the age of 18 about being transgender,” says Kirksey.
It was when Kirksey tried to insist that the other parents be informed that she was fired.
After insisting on notifying parents regarding the transgender 6-year-old student at Children’s Lighthouse Learning Center, Kirksey says she was fired.
Notably, in her dismissal interview, a school administrator explicitly removed any reference to whether Kirksey had complied with the request of the girl’s parents.
The termination letter includes claims that she failed to tell a worker to leave a game room and “When requested by parent and management to call a transgender child by the child’s new name, Madeline does not follow instructions.”
“I said, ‘this is what this whole thing (firing) is about?’ So she said, ‘We’ll scratch that off,’ and that’s when she scratched off the line about the transgender child and wrote her initials by it,” explains Kirksey.
The other worker, a teacher (whose name hasn’t been made public), says she was “fired for raising concerns about all the confusion.”
Frankly, it doesn’t sound like a staff member could have said anything about this situation that wasn’t likely get him or her fired. It’s a good bet that most staffers were just keeping their heads down, hoping that the situation with this poor little girl didn’t end up involving them.
In terms of leadership and policy, I think Madeline Kirksey did exactly the right thing. The other parents had a right to know that their 5- and 6-year-olds would be asked to join in the enforcement of a transgender regimen on another 6-year-old. The parents have a right to be aware of that and handle it in the way they think is best.
In rejecting Kirksey’s suggestion, the school didn’t make a counter-proposal, nor did it apparently have a plan to address the concerns that would inevitably arise. It just left things open-ended.
There was no defined way ahead for all the other people who would have to be part of this drama for a 6-year-old child. “Be nice to a girl who thinks she’s a boy” only goes so far, when the girl starts screaming “I’m not a boy!” and the parents aren’t there to take over.
It’s nothing more than sane rationality to think there should be a concept of where we’re going with a situation like this, and to want to let the other parents know it’s happening. But it’s the sane, rational people who lost their jobs for making that point.
This is where we are in America now. (Even in parts of Texas – although alert readers will remember that Katy, a suburb of Houston, is where 7th-graders were required by their teacher, only a short time ago, to state that God is a “myth” and not a reality. There seems to be more than one peculiar thing going on in Katy.)
Open-ended, uncontrolled craziness is demanding to rule over us – and when someone objects, her objections are framed as something coming specifically from “Christians.” Eventually, people’s eyes will be opened enough to see that that’s because the safe haven of rationality and respect for our rights belongs to God to begin with. It isn’t something we humans own or define, although non-believers have the capacity to appreciate it and benefit from it. What we’ve reached, however, is the point at which Christians – and in other cases, Jews – are usually the only ones who will stand up for such principles.
But make no mistake, as the POTUS-in-Chief likes to say. You may not be a Christian or a Jew. But if you like your sanity and your rationality, they’re coming for you anyway.