Byron “Tanner” Cross is the type of physical education instructor you want teaching your children.
At 38 years of age, the Leesburg Elementary School PE teacher in Loudon County, Virginia, is committed, energetic, enthusiastic and deeply principled – a man who refuses to bow to “woke” politics and propaganda.
So, perhaps it’s no surprise that Mr. Cross found himself wrapped up in controversy last month after objecting to his school district’s new transgender policy.
In short, he refused to call boys “girls” and girls “boys.”
And for that, he was suspended and threatened with losing his job altogether. Cross took his case to court and won an injunction yesterday. Officials were ordered to reinstate him as a teacher.
Loudon County Circuit Judge James Plowman called the school’s suspension “extreme and vindictive.”
Judge Plowman is absolutely right. Tanner Cross was a victim of the “cancel culture” – the rogue, runaway movement determined to destroy the careers and reputations of those who refuse to comply with a radical, liberal agenda whose main objectives include the erasure and silencing of convictional Christians.
The great irony is that Mr. Cross was labeled a radical for standing up to the mob.
But let me ask you – does what the teacher said sound radical? Here are his own words:
“I love all of my students, but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences. I’m a teacher but I serve God first, and I will not affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it’s against my religion. It’s lying to a child, it’s abuse to a child, and it’s sinning against our God.”
It doesn’t seem to occur to some that denying biological fact is, in fact, deceptive. But many feel that repeating a lie long enough will somehow, someday and someway make it true. It won’t.
As we watch Christians encounter increasing resistance in culture, I’m reminded of believers in the early Church who ran up against strong opposition and extreme persecution. Today’s penalties may pale in comparison to those who were martyred for their faith in those first few centuries, but similar principles still apply.
It takes guts to stand up and speak out when those in power are interested in shutting you up and making your life miserable. But courage isn’t convenient. Bravery can leave bruises.
I was recently reading in Acts, and was struck by a particular exchange recorded by Luke. As you will recall, several of the apostles were arrested and brought before the Jewish religious leaders for preaching and healing in Jesus’ name. Gamaliel, who was once a teacher to the apostle Paul before his dramatic conversion, had this to say:
“Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” – Acts 5:35-39
Secular antagonists and agitators who remain obsessed with eviscerating Christians in the culture are not really fighting believers – they’re battling God and His ways. Ultimately, they will not be successful.
But for now, I’m grateful for the convictional courage of Tanner Cross and the constitutional wisdom of Judge Plowman.