CLERGY CORNER: Controversial topics and what students are saying

Posted on 08 March 2018 by LeslieM

As a parent desiring to train up your children with a biblical world view, be encouraged by the responses given by young people from varying ages, schools, socioeconomic status and nationality in the following areas:

NFL protest

Colin Kaepernick told NFL Media that he started the national anthem protest by taking a knee because he was “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” While Kaepernick may have desired to raise awareness of a serious social issue, the students like Lucas, 12, a Deerfield Beach Middle School student, had this to say, “I feel like you should be able to express your first amendment rights, but not in such a way that’s disrespectful to the citizens and the country.” Katie, 16, a Deerfield Beach High School student added, “There’s people out there literally dying because they love this country.” Overall, among this group of students, the protest failed to convey its message.

Gender dysphoria

Gender dysphoria, as defined by Andrew Walker in God and the Transgender Debate: What does the Bible Actually Say About Gender Identity, is when “someone experiences distress, inner anguish, or discomfort from sensing a conflict between their gender identity and their biological sex.” While the students expressed compassion for those experiencing such distress, when it comes to children “it should not be encouraged,” says Anna, 16, Highlands Christian Academy student, “they’re not old enough to make that decision.” Julia, 18, also a Highlands Christian Academy student, agrees, citing the example of a young boy wanting to be a girl because he was envious of his parents’ affection toward his baby sister, mistaking their attention being related to gender.

Same-sex marriage

Author Andrew Walker also notes about a post-Christian nation, “With declining [Christian] influence, greater opportunity emerges for different value or ethical systems to displace Christian morality as the widely accepted norm.” As such, Wilson says acceptance is growing for gay and lesbian relationships. However, even though both gay and straight individuals possess the “same inherent dignity,” these teens, again, while open to compassion and embracing the person, affirm the Biblical view: God’s design and purpose for marriage (is between one man and one woman).


With the advancements in biology, which have shaped science curricula, students like Julia, were able to clearly articulate the stages of birth and intelligently argue against the choice for abortion. While the group predominately favored the pro-life stance, due to the complexity of the issue, some students did wrestle with how to respond should a young girl become pregnant due to circumstances beyond her control. Based on responses, greater awareness and how to respond is needed.

#metoo movement

Students were not aware of this movement.

Illegal immigration

When it comes to the topic of illegal immigration, the students concluded the following: 1) Quicker, and simplified, path to citizenship is needed for those seeking a better life and are here working. 2) Illegal immigrants who choose to consume from entitlement programs without any contribution should face deportation. 3) The United States should use federal dollars in support of citizens in need within the border. 4) There is need for an intentional conversation leading to viable immigration reform over simply saying, “build the wall.”

Gun control

The night I conducted this interview was the eve of the Douglas Stoneman shooting. Many present shared their personal connection to the school, from having friends there to having graduated from the school.

When I asked the question about gun control, one student said, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people,” followed by applause from the group. Yet this impassioned response, which included voicing support for carrying a firearm for protection, included being in favor for smart gun regulations — such as exploring new methods to prevent weapons from being smuggled into the country.

They also expressed their concern for a more effective method to address mental health issues.

In summation: students engaged in a growing relationship with Christ tend to predominately reject relativism, and when faced with situations that challenge universalism, avoid generic talking points and search for real solutions.

C.J. Wetzler is the NextGen pastor at The Church at Deerfield Beach. Before transitioning into full-time ministry, CJ was a commercial airline captain and high school leadership and science teacher. He loves to mentor the next generation of leaders and considers himself a fast food connoisseur. For questions or comments, connect with him on social media: @thecjwetzler.

[Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect views of The Observer].

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