In his most recent editorial, Michael Gerson highlights a new film that celebrates shifting “evangelical” attitudes concerning LGBT issues. Gerson contends that evangelicals should not be confused with fundamentalists and that evangelicals are in fact changing their views on sexuality to fit in with late modernity in the wake of the sexual revolution. It’s a little hard to tell what Michael Gerson intends in this editorial. Is this a thought experiment—a pensive response to a thought-provoking film? Or is this a celebration of those “evangelicals” who believe homosexuality and Christianity are compatible? I’m trying to be generous here, but it really does sound like the latter. Continue Reading →
Today the Boy Scouts of America announced that they would begin allowing girls to enroll as Boy Scouts and as Cub Scouts. But this new policy doesn’t allow all girls to enroll—only those who are willing to say that they are a boy on their Scouting application. Here’s the text of the statement released earlier today:
As one of America’s largest youth-serving organizations, the Boy Scouts of America continues to work to bring the benefits of our programs to as many children, families and communities as possible.
While we offer a number of programs that serve all youth, Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting are specifically designed to meet the needs of boys. For more than 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America, along with schools, youth sports and other youth organizations, have ultimately deferred to the information on an individual’s birth certificate to determine eligibility for our single-gender programs. However, that approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and these laws vary widely from state to state.
Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application. Our organization’s local councils will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child.
The Boy Scouts of America is committed to identifying program options that will help us truly serve the whole family, and this is an area that we will continue to thoughtfully evaluate to bring the benefits of Scouting to the greatest number of youth possible – all while remaining true to our core values, outlined in the Scout Oath and Law.
Two observations about this statement:
1. An 8-year old girl recently sued The Boy Scouts of America for discrimination after she was kicked out of her scouting group. She had identified as a boy on her application. But the troop subsequently told her that she wasn’t eligible because the gender on her application did not match the sex listed on her birth certificate. The suit against New Jersey Boy Scouts claims that the Boy Scouts “violated the state’s law against discrimination.” State laws like the one in New Jersey are precisely what this BSA statement cites as its rationale for this decision. Because these laws are on the books, the BSA would be exposed to lawsuits in every state that has a SOGI law in the books (for more on SOGI laws, read this). Rather than fighting these lawsuits, the BSA has apparently decided to capitulate. Given the fact that the BSA has already succumbed to pressure to allow gay Scouts and gay Scouting leaders, it is no surprise that they have succumbed on this issue as well.
2. The statement says that “Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting are specifically designed to meet the needs of boys.” This new policy, however, is just one more way in which the BSA will fail to “meet the needs of boys” (and girls, for that matter). Until now, the BSA has used the sex listed on the birth certificate to determine who was a boy and who wasn’t. But now the BSA is saying that this is no longer sufficient for distinguishing male from female. That means that the BSA is saying that biology no longer matters in distinguishing male and female. This is an enormous concession to radical gender ideology, and it is not something that will help children. Last year, the American College of Pediatricians released a statement contending that “Gender Ideology Harms Children.” Among other things, the statement says this:
A person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking. When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind not the body, and it should be treated as such…
Conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse. Endorsing gender discordance as normal via public education and legal policies will confuse children and parents, leading more children to present to “gender clinics” where they will be given puberty-blocking drugs. This, in turn, virtually ensures they will “choose” a lifetime of carcinogenic and otherwise toxic cross-sex hormones, and likely consider unnecessary surgical mutilation of their healthy body parts as young adults.
When a child embraces a psychological identity at odds with his bodily identity, this is not healthy or good for that child. And it only adds insult to injury for adults to accommodate this harmful self-impression. But that is what this new policy does.
I can’t help but grieve that the Boy Scouts are going along with this radical redefinition of what it means to be a boy. They are making a big mistake in this, and it will be one that hurts not only their organization but also the very boys they wish to serve.
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) January 22, 2017
Kirsten Powers had a tense exchange on CNN the other night as she was trying to point out that the Womens March over the weekend excluded some women (see above). One of the other panelists chuckled at her for pointing this out, although it is not clear why.
In advance of the march, the organizers published a doctrinal statement titled “Unity Principles.” Anyone who departed from the doctrinal statement was not allowed to “partner” with the march. Among other things required of “partners” is explicit affirmation of unrestricted abortion rights and gay rights. Here’s a snippet:
We believe in Reproductive Freedom. We do not accept any federal, state or local rollbacks, cuts or restrictions on our ability to access quality reproductive healthcare services, birth control, HIV/AIDS care and prevention, or medically accurate sexuality education. This means open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people, regardless of income, location or education.
We firmly declare that LGBTQIA Rights are Human Rights and that it is our obligation to uplift, expand and protect the rights of our gay, lesbian, bi, queer, trans or gender non-conforming brothers, sisters and siblings. We must have the power to control our bodies and be free from gender norms, expectations and stereotypes.
The Womens March was in fact exclusionary of some women as the organizers did not allow prolife women to be “partners” for the event. The New Wave Feminists, a prolife feminist group, were dropped from the “partner” list specifically because of their views on abortion.
Perhaps it wasn’t clear to all the marchers, but there was a specific agenda for the march. Kirsten Powers was right. It wasn’t a march for all women. It was only for those women who hold to certain dogmas about sexuality and gender.
Read the rest of the “Unity Principles” here.
Meredith Maran had an interesting essay in The New York Times over the weekend: “I Got Gay Married. I Got Gay Divorced. I Regret Both.” In it, she describes her “marriage” to her lesbian partner in 2008 and the subsequent dissolution of their relationship in 2013. She regrets her gay marriage and divorce, but it is not because she is against gay marriage in principle. Rather she says this: Continue Reading →
The White House produced a video of celebrites and citizens sharing their most memorable moment of President Obama’s presidency. Each one relates their “Obama moment” as a final farewell in these last days of his administration.
I won’t offer much commentary on this. It is precisely what we would all expect. Still, I can’t help but notice that about half the country would mourn some of the things being celebrated as “progress” in this video. It’s a striking reminder of how divided our country remains over fundamental issues of justice and truth. And that is not likely to change anytime soon.
Many of you have likely seen the special issue of National Geographic dealing with transgenderism. The entire issue—and indeed the feature article—is a case study in one-sided propaganda. It celebrates transgender identities as healthy expressions of human diversity. And it shows little to no familiarity with the contested nature of their claims or with scientific evidence that contradicts transgender ideology. The entire issue simply assumes the truthfulness of claims made by some of the most ardent transgender ideologues.
Andrew Walker and I have written a response to this at The Public Discourse, and you can read our entire argument there. I simply want to highlight one item for your consideration. National Geographic makes the case that children with transgender identities might consider medical interventions to transform their bodies to the opposite sex. This might start with hormone blockers that delay puberty, and it might end with so-called sex-change surgeries to reshape genital anatomy and reproductive structures to those of the opposite sex. And they argue that such surgeries are not merely for transgender adults, but also for transgender children.
And then, in one of the most obscene items I’ve ever seen in a major news publication, there is a picture of a 17-year old girl displaying her bare chest still bearing the scars of her recent double mastectomy. Think about this. National Geographic publishes a groundless propaganda piece and exploits the naked body of a minor child to help make their tendentious point. In response to this, we write:
The final page of Henig’s article celebrates the mutilation of minor children with a full-page picture of a shirtless 17-year old girl who recently underwent a double mastectomy in order to “transition” to being a boy. Why do transgender ideologues consider it harmful to attempt to change such a child’s mind but consider it progress to display her bare, mutilated chest for a cover story? Transgender ideologues like Henig never address this ethical contradiction at the heart of their paradigm. Why is it acceptable to surgically alter a child’s body to match his sense of self but bigoted to try to change his sense of self to match his body? If it is wrong to attempt to change a child’s gender identity (because it is fixed and meddling with it is harmful), then why is it morally acceptable to alter something as fixed as the reproductive anatomy of a minor? The moral inconsistency here is plain.
Transgender activists often act as if traditionalists are mistreating transgender persons by failing to acknowledge their identity. But I would simply ask them this question. Who’s mistreating whom in this scenario? Those who mutilate and display that naked chest of female child? Or those who try to help confused children to understand who God made them to be. These questions answer themselves.
As we begin 2017, it is good to think about what has been and what is to come. There were many people who started 2016 not knowing that it would be their last. I’ve known them. And so have you. We are not so different from them, are we?
When I look in the rearview mirror, I see the years gathering up behind me, and I can hardly believe how quickly they’ve piled up. As life rattles forward, it seems the earth makes its annual journey a little quicker than the year before. Where have the years gone?
National Geographic has released a special issue titled “Gender Revolution,” and it includes one article offering advice for parents of transgender children. Here is the bottom line:
Your most important role as a parent is to offer understanding, respect, and support to your child. A nonjudgmental approach will gain your child’s trust and put you in a better position to help your child through difficult times.
When your child discloses an identity to you, respond in an affirming, supportive way…
In short, parents must affirm whatever identity a child embraces or risk “harming” their child. But there are some obvious questions that never get asked and answered in this article. Are children really helped when parents decline to make judgments about what is best for their child? Must parents accept and affirm any identity that a child might assume? What kind of child-rearing strategy is it that disallows moral discernment and mandates unconditional affirmation? Continue Reading →
Last year, Karen Swallow Prior had a fascinating piece at TGC about the author of “In the Bleak Mid-Winter.” Her name is Christina Rossetti (1830–1894), and Prior writes that she was a woman of “deep Christian conviction.” Prior concludes:
The paradox of Rossetti’s life is that her “spirit of self-postponement” produced some of the finest Christian poetry written—the gift of herself, given to her Savior and received by the world.
I commend to you the rest of Prior’s essay, which you can read here. I also recommend two versions of the song that are staples around my house during this time of year. My favorite version is Shawn Colvin’s, and a close second is from the Indigo Girls. The audio and lyrics are below. Enjoy. Continue Reading →
Today, Warner Brothers released the first full-length trailer for the forthcoming movie Dunkirk (see above). I assume that most of you reading this know why this film is so highly anticipated. But I am writing for those of you who may not. The story of the evacuation from Dunkirk during World War 2 is one of the most riveting true stories that you will ever hear. It is a story of heroes, common and uncommon. It is a story of national valor and courage, and for that reason the story is beloved and cherished. What happened at this little fishing village in the north of France in 1940? Continue Reading →