What do American churches believe on the issue of transgender people?
RELIGION GUY’S RESPONSE:
As with American society as a whole, the examination by churches of the sensitive issue of transgender people has emerged only recently and quite suddenly, compared to their decades-long debate over whether to abandon the Christian tradition against homosexual and lesbian relationships. The religious implications go far beyond the political turmoil over “bathroom bills”, athletic competitions or women’s shelters.
Transgender is part of a larger gender fluidity movement. A recent poll by the Interfaith Religion News Service asked readers to identify as either female, male, transgender, trans female or MTF, trans male or FTM, intersex, questioning, non-binary, genderqueer, gender fluid , agender, or “other.”
Among theologically flexible “mainstream” Protestants, a key breakthrough was the September establishment of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States of Megan Rohrer of California, its first bishop identified as transgender. Rohrer was excluded from the clergy until a policy change in 2009, so he was originally ordained by the Independent Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, which work for full LGBT inclusion. (Oddly, that organization suspended Rohrer from membership in December over alleged and unspecified “racist words and actions”.)
The United Methodist Church is expected to split this year over same-sex disagreement, exactly 50 years after the debate on the first floor of a governing General Conference. In October, church media reported on the gender transition of a former “cisgender” Methodist pastor married to Peggy Johnson, the recently retired bishop of eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and eastern Canada. Maryland. But last month, Methodists in Indiana removed Pastor Craig Duke from his congregation for drag queen shows and drag education to show solidarity with his daughter, who identifies as pansexual.
As early as 2003, the United Church of Christ encouraged all of its congregations to open ministry and full participation to “transgender and intersex people” and to those “named as neither male nor female.” The liberal denomination based its policy change on Jesus’ rejection of the Old Testament rules of “outward conformity”, biblical warnings to “look beyond human divisions”, the “goodness of creation” and “the love of God for all peoples”.
In 2012, the Episcopal Church revised canon law to add gender identity and gender expression as protected categories as part of its anti-discrimination policies for clergy ordination and lay participation. . In November, the neighboring Anglican Church of Canada authorized the experimental use of new rituals that celebrate “gender transition and affirmation journeys.”
The pro-LGBT human rights campaign publishes more information on religion at www.hrc.org/resources/faith-positions.
On the other hand, Catholic traditionalism was defended by Pope Francis in a 2016 “apostolic exhortation” which affirmed the teaching of an international synod of bishops. The bishops said the new gender “ideology” denies “the difference and reciprocity in the nature of a man and a woman and envisions a society without gender differences, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family.” Francis appealed: “Let us not fall into the sin of trying to replace the Creator” and rather respect humanity “as it was created”.
A 2019 article on this “crisis” of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education similarly stated that “the Holy Scriptures reveal the wisdom of the Creator.” He opposed efforts in education and legislation that promote “a radical break with the real biological difference between man and woman” and make human identity “the choice of the individual, which may also change over time ”. With the exception of rare cases of biological ambiguity, the Vatican office said, the scientific facts of human genetics differentiate each individual “from the very moment of conception,” with “a structural determinant of male identity or feminine ”.
There is Catholic related activity behind the scenes, according to a December report from the conservative news site www.pillarcatholic.com. He said the all-important Vatican doctrine office had retained a 2018 draft policy on the issue of gender identity. The American Bishops’ Conference developed a policy that was sent to the Vatican for review in 2017, revised, resubmitted, but not published. According to The Pillar, the leaked Vatican project stated that a person who has undergone gender reassignment surgery cannot validly marry, nor can a physical man who identifies as a woman eligible for the priesthood, but an adult treated for “attempted sexual change” can be baptized “after proper preparation,
The agreement of conservative and evangelical Protestants with the Catholic position is demonstrated in three representative documents.
A notable and detailed platform was published in 2016 by the Christian Medical and Dental Association, representing 19,000 medical professionals who affirm “divine inspiration and final authority of the Bible as the Word of God” ( text at https://cmda.org/ policy-issues-home / position-statements /). The association believes that the biblical teaching that “God created mankind as male and female” corresponds to the “objective biological fact” that their sex “is genetically determined at conception” and is “immutable”, and not “a social construct arbitrarily assigned at birth or modified at will.”
This statement addresses the rare gender anomalies at birth and calls for compassionate and sensitive professional care, but opposes transgender ‘ideology’ imposed by ‘excluding, suppressing, marginalizing, intimidating or presenting as hateful’ those who are. disagree, whether on “scientific, moral, or religious grounds.”
The largest Protestant denomination in the United States, the Southern Baptist Convention, declared in 2014 that “God’s purpose was to create two distinct and complementary sexes, male and female (Genesis 1:17, Matthew 19: 4, Mark 10: 6), which denote the fundamental distinction that God has anchored in the very biology of the human race. Although “our transgender neighbors” are “image bearers of Almighty God” and Baptists welcome them to church and condemn “abuse or intimidation,” they oppose efforts to “ validate transgender identity as morally laudable ”.
Many Baptist leaders were among the 165 evangelicals from various churches and schools who endorsed this prospect in the 2017 “Nashville Declaration” negotiated by the Conservative Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
Recent points of interest outside of church discussions:
Edward Schiappa’s “The Transgender Exigence: Defining Sex and Gender in the 21st Century” (Routledge) unpacks the evolving conflicts and confusions about language.
Helen Joyce’s “Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality” (Oneworld) is a skeptical story of the gender identity movement, hailed by a New York Times criticism as “a good, passionate start” to honest debate.
‘Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze That Seduces Our Daughters’ (Regnery) by Abigail Shrier sparked fury and efforts to curtail sales, but is ranked among the best books of 2021 by The Economist. She analyzes the huge upsurge in trans teenage girls and opposes gender transitional hormone therapy and surgery into adulthood.
An October academic article by Lisa Littman of Brown University, who studies the disputed ‘rapid onset gender dysphoria’, reports 100 patients who have ‘de-transitioned’ to reverse their gender transition treatments (see https: //littmanresearch.com).
A september Remark A magazine article by Paul McHugh, longtime chief of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and law professor Gerard Bradley of the University of Notre Dame, insists that medical ethics require a ” informed consent ”, which cannot happen with young patients undergoing irreversible bridging treatment.
September 13 New Yorker, Amia Srinivasan examines the “Trans-Exclusion Radical Feminist” or TERF movement, which rejects trans women’s claim to femininity. Along these lines, RemarkChristine Rosen’s January cover story promotes tolerance but targets “the new misogyny”, saying that “the claim that anyone can be a woman is a denigration of all women.”