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Never Make the Same Mistake Twice: Faithfulness in the Fight Against Transgenderism

Christians would be wise to examine the foundational failures of the Christian response to abortion over the past fifty years and seek to avoid these same mistakes in the fight against transgenderism. If we wish to prevent Bostock from becoming the next Roe, if we desire to spare future generations of the perverse tragedy of transgender ideology, then Christians must not repeat the manifold errors made in the abortion battle.
 
 
If there is one thing that there is no shortage of in the United States these days, it is controversy. The 24-hour news cycle is constantly packed with the latest outrages and atrocities, endlessly feeding an audience hungry for emotional highs yet with little appetite for actually working for change. However, as the political and cultural battles march on in our nation, two fronts have emerged as the clear priority for Christian focus and involvement: abortion and transgenderism. These two hot-button issues arise from the same root cause, a radically anti-biblical sexual ethic that has overtaken our culture in the space of the last 60 years.
 
The long-term strategy for Christians must be to rediscover and boldly proclaim the biblical sexual ethic centered on covenant marriage; however, at present, these two issues, though closely related, require differentiation. This is mainly due to the fact that transgenderism is culturally a very new phenomenon, while abortion is comparatively much older.
 
Abortion was considered by many to be law in this country from the time of the Roe V. Wade opinion in 1973 until the Dobbs V. Jackson Women’s Health opinion reversed it in 2022. That’s nearly fifty years of federally-sponsored baby murder. Conversely, transgenderism has only gained mainstream cultural attention over the past five to seven years, and legally speaking, the Supreme Court opinion in Bostock V. Clayton County in 2020 effectively made transgender affirmation the law of the land.
 
Although these two issues are not identical, Christians would be wise to examine the foundational failures of the Christian response to abortion over the past fifty years and seek to avoid these same mistakes in the fight against transgenderism. If we wish to prevent Bostock from becoming the next Roe, if we desire to spare future generations of the perverse tragedy of transgender ideology, then Christians must not repeat the manifold errors made in the abortion battle.
 

Incrementalism Cannot Be An Acceptable Option

While the Pro-Life Movement has had its handful of legitimate victories over the years, the sustained ubiquity of and access to abortion says as much about the failure of Christians to adequately fight it as it does about the religious determination of its supporters. One of the most significant issues of the Pro-Life Movement that must be resisted in the early days of the fight against transgenderism is the strategy of incrementalism. The pragmatic appeal of an incremental approach is admittedly tempting; is it not better to accept a small victory rather than no victory at all? Nevertheless, the fruits of this strategy have become evident. Across fifty years, the results of incremental legislation have been a hodgepodge of regulations of arbitrary limitations, and even with Roe overturned, have left abortion virtually unhindered in most of the country.
 
With such blatant evils as abortion and transgenderism, incrementalism cannot be an acceptable option. This move toward incrementalism is already beginning to appear in the backlash against transgenderism. Recently, amid a flurry of revelations regarding child gender clinics and their medical “treatment” for children, some momentum has gathered across the country to make the performance of these grizzly interventions on children illegal. Undoubtedly these horrific procedures ought to be criminally penalized, yet to attach sanctions only when performed on children is the first incremental compromise.
 
The outrage over these procedures is legitimate, yet it should not be limited to the pediatric wing of the hospital. All of the genital mutilation, cross-sex hormones, puberty blockers, double mastectomies, and the rest of the slate of gender “affirming” interventions alike ought to be abhorred, abominated, and penalized regardless of the age of the victim. To pass a law that criminalizes doctors who perform these abusive procedures only on children immediately concedes the point that there is nothing inherently evil about the practices themselves (when performed in pursuit of a transgender identity) but that their lawfulness is rooted in the entirely unbiblical standard of consent, rather than in God’s law.
 
Christians must not begin this fight from a compromised position. We must, with one accord and by the authority of God’s word, insist that all transgender “health care” procedures ought to be criminally sanctioned. This is a stand that takes courage—yet if all who profess the Christian faith and oppose the ideology of transgenderism make clear this demand from the beginning, then it will become much easier for the great multitude of ordinary citizens of like mind to take a similar stand.
 
As the abortion battle has taught us, incrementalism is a nearly impossible hole to climb out of once it has been dug. Only recently has the biblical response to abortion that should have been demanded from the beginning—full criminalization without exception—begun to gain marginal support in various state legislatures. And it is telling that the most substantial opposition against the biblical position has come from the compromised Pro-Life Industry. Once a fundamental compromise is made, it becomes very difficult to go back and correct the compromise later. Put another way, a house built on the sand instead of the rock will fall.
 

Education Is Not The Problem

A second failure of the Pro-Life Movement that carries appeal in the movement against transgenderism is the unbiblical fallacy that mere education will be sufficient to win public support and so defeat this enemy. Even to this day, many Pro-Lifers insist that the reason why we still have abortion is that people just don’t know that what is in the womb is a child. They argue that if only people would learn the biological facts, if they understood how an abortion is performed, if they saw what an aborted baby looks like, then they would be unable to continue supporting it. This position makes the mistake of misdiagnosing the problem as being one of intellect rather than of the heart. It denies the plain teaching of Romans 1, that no matter how clear it may be, there is no truth that sinful man will not try to suppress.
 
Part of the reason for the recently sparked backlash against transgenderism has been its exposure on a national level. People have seen the effects on those who have undergone hormonal and surgical treatments. They have heard about the astoundingly barbaric methods by which transgender operations are performed. They have read the LGBTQ-affirming books available in schools and have seen the news stories about teachers and government officials interfering with parental rights. They have been educated.
 
Of course, this is a good and necessary element of an effective counter-attack, just as pro-lifers must understand and articulate the biological humanity of the unborn. Yet education by itself will never win the battle. Keep in mind that transgenderism suppresses the most fundamental truth of human existence—the reality of maleness and femaleness. Therefore, it will not be a movement defeated by simply informing the public about X and Y chromosomes, the fundamental differences in the biochemistry of men and women, or even by exposing its horrific realities. Like abortion, the advocates of transgenderism have a religious devotion to it, and therefore effective opposition must not be mere rationalism or materialism.
 

A Biblical Worldview, Not Science, Is Our Basis For Opposition

This brings us to the third big mistake of the past that we must avoid. In an effort to gain as broad of a cultural appeal as possible, the Pro-Life Movement has proudly branded itself as “non-religious.” This, of course, has not stopped proponents of abortion from accusing pro-lifers of trying to “shove their religion down everyone’s throat,” to which the official Pro-Life response is something like “we oppose abortion based solely on the science.” It is true that one does not need to be a Christian—or even religious—to oppose abortion; however, it is simply dishonest to say that the question of when life begins and when it becomes valuable is irreligious. Christians ought to oppose abortion because it violates God’s law, His character, and His creation order. It is undoubtedly a wonderful thing that scientific research continues to affirm the biblical worldview, but that is not the basis upon which we oppose abortion, and we must not pretend that it is. Neither is biological science the grounding of our opposition to transgenderism.
 
Obviously, no matter how frequently transgender activists pervert language or appeal to their sham “studies,” the science does not and never will affirm transgenderism. Yet that does not stop millions of people from believing in it. This is because transgenderism is not a materialistic evolutionary deduction. It is not a rationally discerned observation or the inescapable conclusion of the preponderance of the evidence, but it is a highly spiritual faith commitment.
 
Christians would be fools not to meet this heresy from an explicitly religious position. Ultimately, we do not oppose transgenderism because of genitalia, chromosomes, or DNA, but because “Male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). Our appeal must be to a higher authority, a Creator to whom all are accountable and by whom all will be judged.
 
This approach is not only necessary because of its grounding in the fear of God—the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7)—but also because it actually offers true salvation and a positive alternative to transgenderism. Scientific facts and data may prove the existence of the male and female sexes biochemically, and it may be able to explain their practical usefulness, but this offers nothing to the lost individual who truly believes she was born in the wrong body. It cannot explain the goodness and beauty of the gender binary. Transgenderism will not be defeated by the process of rationalistic reasoning divorced from a Christian worldview—and even if this movement does burn itself out, it will be replaced with something no less perverse.
 

The Only Solution

The only solution to transgenderism is repentance, faith, and a new identity in Christ. If we seek to combat this ideology from an overtly non-religious footing, the way many have on abortion, then we are removing the only true escape from the identity crisis that has propelled it and the only power by which it can be defeated. Our response to transgenderism must be the clear proclamation of the authority of God the Creator, and the goodness of His creation, coupled with a life lived out with an identity—not in maleness, femaleness, sexuality, or any other thing coming from ourselves—but in Christ. We must provide a positive vision of true beauty lived out to the glory of God and complete fulfillment in Christ alone. Raw scientific data will convince no one.

 

We live in a time where appeals to easily demonstrable common grace facts such as the humanity of the pre-born and the distinction between men and women carry very little capital. This is because our culture has broadly denied the authority of God by whose common grace we can understand facts. What is called for right now is clear articulation, without qualification, of the madness and wickedness of both transgenderism and abortion, grounded not on the authority of the “scientific consensus” but of the living God. Until that message is clearly proclaimed and then humbly received and met with true repentance, there will be no end to our cultural insanity.
 
Luke Griffo is an elder and member of leadership at Redeemer Church of South Hills in West Mifflin, PA.  Click here for more RCSH Blog posts. 
 
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2 Responses to “Never Make the Same Mistake Twice: Faithfulness in the Fight Against Transgenderism”

  1. Curt Day says:

    When addressing transgenderism, we need to first check the claims we are working with. Otherwise, we might bring harm to the reputation of the Gospel. Next, we need to know the differences between abortion and transgenderism. With abortion, the life of another person is at stake. With transgenderism, a person is making their own choice for their own lives.

    Also, we should be careful regarding how we use the Scriptures to address transgenderism. While it is popular to quote Genesis 1:27, that was about the time before the Fall. Nature also fell when Adam and Eve sinned. And we should note that the number of people who are born sexually indeterminant each year is comparable with how many people get certain diseases. So while before the Fall we have male and female, after the Fall we observe that we have a variety of sexually indeterminant people often called Intersex in which it is not clear whether one is male or female. There are those cases in which a person has the chromosomes of a male or female but other conditions cause a discrepancy between their internal and external genitalia. There are also those who have either 1 sex chromosome or 3 sex chromosomes. There is also gonadal intersex.

    In terms of gender identity, we should note that some Native American tribes recognized up to 5 different genders. And though their gender identity thinking and practices don’t always translate into the model of thought used by the LGBT community, this shows that gender identity issues are neither recent nor peculiar to Western nations.

    Also, we should note that we can’t afford to practice the mirror image of the LGBT Community’s mistake of conflating biological sex, which is physical in nature, with gender identity, which is psychological in nature. The gender identity that one feels does not change the biological sex of the person.

    The other side of the coin would be to assume that one’s biological sex provides the only input for gender identity. Gender dysphoria is a real psychological condition for which it would a mistake for us to reduce it to only spiritual terms especially when we don’t know what nature is telling someone on the inside. And here, we need to be reminded that nature is fallen.

    We also need to rely on sound documentation regarding what gender affirming care for young people involves. Some wish to instigate tempers by falsely reporting what is being practiced by the medical community. The link below does provide some information regarding that as well as some of the information previously mentioned in this comment.

    So after all of that, should we treat transgenderism in the same way that we treat abortion? I don’t think so. But we still must remain faithful to what the Scriptures say about gender. Perhaps we need to be more careful in determining what the Scriptures say for certain people.

    https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001669.htm

  2. Curt Day says:

    I forgot to provide the link that talks about gender affirming care. That link is below:

    https://www.aamc.org/news-insights/what-gender-affirming-care-your-questions-answered

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