It’s the Transgender Moment for America and the Church

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In March the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Washington issued the new learning standards to take effect in all public schools in the school year 2017-2018. The standards touch all the expected bases but when it comes to sexual health there are instructional goals that should make all evangelical Christians take notice. Not because what happens in Washington is necessarily what would happen here in South Carolina but because sooner or later all states will be affected by what affects one.

 

Here’s what we should pay attention to: Beginning in kindergarten and continuing through high school, every student will be taught transgenderism is a viable expression of sexual expression and graded on how well they accept their indoctrination.

 

You can read the whole report here. The section I’m referring to is entitled “Self-identity” and begins on page 28.

 

If you want a concise analysis you can read the Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson, who earlier this week ran a piece explaining the details. Hasson points out how the foundation of the transgender learning standards was laid in an earlier document.

 

The state’s health education glossary defines gender as “A social construct based on emotional, behavioral, and cultural characteristics attached to a person’s assigned biological sex.” Gender expression, meanwhile, is defined as “The way someone outwardly expresses their gender.”

 

Biology, in this way of thinking, has little to do with gender. Gender—male or female—is instead a contrivance adopted to support whatever characteristics society might value. The consequence is that people are free to choose whichever gender best suits their personal inclination. Gender, in other words, isn’t a given; it’s a preference. It isn’t determined; it’s fluid. It’s not the prerogative of society or religion; but instead that of the individual.

 

Washington’s learning standards, in the best bureaucratic fashion, carefully assign specific objectives to each grade. Here’s the breakdown of how the educational objectives will be implemented:

 

Beginning in Kindergarten, students will be taught about the many ways to express gender.  Gender expression education will include information about the manifestations of traits that are typically associated with one gender. Crossdressing is one form of gender expression.

 

Third graders will be introduced to the concept of gender identity.  These children will be taught that they can choose their own gender.

 

Fourth graders will be expected to “define sexual orientation,” which refers to whether a person identifies as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual; they’ll also be taught about HIV prevention.  Children in fourth grade will be told that they can choose their sexual orientation.

 

Fourth and fifth graders will learn about the relativity of gender roles and why such roles are social constructs that are not inherent to who we are as male or female human beings.

 

Seventh graders will be expected to “distinguish between biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.”

 

High school students will critically “evaluate how culture, media, society, and other people influence our perceptions of gender roles, sexuality, relationships, and sexual orientation.”

 

I’m hesitant to bring up the transgenderism issue again because I’ve devoted several recent blogs to it, but it’s important for all of us in evangelical churches to grasp the importance of this moment. This isn’t just about changing moral values, who can use public restrooms, public policy, constitutional law, the place of the church in the larger culture or even public school curricula. Although all those things are important. But it’s what lies beneath that’s so significant, and threatening.

 

The transgender movement—along with the cultural and political wreckage it’s leaving in its wake—takes as its philosophical foundation the notion that each individual is his own god and can create himself or herself in whatever image is desired. We who take the Bible as our guide and Jesus as our Lord can never embrace that belief. We are bound to reject any idea or philosophy that attempts to replace the Creator with the creature.

 

This transgender moment—if I can call it that—really is a watershed. Not in the sense its advocates claim; namely, that the individual freedoms and protections guaranteed in the Constitution are now available to everyone. But in the sense of being such a seismic shift that it’s hard to see how the religious beliefs at the nation’s core can still find a hearing. One of the ironies in the current legal wrangling is how many of the so-called freedoms and protections demanded by fringe groups (interesting factoid: transgenders make up .3 % of the national population) come at the expense of Bible believing people. Does anyone really believe that the State of Washington will make allowances for Christian families to exempt their children from indoctrination into the new transgender standards?

 

As American institutions fall one by one to transgenderism and all it represents, our position as evangelical Christians will be ostracized, ridiculed, persecuted and finally outlawed. The next few years will determine not just the fate of America as a nation but also that of the Church as American.

1 Comment

  1. Jessica Quinton on June 12, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    By defining gender as “a social construct based on emotional, behavioral, and cultural characteristics attached to a person’s assigned biological sex, “ the Washington State Department of Education has provided opportunities for students and teachers to deconstruct and critique the gendered stereotypes about masculinity and femininity. No one is arguing against the idea that sex, male or female, is a biological construct. The glossary provided even defines biological sex as being “based on chromosomes, hormones, and internal and external anatomy.” It is the erroneous use of sex and gender as synonyms that provide the misunderstanding surrounding the self-identity health standards.

    I would like to provide a broader interpretation of these standards and how a critique of gender roles and their associated stereotypes could benefit students. For my dissertation research, I interviewed successful middle school young women about their perceptions of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers. Through those interviews, I concluded that gendered stereotypes influenced them to perceive certain careers as male careers or female careers.

    Scientists have yet to find biological determination for math success, identification with the color blue, or science superiority on the Y chromosome. In fact, boys and girls perform equally well in science and math courses. The gendered stereotypes surrounding STEM, such as math is hard for girls or boys are natural scientists has caused young women deciding on a career path to disregard certain careers. This decision is not because they lack ability in STEM but because they do not see it as aligning with their gender.

    By allowing students, as early as kindergartners to begin recognizing and identifying how gender is a social construct, then it is possible that these children will be free of one roadblock to success. The importance of STEM careers to the national economy is great and there are federal programs that provide for free college education for students who go into STEM careers. The economic benefit of STEM careers is in competitive salaries for people that pursue STEM careers, and women should be represented in this group. By learning to critique gendered stereotypes at a young age, girls can grow to see themselves in these lucrative careers that bring many benefits to society.

    Defining gender as a social construct does not refute that we are made in God’s image. If anything, defining gender as a social construct recognizes how sin has perverted the intended relationships between people and our views of one another. Race, class, and gender roles along with their stereotypes have been used to create a hierarchy in society and marginalize groups of people by treating the marginalized as other. By providing people the tools to deconstruct what the social construct of gender means and signifies could allow for a greater understanding and appreciation of one another.

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