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Russell Moore: The real meaning of transgender bathrooms

Southern Baptist theologian Russell Moore argues unisex bathrooms represent an affront to the biblical understanding of men and women. Photo courtesy of Reuters

On Thursday (May 12), the New York Times reported that the Obama administration would issue a decree directing every public school in the nation to allow bathroom access on the basis of self-identity, not biological sex. I’m quite aware of the White House’s place in our culture wars, and even I am surprised. If anyone had suggested in 2009 that the new president’s administration would seek to target children’s bathrooms for the sake of transgender ideology, the White house would have ridiculed it as a crazy conspiracy theory.

So, for those suggesting that state legislatures seeking to define such questions were working on “solutions without a problem,” well, here’s your problem. So why is this important, and what should the church do?

Russell Moore is president of The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Russell Moore is president of The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.

First of all, we should recognize what’s really happening here, and it’s much bigger than the symbol of the bathrooms. The Department of Education’s actions here mean that “gender” itself in terms of admission for all colleges accepting federal funds is ultimately a matter of identification, not biological sex.

The state here wishes to use its coercive power not simply to stop mistreatment of people but to rescript the most basic human intuitions about humanity as male and female. How, after all, does one win a culture war against one of the most basic facts of science and life: that there are two sexes? One does so by withholding the funds and recognition necessary to operate in public space, unless institutions get in line. Children, then, become pawns of the state for the state to teach what is ultimately a theological lesson, not a scientific one.

This, ultimately, won’t work.

There are good reasons to put boys and girls in different bathrooms and locker rooms and sometimes sports teams, reasons that don’t impugn the dignity of people but uphold it. Sex-differentiated bathrooms and sports teams and dormitories for men and women aren’t the equivalent of, say, a terrorist Jim Crow state unnaturally forcing people apart based on a fiction, useful to the powerful, that skin color is about superiority and inferiority. Every human being knows that there are important, and necessary, differences between men and women. Without such recognition, women are harmed and men are coarsened.

Moreover, the move here toward severing self-identity from biological reality will hardly stop at “gender.” If anything, there’s much more of a case to be made that one can feel to be a different age than one’s doctor’s exam or birth certificate would show. That’s relatively indifferent if all that this means is “You’re only as old as you feel” or “I’m a millennial trapped in a Generation X body.” It’s something else entirely if chronological self-identity is mandated for military service or the drinking age or the age of consent. People and neighborhoods and nations and cultures cannot live this way.

In the meantime, what should the church do?

First, we must bear witness to the goodness of what it means to live as creatures, not as self-defining gods and goddesses. God created us as human, and within humanity as male and female (Genesis 1:27). We are all sinners, so we chafe against having ourselves defined by a Creator, and not by ourselves or our ideologies. Our nakedness shames us, because our physical difference reminds us that we are not self-contained. Man needs woman, and woman needs man. I really do not contain multitudes. My maleness and your femaleness aren’t about us at all. They fit us within a much larger stream — of a species by nature and of a communion by grace.

The church must teach God’s good creation design of male and female, yes. But, beyond that, the church should teach a Christian anthropology that shows us that living within creation limits is never easy for anyone. We are all seeking to transcend our limits in various ways. The way of discipleship is to settle on the fact that we serve a God who knows more about humanity, and more about us personally, than we know about ourselves.

At the same time, the church should not see everything through the grid of gender. The sexual revolution, chaotically, wants to tell us that gender means nothing and that gender means everything. Neither is true.

We should recognize that unbiblical caricatures of masculinity and femininity were always harmful, but now are potentially deadly. The little girl in your church who doesn’t like princess movies or dolls, and who would rather spend a Saturday in the deer stand, increasingly now is told by the culture around her that maybe she’s not a woman at all.

Only a church that defines its vision of masculinity and femininity from the Word of God, not from cultural tropes, can speak to her. If you don’t have a category for a rough-and-tumble woman, like Jael, or a harp-playing man, like David, your church is handing over your children to the gender ideologies of the moment.

The truth is that the male/female sex difference is objectively real. Biological science is built off of this reality. More importantly, the mystery of Christ tells us that the male/female binary points us beyond nature to the gospel itself (Ephesians 5). We must tell the truth about this. John the Baptist lost his head for saying that Herod could not have his brother’s wife. Some now will be targeted as culturally unacceptable because they tell Herod he can’t be his brother’s wife. That will take courage and compassion and, above all, it will take Christ.

(Russell Moore is president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. This column originally appeared at RussellMoore.com)

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Russell Moore

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  • So many lies and misrepresentations. It’s hard to believe that Moore is actually a Christian.
    Oh, wait! Southern Baptist.
    Carry on.

  • What’s objectionable are not male and female caricatures, or inequality, or lack of dignity but LA DIFFERENCE AS SUCH. Human well-being is choice: the less our lives are determined by unchosen circumstances, characteristics, and affiliations, the better off we are.

    Human progress is liberation from chance—from Nature, from race, ethnicity, tribe, family and sex. This is reflected in the Christian tradition: Jesus said his mother and brothers weren’t his blood kin but is followers, those who chose to hear him; Paul said that the real Jews were those who were Jews inwardly—that belonging to the People of God was not a matter of blood kinship but choice.

    It’s no accident that the Enlightenment and with it modernity originated in Christendom.

  • And its equally no accident that conservative Christianity has fought against every single advancement of the human species.

  • As recently as 2008, Moore claimed that dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time (http://www.ethicsdaily.com/seminary-professor-says-dinosaurs-and-humans-lived-together-cms-12866). Interesting, then, that he wants us to rely here on what science says.

    However, there’s a big difference between what science actually says and what Moore claims it says. He says that there being two sexes is “one of the most basic facts of science.” In fact, science has shown that a significant number of individuals don’t fit so nicely into the binary system Moore talks about. So, while women have XX chromosomes and men have XY chromosomes, those with Klinefelter syndrome have XXY chromosomes. People with such syndromes (as well as several other biological conditions that make gender difficult to define) need to have a place in our schools and churches. They face ample struggles in life. They don’t need to be further marginalized or excluded.

  • “The church must teach God’s good creation design of male and female, yes. But, beyond that, the church should teach a Christian anthropology that shows us that living within creation limits is never easy for anyone. ”
    What in the world is Christian anthropology? Apparently it’s the creationism of anthropology. Who knew.

  • Here’s what happens when an inerrantist view of scripture comes up against the findings of modern science. Moore would do well to read the latest research in gender dysphoria, what he calls the “gender ideologies of the moment.” He claims that “the male/female sex difference is objectively real,” ignoring the fact that neuroscientists have discovered another objective reality: gender identity exists in the brain, and it exists along a spectrum, as does sexual orientation.

  • Russell Moore, reminding us once again that the Southern Baptists have opposed every civil rights advance since Abolition. At least the SB’s have apologized to African-Americans, and I am sure the day will come when they apologize to transgender people, too.

  • Wow, so much hate in these comments by “tolerant” people. Why are people even reading/commenting on a clearly Christian article if you disagree with Genesis, Paul’s writings and Jesus’ beautiful new testament metaphor of a husband and wife giving their all for each other as Christ did the church? In reality most of the anger and desire to be heard affirms “Some now will be targeted as culturally unacceptable because they tell Herod he can’t be his brother’s wife. That will take courage and compassion and, above all, it will take Christ.”

  • And the called cliche you are holding back progress is still here. For people who say conservatives don’t think but fear, really seem to always listen to what their side have to say and never question it. Being a sheep doesn’t mean you are always a conservative, sometimes you just follow whoever is in authority. Like I see tons of people siding with scientists who give into this theories, but never question if they are really just pandering to those who have them in their pockets. And the funny thing is you would cheer for him for questioning the conservative side of Christianity, but if you ever does anything to question the progressive side you will bring out your torches. It’s obvious double standards, because people assume that being progressive is always right. In one way you could really say who is the real sheep is, the one who can be called out or the ones who never often be called out on their bull.

  • Because it is not “a clearly Christian article”. The subject matter clearly affects Christians and non-Christians alike. Christians and non-Christians alike clearly disagree amongst themselves on the topic. It is a clearly American article. In fact, it is a clearly human article.

  • Dammit Donnie, you were absolutely right about Russell Moore being a tired old holy rolling bigot. What purpose is served by attacking trans people under color of law? Political grandstanding and using bigotry as a uniting force.

    Not the first or the last time I will say this, Russell Moore and his useless bigoted church can go eff themselves and the white horses they rode in on.

  • F U. It’s defending others from bigoted attacks and unjust laws. Nobody has to tolerate such malice to others. If this sort of nonsense is what you think is important to Christianity, then your faith is worthless and harmful. There is no value to society from it.

  • So scientists are panderers but religious leaders are objective? Lol that is some real nonsense there

  • If originated you mean “came about in opposition to its excesses and atrocities”
    , then you are correct

  • I did not mean ‘excesses and atrocities’: I meant inconveniences and constraints. Not horrible or ‘oppressive’ but just plain not good because it means that people, because of unchosen circumstances may have expectations and obligations imposed on them that they do not find congenial. The more choices we have, the more we are free of these expectations and obligations, including sex roles, the better off all of us, male and female, are.

  • I know what you meant and I do not believe you were saying a factually accurate statement. Merely putting a Christian “tramp stamp” on ideas which came about in response to excesses from state funded and endorsed Christianity. Taking credit for the mainstream if the faith what rightfully belongs to a very small and unrepresentative minority.

    The enlightenment came after some of the worst sectarian violence Europe had seen. Out of disgust for what government sponsored Christianity wrought. Out of a need to find alternatives to church monopolies on education and learning. Out of a need to find reasons for leadership besides “divine rule”.

  • It’s not hate. Why is it that when people disagree with you, without wanting to harm you, it’s hate? But when you disagree with others, it’s never hate, despite your actions and intentions.

    Neither is it intolerance, except for stupidity and ignorance.

  • Right after they apologize to gay people. I have left a slot open at 2:30 pm, August 1, 2075.

  • If he had one accurate thing to say, you might even be right. I suggest you look up transgender in Wikipedia. it’s a good start.

  • It also wouldn’t hurt to admit that the Bible describes more than your simple binary. Some–like me–are born not entirely male or female. I’m not XX or XY. I had ovatestes. My puberty came out of a bottle. My original birth certificate said male. Yet I’ve lived most of my sixty-some years as a girl/woman. I’m a Christian housewife, a long-standing member of a conservative Reformed church. And you know what? I’m also collateral damage in your culture wars. Because the Church refuses to see past its own ignorance. I’m certain that you’re aware of Matthew 19:12. I’ve spoken with Albert Mohler on the phone. What is the problem with admitting sex isn’t a simple binary?

  • Notwithstanding that the researches are still in a fledgling stage, the neurology of gender on the whole does little to negate fundamental biological differences between sexes, and still the idea seems to largely sever identity from biology.

  • Neurology of gender has no interest in negating fundamental differences in physical plumbing, but the brain differences, and differences in DNA for that matter, are most certainly there. The research on that is clear, and, though there is overlap with psychology, neurology is biology, strictly speaking. What is in the fledgling state is what we make of the findings: do we go where the research leads, trying to treat these humans compassionately as they struggle to figure out how to live comfortably inside their bodies, or do we insist on a fundamentalist reading of the Bible (at least as it regards this issue) and use it to vilify and marginalize them. It is actual physical makeup that severs their identity from their biology. It is not an “idea,” but a reality of their every waking moment.

  • I usually agree with Russell Moore. I agree with about 98% of what he says here. I would agree with him 100% were it not for the fact that we are born into a fallen creation, one that early-on suffered distortion from God’s perfect intentions. I would submit that every one of us has something in our birth-given nature that is not in God’s perfect plan for us. I know that sometimes doctors-and-parents have to make decisions as to what sex a new-born is going to be, sometimes making surgical alterations to clarify their decisions. This is not a flawless process. Fallen human life is messy.

    One of the clearest things about God’s revealed will is that there is a strong divine mandate for human compassion and humility. We could use more of those qualities all the way around. Compassion requires respecting the given-ness of our fellow fallen individuals and accommodating their needs in ways that do not defy God or harm others. I am not talking about the crazy ideologically-driven mass solutions proposed by our administrative state. I am talking about localized, individualized solutions that do not impose non-Christian values on Christians and, for that matter, do not impose Christian values on non-Christians. Christians began with the task of evangelizing in a world that by-and-large did not share their values. We may have deceived ourselves that we had progressed beyond that, but it is clear that we have not.

    I still agree with Russell Moore that in a fallen world with our fallen bodies we must do our best to live in accord with the Creator’s pre-fall intentions, but with compassion for those whose own form of our general fallenness gives them unique struggles. I agree that the current administration in Washington has simply gone nuts, completely blinded by its own ideology which it mandates that we accept over-and-above both revealed truth and common sense.

    But we would do better in our opposition to the crazy administrative state, if it were clear that we are governed by compassion and humility.

  • It’s no accident that most of this “bathroom stuff” is occurring in the same states where segregation was the most vicious.

    Oh, and by the way, Mr. Moore, would you please remind us when the SBC finally apologized for its views on race, segregation, etc? If I’m recalling correctly, wasn’t it around 1990?–in other words, very long after other Xian denoms had figured that out?

  • It just occurred to me that there may be another aspect to hatred of LGBTQ folks that’s gone unnoticed:

    We know well that gender identity is not a choice. So isn’t one implication of homosexuality/transgender folks that god made a mistake?

  • Man’s ways are of the Lord, so how can we understand our own ways?”…..Proverbs 20:24

  • And once again showing that people here have a black and white view on complex issues.

  • And all what you just said comes off as hypocritical, because a lot of times that describes the left on various issues.

  • The first requirement of Christianity is not Genesis. That requires belief in a talking snake. And, a man and woman who had two sons, one who killed the other, and yet from this man and woman and these two men descended the rest of the human race. But, if you believe in a talking snake, I guess you’ll believe anything. The first requirement of Christianity is belief in the Incarnation. That is, that Jesus is the Son of God – fully human and fully divine. Everything else – the miracles of his ministry, his crucifixion, his resurrection and ascension – all rest on belief in the Incarnation. If you are baptized in Christ, you are a “new person” in God and an heir to the inheritance of life eternal in life Jesus. You are also commanded to “Love one another” as Jesus loved us. This author is hardly loving. He uses the Bible to prop up his prejudice and shield his ignorance – albeit articulately expressed – just as all demagogues and bigots have done throughout history. Of this I am 100% certain: This kind of bigotry is not only not anything remotely “Christian”, it makes Jesus weep.

  • Translation: you are okay with civil law protecting you, but not some scared transgender teen. got it

  • Come on!! Thats not really fair or helpful to the discussion… When you do stuff like that you put yourself on the same level you see Moore on.

  • In other words, again making this into some simple equation when it’s obvious it’s not.

  • The big different with Russel Moore is that he has in the past called out people on the right, and the reason why people are angry is because he’s not 100% on their side.

  • People on the right and Christian conservatives are not necessarily the same group. He is a shill for a church which used to be the official sponsor of the KKK. People are angry because he is a mouthpiece for attacking civility liberties of others. He’s a bigot.

  • The fact you keep on hammering him on that, is beating a dead horse when the Southern Baptists have long let go of that history and tried to amend for it. The thing is whenever people on the left say civil liberties, sometimes it’s more complex than that. The thing is easier to call someone who questions your stances bigots, instead of letting them listen.

  • Odd how those myopic, obstinate conservative Christians retain a remarkable uniformity in their opposition to traditionally immoral practices. Could they be reading and following the teachings of a single person, or book, or something?

  • You and your lefty friends are all about tolerance and against hate until you’re not, then you’re all about intolerance and hate.

  • The church which waited until the 1990’s to embrace racial equality. They aren’t trying to amend for it. They are just hoping people would forget about it. Especially since they continue to extol discrimination. It not that they were contrite for prior bigotry, it’s that they found new targets. Ones less politically powerful. The SBC has always,been and continues to be on the wrong side of civil liberties issues.

    Russell Moore just demonstrated how little bigots change over time. He is arguing for attacks on trans people. It’s repugnant garbage as is your defense of it.

  • Mr. Moore is sure that God made only men and women. He is apparently unfamiliar with hermaphroditism. In that condition, a person’s karyotype has both XX and XY chromosome pairs, as well as ambiguous genitalia. If such people exist, then perhaps life is a bit more complicated that Mr. Moore is aware. And why the “essentialist” take over sex but nothing else? Shall we quit doing surgery to correct cleft palates or a club feet, since that may be the way someone is born. Or is it all down to that one verse in Genesis, “male and female he created them, ” that Mr. Moore is willing to hound transgender people — adults and adolescents, to the end of their days? You are pushing people away from taking your faith seriously Mr. Moore — when you use it in ignorance, and like a club to beat people with.

  • I am not the one seeking to attack civil liberties and basic dignity of others. I think you are a flaming dillhole. But the difference is I am not trying to strip you of rights. You on the other hand would try to do so for trans people. So your hate is far more damaging than my disgust.

    Take your “you don’t tolerate my intolerance” and shove it somewhere painful. I don’t have to be genteel or polite to people who do not deserve it.

  • No it doesn’t. Name one issue where the left is attacking civil liberties of others?

  • Why has the administration “gone nuts.” You may live in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, but the rest of us have been using bathrooms right alongside transgender people for years without incident. And so have our children. In our schools. If the adults decide to be adults, this will not be a problem. And the alternative is too horrible to countenance. Will there be strip searches before anyone is allowed to enter a bathroom? Will we make teenage boys, dressed and presenting as women, use men’s bathrooms in unfamiliar places?

  • I guess it’s a great source for trying to excuse immoral and malicious behavior. If that is the sole use of such sources, it is useless garbage and the people relying on it are terrible people.

  • I can only speak for myself, but what frustrates me about this is that Russell Moore speaks as if he is presenting the one and only Christian point of view.
    It is not “disagreeing” with Genesis to insist that it is not a rule book about transgender people, nor that Jesus’ discussion of the church is the easy answer to the question of sexual dysmorphia. It strains credibility to insist that those texts tell us everything we need to know. As I said, if “male and female he created them,” is the end of the story, then why are some people born with ambiguous genitalia or both sets of chromosones? Life is much more complicated than Russell Moore seems to know, yet still he means to legislate his understanding for an entire nation.

  • They are not trying to forget. They emphasize their old past a lot of times. Russel Moore has commented on their past many times. And no it’s not because they want a target, but they are questioning stances of your side. And you are doing fearmongering and misinformation on their stances, because you can’t see from their eyes why they are against dividing bathrooms up by gender identity. It’s not arguing for attacking trans people, and deep down you know it.

  • Conservatives want to attack the rights and personal autonomy of its citizens out of fetus worship. Abortion opponents keep screeching “women don’t have a right to make that personal decision”

    Nice try.

  • Oh right, the frequent justification saying that fetuses aren’t really human is really a good argument. And the thing is you ironically use the women rights card to justify it.

  • No that is the irrelevant strawman fetus worshipers bring up. A fetus is not a legal person. An autonomous being. It is why nobody gets a conception certificate as proof of legal existence but a birth certificate.

    Anti abortion types think a fetus as a person but a woman is not.

    Which people with recognized rights and autonomous existence are affected/curtailed by abortion restrictions? Of course I am assuming you are sensible and honest about it.

    Your example was silly. I am not going to debate such a diversion with you.

  • So Moore is irony impaired. He allegedly condemn prior bigotry but perpetuates it in the same manner going forward.

    Why attack trans people now? Because attacking gays is becoming wildly unpopular and damaging. They need to find new people to attack to feel better about themselves.

    Russell Moore’s input on the matter is pointless and damaging. People are attacking trans because they are a reviled, small and discrete group. There is no morality to it. Just maliciousness.

    Republican politicians and Christian preachers have had far more documented incidents of improprieties in public restrooms than you can pin on trans people (where no such cases exist)

  • Russel Moore spouts more gobbledygook. He claims “we serve a God who knows more about humanity, and more about us personally, than we know about ourselves”, but then tries to dictate restrictions to God. God’s majesty is in the diversity of biological exuberance. Moore denies God to serve his own aspirations.

  • With gender identity existing in the brain based on neorscientists findings, could one suggest that pedophilia could exist in the brain as well? Can someone be born with a neurological attraction towards children? Just curious. I certainly believe that it is awful for anyone to act on any urges that violates others, especially children, but it does make me ponder the question. Should society have more compassion for those, that like gender identity, have a condition in which they could be born with and just can’t help who they are attracted to?

  • Moore chooses to ignore ontogeny as revealed in the Bible: He created them [EACH] male and female. We all start out physically undifferentiated and ambiguous. But challenging tradition has never been his strong point.

  • Well that was ALMOST coherent. Is it a little hard for you when one of those namby-pamby Christians speak up and push back, and employ a bit of sarcasm toward you haters?

  • Aw.
    There.
    Now, do you feel better?
    Now, let’s count the ways you fascists are actively stripping conservatives of rights…
    Oh, my; THAT’S a big number!

  • Two barefoot humans dressed only in lite ankle-length garb are standing in the middle of a freezing wind-driven snowstorm.
    One of the humans is transgender – the other is not.
    The other, is holding an open bible demeaningly reading Gen 1:27 to the transgender.
    “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. “
    The transgender feels humanly disinherited and is sobbing in emotional pain.
    Jesus incarnate presents himself to them.
    The other, holding the bible, starts to praise Jesus and condemn the transgender in His name. The
    transgender continues sobbing but says nothing.

    To which of them will Jesus offer His comfort ?

  • When the intellect fails – the other is always accused of hatred.
    The default of the flaccid….

  • If you are really asking if those suffering from pedophilia–not every pedophile is a child molester, and not every child molester is a pedophile–should be treated with compassion, then yes, they should. Should anyone be allowed to do harm to a child? Of course not. However, if you chose pedophilia as a comparison because you, like the Fundamentalists, are using that bogeyman to scapegoat a vulnerable population that already daily suffers from torment and real physical violence, then shame on you. You will find a good many of your pedophiles in the priesthood, working as youth pastors in your churches, and coaching your boys’ wrestling teams. Start there. They do not have sex changes so they can better prey on your children in public bathrooms.

  • My concern is not religious in nature it is for the inconsistencies of compassion in our society. Where one said neurological condition is praised, yet another is condemned. Regardless if you are a child molester or not. The assumption that you are making towards me is exactly what you’re claiming that I am doing towards people who are transgender. By lumping together pedophiles in the church with all those that have a view different than yours. You’re also assuming that The issue has never been addressed with in the church. What I do realize is that people’s logic is overruled by their passions and rarely choose to be open-minded and that is on both sides of the argument.

  • You will find that the people who call for compassion when dealing with gender dysphoria are the same ones who call for compassion when dealing with people who struggle with pedophilia. Also, you make a huge leap when you say I lump pedophiles in the church with people who disagree with me. That is ridiculous. I made no assumptions about your intentions–that’s why I used the word if. I know how the issue has been addressed in the church: it hasn’t, not in any meaningful way.

  • Let’s count. I am eager to read what you think are attacks on your civil liberties from “the left”. 🙂

  • But a surprisingly accurate description of a position of those whose concern for life only exists for nine months of gestation.

  • You’re right, strictly speaking it’s not fair, but I didn’t have time to deal with it. Jonathan Merritt has done so in another current RNS column.

    But, on the other hand, this is what Moore does on a regular basis: misrepresent, misinform, misdirect,and occasionally, outright lie.

    For example, there is the howler about “two sexes– period”, and trying to use Genesis to justify it. About 1 in 1000 children are born with ambiguous genitalia, ambiguous chromosomes, or both. This isn’t propaganda or “transgender iodeology”– another howler– this is simply a fact. A number of people are also born in a physiologically binary body, male or female, but their heads know themselves as something quite different. I don’t know if there are actual numbers for this, but we know it to be a fact. For Moore, these people simply don’t exist, or are the exemplars of our sinful and fallen world. They couldn’t possibly be, oh, I don’t know…FACTS.

    The same thing is true for gay people– I knew when I was three. I just didn’t know what to call it. Yet Moore prefers to believe there are only heterosexuals, and fallen heterosexuals. And how exactly did I manage to “fall” from heterosexuality when I was three?

    There are so many things wrong with Moore’ analysis that one simply does not have time to deal with them all. Other people did so well. And that’s why I left it alone.

  • We’re not talking about your ideas about “the left”. And “Johnny did it” is no excuse for you doing it,

  • Yeah, then take your own advice and stop bringing up Republican senators do it when it comes to this issue.

  • I am a gay man. I have been listening to the garbage about gay men being pedophiles my entire life. It is not true and it never has been true. But that doesn’t stop religious people from employing the lie anyway, even when the information that it is not true is easily available.

    Gay, straight, or bi, sexual orientation is hardwired into people’s brains. I absolutely believe that pedophilia is hard wired into the brains of some people. That’s what the research says, that’s what my clinical and social work experience say, and that’s what 40 years of research into the matter says.

    I have compassion for pedophiles, but that’s because I am a gay man who has experienced the hatred of people who ought to know better for something that is out of my control, even if I wished to control it. But then, I don’t harm people. Pedophiles do. the key word here is HARM. My being gay harms no one. Pedophilia harms children.

    I have every sympathy for the pedophile who knows who he is, and refrains from the harm he could inflict. I have compassion, but no sympathy for active pedophiles. If they cannot control themselves, then the children must be protected.

  • The problem with that first requirement of Christianity is that it does depend on Genesis and the myth of Adam and Eve and the fall.

    If Adam and Eve didn’t sin and fall, if God had t cursed them, then there would have been no need for Jesus at all.

    You cannot have the one without the other.

  • I’m not concerned about the former republican congressman. I’m concerned about the people who excuse him because he is a conservative republican, but condemn others.

  • You are assuming way to much about the ‘tolerant’ as you call them. Likewise, you and the author have a rather grandiose take on the reaction to your stance. To the best of my knowledge taking an anti transgender stand on any issue is not a capital offense. You don’t need the bravery of John the Baptist just an anonymous profile and a public hot spot.

  • We will have to agree to disagree, Ben. I don’t believe in either “The Fall” or the theory of “The Atonement” as it has been classically understood. I do believe in God and I love Jesus with all my heart and seek to follow his ways and adhere to his teachings. I believe that Jesus was the Precious Child of God and was fully human and fully divine. That said, I also need to say that the God I believe in would never require a precious child to be tortured to death to atone for a mythical story about a talking snake in a garden. Jesus has saved me but I believe that what happened at Calvary had absolutely nothing to do with what happened in The Garden. It’s an attempt for Hebrew people of faith – the People of The Way – to make sense out of the Christ-event. I believe it is entirely possible to have one story without the other. The story in Genesis is a myth told by our ancestors to explain, in very simplistic terms, a particular ancient world view of how the world came into being and an attempt to understand, in very rudimentary terms, human behavior. The story of Jesus of Nazareth rests at the intersection of the history of religion and politics and culture. As I say, we can agree to disagree, just like spiritually mature adults often do.

  • First, we must bear witness to the goodness of what it means to live as creatures, not as self-defining gods and goddesses.

    With that, people with Cleft Palate must go through life without surgery, because they were born that way.
    That’s about as asinine and Ignorant a statement that anyone can make. That is the thought of the present Ignorant Pope Francis. He is purposely obfuscating the truth, for what scientific reason it’s unknown. As God made us all, in His/Her Image, so just who is he TO JUDGE US. The previous Pope Benedict received his Transgender information from a Catholic zealot that Hates Transgender People, as his methods of the 1970’s failed, and are known to have been very detrimental with our present knowledge. He has been rebuked by his Peers for being ignorant of modern Transgender science. If it’s OK for Cleft palate persons to have surgery what is the reason WE cannot??

  • You will Scare the Hell out of the Pope with that question with his obfuscation of Paedophilic Priests, still on going. Could make LGBTQI people accepted, and the Church WRONG in it’s past, as in Galileo’s time

  • “They do not have sex changes so they can better prey on your children in public bathrooms.”

    Vic, why did you have to write this as it seems you want, or need to include a slight against Transgender people in this. Not very pro-active.

  • History shows the slowness of the Catholic Church in how Galileo was treated. They agreed he was Right about the Sun, 300 years later [Dead by that Time] and another, 70+ years for an Apology. With all the knowledge we have today on Transgender they are still at the speed of communication, in anno 1400. The Church Killed thousands in their crusades and now in Christian countries it’s the Transgender and Gays that get Killed, so not any change to speak of.

  • The only value is, through Guilt, it helps to keep many of the Flock, to tread the straight and narrow. Religion is where you give, either all or part of your control, to an organization.
    Saves thinking on your own that way.

  • Obviously, you are not thoughtful enough.

    God hates sin becomes God hates fags, and wants them in jail.

    Jesus died for your sins becomes the Jews rejected Jesus, which becomes the Jews killed Jesus, which becomes 2000 years of antisemitism from god’s Gentle People.

    And so on.

  • Actually, Liza, we do agree. I’m an atheist. I have no particular skin in the game. I do support your faith, and the faith of any other person, and their right to worship freely. If it makes your life better, and you a better person, I am all for it.

    I don’t believe it, but I have no issue with those who do, except under one circumstance: the use of civil law to force purely theological concerns onto people who don’t share them, and who may believe something else entirely. The people who have a problem with it are your fellow Christians.

    There are Christians, some of whom post on these very pages, who will tell you that you are wrong, and the because you don’t believe what they believe, you cannot possibly be a Christian. They will tell FRan because she is a JW that she is going to hell. There are baptists who insist that people who believe gay people should be treated well are going to hell. There are people who will tell you that Adam and Eve were real, the garden was real, and you are going to burn in hell.

    And on and on and On.

    Good that your faith brings you peace and happiness. That’s what it is for.

  • Thanks, Ben. Actually, if that’s the kind of God most people believe in, then I don’t believe in that God either. Guess that makes me, in that sense, an “a-theist”. Won’t they be surprised when they find you and me and people like Gandhi in heaven? The Christian missionary E. Stanley Jones asked him: “Mr
    Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is it that you
    appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower (Christian)”? The
    latter’s reply was clear: “Oh, I don’t reject your Christ. I love your
    Christ. It is just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ”. I feel much the same way.

    One place where we disagree: I don’t believe my faith is simply to bring me peace and happiness. Sometimes, my faith is disturbing and annoying. I am continually pushed out of my “comfort zone” by my faith to see poverty and homelessness and disease and hunger in my midst and then, to attempt to do something about changing that. It would be so much easier to just sit and meditate or sing happy songs with other people in a beautiful building. Alas, that’s not what my faith is all about. Good thing I pray best with my boots on and my sleeves rolled up.

    Thanks again, Ben. Nice meeting you here.

  • You approach this with the assumption that we are all the same, and also that there are no underlying biological factors involved in the transgender condition. As you should be able to stipulate, we have not until only recently begun to discover truth in this world through science. Another error that you make is assuming that we all share your version of God, and that we must bow our heads and suffer under “his” will as flawed and imperfect creatures. I do not recognize your God, and he holds no power over my secular government. I will never recognize an authority that uses God’s will as an argument to further the control and judgment of others. Your God supposedly agrees with me that you do not represent him, and that it is not your place to judge other’s paths or values. That is something that I can stand behind.

  • Despite Russell Moore’s job title with the SBC, it’s obvious that his major job objective is to preserve and protect ignorance among their followers. Religions require ignorance in order to survive. Reason, logic, evidence, and facts are threats. Martin Luther expressed his understanding of this when he said . . .

    “Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil’s appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom… Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism… She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets.

    “Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but—more frequently than not—struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.”

  • I understand and agree with your first paragraph.
    But am puzzled by the 2nd.
    Did you mean that thought to apply to me ?

  • That would imply he was insincere. Absent any evidence that is the case, I will take him at his word. He believes in what he says. I happen to think he’s wrong but I don’t have to question his motives.

  • My pleasure, for sure.

    We’re still in agreement. As I said, if your faith makes your life better and you a better person, then I am all for it, it sounds like it has made you a better person. How many children could have been fed and educated for the $40 million conservative Christians spent of prop. 8?

  • I dare Mr Moore, or any other militant Christianist, to show me chapter & verse from scripture that says anything about where people go to the bathroom. I dare him, or any other militant Christianist, to show where any of the Church Fathers addressed that subject. I dare him, or any other militant Christianist, to show me where any of the medieval theologians addressed it. I dare him, or any other militant Christianist, to show me any evidence whatsoever that Christian doctrine or dogma has anything to say about bathrooms … at all.

    As someone who’s familiar with all of the above, I’m unaware of anything that even remotely supports the contention that controlling who goes into which bathrooms is an essential aspect of Christian worship. Moore’s appeals to “the differences between men and women” are actually irrelevant to this matter: Because in reality, most of the time when people use bathrooms, they’re at home, using bathrooms used by both genders. If it were, indeed, a matter of Christian worship for Christians always to use separate bathrooms, then all Christian homes would be built this way, and that’s something we’d also see historically (i.e. the archaeological record would show this).

    Moore and the rest of his militant Christianist ilk are actually lying about bathroom access. What they want, ultimately, is to harass and control the private lives of others, particularly those they despise as insolent God-haters. They really need to stop lying for Jesus, grow up, get over the fact that they no longer have the power to control everyone, and start acting like grown adults for once.

  • Sorry, I couldn’t read beyond the first couple of paragraphs. Moore’s “the church” is not my Body of Christ. Gender is not primarily a theological issue. And his politics is showing.

  • The detractors erroneously conflate biology with psychology. A person can be biologically male and psychologically female. They also erroneously conflate sex with gender. Sex is biological and gender is psychological. Sex is essentially a division on the basis of reproductive functions while gender is a state of being influenced by society and culture.

  • Insincerity is a given with pretty much any post Southern Baptist officials and their press agents (See Trevin Wax) on this site concerning a social issue. Its all about silly arguments and euphemisms in support of some rather repugnant policies by or supported by the church.

  • Obviously. But Moore’s argument is based on a belief that life is simple and comports with Genesis” “male and female he created them.” If it is clear without a doubt that this isn’t universally true, why should we doubt transgender people who say that psychologically their identity doesn’t match their genitalia?

  • Well, if Jesus was God incarnate and Christians are supposed to follow his words and teachings, then I expect Mr. Moore and the Southern Baptist Convention to declare that military service is incompatible with Christianity, for I have yet to figure out how one can show true Christian love to one’s enemy by killing them. I won’t hold my breath though. As I see it Mr. Moore and the Southern Baptists are hypocrite and thus condemned to Hell.

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