From the Pastor’s Study (4/28/19)
In 2015 Rachel Dolezal became the subject of national debate when it was discovered that this Eastern Washington University instructor was not in fact what she claimed to be – African American. Dolezal admitted that she was “born white to white parents,” but now she self-identified as black.
Can a person really do that? Many today would say, yes. Unalterable realities in identity do not exist. What used to be reality is not real anymore. And when it comes to sexual identity, dissent is not tolerated in the public forum.
Last year two Connecticut high school athletes who just months prior competed in men’s track and field events won first and second place in the girl’s 100 and 200 meter runs. The winners self-identified as female and were permitted to compete as girls in spite of being born male. An official for the New England championships defended the decision to allow these boys to compete with girls as girls. “The optic isn’t good. But we really do have to look at the bigger issues that speak to civil rights and the fact this is high school sports.”
This matter is hardly limited to high school sports competitions. In December, a Virginia high school language teacher was fired for declining to use the pronoun “he” in reference to a student who until recently was referred to as “she.” Here in Michigan, a woman had her membership revoked at Planet Fitness when she questioned biological males sharing the women’s locker room under the gym’s transgender bathroom policy.
Christianity is characterized by commitment to honesty and truth. One truth we hold is that “He [God] which made them at the beginning made them male and female.” (Mt. 19:4) Sex is both biological and binary, meaning humans exist in two complimentary sexes. Science plainly supports this fact. Among many distinctions, men and women possess differing reproductive organs. The chromosomal makeup of males and females differs with males having an X and Y chromosome and females having two X chromosomes. There is no third alternative. There is no “transgender gene.” Personal feelings, so-called sex selection surgery, hormonal treatments, and psychological counseling cannot alter this reality.
In spite of this, many are now calling the affirmation of biological reality “hate speech” or bigotry. It is neither. It is truth. Worse still, laws are now demanding people acquiesce to delusion or face firing, fines, or even prison. A Chicago Tribune article pointed out, “Twenty-four states have already passed sexual orientation and gender identity laws. That includes laws that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, public accommodations, housing, and education, as well as bans on counseling for individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction. Moreover, hundreds of cities and localities across all 50 states have adopted sexual orientation and gender identity policies.”
How do we respond? As Christians we must speak the truth, but we must also to do so in love. (Eph. 4:15) We cannot approve, but we must have compassion. For some people the fallen human condition manifests itself in sinful sexual passions and confusion. As sinners who have received grace and mercy from God we must emulate our Savior Who is touched with the feelings of our infirmities, and have sympathy and compassion on people struggling with sexual identity confusion.
In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul pointed out that grave sins once characterized some of the members of the church. “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (I Cor. 6:11) What was true then is still true today. There are people who used to be enslaved to sin, but they have been forgiven and transformed by the grace of God in Jesus Christ. This is the greatest reality of all.