From the 1992 acclaimed movie, The Crying Game to this year’s award-winning film, The Danish Girl, transgenderism has arrived. Popular culture has given us Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner, Chaz (Chastity) Bono and Chelsea (Bradley) Manning among a growing list of well-known transgender personalities. Behind the cultural push stands social science arguing for gender flexibility in opposition to the traditional binary understanding of gender, driven by biology. This new gender theory is now widely accepted in academia and culture. It has become clear that transgender activism has followed a similar path as homosexual activism, using media, culture, education and anti-discrimination laws to secure the acceptance of the transgendered movement and the queer theory that underpins it.
It has become clear that transgender activism has followed a similar path as homosexual activism
Significantly, in May 2013, the American Psychiatric Association updated their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and removed the diagnostic term ‘Gender Identity Disorder’ and replaced it with ‘Gender Dysphoria’ to describe the emotional distress that can result from “a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender.” This manifests as a feeling, often early in life, that one is stuck in the wrong body – hence the APA’s definition of transsexualism as “strong and persistent cross-gender identification” and “persistent discomfort about one’s assigned sex or a sense of inappropriateness of the gender role of that sex.” This discomfort, over time, may morph into depression and be diagnosed as a case of “gender dysphoria.” The incidence of adult gender dysphoria is between seven and 17 cases in every 100,000 adults (as recorded in DSM-5).
Unsurprisingly, this leaves the Church at variance with both sociology and psychiatry. Our binary understanding of gender is regarded as repressive and evil. Melanie Phillips (Spectator, January 30, 2016) wrote:
“Once upon a time, ‘binary’ was a mathematical term. Now it is an insult on a par with ‘racist’, ‘sexist’ or ‘homophobic’, to be deployed as a weapon in our culture wars. The enemy on this particular battleground is anyone who maintains that there are men, and there are women and that the difference between them is fundamental.”
This academic and cultural hostility to the binary categories of ‘male and female' is hard to underestimate as it is widely felt by Christians that they are expected to celebrate, not just tolerate, cultural and social transgender expressions. The danger for the Church is that we may over-react to this pressure and adopt an entirely hostile disposition. While we must continue to argue for the essential goodness of the biblical teaching concerning sex and gender, it is vitally important that we are pastoral when dealing with people –especially those who are suffering real psychological pain due to gender dysphoria.
While we must continue to argue for the essential goodness of the biblical teaching concerning sex and gender, it is vitally important that we are pastoral when dealing with people...
Terminology and Gender Theory
Transgender is an umbrella term that covers transsexuals, transvestites and anyone else who does not conform to a binary understanding of gender. Transsexuals are people who feel very strongly that their biological sex does not match their inner identity, resulting in a desire to alter their physical appearance to match their self-perceived gender identity. They may or may not undergo reassignment surgery. Others feel disconnected from social expressions of gender: for example, a biological male may not feel any connection with cultural expressions of masculinity, but identify with what may be described as typically female expressions. Others may identify with both; hence men with mascara, eyeliner, and nail polish. Another reason the term transgender is multifaceted is that people may identify as heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, or asexual.
Underpinning all of this is a theory of gender flexibility and fluidity, and erotic plasticity, that has developed out of feminist studies. Judith Butler, a pioneer in gender studies, argued that expressions of gender and sexuality have more to do with the power structures of society than biology. Butler advanced the idea that there is no prior existence of gender, but in expecting that we are a gender, inherently we both produce and reproduce it. She proposed, “there is no original or primary gender a drag imitates, but gender is a kind of imitation for which there is no original”. Butler taught that once you understand "all gender is a performance", it loses its power and profundity. She has also been critical of others in the field, pointing to the acceptance of identity language like “homosexual”, “lesbian”, “bisexual” or “asexual” as being complicit in affirming heteronormativity (the assumption that heterosexuality is natural).
French feminist Simone de Beauvoir, in The Second Sex, has argued that gender is a social and cultural construct, with this famous opening line, “One is not born a woman, one becomes one.” She maintains that neither biology, psychology nor intellect are the sources that primarily shape our understanding of femineity, but rather, expressions assigned by social and cultural forces rob a woman of her right to define herself. De Beauvoir is rejecting the idea that ‘anatomy is destiny’ and instead posits the theory that gender is unnatural. Consequently, she seeks to decouple sex and gender, arguing that the female body – or any ‘body’, for that matter – is an arbitrary locus for gender expression.
David Schmitt (PsychologyToday.com) contends that sex and gender should be understood as dials, not switches; “Dials that can be turned up or down (individually, or in combinations) depending on one’s genetics, hormone levels, organizational effects in utero, activation effects of puberty, and a wide range of social, historical, and cultural factors” (Pirlott & Schmitt, 2014; Schmitt, 2015).
The belief in complementary and natural expressions in life (heteronormativity), whereby sex, sexuality, gender identity and expressions are all aligned, has become an anathema.
Generally speaking, then, while debates in gender studies continue, most of its adherents agree that it is too simplistic to assign gender based on sex (biological gender) without regard to one’s internal sense of identity as male, female, both or neither (gender identity), as well as one’s connection with cultural expressions and expressions of gender (gender expression). According to this view, it is only when you take all three dimensions together that one finds their ‘authentic self’ (GenderSpectrum.com).
The belief in complementary and natural expressions in life (heteronormativity), whereby sex, sexuality, gender identity and expressions are all aligned, has become an anathema. Confounding this further is a culture that elevates feelings over fact, so when there is a conflict between one’s perceived inner identity (gender) and one’s biological sex, the subjective overrules the objective. In extreme cases, their conclusion might be you are a woman imprisoned in a man’s body, or vice versa.
Intersex and Binary Understanding of Sex and Gender
Unsurprisingly, the prevalence of intersex cases where the anatomical traits are an ambiguous mix of both male and female are regularly used as evidence against a binary understanding of sex. The Intersex Society of North America estimates one in 2000 “… babies are born atypical regarding genitalia” (www.isna.org). Consequently, if there are not only two sexes (male and female), then it follows that the heteronormative view of gender identity and expressions is also deficient, if not demonstrably false.
Under cultural pressure, some Christians have sought to find biblical support for this new theory of gender identity from the eunuchs of the Kingdom of which Jesus spoke in Matt. 19:12 and Paul alluded to in Gal. 3:28, when he wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ.”
However, it is important to note that Jesus had already affirmed a binary understanding of gender in Matt. 19:4 when he said that “…from the beginning (He) made them male and female.” While it is true that some babies are born ‘sexually mosaics’, having both ovaries and testes (mixed gonadal dysgenesis), this is a congenital development disorder and an example of the corrupting effects of the Fall as opposed to a creative norm of a third sex (Gen. 3:16-19; Rom. 8:20-23). Regarding Gal. 3:28, where Paul says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ,” the context is not sexuality or gender but justification by faith in Christ. That Paul assumes the (binary) categories of male and female confirms a heteronormative understanding of gender.
it seems an irrelevant and fruitless road to travel in the search of biological support for gender fluidity theory.
Moreover, it seems unwise at best and disingenuous at worst to ignore the reality that 99.95% of children born are either male or female and that the overwhelming majority of those who consider themselves ‘transsexual’ have unambiguous and perfectly functioning male or female reproductive systems. There is no ambiguity about their biological sex; they are demonstrably male or female. Accordingly, it seems an irrelevant and fruitless road to travel in the search of biological support for gender fluidity theory.
A Biblical View of Biological Sex and Gender
It is important to acknowledge that Gen. 1–3 was not written to answer our questions on gender theory. However, it does provide us with some solid ground on which to build our understanding of masculinity and femininity. It is also instructive that both Jesus and Paul look back to the Creation account when teaching about marriage and gender expressions which confirm the seminal nature of these chapters (Mark 10:6; 1 Tim. 2:12; 1 Cor. 11:8-9). Predictably, a binary understanding of humanity is central to Christian anthropology in Genesis 1:26-28:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them.
And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
It is evident from the text that all of humanity is made up of male and female (Adam is a collective noun meaning ‘mankind’ in Gen. 1:26-27). Genesis 1, therefore, gives us a binary understanding of biological sex, with complementary anatomical differences that would allow mankind to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth i.e. create culture.
This complementary role of male and female is not only biological, but social too. This becomes evident in Gen. 2:18 where Eve is God’s provision for Adam of a “helper fit for him.” Together, Adam and Eve, male and female, are “one flesh.” This complementary nature of male and female are obvious prerequisites for the task of both filling and subduing the earth (creating family, society and culture). When thinking about gender expressions and how they relate to one another, the teaching of Genesis 2 is both foundational and instructive; Eve is both a helper and a companion to Adam. When relating one to another, it is clear Adam’s role was to lead and Eve’s was to help. And it was all very good (Gen. 1:31).
Genesis gives us a picture of humanity, of male and female, as ‘equal and different’, enjoying ontological equality before God and economic differences in how they relate to one another; accepting that each man and woman is made differently, and there will be a spectrum of gender expressions that differ in both degree and strength. However, it is important to state that gender difference is a created good, and heterosexuality is not just a culturally-privileged form of sexuality, but God’s good design for humanity (Gen. 1:31). Eve’s role as Adam’s helper and companion is not a patriarchal ploy to protect men in a position of power, but God’s good design for gender expressions (Gen. 2:18). In Eve’s difference from himself, Adam sees both her complementary attributes and their shared humanity.
Even when we transition to Chapter 3 and the Fall, the gender expressions seem to be orientated to Adam’s work outside (becoming toil) and Eve’s family life (becoming painful). That is not to suggest that either role was exclusive; in fact, that is highly probable that Eve was to help Adam in making culture (subduing the earth). It should also be noted that part of the Fall meant difficulty for the complementary expressions of male and female. For example, Gen. 3:16 says, “your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you, “which can be seen as a desire for role-reversal, although some suggest the desire is of a sexual nature. The language speaks of the woman’s aim to usurp her husband’s leadership, resulting in a fracturing of their complementary expressions. The similarity of language in Gen. 3:16 and 4:7 is quite remarkable. Susan Foh, in an excellent article (Westminister Theological Journal, 37, 1974/75), made a compelling case for the ‘desire’ of the woman to be understood considering Gen. 4:7, where sin ‘desired’ Cain and crouched at his door, seeking to master him. So too, in a fallen world, the female’s desire is to master her husband (control or usurp him), and in a fallen world, a man reacts in an overbearing manner to ‘rule over’ his wife.
The theory of gender fluidity is just another modern attempt to throw off complementary gender expressions that include male leadership. Of course, these complementary expressions are just as defaced by sinful expressions. Equally, male headship has been debased by the fall since the early days of Genesis, manifesting itself in the selfish, harsh and unhelpful rule in the home, church, and culture.
When moving to the New Testament, we note that Paul and Jesus both assume the ongoing indicative nature of Gen. 1–3 and make use of it as foundational for marriage and church expressions. Various passages based on a creation/redemption narrative make it abundantly clear that the home is marked out by sacrificial male leadership and willing female submission in the joint task of serving Christ and raising a family (Eph. 5: 21-33; Col. 3:18-19; Tit. 2:3-5; 1 Pet. 3:1-7). A similar pattern of willing, sacrificial male leadership is also prescribed in the Church in various New Testament passages (1Cor. 11:8-9; 1Tim. 2:1-7; 12-13; 1Tim. 5:9-10). It is clear that the gospel of Jesus Christ ameliorates the effects of the fall on gender relationships, and sets forth a redemptive paradigm of selfless co-operation for the blessing of the other and the glory of God.
Now this does not answer most, let alone all, questions about gender expressions, including issues like singleness. How the single male or female fulfil their vocation of glorifying God in the different domains of home, church and culture will almost certainly vary depending on the culture and the individual concerned. However, these references give us a seminal understanding of how the two genders complement and relate to one another in creation and redemption. Furthermore, it warns us that modern gender theories that posit a fluidity and flexibility of gender, let alone sexual plasticity, are incompatible with a Christian anthropology in which humanity is made up of male and female, each of whom enjoys complementary biological and social expressions (heteronormativity).
How To Approach Transgenderism
Since the last revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the diagnostic term “gender identity disorder” has been replaced with “gender dysphoria “because it is no longer considered a disorder. Psychologically speaking, professionals do not view it as a mental illness and are concerned that it is not pathologised. However, the principal position of this paper is that gender dysphoria is indeed a mental disorder. It should be treated in an analogous way to body dysmorphic disorder (anxiety disorder about appearance caused by a distorted view of how they look) and eating disorders like anorexia bulimia where the objective truth about their body should overrule their subjective feelings about their body. While this position is at odds with current psychological views (DSM-5) and political positions held by government programmes such as Safe Schools, it best reflects the biblical model where gender is tethered to one's biological sex. This recognises that in a fallen world, both sin and its effects on biological, social and cultural experiences of sex and gender, are not always the ‘good’ God intended.
Body Integrity Identity Disorder is a psychological disorder in which an otherwise healthy individual feel that they are meant to be disabled. The Guardian (Nov. 14, 2012) reported on a surgeon in Asia performing amputations. “For a fee, this doctor would perform off-the-book amputation …for a small number of people who feel incomplete with all four limbs.” Thankfully, this doctor is the exception. Most professionals understand the solution is to realign the subjective thoughts with the objective reality.
Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa are part of a condition called Body Dysmorphic Disorders. Essentially BDD is a disorder where the objective reality concerning your body and your subjective perception do not align. You may be very skinny, but you perceive yourself to be overweight, which can lead to a disordered relationship with food or in some cases a desire for surgery. Most professionals understand the solution is to realign the subjective thoughts with the objective reality.
Without trivialising the issue, the British Daily Telegraph (www.telegraph.com.uk, Jan. 28, 2016) reported on a woman called Nano who, “claims she realised she was a cat when she was 16 years old and has adopted feline mannerisms since.” Nano was quoted as saying, “… I hiss when meeting dogs in the street. It's because of their behaviour and my instinct automatically reacts by hissing.” The Huffington Post (HuffingtonPost.com.au, Oct. 24, 2013) did a story on Gary Matthews who calls himself “Boomer” and believes he is a dog. Matthews said, “I really wish they do figure [out how to turn humans into dogs] so that I can do that!” Most professionals understand the solution is to realign the subjective thoughts with the objective reality. When it comes to gender dysphoria, anxiety and stress are caused by a person’s subjective belief that their sex does not align with their inner perception of their gender. For many, they are ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’, or vice versa. Many professionals nowadays suggest the solution is to realign the objective reality (being a man) with the subjective thoughts (I’m a woman). There are several reasons offered for this obvious discrepancy in treatment.
It is often explained that the former cases of disorders (BIID; BID) cause someone to believe their body is a certain way, while the latter case of gender dysphoria is a sense that the body should be an certain way (QueerGrace.com, May 6, 2016). The former does not see the objective reality of their bodies (BIID; BID) whereas the latter can see the objective reality, but conflict with it psychologically (gender dysphoria). How is this any different to those people who feel incomplete with all four limbs, but would prefer only three? How is it different to Nano the ‘cat’ or Gary Matthews the ‘dog’ who can see the objective reality (they are human) but conflict with it?
It is, of course, impossible to offer a surgical solution to the mental illness that Nano and Gary Matthews suffer – so the treatment must be to attempt to realign the subjective with the objective. However, when it comes to transgenderism, it is possible to offer a surgical solution of sorts. It seems that some imagine it is easier to modify the body to reduce dysphoria than it is to modify the brain to stop dysphoria altogether. This sounds like medical Machiavellianism where ‘the ends justify the means.’
Most professionals understand the solution is to realign the subjective thoughts with the objective reality. If the goal is the reduction of anxiety, distress or dissonance, and surgery ‘solves’ this conundrum, it is considered successful, even if it defies the objective reality of biological sex. One imagines that, if it can be shown that other body modifications (even amputations of healthy limbs) are the only way to reduce anxiety, distress or dissonance, then they too would find wide-ranging support. As Christians, we must reject ‘medical Machiavellianism’, where treatment is shaped by the subjective experience over objective reality. This is a dead-end-street.
It also seems clear that genuine sex change is biologically impossible. Former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Paul McHugh, is now warning against gender reassignment surgery (CNSnews.com, May 5, 2016):
“The transgendered person’s disorder, is in the person’s ‘assumption’ that they are different than the physical reality of their body, their maleness or femaleness, as assigned by nature. It is a disorder like a ‘dangerously thin’ person suffering anorexia who looks in the mirror and thinks they are ‘overweight’… “Transgendered men do not become women, nor do transgendered women become men. All (including Bruce Jenner) become feminized men or masculinized women, counterfeits or impersonators of the sex with which they ‘identify’. In that lies, their problematic future… The most thorough follow-up of sex-reassigned people— extending over thirty years and conducted in Sweden, where the culture is strongly supportive of the transgendered—documents their lifelong mental unrest. Ten to fifteen years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery rose to twenty times that of comparable peers.”
In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece (wsj.com, May 13, 2016), he continued the warning:
“You won't hear it from those championing transgender equality, but controlled and follow-up studies reveal fundamental problems with this movement. When children who reported transgender feelings were tracked without medical or surgical treatment at both Vanderbilt University and London's Portman Clinic, 70%-80% of them spontaneously lost those feelings. Some 25% did have persisting feelings; what differentiates those individuals remains to be discerned.”
Many people claim biological causes for transsexualism, believing that if it is ‘innate’, then it is not a mental disorder and should therefore be treated surgically. Studies on twins, conducted by Milton Diamond (International Journal of Transgenderism, May 2013), have been used to argue that there is a biological cause of transgenderism, due to the higher rates of transsexualism in identical twins as opposed to non-identical twins. However, the study ignores the irritating fact that nearly 70% of identical twins did not have matching transgendered pairs. So, whatever biological forces are at work, they are clearly not the only factor, nor even the largest factor. Other identical twin studies show even lower rates than Diamond’s study, confirming that, whatever factors are at play, there is no genetic cause for transsexualism.
There could well be, however, genetic dispositions which become socialised, as well as the outworking of sin and its effects in both the individual and the community. Neuroscience indicates the brain is neuroplastic: the brain not only changes but works by changing its structure in response to repeated mental stimuli (as shown in pornography studies). Consequently, if someone were to behave habitually like a woman, it would be unsurprising if the brain also changed to some extent as a response. Therefore, societal reinforcement and indeed ‘celebration’ of transgenderism will only cause more harm to those suffering from gender dysphoria. Therefore, programs like ‘Safe Schools’ damage, rather than help, those struggling with gender identity issues.
The Church’s Response: Love, Gospel, Truth and Wisdom
So how should the Church respond to the suffering of those with gender dysphoria? With love. It is obvious that we have a lotto work through, some hard conversations to be had, and some difficult truths to communicate; but, over and above all, let us not lose sight of the basic truth that we are called to love – to love outrageously, to love corporately. That has implications for congregations. We need a willingness to bear with men and women suffering gender dysphoria and show our love as God works in them over time. We must be working hard to have congregations understand God’s amazing grace in Christ as they joyfully embrace sinners with messy lives into their fellowship. Starting here will allow us to meet the pain of others with the compassion of Christ, and love as our Saviour Christ modelled and taught.
but, over and above all, let us not lose sight of the basic truth that we are called to love – to love outrageously, to love corporately.
This will be difficult at times. After all, we believe that both those ‘in Christ’ and those ‘in Adam’, still struggle with sin and the effects of the Fall (Rom. 5:12-21; 8:18ff; 1Cor. 15:22). Gender dysphoria and related conditions are a product of the Fall, not necessarily of a person’s individual sin – in the same way that the blind man was not blind because of his own or his parents’ personal sinfulness (John 9:1-3).
While love and compassion are indispensable in our response, they alone are an inadequate Christian response. We must also bring the gospel to bear on all our sins, our addictions, our anxieties and our hopes; whether they are issues of sexuality or of pride or dishonesty. Ultimately, our answer to all sin and brokenness is repentance and faith in Christ. Our greatest need is not the removal of anxiety but the removal of sin; not a union of sex and gender but union with Christ through faith; faith in Christ that is expressed in submission to the biblical teaching on sex, gender, and gender expressions (Matt. 11:28; Rom. 12:1-2). Brett Lee-Price, executive director of the Thinking of God website (thinkingofgod.org), articulates this well:
“When walking with a transgendered individual, we need to approach the issue in way which is redemptive. As in —how can we walk with this individual with the focus of helping them become reconciled to God? This means encouraging and helping them understand what it means to be a Christian as you would with any other individual that you would share the Gospel.”
Dr Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (the public arm of the Southern Baptist Convention in the U.S.), cautions on the importance of speaking truth in this matter (On Faith, Aug. 15, 2013): “The transgender question means that conservative Christian congregations such as mine must teach what’s been handed down to us, that our maleness and femaleness points to an even deeper reality, to the unity and complementarity of Christ and the church. A rejection of the goodness of those creational realities then is a revolt against God’s lordship, and against the picture of the gospel that God had embedded in the creation.”
We must also appreciate the enormity of feelings of tension and alienation caused by gender dysphoria. While we want to always reorientate our thinking to biblical norms where gender and binary biological sex are tethered, we also realise that, this side of glory, not all suffering is removed, nor do all anxieties disappear. This is undoubtedly true for those suffering the deep confusion, pain, alienation and at times depression due to the dislocation between gender and sex. This requires of us all a deep and long walk with Christ and a profound commitment to love deeply.
While our response ought to be marked out by love, gospel, and truth; it also requires great wisdom. Wisdom to know how to respond to those who are suffering gender dysphoria who have come into the orbit of our love and are now wrestling with gospel truth. For example, should we call a transgendered person by their given name or their new name? There is a strong view among many that calling a transgendered person by their old name is ‘dead naming’ and it is an Our maleness and femaleness point us to an even deeper reality, to the unity and complementarity of Christ and the church. Matter of basic courtesy to refer to someone by their preferred name. John Piper (DesiringGod.org, July 16, 2015) takes a similar position with regards to a name:
“In one sense the names Sally or Jim are culturally arbitrary and we can name our kids whatever we want. We can name them after cars or planets or Greek virtues or Grandma. And calling someone by that arbitrary name that their parents may have chosen or they may choose halfway through life may not imply agreement with all that that name was created to signify by the person… So that is one concession I am going to make because of the arbitrary nature of names. And then it is going to get a little more dicey and divisive.”
However, Piper goes on to say we must speak the truth and when it comes to pronouns we must use those that match a transgendered person’s biological sex. This is a complicated issue, and Christians will differ in their pastoral approach, but it seems inconsistent to maintain gender is bound to identity but then encourage the usage of pronouns (and some might say names) that are inconsistent with biological sex. Given the sensitive and vexed nature of this matter, we must pray that we might “…be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”
It is also important not to confuse personal pastoral responses to those suffering from gender dysphoria with the social and political purposes surrounding the same issue. It is abundantly clear that there are others who hope to redefine not only our education (Safe Schools), and institutions (homosexual marriage) but also our laws (anti-discrimination laws and employment laws such as the ‘inherent requirements’ test). Carl Trueman, of the Westminster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, encapsulates the challenge for the Church well in an article, ‘The Language of Love’, at First Things (FirstThings.com, May 24, 2016):
“All Christians are required to care for people – the stranger, the sojourner, the one who is suffering, saints and sinners all. The language of love thus resonates strongly with Christians, who are always (rightly) susceptible to its charms. Set that language of love in a world such as ours, where emotional aesthetics trump ethics every time, and it is very vulnerable to being co-opted as political rhetoric because of its power to move people and to place any resistance on the defensive from the outset. And when that happens – Love Wins! – the scene is set for confusion. Well-meaning Christians who rightly want to love and care for their neighbour can quickly become the unwitting dupes of those with much greater social and political ambitions than live-and-let-live. Even those who wish to resist are in a hard place, for they know that the opposite of ‘love’ is ‘hate’ – and so what vocabulary can they draw upon to express their dissent?
In this context, it behoves all Christians to think clearly about the issues and to make that separation between pastoral response to, and care for, the person struggling with issues of sexuality and the larger social ambitions of a movement that has a vested interest in denying any distinction between the personal and the political. A failure to make that distinction and to demonstrate its critical importance will in the long run prove disastrous for the freedom of all. For who in their right mind would be opposed to love.”
Rev. Darren Middleton Convener, Church and Nation Committee of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria