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Source: (consider it) Thread: Why do some Evangelicals have a problem with transgender?
Kwesi
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quote:
OK, I only really posted that to draw attention to the importance of definitions in all this. I think some of the more recent posts have allowed the concepts of gender identity and gender roles to get a bit confused.
I couldn't agree more, but the definition you seek to defend has been under ideological threat for some time. In some countries on official forms the box entitled Gender offers the choice Male or Female. What do you make of that?
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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
quetzalcoatl wrote:
quote:
And there is an obvious spectrum of views, ranging from essentialism, which argues that male and female are, well, essential or innate, to the social construction idea, that gender is a construct.

It's entirely possible to believe both those things without suffering any cognitive dissonance, what with sex 'n' gender being two different things.

OK, I only really posted that to draw attention to the importance of definitions in all this. I think some of the more recent posts have allowed the concepts of gender identity and gender roles to get a bit confused.

You are right. The term 'gender' has become very fuzzy, since it used to mean cultural attributes, hence masculine/feminine, but began to be used as synonymous with sex identity, hence male/female.

I used to get stroppy about this, but have given up bothering. Also, it struck me that the actual fuzziness of 'gender' as a term, may indicate the fuzziness of sex, gender, and sexuality. Is a drag queen just imitating gender traits, or traits of sex identity? Well, it's not either/or, as you say.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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Kwesi -
quote:
I couldn't agree more, but the definition you seek to defend has been under ideological threat for some time. In some countries on official forms the box entitled Gender offers the choice Male or Female. What do you make of that?
Depends how stroppy I'm feeling! It may just indicate a prissy reluctance to use the word "sex" (which my dictionary suggests has been around for a long time). Others may have an ideological agenda to run the two together.

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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Kwesi
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quetzalcoatl
quote:
I used to get stroppy about this, but have given up bothering. Also, it struck me that the actual fuzziness of 'gender' as a term, may indicate the fuzziness of sex, gender, and sexuality.
Quetzalcoatl, I’m sorry you have ‘given up bothering’ about insisting on the distinction between sex and gender because, as you know, they are two different things. Moreover, recognising the distinction is essential if we are to have a rational debate. It is not a question of grammatical pedantry but one of analytical and rational necessity if we are to sort out and understand the fuzziness that has been noted. Indeed, to my mind much of the fuzziness has been occasioned by the elimination of the distinction.
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quetzalcoatl
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I was interested to note the other day the Daily Mail piece about 'boys wearing tiaras', following the C of E suggestion that young children be allowed to dress as they wish, e.g. boys in skirts.

I say interesting, because it shows that the right wing get outraged very easily by diversity in relation to sex and gender.

So I wonder if right wing evangelicals are transphobic because they are right wing, rather than evangelical. I suppose that left wing evangelicals are not as transphobic.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
No it doesn't. There's a difference between helping people through identity issues they already have on the one hand (good), and offering them identity alternatives they'd never envisaged and which they may see, mistakenly, as a solution to an entirely separate issue (ethically dubious).

‘Offering Identity alternatives’

I don’t even know what that means. People don’t need to be offered anything to know that they don’t feel as they have been expected to feel.

I realize Eutychus has clarified what he means here - but when I first read what he said, I assumed it meant 'these offer alternate ways of being that have hitherto been unknown' - which is the tack that I've seen some authors elsewhere adopt.
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Honest Ron Bacardi
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quetzalcoatl wrote:
quote:
I say interesting, because it shows that the right wing get outraged very easily by diversity in relation to sex and gender.

So I wonder if right wing evangelicals are transphobic because they are right wing, rather than evangelical. I suppose that left wing evangelicals are not as transphobic.

Maybe. But I suspect a main dividing line is the type of evangelical. Our curate is an open evangelical. I have actually talked (more in passing) about this subject. Whilst it was several months ago, he was very much sympathetic towards transgender people and I imagine must be gnashing his teeth at these most recent outpourings. I don't actually know where to put him on the left-right political axis, but I'd guess centreish-right.

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I was interested to note the other day the Daily Mail piece about 'boys wearing tiaras', following the C of E suggestion that young children be allowed to dress as they wish, e.g. boys in skirts.

I say interesting, because it shows that the right wing get outraged very easily by diversity in relation to sex and gender.

I addressed this above, but if you actually read what the report said it was:

"In the early years context and throughout primary school, play should be a hallmark of creative exploration. Pupils need to be able to play with the many cloaks of identity (sometimes quite literally with the dressing up box). Children should be at liberty to explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgement or derision. For example, a child may choose the tutu, princess’s tiara and heels and/or the firefighter’s helmet, tool belt and superhero cloak without expectation or comment. Childhood has a sacred space for creative self-imagining."

Which seems to be relatively uncontroversial as a recommendation within the context of early years education generally.

It only gains potential controversy because of the subject of the rest of the report, to which some have a visceral reaction.

[ 14. November 2017, 16:24: Message edited by: chris stiles ]

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Kwesi
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quetzalcoatl
quote:
So I wonder if right wing evangelicals are transphobic because they are right wing, rather than evangelical. I suppose that left wing evangelicals are not as transphobic.

I suspect their right wing evangelicalism and transphobia are the expression of a common root rather than causal one of the other either way. Central to this sort of conservatism is a deep fear of change, and a desire for certainty leading to an adherence to traditional values (however non-traditional they might actually be). Transphobia becomes associated with conservative evangelicalism because its just another unsettling phenomenon that is difficult for its adherents’ minds to handle, and for whom opposition is the easiest response. I don’t think religion has much to do with it. The problem for left wing evangelicals, I guess, lies in knowing what is the correct progressive stance to take on the matter. My problem is trying to sort out what the issues are about which I’m supposed to have a view, apart from having a general live and let live approach to such matters.
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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
If somebody is deeply unhappy with their ascribed sex/gender, it seems right and proper that they are offered some kind of counselling in the first place, and perhaps after that, some kind of treatment.

Yes. And as long as that stays firmly within a medical paradigm - an individual needing expert help to resolve a disorder - then why should anyone object ? If for some people healing involves psychological work to reconcile their thinking with their biology, and for some people healing involves surgery to change their biology to match their thinking, then as long as there are sound medical grounds for going one way rather than the other...

The issues cliffdweller is raising are to do with children - people deemed by society too immature to be able to make and be held to legal commitments. Which is another grey area that people feel strongly about.

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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keibat
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To quetzalcoatl & chris stiles, re the C of E report about combating homo-, trans- etc phobia in primary education:

The Report is balanced and good stuff. The press – Mail, etc, but also, to my appallment, the Guardian, highlighted as a headline the idea that little boys might wear tutus / tiaras – and not the idea that little girls might wear superhero cloaks or firefighter helmets or whatever. Which surely reflects the fact that for mascs to adopt traits conventionally identified as fem is culturally far more subversive than for fems to adopt traits identified as masc.

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keibat from the finnish north and the lincs east rim

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by keibat:

The Report is balanced and good stuff. The press – Mail, etc, but also, to my appallment, the Guardian, highlighted as a headline the idea that little boys might wear tutus / tiaras – and not the idea that little girls might wear superhero cloaks or firefighter helmets or whatever.

Yes, I could understand why they included it in that particular report, but in isolation it was relatively uncontroversial (to me) advice on not being overly prescriptive in policing the behavior of very young children. The paragraph afterwards went on to say:

"Children should be afforded freedom from the expectation of permanence. They are in a ‘trying on’ stage of life, and not yet adult and so no labels need to be fixed. This should inform the language teachers use when they comment, praise or give instructions. It may be best to avoid labels and assumptions which deem children’s behaviour irregular, abnormal or problematic just because it does not conform to gender stereotypes or today’s play preferences."

Which seemed in totality to amount to "Don't make gender/sexuality assumptions based on little Jimmy wanting to be Anna from Frozen on Monday"

The entire report is here:

https://www.churchofengland.org/media/4043522/ce-vagc-report-dl-v6-web.pdf

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Anglican_Brat
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I reread the Anglican baptismal covenant and one vows state:

"Will you seek to serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbour as yourself?"

This evening as I was reflecting on Australia's recent vote, I pondered that the covenant I say every time I renew my baptism does not ask me to obey a literalist reading of the Bible, nor does it ask me to uphold specific gender norms or traditional family values.

No, it asks me to serve the Christ in all persons, and that includes Christ in the transgender person.

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SusanDoris

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As Philip Pullman puts it in 'Northern Lights', everyone has a daemon which only settles permanently into one particular creature when maturity is reached. Perhaps all the people who are phobic about differences in people should be made to read that as it seems to shed some light on the situation in a nonconfrontational way .. but I really don't know.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by keibat:
To quetzalcoatl & chris stiles, re the C of E report about combating homo-, trans- etc phobia in primary education:

The Report is balanced and good stuff. The press – Mail, etc, but also, to my appallment, the Guardian, highlighted as a headline the idea that little boys might wear tutus / tiaras – and not the idea that little girls might wear superhero cloaks or firefighter helmets or whatever. Which surely reflects the fact that for mascs to adopt traits conventionally identified as fem is culturally far more subversive than for fems to adopt traits identified as masc.

Yes, this has often been picked up in gender studies, and some theorists have speculated that masculinity is a precarious achievement, and must be shored up. However, one can also argue that the patriarchal set-up is being shored up.

I was watching 'Howards End' on telly, and Forster is a very sensitive observer of this stuff, and in that novel, there is a family made up of alpha males (Wilcoxes), who basically collapse during the novel. One son ends up in prison, and the top alpha male (Henry), goes to pieces, and has to be rescued by his wife.

But then Forster himself was marginalized in Edwardian society, (being gay), and I suppose this gave him a sideways on view of masculinity. There is an old saying, 'masculinity in crisis'? - no, masculinity is a crisis.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
If somebody is deeply unhappy with their ascribed sex/gender, it seems right and proper that they are offered some kind of counselling in the first place, and perhaps after that, some kind of treatment.

Yes. And as long as that stays firmly within a medical paradigm - an individual needing expert help to resolve a disorder - then why should anyone object ? If for some people healing involves psychological work to reconcile their thinking with their biology, and for some people healing involves surgery to change their biology to match their thinking, then as long as there are sound medical grounds for going one way rather than the other...

The issues cliffdweller is raising are to do with children - people deemed by society too immature to be able to make and be held to legal commitments. Which is another grey area that people feel strongly about.

I think there are also often sound human reasons to help someone, i.e. that they are feeling desperate, and at their wit's end. Of course, psychiatrists will get involved often, but you can't just cite 'medical paradigm' as something sui generis. It devolves from the human and humane requirement to help suffering, which many transpeople seem to experience.

Calling it a disorder is also tendentious, and begs a number of questions. As Laing used to say, the disorder is in us, who judge.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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I suppose you could compare masculinity with capitalism in that both go through regular crises - or perhaps as you say are a crisis.

But that surely is a feature. Any system involving power, intellectual as well as all the rest, is going to be a survival-of-the-fittest sort of thing, where top dogs frequently do not relinquish the top position gracefully. What usually gets misinterpreted is that crises are not evidence of collapse, but of movement to some new meta-stable form. Stasis would be like too much rigidity in aircraft wing design - it would be unable to absorb shocks and fail catastrophically.

The focus on "boys and tutus/tiaras" was pretty universal, wasn't it? I did a Google on it yesterday and it all looked to be a variant on that. Of course, current journalism is all cut-and-paste, but even so it's amazing the resonance it still carries. Just thinking back though, I'm pretty sure there was a time when the female equivalent would also have been commented on similarly. At least I think there has been some positive movement there.

On the subject of masculinity - should we not be talking about masculinities? I live in pretty Conservative part of England, but know of precisely nobody who would give any time of day to the sort of toxic masculinities emerging from the internet culture wars. That's a whole world of pain on its own.

I don't want to major on just masculunity/ies either. I've got two daughters who would both regard the whole girly tutus and tiaras thing as evidence of a toxic femininity. But I'd rather hear from female shipmates on that sort of thing.

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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quetzalcoatl
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Good points about crises. Yes, patriarchy and masculinity and capitalism are very resilient, and go through crises, revolutions, apparent inversions, but they survive! Many people have commented on how gay culture has been appropriated by capitalism, which can gobble anything up and spit it out, for a profit.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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quetzalcoatl
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I was thinking about femininities in relation to Howards End again, and there is a whole gamut in that novel, ranging from ultra-respectable to the Schlegels, who are blue stockings, and therefore, fairly intellectual, free thinking, but somewhat airy-fairy. There is also some Forster snobbery about lower class females who are immoral or silly.

But the blue stockings seem to require a good dose of heavy Edwardian masculine 'grip', in order to ground them.

I was thinking of Forster's long relationship with a policeman and his wife, however, drifting o/t.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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L'organist
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Is now a good moment to bring to shippies' attention that Vaughan Roberts, Rector of St Ebbe's in Oxford, is one of the initial signatories of the Nashville Statement, a long and rambling screed issued under the banner of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Articles 10 and 13 of this nonsense state
quote:
X We affirm that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.

XIII We affirm that the grace of God in Christ enables sinners to forsake transgender self-conceptions and by divine forbearance to accept the God-ordained link between one's biological sex and one's self-conception as male or female.

Where to start?

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Is now a good moment to bring to shippies' attention that Vaughan Roberts, Rector of St Ebbe's in Oxford, is one of the initial signatories of the Nashville Statement, a long and rambling screed issued under the banner of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

I think we already had a thread on the Nashville statement - or it got rolled into the thread on Trump. The statement was characteristic of a lot of the thinking pointed to by articles linked on this thread - and adopted a kind of genital essentialism (for want of a better term).

A couple of minor points of interest that are not necessarily connected; Roberts himself has admitted in the past to struggling with same sex attraction; Voddie Baucham's (CBMW) teaching on courtship are just plain weird and CBMW related theologians have since been seen to push a kind of Subordinationist heresy.

[ 15. November 2017, 16:26: Message edited by: chris stiles ]

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
I reread the Anglican baptismal covenant and one vows state:

"Will you seek to serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbour as yourself?"

This evening as I was reflecting on Australia's recent vote, I pondered that the covenant I say every time I renew my baptism does not ask me to obey a literalist reading of the Bible, nor does it ask me to uphold specific gender norms or traditional family values.

No, it asks me to serve the Christ in all persons, and that includes Christ in the transgender person.

[Overused]

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
I think we already had a thread on the Nashville statement

It's still open, if anyone wants it.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Is now a good moment to bring to shippies' attention that Vaughan Roberts, Rector of St Ebbe's in Oxford, is one of the initial signatories of the Nashville Statement, a long and rambling screed issued under the banner of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Articles 10 and 13 of this nonsense state
quote:
X We affirm that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.

XIII We affirm that the grace of God in Christ enables sinners to forsake transgender self-conceptions and by divine forbearance to accept the God-ordained link between one's biological sex and one's self-conception as male or female.

Where to start?
I think we had a thread on it when it first came out, probably in hell-- because, yes, "where to start?" is spot on. Shall I begin with the transphobia, or the misogyny, or the homophobia? Or shall I address the underlying authoritarianism that doesn't even bother to throw a few clobber verses in to shore up their claims, but threatens anyone who doesn't agree with these self-appointed prophets of God with damnation? Where to start... where to start...
[Projectile]

[ 15. November 2017, 16:46: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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mr cheesy
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I was reflecting on this and thinking how strange it would be if similar statements were written about other things:

We affirm that it is sinful to approve of cancer and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.

We affirm that the grace of God in Christ enables sinners to forsake blindness and by divine forbearance to accept the God-ordained link between one's eyesight and one's self-conception as seeing or not seeing.

[ 15. November 2017, 16:49: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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arse

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Ambivalence
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I'm a transwoman.

I've been receiving treatment for about three years now, and recently went through the legal process of changing my name.

I'd like to echo what has already been said: this is not something we choose to do lightly. It is difficult and involved and expensive (even in the UK, NHS funding does not necessarily cover all aspects of transition.) We expose ourselves to the potential of all manner of unpleasantness. It's not an easy thing.

As to the perils of essentialism, of reducing masculinity or femininity to a stereotype to aim for: yes, we know. [Razz] We talk about it. There are as many answers to the question of "what does it mean to feel you are whatever gender" as there are people, but perhaps my answer would be that gender identity is not a thing to be measured as a single simple thing, but as the sum of everything we are. It's nonsensical to point to particular aspects and label them as one thing or another, but *en bloc* we can see trends. It's a difficult question.

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mousethief

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quote:
XIII We affirm that the grace of God in Christ enables sinners to forsake transgender self-conceptions and by divine forbearance to accept the God-ordained link between one's biological sex and one's self-conception as male or female.
Golly is that in the Bible? I missed it somehow.

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
XIII We affirm that the grace of God in Christ enables sinners to forsake transgender self-conceptions and by divine forbearance to accept the God-ordained link between one's biological sex and one's self-conception as male or female.
Golly is that in the Bible? I missed it somehow.
Yeah, that one statement alone is one of those "where to start?" clauses.

Do we start with the ignorant science-denying aspect of it?

Or do we start with the willful lack of compassion, advocating therapies that have been proven not just ineffectual, but provent to be harmful?

Or do we, as you imply, begin with the blasphemous assumption that their own opinions bear the same weight and authority as Scripture?

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Kwesi
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
XIII We affirm that the grace of God in Christ enables sinners to forsake transgender self-conceptions and by divine forbearance to accept the God-ordained link between one's biological sex and one's self-conception as male or female.

This is just load of ignorant crap. That's it.

.... but at the same time deeply prejudicial, hurtful, and utterly devoid of the Grace it purports to offer, which is just about what one would expect from the place with which it is associated and the Redneck 'Christianity' it propagates. How about a mission to the bible belt- and St Ebbs, of course? Even a crusade against heresy.

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Kwesi
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I think that part of the problem for evangelicals in addressing sexuality lies in deciding why individuals are designated gay etc. Is one’s sexuality defined by what one is or by what one does? Is God offended by the fact that one is gay or that one engages in gay sexual practices? If the former, then it’s an aspect of Calvinism: one is condemned without choice, chastity is no way out. If it is participating in homosexual acts that God is concerned about, then he does not condemn individuals for being gay but for not being chaste regarding same-sex activity. In this latter case being gay is not a problem for God, however unreasonable he may be about it.
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hosting/

Ahem, let's try and keep the debate here to transgender without it straying into homosexuality (and thence Dead Horses).

/hosting

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Kwesi
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Eutychus
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Ahem, let's try and keep the debate here to transgender without it straying into homosexuality (and thence Dead Horses).

Fair point, Eutychus. I should have adapted my observations to transgenderism. I suspect, however, that evangelicals would see the issue as variety of homosexuality, because a transgendered person retains his/her original chromosomes, so that if he/she has sexual relations with a person of the opposite sex to his/her transgendered state it amounts to a gay relationship. Consequently, I would argue, my observations are relevant to this post.
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Curiosity killed ...

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Not necessarily - gender and sexuality are different things. I knew someone who transitioned from female to male - as a teenager when she was struggling with puberty and in real problems. While going through the process she was involved with a male who was considering transitioning from female to male*. In that case they started as cis-gendered and heterosexual, and if they both transitioned, would be trans-gendered and heterosexual.

I am not sure he has transitioned, last we heard he was still cis-gendered and now a well-known drag act, keeping the two identities separate.

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Kwesi
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Curiosity killed
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Not necessarily..gender and sexuality are different things. I knew someone who transitioned from female to male - as a teenager when she was struggling with puberty and in real problems. While going through the process she was involved with a male who was considering transitioning from female to male*. In that case they started as cis-gendered and heterosexual, and if they both transitioned, would be trans-gendered and heterosexual.

I take your point entirely. What is was trying to do was to look at it from the mind-set of the evangelicals. Normally, I would not approach questions of sexuality and gender identity in this way at all.
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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
Not necessarily - gender and sexuality are different things.

But theologically Kwesi is correct in connecting both of them to the central problem in evangelicalism. I would only tweak it to suggest that the problem is not evangelicalism per se (in the strict sense of the now almost irrelevant Bebbington Quad.) but rather with hyper-Calvinism (which has been fully embraced by evangelicalism only in recent years. Thank you, John Piper.)

To Kwesi's point, Calvinism, particularly the rigid 5 point kind, is going to have problem with any sort of natural evil/suffering-- anything where the created order seems less than "good". Human evil-- war, slavery, abuse, whatever-- can be chalked up to rebellion or Satan or whatever, but natural evil is a lot more problematic. There simply isn't a place for natural suffering/evil theologically in hyper-Calvinism, despite the obvious reality that there are millions of "natural" things in our world-- from childhood cancer to horrific natural disasters to the cycle of life-- that are very much "not good". But admitting that means the whole house of cards falls down, and hyper-Calvinists more than anything like order. Really, arguably, IMHO Calvinism (particularly hyper 5 point Calvinism) is about choosing order over beauty, certainty over mystery, precision over wonder.

Hence the heavy element of denial that is present in discussions of really the whole range of LGBTQ+ issues-- especially in the Nashville Statement. The repeated, almost urgent insistence that all of these are chosen behaviors, despite the clear evidence and millions of testimonies to the contrary. The dogged adherence to things like reparative or conversion therapy that have been proven not just ineffective but incredibly dangerous. The elevation of "ex-gays" (look for "ex-trans" coming soon) to Christian celebrity status-- until they inevitably "fall" of course.

In the very recent past I've tried in my small way to urge evangelicalism back to it's Wesleyan roots, to suggest inaugurated eschatology as a way to accept and face the obvious reality that "the way things are" is far, far short of "the way things should be." But in the last year that optimistic goal has been beaten out of me. "Evangelicalism" is doomed-- killed by our own hand. Something new is emerging and evolving and I've decided my time is better spent using whatever influence I have in that yet-unnamed sphere than shouting into the endless suck-hole of wind that is contemporary American evangelicalism.

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quetzalcoatl
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Thank you for that, cliffdweller. But haven't evangelicals also created a problem in the first place, by designating gays and trans people as 'not good'? I suppose then you get the idea that these things flow from sin. Having said that, presumably other Christians also say this?

But one can step away from that quite easily, by saying that gays and trans people are part of diversity, which is good. The problems that gays and trans have are not because of moral turpitude, but because many societies are so repressed and oppressive, and lack compassion.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Thank you for that, cliffdweller. But haven't evangelicals also created a problem in the first place, by designating gays and trans people as 'not good'? I suppose then you get the idea that these things flow from sin. Having said that, presumably other Christians also say this?

Absolutely.

Not to completely dredge up dead horses, but obviously evangelical assumptions about the "not goodness" of homosexuality comes from a rigid, literalistic interpretation of a few clobber verses.

With transgender, it's a somewhat different path, since it's not addressed directly biblically. Here, as noted above, it's more akin to, say, my granddaughters genetic heart mutation. You have a condition that is innate, that causes suffering, and that can't be blamed on any human action. With a genetic heart defect where there's no way to blame it on human choices, you'll get all sorts of roundabout platitudes about how God is "testing you" or will use you to "demonstrate his glory"-- which, of course, sucks. And most evangelicals know it, which is why mostly they'll just avoid talking about it, and stick to "thoughts and prayers" or, more positively, acts of kindness and assistance (casseroles) while awkwardly avoiding the hard questions.

But with transgender they've been able to take a different path. Rather than awkwardly avoid the hard question, evangelicals will simply deny it is, in fact, an innate condition, deny the evidence and testimony of thousands and just call it a willful choice. Which is far less awkward theologically but of course, doesn't jive with the reality of the situation.

Conveniently, very few evangelicals have any trans friends so that avoids all that unpleasant cognitive dissonance.

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quetzalcoatl
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It struck me that the theological analysis of trans people is very much after the fact. I mean, that there is a basic hostility to trans (and gays), which strikes me as more to do with being socially conservative, and then there is a kind of theological icing on the cake, although in the case of trans, very little.

I keep meaning to check out right wing atheists, to see if they are also hostile to trans; there are certainly some racists among them.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
It struck me that the theological analysis of trans people is very much after the fact. I mean, that there is a basic hostility to trans (and gays), which strikes me as more to do with being socially conservative, and then there is a kind of theological icing on the cake, although in the case of trans, very little.

Yes, I think it's more about being social conservative - apart from anything else, even amongst American conservative evangelicals, Calvinists are in the minority.

Ditto evangelicalism around the world.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
It struck me that the theological analysis of trans people is very much after the fact. I mean, that there is a basic hostility to trans (and gays), which strikes me as more to do with being socially conservative, and then there is a kind of theological icing on the cake, although in the case of trans, very little.

Yes, I think it's more about being social conservative - apart from anything else, even amongst American conservative evangelicals, Calvinists are in the minority.

Ditto evangelicalism around the world.

Historically, American evangelicalism has indeed tended more often toward the Wesleyan variety, but that has shifted greatly in the last few years-- just as (perhaps not coincidentally) American evangelicalism has shifted from politically and socially progressive to politically and socially conservative. Calvinists (ranging from 3 point light to full-on hyper 5 point) are currently very much the majority of American evangelicals-- thanks in large part to Piper, with a strong assist from Tim Keller and the noxious Mark Driscoll (making a comeback), and as documented and hyped by star evangelical advocate Christianity Today.

Global evangelicalism is indeed something else altogether, and far too diverse/my exposure too particular for me to guess as to which variety or varieties are most prominent overall.

I would agree with quetzalcoatl that the "theology of LGBTQ", and transgender issues in particular, is very much retroactive-- figure out where you want to get to (avoiding the "ick") and then figure out how to make a biblical case for it. Arguably, I think Calvinism and classical theism in general does that. Perhaps we all do.

[ 16. November 2017, 16:07: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:

Calvinists (ranging from 3 point light to full-on hyper 5 point) are currently very much the majority of American evangelicals

Do you have figures that would prove this? Among the SBC around 30% would count themselves as Calvinist of some stripe. Most evangelical megachurches and megachurch movements (say affiliated to Willow Creek) would be socially conservative but not Calvinist. Ditto most charismatic/Pentecostal denominations - if we aren't going to count them as evangelical, for the reasons quetzatcoatl mentions:

quote:

I would agree with quetzalcoatl that the "theology of LGBTQ", and transgender issues in particular, is very much retroactive

As for the global comparisons - evangelical/charismatic/pentecostal movements in the developing world would tend to be socially conservative at least when it comes to matters of sexuality.

So blaming Calvinism seems to be an example of retroactive reasoning.

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stonespring
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I'm sorry if the thread has already covered this, but I think the only way conservative Christianity can accept transgender would be in a way similar to government policy in Iran.

In Iran, if you are a transgender woman (what was once called a male-to-female transgender person), you are allowed to live openly and legally as a woman but you can only have your legal documents changed and receive legal sanction to marry a man once you undergo gender confirmation surgery (or sexual reassignment surgery, as it is also called) on both the top half and the bottom half of your body. You can then have your legal documents changed to show that you are a woman and (I believe) can marry a man. If you come out as transgender, you are expected to undergo surgery once you can afford it, and you could face harassment if you do not - furthermore, if you have sex with a man while you are still considered legally to be a man, the legal consequences are severe (as we know from the reports of executions of gays). Once you have transitioned, you are expected by society to be discreet about your past before transitioning.

The situation in Iran, which is a Shiite Theocracy, is largely due to a fatwa issued by former Supreme Leader Khomeini and is not reflective of what transgender people face in the rest of the Islamic world, which is predominantly Sunni. Furthermore, I do not believe there is any accommodation under Iranian law for transgender men.

If conservative Christians were to offer limited acceptance to transgender, it would probably be similar to that offered by the government in Iran, although it may also allow for transgender men. This type of accommodation maintains rigid gender roles and rigid expectations of how male and female bodies should look. Indeed, many laws favored by many religious conservatives (but not all) in the US only extend rights to transgender persons who have undergone surgery and changed their legal documents, including, in the most restrictive laws favored by such religious conservatives, their birth certificate (which is notoriously difficult to change). The transition must be complete and unambiguous in order to correspond to those particular religious conservatives' notions of gender.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:

Calvinists (ranging from 3 point light to full-on hyper 5 point) are currently very much the majority of American evangelicals

Do you have figures that would prove this? Among the SBC around 30% would count themselves as Calvinist of some stripe. Most evangelical megachurches and megachurch movements (say affiliated to Willow Creek) would be socially conservative but not Calvinist. Ditto most charismatic/Pentecostal denominations - if we aren't going to count them as evangelical, for the reasons quetzatcoatl mentions:.
I would count all of those groups you just mentioned as both evangelical and mostly Calvinist, of the 3, 4, or 5 point variety. Perhaps you are equating Calvinist with Reformed? I am not. Most Reformed Christians are Calvinists, but not all Calvinists are Reformed.

The above is from my affiliations with prominent American evangelical associations and membership in Pentecostal denominations, but The NY Times agrees with me.

[ 17. November 2017, 02:41: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]

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cliffdweller
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otoh, this article from Religious News Service-- half news piece, half op-ed-- cites a follow up study by Barna that suggests more of a dead heat between Wesleyan and Calvinist evangelicals, with Calvinists have a slight edge and most of the megaphone. It goes on to list several problematic trends in the so-called Calvinist revival, all of which I would very much agree with (not surprisingly) and point to as the canary-in-the mine (it's from 2014) for what we're now seeing.

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Kwesi
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Though I'm inclined to agree that social conservatism mostly precedes biblical support for a particular social attitude, I think that Calvinism reinforces tendencies against social inclusiveness due to its doctrine of election. Arminian and more universalist theologies are more biased towards a toleration of difference.
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Anglican_Brat
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When I was reading old Archie comics when I was about eight, I came across a 1960s comic where Ms.Grundy spoke critically about the horror of women wearing pants.

Now of course, I don't know anyone, at least not in public, who objects to women wearing pants.

There may be a misconception that it is only recently when gender norms have been questioned. Untrue, gender norms, have always been challenged, the only difference may be that nowadays, people who have questioned gender norms are less likely to be silenced or stigmatized.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Though I'm inclined to agree that social conservatism mostly precedes biblical support for a particular social attitude, I think that Calvinism reinforces tendencies against social inclusiveness due to its doctrine of election. Arminian and more universalist theologies are more biased towards a toleration of difference.

Once you've accepted the injustice of being condemned for sins you were doomed to commit because you're utterly depraved and accepted the injustice of being unable to repent because you're not on the saved list, accepting injustice because God Says So is easy.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:

I would count all of those groups you just mentioned as both evangelical and mostly Calvinist, of the 3, 4, or 5 point variety. Perhaps you are equating Calvinist with Reformed?
I am not.

I am aware of the difference. I do not see any evidence either externally or from the two links you posted that suggest that the evangelicals, Pentecostals and charismatics are 'mostly calvinist'. The latter two groups tend to come out of a Wesleyan tradition - and the largest denominations are all Arminian.

quote:

in Pentecostal denominations, but The NY Times agrees with me.

Can you quote specifics for where it agrees with the above ? From the article you posted:

"In a 2012 poll of 1,066 Southern Baptist pastors conducted by LifeWay Research, a nonprofit group associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, 30 percent considered their churches Calvinist — while twice as many were concerned “about the impact of Calvinism.”"

That Barna poll you cite, from the article you quote:

"According to a 2010 Barna poll, roughly three out of 10 Protestant leaders describe their church as “Calvinist or Reformed,” a proportion statistically unchanged from a decade earlier. According to the research group, “there is no discernible evidence from this research that there is a Reformed shift among U.S. congregation leaders over the last decade.”"

Which certainly doesn't suggest "more of a dead heat between Wesleyan and Calvinist evangelicals, with Calvinists have a slight edge and most of the megaphone"

And yes, we can come up with just so stories for why Calvinists could be less transgender friendly (and also with why they might be more so), but that's a long way of proving that evangelicals in America (who generally tend to socially conservative anyway) would be more transgender friendly but for the baleful influence of Calvinism. The CBMW statement rests on a particular reading of particular verses, if you change the reading you'd end up with different conclusions (which may even be rendered stronger if you read them through the prism of sovereignty).

[ 17. November 2017, 09:11: Message edited by: chris stiles ]

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
I'm sorry if the thread has already covered this, but I think the only way conservative Christianity can accept transgender would be in a way similar to government policy in Iran.

In Iran, if you are a transgender woman (what was once called a male-to-female transgender person), you are allowed to live openly and legally as a woman but you can only have your legal documents changed and receive legal sanction to marry a man once you undergo gender confirmation surgery (or sexual reassignment surgery, as it is also called) on both the top half and the bottom half of your body. You can then have your legal documents changed to show that you are a woman and (I believe) can marry a man. If you come out as transgender, you are expected to undergo surgery once you can afford it, and you could face harassment if you do not - furthermore, if you have sex with a man while you are still considered legally to be a man, the legal consequences are severe (as we know from the reports of executions of gays). Once you have transitioned, you are expected by society to be discreet about your past before transitioning.

This is interesting, but could evangelicals ever exist in a context where they'd be uniform and powerful enough to control a theocracy as stable as Iran's? Despite the fascination with American evangelical voting strength, I doubt that this would ever be the case in the USA. And I don't know if any research exists as to specific evangelical influence on transgender policies elsewhere.

I think it's probably more relevant to talk about the intersection between conservative evangelicalism and transgenderism on a more congregational level. E.g., if they're not attracted to a very binary understanding of maleness and femaleness, why would a transgender person want to belong to a con-evo congregation? Why would the teachings of some small, strict sect matter?

It occurs to me that the numerical and cultural strength of women in most congregations, including evangelical ones, might (and I only say might) be attractive to some male-female transgender people. Moreover, although churches are patriarchal, they seem to need women more than they need men. Con-evo churches in particular like to control women, but having too many men in that environment, especially (wannabe) alpha males, is perhaps a recipe for conflict....

Out of interest, is there any sign that transgenderism (like homosexuality) is overrepresented in many parts of the church?

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quetzalcoatl
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Interesting stuff about Iran, but it brings up the issue of gender fluidity. I suppose many conservative people are horrified by the trans phenomenon because it seems to chip away at the apparent solidity of sex/gender, or the claimed black and white nature of them, but gender fluidity sort of abandons them altogether. But I don't know if gender fluid people (or non-binary), seek treatment from various agencies. Well, I've certainly seen people like this in therapy, but they seem less likely to seek psychiatric help.

Interesting quote I remembered from Jacqueline Rose (psychoanalyst), that at the heart of the description of gender identity is the idea that it is always a failure. Actually, it goes beyond that, there is a failure of identity at the heart of psychic life.

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