In mid-May a report emerged saying that the Human Rights Campaign was "encouraged by recent signs that leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) are positively evolving on their treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and the issues important to them."
We appreciate the openness emerging from some in the Southern Baptist Convention. We are ready and willing partners for such dialogues. We are willing to meet anyone with an open heart.NPR had reported that Pastor Jimmy Scoggin of Florida noted that LGBT are "sitting in his pews and shouldn't be the butt of preacher humor."
--HRC Religion and Faith Program Director Sharon Groves
Dialogue doesn't mean agreement. But, if we are going to make life better for all in our community, including our LGBT friends and family members, we need to start talking to one another.HRC launched a program called Project One America in an effort to expand equality into Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas.
That's all as may be, but forces have gathered...
Denny Burk is Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College in Louisville, KY, the Southern Baptist undergraduate college. He opposes the trend mentioned above. He is appalled that transgender is no longer considered to be a disorder that needs to be cured. It is rather the fact that he favors the transgender condition as being stigmatized.
The public consequences of normalizing transgender are upon us. School systems across the country are beginning to allow boys who identify as transgender to make use of girls’s restrooms and locker rooms (see here and here). The state of New Jersey has made it illegal for licensed counselors to help a child embrace a gender identity that matches his sex. Medical professionals recommend sex-change surgeries for some transgender persons, and some parents are pursuing surgeries for minor children who experience conflict between their gender and bodily identity. Just last Friday Medicare lifted its ban on sex reassignment surgeries. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has at different times seen majority support in both houses of Congress and would make it illegal for employers to make personnel decisions based on gender identity—a measure that would restrict the religious liberty of Christian employers.As you can see from from all that, the discrimination against real Christians has just been running rampant.
The severing of gender identity from biological sex has implications beyond those who identify as transgender. The gender revisionists are telling us that it is wrong to raise our little boys to be little boys and our little girls to be little girls. Instead, we are told, gender norms should be treated as fluid and unfixed. To teach otherwise is to trade in oppressive gender roles that have little relevance to the modern world.So what's to be done???
Burk and Andrew Walker have submitted the resolution, On Transgender Identity, to the Southern Baptist Convention and next week the Committee on Ethics and Religious Liberty whether or not to bring the resolution forward.
The resolution affirms...
God’s good design that gender identity should be determined by biological sex and not by one’s self-perception — a perception which is often influenced by fallen human nature in ways contrary to God’s design.The resolution condemns...
efforts to alter one’s bodily identity (e.g., cross-sex hormone therapy, gender reassignment surgery) to bring it into line with one’s perceived gender identity.And the resolution opposes "all efforts by any court or legislature to validate transgender identity as morally praiseworthy" and attempts "by media and entertainment outlets and public schools to mainstream transgender identity in the eyes of our children."
The entire resolution is linked above at "Denny Burk".
The chances that the ERLC will reject the resolution seem to be slim. ERLC President Russell Moore has recently issued an audio comminique: How do you disciple a repentant transgendered person?
Note that repentance is required...which Moore defines to be acknowledging the authority of the creator...that male and female are not "amorphous" or "self-reversible" categories. Moore classifies not feeling like the sex we were declared at birth as "sinning". But Moore is enlightened!
Moore said it is important that Christians not view transgendered persons as “freaks.”You see...honesty in not required to be a Christian. Appearance is everything.
“There are a lot of people who do,” he said. “They make jokes about transgendered persons. They act as though this is some really freakish sort of thing. We’re the people who have been called to seek and save that which was lost, and all of us were lost. We don’t see people as freaks.”
Moore said he thinks what it means for a transgender person to repent “is to say ‘I’m a man,’ if that person was born a man, or ‘I’m a woman’ if that person was born a woman.”
“That doesn’t mean that person feels like a man or a woman, and you shouldn’t expect that person to,” he said. “What you should do is say this is what it means to follow Christ. It’s difficult for all of us to follow Christ. That’s why we need church.”
Now I'm not a Christian, let alone a Southern Baptist. So nobody should listen to me criticize the actions of the SBC. I'll turn that over to Meggan Sommerville, Trans Girl at the Cross.
I grew up in a church that belonged to the SBC and just reading this resolution and knowing the ramifications this could produce sickens me. I seriously struggled with whether or not to even discuss this as I didn’t want my emotions to get the best of me. But I felt that I can not ignore something that could do lasting damage to an already broken bridge between the trans community and the Christian Church.This is key, I think:
This resolution reads as though it was written by someone with a forked tongue, something I have unfortunately had experience with. I know all too well the pain that comes with the ignorance and blind judgment that many leaders in the church can bring on transgender individuals. I have been burned, one way or another, in three different churches over the last four or five years. Regardless of the vale of love, this resolution will only cause further division and be a resounding reason why even more transgender Christians will fall away from the church body and possibly even turn their backs on God.
What can only be described as an extreme right wing, transphobic, political move, Burk calls on the SBC not only to deny that transgender individuals exist, which is an outrageous notion, but it also calls to work to block any legislation that would provide protections to transgender community. The resolution calls for the continued discrimination and intolerance on transgender adults and children. Part of the resolution states, “That we commit ourselves to pray for and support legislative and legal efforts to oppose the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and other legislation like it that would give gender identity the same legal protections as sex and race...” AND “That we call upon all judges and public officials to resist and oppose the efforts to treat gender identity as a protected class.”
I find it interesting that scripture references are used through out this resolution yet when it states, “That we affirm that male and female designate the fundamental distinction that God has embedded in the very biology of the human race” it fails to point where in the Bible they get this distinction.We both know, Meggan, that the reason they don't quote the passage is that it fails to exist.
Burk, in his failed humanity, has forgotten what Paul told the Church in Rome.
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person alone it is unclean.--Sommerville