A clip is circulating from back around 2013-2014, when according to people like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and others, there was no such thing as transgender children or adults. The clip is from the Christian Broadcast Network (CBN). CBN has brought you all of the greatest fundamentalist and evangelical hits over the years: homophobia, racism, climate change denialism, bad science takes, anti-net neutrality propaganda, and in recent years pro-Saudi murdering journalist positions and COVID-19 hooey about hydroxychloroquine.
Many of the greatest CBN hits came from former Southern Baptist minister and religious media mogul Pat Robertson. Well, nine or 10 years ago, Robertson was doing one of his famous question and answer sessions on CBN when a query from a man named “David” came in asking Robertson to answer this conundrum: “I work with two people who have decided that they are females. I know what the Bible says about homosexuality, but is it wrong to refer to them as females since they've had their gender status changed in the eyes of the law?”
That’s a solid question from someone who has been told that homosexuality is a sin and verboten in the Bible. I’m sure famous Christian conservative Robertson will quickly begin railing against transgender people being a fad or a grooming tactic for heathens or something, right? Right?
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Robertson, as was his want in the late years of his show, began by being slightly dismissive about understanding “all that.” But then he very clearly stated the fact that “there are men who are in a woman's body. It's very rare, but it's true. Or women that are in men's bodies—and they say that they want a sex change. And that is a very permanent thing.” And while Robertson did believe that his understanding of what kinds of medical procedures one might need in order to achieve these goals constituted “a radical procedure,” he also believed it was a real thing: “I don't think there's any sin associated with that. I don't condemn somebody for doing that.”
In fact, while the question was clearly a nuanced and messy one for the Book of Revelations Santa Claus-like Christianity Robertson and broadcasters encourage, Robertson didn’t believe it was the kind of thing one should worry their sensitive little souls about, ending his answer by saying, “It's not for you to decide or to judge. All right.”
There has been homophobia in Judeo-Christian religion for a very long time. The evangelicals and Christian conservatives in our country did not invent it. However, many people whose faith is connected to those books and practices have been able to evolve their understandings of various documents in the Old and New Testaments. They have done this because unlike evangelicals and many Christian conservatives, they have continued to apply context to their religion and its history, while also keeping the concept of metaphor alive.
But that isn’t the problem with evangelicals and Christian conservatives. The problem is those two groups, while pretending to be stoic and unyielding in their beliefs and readings and teachings, continue to change and move the goalposts of their religion as political norms ebb and flow. It is one thing to practice what one preaches, it is another thing to sort of only practice what you preach depending on what political power you believe you may achieve and/or maintain.
One of those things is living based on a worldview and spiritual philosophy you say brings you grace in this life, and the other is just politics. It isn’t a new statement or a rare statement, but it does bare repeating often: Evangelicals and Christian conservatives are simply politicians, and if you follow them you are receiving the same amount of spiritual guidance that you would get from any politician.
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