Why a 7 year-old boy’s “gender transition” is sparking national outrage

Injustice in the name of tolerance

October 24, 2019

An equally heartbreaking and morally revolting story is happening in Texas, where a court has severed the custody of a father from his 7-year-old son in order to allow the mother to oversee the child’s transition to living as a girl. The boy’s father is objecting to the child’s transition, believing that the child is being manipulated by his mother. In severing the father’s custody, the state is giving the green light to allow this young boy’s mother to begin more invasive transition services.

The state is depriving a father of his God-given right to protect the innocence and dignity of his son by subjecting him to the whims of politically-conditioned medical practices orchestrated by his physician mother. And the state supposes it is doing this in the name of justice, compassion, and in the child’s best interest. But any action by the state which jeopardizes the long-term well-being of a child can never be just. It can never be compassionate. And for this to occur in an ostensibly conservative context like Texas is all the more concerning.

There is real harm being threatened in this situation. Transgender medicine is contested, polititiczed, and in large part, experimental. Honest journalism and honest medical professionals will admit as such. But if you dare express dissent from the orthodoxy of gender denialists, you are retaliated against.

Thankfully, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbot, stated on his twitter feed that he is having the attorney general’s office and the Texas Department of Family and Protective services investigate.

When we abandon biblical morality

This situation is not just about gender because our debates about gender are wrapped up in a larger vortex of mass delusion that follows from jettisoning a moral foundation based on biblical morality. 

As a society, we’re told that we govern society around certain ideals like justice, equality, and liberty. But as this story demonstrates, the effects of sin lead to competing definitions of what these terms even mean. Chemically castrating a child who does not have the cognitive maturity to understand the gravity of his actions is not a condition of justice and liberty; it is a perversion of it.

This is a form of abuse. And those are terms that ought not be trotted out casually. But when certain circumstances arise that offend the conscience with such palpable resolve like this one, let us name this situation for what it is: Child abuse under the guise of tolerance and politicized medicine.

 As an image-bearer of God, humanity has a divine obligation to carry out God’s purpose for humanity in the world. God’s divine purpose for humanity encompasses matters of sexuality, gender, and personality.  

A time for drawing a line is the sand is now, because it won’t stop here. If this ruling is allowed to stand, you can be sure that progressives will see this as a confidence boost to an ever-growing proliferation of gender subversion and gender madness. And additionally, it puts parental rights on the chopping block as the next casualty of the sexual revolution. As we’re seeing, the state growing supposedly more “tolerant” is at the same time jeopardizing the ability of parents to object to controversial medicine.

From the perspective of Christian ethics 

What can be said about this situation from the perspective of Christian ethics? Too much for only one article. But at least one essential comment is worth making, and that is to focus on the utter futility of actions like “gender transitions.” There is no such thing. A person may undergo hormonal or surgical treatment to shape or augment his or her body to a desired appearance, but that will not and cannot change the underlying composition of the design stamped on it by his or her Creator. 

Humanity is the creation of the Creator God. As a created being, humanity’s ontology and teleology are divinely fixed by God who created humanity in his image. Unlike God, humanity does not possess self-existence, but is dependent upon God. Human identity, thus, is rooted in being an image-bearer of God. As an image-bearer of God, humanity has a divine obligation to carry out God’s purpose for humanity in the world. God’s divine purpose for humanity encompasses matters of sexuality, gender, and personality. 

This means a biblical view of what defines a man and woman must be defined according to God’s design in creation: A man and woman are image-bearers of God whose biological design is oriented to fulfill a creational mandate of subduing creation by his and her covenantal marriage union with their sexual counterpart. This definition applies to the unmarried, too, because a man or woman’s reproductive organs are built toward a particular purpose—reproduction—regardless of whether every man or woman actually reproduces.

We do not determine what is male or female by psychology alone, or appearance alone. The pattern of the Creator beckons that all of these realities are an integrated whole enveloped by a biological reality.

When basic categories essential to a civilization’s survival—like the definition of man and woman—are contested as they are, we are not in a place of civilizational health.

Andrew T. Walker

Andrew T. Walker is Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Fellow with The Ethics and Public Policy Center. Read More