By / Jan 8

Catholics around the world are sharply divided by the Vatican’s recent declaration giving priests more leeway to bless same-sex couples. Supporters of LGBTQ inclusion welcome the move; some conservative bishops assail the new policy as a betrayal of the church’s condemnation of sexual relations between gay or lesbian partners.

Strikingly, the flare-up of debate in Catholic ranks coincides with developments in two other international Christian denominations — the global Anglican Communion and the United Methodist Church — that are fracturing over differences in LGBTQ-related policies.

Taken together, it’s a dramatic illustration of how – in a religion that stresses God’s love for humanity – divisions over marriage, sexuality, and inclusion of gays and lesbians are proving insurmountable for the foreseeable future in many sectors of Christianity.

Some conservative denominations — such as the Southern Baptist Convention and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — have adhered firmly to policies that reject recognition of same-sex relationships and ordination of openly LGBTQ people. These policies have prompted departures, but no major schism.

Brent Leatherwood, president of the Southern Baptists’ public policy commission, reiterated the SBC’s position in a statement asserting that the Vatican — under Pope Francis — “has been on a trajectory that seems destined for the allowance of same-sex marriage.”

The reality is marriage has been defined by God … It is a union between one man and one woman for life. Southern Baptists remain anchored in this truth.

Brent Leatherwood

Read the full Associated Press article here.

By / Dec 1

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) has submitted comments regarding our concerns with the proposed rule change by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) titled “Safe and Appropriate Foster Care Placement Requirements for Titles IV-E and IV-B.” The rule concerns foster care placement of children who identify as LGBTQ. Here is what you should know about the regulatory proposal. 

What is the proposed HHS rule regarding foster care placement of LGBTQ children?

The proposed rule would require states to develop policies ensuring that LGBTQ foster children are placed in environments “free from hostility or discrimination” based on their LGBTQ status. It would also require states to ensure foster parents have the knowledge and skills to support the needs of LGBTQ children.

HHS bases it on language requiring “safe and proper care” for foster children, arguing that means care free from hostility or discrimination against LGBTQ status and ensuring foster parents can support LGBTQ children’s needs.

How does the proposed rule affect faith-based foster care providers?

The rule suggests restricting LGBTQ-identifying children’s placement to non-religious foster care organizations. This discriminates against religious providers and limits foster care options, harming children in need. As we argued in our comments, “this proposed rulemaking discriminates against religious and faith-based foster care providers by forcing such organizations to choose between their deeply held convictions and their desire to live out their faith by caring for some of the most vulnerable children in our society.”

What are the main concerns with the proposed rule as it affects children?

The proposed rule will cause undue harm to foster children, particularly those who identify as LGBTQ, by limiting the pool of eligible foster care providers. Affirming a child’s LGBTQ identity should not be a prerequisite for providing a safe, nurturing environment. Foster care placement should emphasize the importance of a child’s overall peer relationships and environment over specific gender identity affirmations. 

Over 30% of children in the foster care system identify as LGBTQ. By taking away a huge swath of parents who are ready and able to provide loving homes and quality care, these children will both be forced to wait longer for permanent placement and will be placed in homes that may push them toward dangerous gender transition services and procedures at time that these children are particularly vulnerable.

What are the concerns regarding parents’ rights in foster care?

The ERLC is concerned about the potential infringement on biological parents’ rights, particularly regarding decisions about gender transitioning during foster care placements. A primary goal of foster care is to facilitate a child’s return home, so allowing gender transitions against parents’ wishes is a clear violation of the rights of parents.

Additionally, this regulation sets dangerous precedent that refusing to “affirm” the gender identity of a foster child means that a parent is unable to provide safe and proper care. This argument could eventually be applied to biological parents who do not “affirm” the gender identity of their child.

What are the religious liberty concerns for foster care providers?

The proposed rule discriminates against religious and faith-based foster care providers by forcing them to choose between their deeply held convictions and their desire to care for vulnerable children.

The rule also implies that faith-based organizations’ belief in a biblical sexual ethic prevents them from being able to provide “safe and proper care” to foster children from any background. This is not only untrue but also prejudicial against faith-based foster care. Biblical beliefs on sexuality do not conflict with providing safe care, nor do they impede the ability of foster families to provide “safe and proper care” to any child, regardless of their background or beliefs.

What is the ERLC’s recommendation to HHS regarding the proposed rule?

Southern Baptists strongly support foster care, with many members establishing foster care organizations and ministries. This rule distorts the term “safe and proper” foster care in a way that enforces discrimination against such faith-based providers.

The ERLC strongly believes that HHS should rescind its proposed rule entirely because it will lead to religious discrimination against qualified foster families and result in a lack of foster care placements for vulnerable children.

By / Sep 8

Do parents have a right to know if their child is socially transitioning to a transgender identity in school? The issue of gender identity policies in schools has become increasingly contentious, with parents correctly feeling they have a right to know when their child socially transitions at school, and many public schools arguing that schools have a responsibility to “protect” students by keeping that information from parents.

Social transition describes the process by which children or adolescents adopt the name, pronouns, and gender expression, such as clothing and haircuts, that aligns with a transgender identity. 

Social transition in school districts

Increasingly, school districts across the country are attempting to keep parents from discovering when such social transitioning is occurring at school—and they’re being supported by the federal courts. 

Maryland: In August 2023, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled 2-1 that three parents in Montgomery County, Maryland, lacked standing to challenge the school’s gender identity policy because they had not alleged their children were transgender in the first place.

The policy, which the Montgomery County Board of Education adopted for the 2020-2021 school year: 

  • permitted schools to develop gender support plans for students to ensure they “feel comfortable expressing their gender identity”; 
  • directs school personnel to help transgender and gender nonconforming students create a plan that addresses their preferred pronouns, names, and bathrooms; 
  • and bars staff from informing parents of those plans without a student’s consent. 

Lawsuits are pending challenging similar policies in other states. 

California: In July, a federal court dismissed a similar case brought against a California school district by a parent who alleged the district had violated her constitutional rights by failing to tell her that her child had asked to use a different gender pronoun. U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez said in his ruling: 

“The issue before this court is not whether it is a good idea for school districts to notify parents of a minor’s gender identity and receive consent before using alternative names and pronouns, but whether the United States Constitution mandates such parental authority. This Court holds that it does not.”

The states that do—and do not—require parental notification

School gender identity policies on informing parents about students who are transgender or social transitioning vary widely among school districts and states. Here are some states that have issued guidance on this issue:

  • Alabama: State law requires that no school staff shall “withhold from a minor’s parent or legal guardian information related to a minor’s perception that his or her gender or sex is inconsistent with his or her sex.” 
  • Arizona: State law promotes parental involvement, though does not require school staff to notify parents. 
  • California:  While policies vary by school district, the state issued legal guidance issued by the California Department of Education, which expressly states schools may not disclose a student’s gender identity without the student’s permission. The California legislature also passed a law which makes the state of California a “safe haven” for minors to receive irreversible, sterilizing surgeries and treatments. The bill allows minors to act against their parents’ wishes and travel out of state for these procedures without parental consent.
  • Florida: State law promotes parental involvement, though does not require school staff to notify parents. 
  • Idaho: State law promotes parental involvement, though does not require school staff to notify parents. 
  • Indiana: State law requires schools to notify parents if the child changes their gender identity. 
  • Iowa: State law requires schools to notify parents if the child changes their gender identity. 
  • Kentucky: State law promotes parental involvement, though does not require school staff to notify parents. 
  • Montana: State law promotes parental involvement, though does not require school staff to notify parents.
  • North Carolina: State law requires schools to notify parents if the child changes their gender identity. 
  • Utah: State law promotes parental involvement, though does not require school staff to notify parents.

In states not listed, there is no state-level requirement to notify parents. 

What every concerned parent can do

Even in states that require notification, concerned parents should make a direct effort to determine whether their child secretly identifies as transgender at school. A simple way to do this is to access the student’s records and see if the child is using a different name or pronoun. Two federal regulations—the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment—require schools to provide parents with access to student records and federally funded instructional material until a child turns 18. 

Unfortunately, this is one of the few options available to all parents in the U.S. As Ryan Womack of Alliance Defending Freedom observes, “Parental rights are not always protected in every state or federal court as carefully as are other fundamental rights.” 

Eventually, the Supreme Court will have to determine whether public schools will be required to respect parental rights. 

Christian parents, in particular, ought to be vigilant and take the initiative to directly protect their children from the confusing and harmful gender ideology touted by the prevailing culture. The Bible is clear that parents should be the ones primarily responsible for instructing their children in the Word of God (Deut. 6), and this includes what Scripture teaches about sexuality. As Christian parents help their children walk in the way of wisdom, they point to the goodness of God’s design and encourage the flourishing of their families and communities. 

By / Jun 27

Last week, the Equality Act was once again introduced into the House of Representatives and the Senate for consideration. This legislation intends to expand the definition of “sex” to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” (SOGI) and would revise every title of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to add these categories as new protected classes in the federal code. Last Congress, the Equality Act passed in the House, but the bill died in the Senate. 

The ERLC affirms the full dignity of every human being. At the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Messengers passed a resolution to “reaffirm the sacredness and full dignity and worthiness of respect and Christian love for every single human being, without any reservation.” But the Equality Act does not advance the cause of human dignity. 

If passed, the Equality Act would punish faith-based charities for their core religious beliefs about human dignity and marriage and would undermine decades of civil rights protections for women and girls. The alarmingly detrimental consequences of the bill pose a significant threat to the deeply held religious beliefs of millions of Americans who honor God’s design for sexuality.

What does this bill mean for religious liberty?

This bill would substantially undermine religious liberty protections in the United States. America has long been a place where people with different views and beliefs have lived at peace alongside each other. Though America has not perfectly lived up to this ideal of a shared nation, it was central to our founding as persecuted religious minorities sought safe harbor in this land. Though cleverly named, the Equality Act is out of step with that American ideal. Equality cannot be achieved while eliminating other basic, fundamental freedoms. Of particular note, the bill would essentially gut the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a bill which passed with broad bipartisan support and was signed by President Clinton.

By undermining RFRA, the Equality Act would force faith-based child welfare organizations to abandon their deeply held religious beliefs or be shut down by the state. The state-forced closures of such agencies is especially detrimental at a time when multiple crises—including the post-pandemic effects and the ongoing opioid epidemic—have led to increases in the number of children in need of services.

What does the bill mean for women and girls?

Most strikingly, the Equality Act undermines decades of hard fought civil rights protections for women and girls. Single gender spaces, such as locker rooms or shelters, would no longer be protected by law. This departure from a legal understanding of gender as male and female makes women and girls vulnerable to biological males being in their private spaces. For example, shelters for those women and girls escaping domestic abuse or homelessness would be forced to house biological men who identify as female. This legislation disregards the privacy and safety concerns women rightly have about sharing sleeping quarters and intimate facilities with the biological opposite sex.

Another example of the harm this legislation poses to women and girls is in athletics and academics. Since 1972, Title IX has advanced women’s sports and scholarship in remarkable ways. If enacted, the Equality Act would threaten female competition as both areas would then be open to biological males as well.

Are there pro-life concerns in the Equality Act?

Yes. The Equality Act would be the most pro-abortion bill ever passed by Congress. It would redefine the term “sex” to also include “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.” This language would roll back federal law that protects the consciences of pro-life nurses and physicians who object to participating in abortions because of their deeply held religious or moral beliefs. These conscience protections carry decades of bipartisan consensus—a consensus that no person should be compelled to participate in an act they believe to be gravely immoral. The Equality Act would also jeopardize the longstanding Hyde Amendment that protects federal taxpayer dollars from funding abortion. There is nothing equalizing about forcing Americans to fund abortion through taxpayer dollars.

How has the ERLC been involved?

The ERLC has worked tirelessly to defeat this bill. We have partnered with a broad coalition of more than 85 faith-based nonprofits, religious entities, and institutions of higher education to highlight the dangers of the Equality Act. We have raised these concerns with members of Congress and the administration through coalition letters and countless meetings with members, administration officials, and their staff. We have also engaged in public advocacy against the bill by producing a suite of resources to inform Christians and the broader public about the pernicious threat of the so-called “Equality” Act.

What’s next?

In the prior Democrat-led House, the Equality Act passed 224-206, with three Republicans joining all 221 Democrats. In the 118th Congress, Republicans narrowly hold the majority seats, but the bill is unlikely to make it to the floor for a vote. Two of the three Republicans who voted in favor of the bill are no longer in Congress, which makes it even more difficult for Democrats to force a vote on the bill. Another obstacle is Speaker McCarthy’s commitment to unifying the Republican majority’s voice in the House to present a strong front before the American people. 

While it is unlikely the bill will be passed in this Congress, its continued appearance presents a larger, on-going threat to human dignity and religious liberty. The ERLC will continue to highlight how the Equality Act erodes fundamental freedoms and undermines the ability of Americans of diverse beliefs to work together for the common good.

By / Feb 6

Everywhere we look, it seems that many of our long-held freedoms are being challenged. Whether it’s a preborn child’s right to life, an employee’s right to receive religious accommodations at work, or the right of everyone to exercise free speech, new lawsuits are filed daily that threaten to chip away, or eliminate altogether, a subset of American freedoms. 

In March 2021, another such lawsuit was filed, threatening to jeopardize the rights of religious schools to operate according to their deeply held beliefs. 

In Hunter v. U.S. Department of Education, the Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP), filed a class action lawsuit seeking “to nullify the religious exemption to Title IX that,” according to the plaintiffs, “allows widespread discrimination against LGBTQI students at faith-based colleges and universities.” 

After almost two years, the district court recently dismissed the case.

What was the case about?

On March 30, 2021, REAP filed a class-action lawsuit “representing 33 LGBTQ students and alumni from religious colleges demanding that the U.S. Department of Education stop granting religious exemptions to taxpayer-funded religious colleges and universities that,” in their words, “discriminate against and abuse their LGBTQ students.” Virtual public hearings began in early June 2021.

Kristen Waggoner of Alliance Defending Freedom argued that at its core this lawsuit was an effort by activists “to strip all students at private religious colleges of federal financial aid” and “prevent any student from using tuition grants, student loans, and any other federal financial assistance at schools that operate according to biblical views about human sexuality.” 

Likewise, the lawsuit—were it to be decided in the plaintiffs’ favor—would force religious schools “to either abandon their beliefs or lose the many students who rely on federal financial assistance.” It was an obvious attempt by the Religious Exemption Accountability Project to roll back some of our country’s longstanding legal protections for people of faith and religious institutions.

Responding to REAP’s lawsuit, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) requested that the court “allow three Christian colleges—representative of more than 1,000 others across the country—to intervene in the lawsuit and defend Title IX,” a U.S. Department of Education statute targeted by the lawsuit. The motion was granted in October 2021, and ADF proceeded to represent these three institutions (Corban University, William Jessup University, and Phoenix Seminary).

How was the case decided?

On Jan. 12, the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon ruled to dismiss Hunter v. U.S. Department of Education outright and continue to allow students to receive financial aid at schools that share their religious beliefs.” 

Responding to the plaintiffs’ claims of discrimination and abuse, U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken stated that “Plaintiffs have not plausibly alleged that the regulatory changes have led or contributed to the harm they have experienced.” 

Though the opinion affirmed that Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, it affirmed the legality of the religious exemption and rejected arguments that the schools’ actions were in violation of the First Amendment Establishment Clause. On all points, the plaintiffs’ arguments were deemed insufficient and implausible, leading to the court’s dismissal of the case. 

In response to the multitude of angles REAP took to accomplish its goal of ending the so-called “abuses perpetrated under the religious exemption to Title IX,” the court delivered a definitive statement of support for religious liberty by dismissing this case. 

While Hunter v. U.S. Department of Education was dismissed by the U.S. District Court, it will likely be appealed in the coming days. 

What’s the ERLC’s response?

The ERLC applauds the court’s decision to dismiss this case. As others have argued, the lawsuit which precipitated the Hunter court case was an unfounded attempt to eliminate an essential freedom afforded to religious educational institutions and their students. No student of any faith should be deprived of their right “to attend a school that shares their beliefs” and no educational institution should be stripped of its freedom to “live out their deeply and sincerely held convictions.”

Religious liberty is a core conviction and key distinctive of the ERLC and the Southern Baptist Convention, and we heartily agree with the court’s dismissal. The ERLC will be tracking this case as it moves forward closely, and should the case be appealed, the ERLC will continue to stand firmly for the constitutional right of religious freedom. 

What is Title IX?

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex-based discrimination in education, stating: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Title IX law is intended to provide equal opportunities for both men and women seeking to participate in educational institutions and extracurricular activities that receive federal funding.

Title IX and its implementing regulations contain several exemptions and exceptions from its coverage,” including substantial religious exemptions, which is what REAP’s lawsuit sought to target. The ERLC has long been involved in protecting these vital religious exemptions, even as Title IX has been expanded and adapted.

By / Feb 3

A Christian baker in Colorado lost an appeal last week in his legal fight in the case involving his rejection of a request for a birthday cake celebrating a gender transition.

What’s the background?

In June 2017, Autumn Scardina called Masterpiece Cakeshop to order a birthday cake, which would, according to the court filings, also reflect and celebrate Scardina’s transgender identity. Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, refused to make the cake. 

Phillips is a devout Christian who has repeatedly said that he seeks to operate his bakery consistently with his religious beliefs. He wants to live his life, do his business, and engage everyone in a way that honors Jesus Christ, notes the lawsuit. Phillips even named the bakery “Masterpiece” based on Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount, where he said no man can serve two masters.  

Scardina filed a lawsuit against Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop in state court claiming illegal discrimination because of his transgender identity. Phillips countered that the decision was not because of the person who requested it, and that he would not create a cake celebrating gender transition no matter who asked for it.

What’s the problem?

The case shows how LGBT activists are willing to use the courts to harass Christians in an attempt to coerce them to violate their consciences. 

Scardina, an attorney, contacted Masterpiece Cakeshop on the day that the Supreme Court agreed to hear Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In that case, a same-sex couple had sued Phillips because he refused to create a cake for a same-sex wedding. (On June 4, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 decision that the actions by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated Phillips’ rights under the Free Exercise Clause.)

A few months later, Scardina also asked for a cake with Satan smoking a joint, which Phillips also declined to make. Scardina later admitted to making these cake requests to “test” Jack and to “correct the errors of [his] thinking.” The attorney had also contacted Phillips multiple times calling him a hypocrite and bigot, and saying that if the current case was dismissed for any reason, Scardina would come back the next day with a new cake request and sue Phillips again.

As Alliance Defending Freedom notes, “The relentless harassment of Jack Phillips – nearly a decade of litigation – has had a significant impact on Jack Phillips’ business. He once had ten employees and now it’s down to four. He has lost a big part of his business, in addition to the severe emotional toll.”

Why did Phillips lose the appeal?

In ​​its ruling, the Colorado Court of Appeals said that because the form of the cake, which was to be pink with blue frosting, was not inherently a form of speech because it did not convey any particular message. Since Phillips could not claim, according to the court, that his speech was protected, he was in violation of discrimination laws. Colorado state law makes it illegal to refuse to provide services to people based on protected characteristics like race, religion, or sexual orientation.   

The appeals court also noted that Phillips’ shop had initially agreed to make the cake and only refused after Scardina explained it was to celebrate his gender transition.

What happens now?

Attorneys for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the nonprofit law firm that is representing Philiips and Masterpiece Cakeshop, said it will appeal the decision of the state court of appeals. 

“The same law being used to punish Jack is also at issue now at the U.S. Supreme Court in 303 Creative v. Elenis,” says ADF Senior Counsel Jake Warner. “The Court there should reject Colorado’s attempt to mandate orthodoxy and drive views it disfavors from the public square and affirm that graphic artist Lorie Smith and all artists—writers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, calligraphers, cake artists, and more—have the right to create freely without fear of government punishment.”

The ERLC is urging the court to rule in favor of 303 Creative and will be preparing Christians and churches to respond to this important decision later this year.

By / Oct 12

Although terms like “transgender” and “gender identity” are increasingly used in the public square, many Christians are still unaware of what they mean or how broad the scope is in which they are being used. To help provide some clarification and context, I’ve provided definitions for 31 terms commonly used by the gender identity movement. This glossary is designed to help you better understand the radical and ever-expanding language used to describe elements of the sexual (and gender) revolution. In order to effectively minister to those in our communities, it is helpful to grasp the terms used by the wider culture. Our goal is to understand so that we might proclaim God’s good design reflected in the biblical sexual ethic that brings flourishing and the gospel that brings hope and reconciliation.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means — Facebook alone allows you to choose from more than 70 gender options. Even though many in the LGBTQ+ community are united around certain terms and language, it is important to note that this is an incredibly diverse community that is not always in agreement with one another and their lifestyle choices.

Ally — A term for a person who supports members of the LGBTQ+ community and who advocates for them to others. 

Androphilia — A term used to refer to sexual attraction to men or masculinity that can be used as an alternative to a gender binary heterosexual or homosexual orientation. (See also: gynephilia.)

Bigender — A person who has two gender identities or expressions, either at the same time, at different times, or in different social situations. (See also: genderfluid.)

Bisexual — A person who is attracted to two sexes or two genders, but not necessarily simultaneously or equally. Although the term used to be defined as a person who is attracted to both genders or both sexes, that has been replaced by the number two (2) since the LGBT community believes there are not only two sexes or two genders but multiple gender identities. Within the LGBTQ+ community, a person who is sexually attracted to more than two biological sexes or gender identities is often referred to as pansexual or omnisexual.

Butch — A term used by the LGBTQ+ community to refer to masculine gender expression or gender identity. A nonbinary butch is a person who holds a nonbinary gender identity and a butch gender expression, or claiming butch as an identity outside of the gender binary. (See also: femme.)

Cisgender — A term used by many in the LGBTQ+ community and their allies to refer to people who have a match between the gender they were assigned at birth, their bodies, and their personal identity. Cisgender is often used within the LGBTQ+ community to refer to people who are not transgender. (In general, Christians should avoid using this term since it implies that cisgender and transgender are equally normative, i.e., the opposite of “heteronormative.”)

Femme — A term used by the LGBTQ+ community to refer to feminine gender expression or gender identity. A nonbinary femme is a person who holds a nonbinary gender identity and a femme gender expression, or claiming femme as an identity outside of the gender binary. (See also: butch.)

Gay — Until the mid-20th century, the term gay was originally used to refer to feelings of being “carefree,” “happy,” or “bright and showy,” though it also added, in the late 17th century, the meaning “addicted to pleasures and dissipations” implying a that a person was uninhibited by moral constraints. In the 1960s, the term began to be used in reference to people attracted to members of the same sex who often found the term “homosexual” to be too clinical or critical. Currently, the term “gay” is used to refer to men attracted to people who identify as men, though it is also used colloquially as an umbrella term to include all LGBTQ+ people. (The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation considers the term “homosexual” to be offensive and recommends that journalists use the term “gay.”)

Gender dysphoria — A term that refers to the psychological condition of experiencing discomfort between one’s gender identity and biological sex. 

Gender expression — A term for the manner in which one chooses to express or show their gender identity. This can be through clothing choices, appearance, or mannerisms. The term assumes a spectrum of expression between more or less masculine/feminine activities and actions.

Gender identity — A term used to refer to an individual’s personal sense of identity as masculine or feminine, or some combination of each. The LGBTQ+ community and their allies (e.g., the Biden administration) consider gender to be a trait that exists along a continuum and is not inherently rooted in biology or physical expressions.

Genderfluid — A term used for people who prefer to be flexible about their gender identity. They may fluctuate between genders (a man one minute, a woman the next, a third sex later in the day) or express multiple gender identities at the same time.

Genderqueer — An umbrella term for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine‍. Sometimes referred to as non-binary, gender-expansive, pangender, polygender. (See also: Bigender, Trigender.)

Gynephilia — A term used to refer to sexual attraction to women or femininity that can be used as an alternative to a gender binary homosexual or heterosexual orientation.

Heteronormative — Popularized in the early 1990s in Queer Theory, the term refers to lifestyle norms that hold that people fall into distinct and complementary genders (man and woman) based on biology with natural roles in life that may or may not be socially constructed. Heternomativity presumes that heterosexual behavior is the norm for sexual practices and that sexual and marital relations are only fitting between a man and a woman. (The Christian worldview is “heteronormative.” The Bible clearly presents gender and heterosexual sex within the bounds of marriage as part of the goodness of God’s created order.)

Homophobia — A term to describe a range of negative actions (ranging from fear or discomfort to violence) toward LGBTQ individuals. There are similar terms for other groups within the LGBTQ community (i.e. biphobia and transphobia). The “phobia” language is key to the Sexual Revolution as it aids the psychological understanding of the self over that of biological realities since it attached moral stigma to those who do ascend to the tenets of expressive individualism.

Intergender — A term for people who have a gender identity in the middle between the binary genders of female and male, and may be a mix of both.

Intersectionality — A term from the work of Kimberle WIlliams Crenshaw which argues that various social identities (race, class, sexuality, gender, disability, etc.) overlap to create new intersecting identities of discrimination and disadvantage based largely on power dynamics (i.e. An African American woman is disadvantaged because she is a woman and because she is African American).

Intersex — Intersex is a general term for a variety of physical conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. The variations in sex characteristics may include chromosomes, gonads, or genitals that do not allow an individual to be distinctly identified as male or female. Intersex is a rare physical condition while transgender is a psychological condition. The vast majority of people with intersex conditions identify as male or female rather than transgender or transsexual. (The term “hermaphrodite” is now considered outdated, inaccurate, and offensive as a reference to people who are intersex.)

Lesbian – The term most widely used in the English language to describe sexual and romantic attraction between people who identify as females. The word is derived from the name of the Greek island of Lesbos, home to Sappho (6th-century BC), a female poet that proclaimed her love for girls. The term “gay and lesbian” became more popular in 1970s as a way of acknowledging the two broad sexual-political communities that were part of the gay liberation movement.

LGBTQ+ — An initialism that collectively refers to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and Queer communities (the “+” refers to all the other categories included below which may be added to the initialism and represent non-heterosexual behavior or identity). In use since the 1990s, the term is an adaptation of the initialism LGB, which itself started replacing the phrase gay community beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s. The initialism has become mainstream as a self-designation and has been adopted by the majority of sexuality and gender identity-based community centers and media in the United States. Along with LGBTQ, other letters are sometimes added. Other variants include: An extra Q for “questioning”; “U” for “unsure”; “C” for  “curious”; an “I” for “intersex” another  “T” for  “transsexual” or  “transvestite”; another  “T”, “TS”, or “2” for “Two‐Spirit” persons; an “A” or “SA” for “straight allies”; or an “A” for “asexual”; “P” for “pansexual” or “polyamorous”; “H” for “HIV-affected”; and “O” for “other.”

Man/Woman — In LGBTQ+ parlance, terms that refer to a person’s chosen gender identity, regardless of biological characteristics.

Non-binary — See “genderqueer.”

Polyamory — A term which describes the act of existing in multiple consenting relationships at one time. This may include relationships such as a “throuple” in which three individuals are in a relationship together, or “open relationships” in which individuals have ongoing relationships apart from their primary partner.

Preferred Pronouns — A term for the pronouns that someone desires others to use when interacting with them. These may not coincide with their biological sex, and may be more expansive than just one set (i.e. A person may prefer to use “she/her pronouns” as well as “they/them”). Preferred pronouns can also shift over time and depending on circumstances.

Queer — An umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual, heteronormative, or gender-binary. The term is still controversial, even within the LGBTQ community, because it was once used as a homosexual slur until it was re-appropriated in the 1990s. The range of what “queer” includes varies, though in addition to referring to LGBT-identifying people, it can also encompass: pansexual, pomosexual, intersexual, genderqueer, asexual, and autosexual people, and even gender normative heterosexuals whose sexual orientations or activities place them outside the heterosexual-defined mainstream, e.g., BDSM practitioners, or polyamorous persons. (In academia, the term “queer” and its verbal use, “queering,” indicate the study of literature, academic fields, and other social and cultural areas from a non-heteronormative perspective.)

Sex — The term refers to the biological characteristics and realties of an individual as revealed in chromosomes and physical traits such as reproductive/sexual anatomy (e.g., male or female).  (See also: Intersex). 

Sexual Orientation — A term for the emotional, romantic, or sexual feelings one has to another person, often defined by the gender of the person attracted and the gender of the person to whom they are attracted. Though gender plays a part in sexual orientation, it is not the same as gender identity. 

SOGI — An initialism that refers to “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.” It is commonly used to refer to laws which would protect those identities from certain forms of discrimination under the law. 

Third gender — A concept in which individuals are categorized, either by themselves or by society, as neither man nor woman (though not necessarily intersex). Sometimes also called “third sex” or othergender. (See also: Queer.)

Transition — A term for the process a transgender individual goes through to fully identify with their gender identity. There are various levels which can include social practices such as changing clothes or choosing new names/pronouns, hormonal therapies to prevent puberty or using hormone replacement therapy to replicate puberty of the opposite gender (i.e. a biological female who takes testosterone and sees a change in physical characteristics such as facial hair or a deepening of the voice). It may also include radical surgeries to change reproductive organs to align with gender identity (i.e. removal of breasts for trans men). 

Transgenderism — An umbrella term for the state or condition of identifying or expressing a gender identity that does not match a person’s physical/genetic sex. Transgender is independent of sexual orientation, and those who self-identify as transgender may consider themselves to be heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, or asexual. Approximately 700,000 individuals in the United States identify as transgender.

Trans man — A transgender person who was born a female but claims the gender identity of a man (i.e., a biological female who identifies as a man).

Transsexual — A narrower (and outdated) term used to refer to individuals who have undergone some form of medical intervention to transition to another gender, whether that is through hormonal therapies or sex reassignment surgery. 

Trans woman — A transgender person who was born a male but who claims the gender identity of a woman (i.e., a biological male who identifies as a woman).

Transvestite — A person who cross-dresses, or dresses in clothes of the opposite sex, though they may not identify with or want to be the opposite gender. (All transexuals are transgender, but transvestites do not necessarily fall into either of the other categories.)

Trigender — A term for a non-binary (i.e., genderqueer) gender identity in which one shifts between or among the behaviors of three genders. These genders may include male, female, and third gender (e.g., genderless, non-gender, polygender, etc.).

Two-spirit – A term used by some Native American LGBT activists for people who possess qualities of both binary genders.

Ze – A gender-neutral pronoun used to replace he/she. (Sometimes spelled as Xe.)

A version of this article was originally published at The Gospel Coalition and has been updated to reflect current terminology used in the LGBTQ+ movement and wider culture.

By / Sep 12

Update: Since this explainer was originally posted, a stay has been agreed to by both Yeshiva University and YU Pride Alliance. This means that other student groups may operate normally, and Yeshiva does not have to recognize YU Pride Alliance on campus while its appeal is considered

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to vacate a previous stay by Justice Sotomayor and deny Yeshiva University’s emergency request to intervene in its dispute over recognition of an LGBTQ group on campus. A New York court has ruled that Yeshiva must recognize the group on campus, despite it being a violation of Yeshiva’s deeply held religious beliefs, even while the university’s appeal works its way through state court. The ERLC joined a brief in this case asking the Supreme Court to provide relief for the university. The brief reasoned that this issue was not limited to Yeshiva University but has broader implications for religious institutions who wish to carry out their missions according to their deeply held religious beliefs. 

In its denial, the court said that Yeshiva University had other avenues in New York courts in which to seek relief before coming to the Supreme Court. However, in the dissent of the denial, four justices state that they “are likely to vote to grant certiorari if Yeshiva’s First Amendment arguments are rejected on appeal, and Yeshiva would likely win if its case came before us.” This is a hopeful signal that if Yeshiva does not find relief in the state courts, it may likely return to the Supreme Court to again seek protection.

What are the facts of the Yeshiva University case?

Yeshiva University is a Modern Orthodox Jewish center of higher education. The university was petitioned by a student LGBT group (YU Pride Alliance) for recognition, which the university declined. The university argued that doing so would violate their mission as a religious training center. Though the university and its president, Rabbi Ari Berman, want students of all sexual orientations and gender identities to be welcomed, the university also wants to uphold their understanding of the Torah and its traditional understanding of gender and sexuality. The student group claims that failure to recognize the group has deprived them of funds which other groups receive, as well as the ability to notify students through a shared email list. 

YU Pride Alliance has petitioned lower courts to force the university to recognize their group. The New York state courts agreed with the plaintiffs, arguing that the university was primarily an education institution rather than religious organization. The university appealed the ruling stating, “As a deeply religious Jewish university, Yeshiva cannot comply with that order because doing so would violate its sincere religious beliefs about how to form its undergraduate students in Torah values.” 

What is the current status of the case?

In a ruling on Friday (Sept. 9), the Supreme Court in an order signed by Justice Sotomayor stayed the ruling of a New York State court which had ordered the university to recognize the student group. While the order was appealed, state court judges had refused to stay the order. The Supreme Court stay was overruled when the whole Supreme Court weighed in on Wednesday, Sept. 14, denying the request. Yeshiva University now must decide its next steps in the New York courts, but if it is unable to find relief, it is likely to return to the Supreme Court again.

As Baptist Press reported, “the school may ask state courts ‘to expedite consideration of the merits of their appeals,’ the justices said. It also may file a motion with the Appellate Division for permission to appeal to the New York Court of Appeals the denial of stay in the lower court and seek expedited consideration of the motion, according to the order.” The Supreme Court has generally been amenable to religious liberty cases in recent years, with a clear 6-3 conservative majority that has also often been able to secure votes from more liberal judges as well. 

What implications does the case raise for religious liberty?

At the heart of the Yeshiva University case is the right of religious organizations to teach and structure themselves according to their deeply held religious beliefs. The court’s initial ruling represents a clear overreach of government authority. The ruling would essentially force the university to choose between compliance with the law and sincerely held religious beliefs. Yeshiva does not engage in practices that are discriminatory in its failure to recognize the LGBT student group. Rather, it seeks to uphold its commitment to a traditional Orthodox understanding of gender and sexuality. The government has no clear and compelling interest in overruling the university, and as such should abstain from trampling the rights of the faithful.

At the same time, the case has wider implications because if courts can compel this private university, then they could also compel other religious organizations. At a moment when Congress has considered legislation such as the Equality Act, which would similarly force Christian and other religious institutions to support sexual orientation and gender identity laws, as well as the Respect for Marriage Act, which seeks to enshrine a federal right to same-sex marriage, there are clear points of conflict emerging between religious freedom and the sexual revolution. This court case is but the latest example of lower courts attempting to force religious institutions to change their religious convictions. 

How should Southern Baptists think about the case? 

Southern Baptists should stand with the defendants of Yeshiva University because we recognize that the rights of conscience and the free exercise of religious belief are matters beyond the state’s control. Yeshiva University seeks only to fulfill its mission to train Orthodox Jews to take their faith into a modern world, informed and shaped by a traditional reading of Torah. This is inseparable from who they are as an institution. To ask them to violate this is tantamount to asking Southern Baptist seminaries to do the same. 

Southern Baptists have long been defenders of religious liberty for all, including religious minorities. Though Yeshiva University holds a view that the wider culture does not understand, and frankly abhors, that does not give the courts the ability to trample the rights of conscience. This is why the ERLC joined with other religious organizations in support of Yeshiva University’s right to teach in accordance with deeply held beliefs. The ERLC and Southern Baptists remain committed to defending the free exercise of religion, and of the right of religious education institutions to build their curriculum around their sincerely held beliefs. 

By / Jun 29

Summer is upon us, and along with soaring temperatures and a break from school we have an increasingly prominent cultural focus: Pride Month. Rainbow flags, signs, and statements from mainstream media and corporations mark the month of June. This raises a lot of questions for Christian parents. One related question that I often get from parents is, “When should I talk to my child about sex?” My answer is, “Right now, in an age-appropriate way.” Yet, while parents are usually speaking of having “the talk” with their kids, we must also realize that we need to discuss sexuality in general with them. 

As Christian parents, we want our kids to be protected, maintaining their innocence and purity as long as possible. We want to shield them from as much of the hypersexualized society that we can, and this is a good thing. But we need to realize two things: 1) They are exposed to so much more than we realize; and 2) It is right and good for a child to understand from a young age and in an appropriate manner that God made us a certain way and that it glorifies God when we see his design for the good gift of sexuality.

In today’s society, not only has promiscuity been glorified and worshiped, but so have homosexuality and transgenderism. These things are hardly appropriate to discuss in detail with young children, but exposure to them is everywhere. For example, the recent kids movie about Buzz Lightyear features a brief same-sex kiss. And Doc McStuffins, typically watched by preschoolers, featured a same-sex couple in 2017. A quick internet search will find at least a dozen shows geared toward children that are pushing the LGBTQ agenda. 

Even if you don’t have a TV or allow your children any screen time, the gamut of LGBTQ+ issues are being promoted widely. You can hardly walk into a bookstore without seeing books featuring a gay or transgender lifestyle (especially geared toward children). Coffee shops abound with rainbow flags and pronoun preferences. Your local Target store likey has a Pride section prominently featured in the front of the store for the month of June. The retailer is even selling discretely marked chest binders which help flatten the chests of girls who feel they are transgender. I even saw a board book in the children’s book section titled “Bye Bye, Binary.”

I don’t say all of this to decry our culture. As my pastor husband says, I am a Christian, and I have a hard enough time living like one, so how in the world can I expect someone who’s not a Christian to act like they are? Nor do I share this in order to stoke fear in parents’ hearts. However, I do share all of this to let parents know that it is never too early to start talking to your children about gender and God’s design for sexuality. It is a difficult and often awkward subject, and it can be intimidating. So, how can we begin to address these important topics with our children? Here are four suggestions: 

1. Keep it simple and age appropriate

Use diaper changing time and bath time to simply remind your child that they are a boy or a girl because God made them that way. Use real names for body parts. Explain that we cover certain parts of our body because we want to be modest and honor God. This can all be done when a child is very young, even before they are talking.  

As they age, keep the conversation going. This is not a one-time conversation, but is simply part of ordinary, everyday interaction. If you know a couple that is getting married, be sure to differentiate between the bride and the groom. Talk about mommies and daddies. There is no need to mention the act of sex at a young age. Just simply acknowledging the differences between boys and girls is helpful. This is really simple and will entail matter-of-fact conversations. It actually requires more linguistic gymnastics to introduce some of the LGBTQ thoughts and ideas being pushed on children. 

When they get older and you talk to them about sex—which needs to be done at a younger age than you probably think because of society’s obsession with sexuality—don’t shy away from confidently and gently pointing out things that aren’t a part of God’s design. This includes homosexuality and things like sex outside of marriage.

2. Don’t be ruled by stereotypes 

It’s also important to talk through cultural stereotypes and point out that boys can like girl things and girls can like boy things. If a girl likes to play sports, doesn’t prefer dresses, and likes toy cars, it doesn’t mean she’s a boy trapped in a girl’s body. If a boy likes to cook, is artistic, and gently holds baby dolls, it doesn’t mean he’s a girl trapped in a boy’s body. It’s necessary to affirm a child’s maleness or femaleness regardless of their toy or activity preferences, or even their genuine struggles. God has made each person in his image, either male or female, and each one of us is unique. While there are certainly norms, and wisdom is required, people won’t fit neatly into “boyishness” or “girlishness.” 

However, it is absolutely essential that we understand that God has determined and set our biological sex from the womb (with the exception of a very small number of intersex persons, born with ambiguous genetalia)—and it is to be celebrated and cannot be changed. It is cruel to make someone believe that just because they don’t fit into a certain stereotype, they must be something different deep down inside and must take action. This creates and invites more confusion and emotional harm.

3. Remind your child (and yourself) that God has a sexual ethic that we all must follow

As a culture, and even within the church, we have taken God’s good gift of sex and warped it, using it for what we think is our own pleasure. However, it winds up causing pain, destruction, and death because we’re not keeping sex in the context for which God created it—within marriage between a man and a woman (Prov. 14:12; Gen. 2). When we reject that design, we are met with a whole host of difficulties including pornography, broken relationships, infidelity, a higher risk of poverty for children, sexually transmitted diseases, a lack of relational committment, and emotional destruction. In contrast, God’s design leads to our flourishing and is evidence of his goodness.  

Have ongoing conversations with your child about God’s design for sex, marriage, singleness, and relationships that are grounded in God’s Word. Romans 1:18-38 gives a vivid picture of humankind refusing to acknowledge God and giving him proper glory. Paul gives the specific example of homosexual relationships as man’s way of committing idolatry and worshiping God’s creation rather than God as Creator. While we must be clear that homosexuality and all things within the LGBTQ array of issues are certainly not the only sins, nor are they unforgivable, they are singled out in the Bible as evidence of idolatry. 

God’s sexual ethic goes for all of us, not simply people who struggle with same-sex attraction. As followers of Christ, we are all called to holiness, and this involves dying to our own sinful desires. So just as a heterosexual man cannot sleep with someone other than his wife (and may never marry, thus living a life of celibacy), a homosexual man also cannot sleep with anyone other than his wife (and also may never marry, living a life of celibacy). It is a call to self-sacrifice and obedience, no matter who a person is attracted to, believing that God’s way is better.

4. Speak the truth with love and conviction

When I was growing up, I learned at a fairly young age what the term “being gay” meant. I lived in a more progressive city in Florida. Though I saw gay flags in the windows of some stores and knew that my neighboring community had a “gay pride” parade (this was long before Pride Month was a thing), I didn’t really know anyone who was gay, at least not my age. Now, however, your child probably knows someone who claims to be gay or transgender. If they are not in school with them, they may have seen a little boy in a dress at the park. Perhaps this is something your child is even wrestling with themselves. When we can put names and faces on those who are caught in this struggle, we feel more compassion and remember that this is about people, not merely an issue. This should give us a sense of urgency to share the truth of the gospel that saves us from all of our sin and meets our deepest desires. We tell people the truth because we love them.

But we are living in a time that equates truth-telling with hate. Your children are told that in order to love someone who identifies as LGBTQ, you must embrace and celebrate that lifestyle. But, it is not loving at all to tell someone that it’s okay to go against God’s plan for sexuality. We know from God’s Word that our sin itself is what separates us from a holy God and only brings about death and destruction. We best love someone by telling them the truth. We must emphasize the love, forgiveness, and redemption of God, but that cannot truly be realized without a proper understanding of our sin. This is what makes the grace of God so amazing. So, keep telling your kids the truth. And pray for the grace to do it in love. 

The job of Christian parents seems as hard now as it has ever been. We are swimming upstream in a world that is determined to go in the opposite direction. And our children will not escape the current unscathed. But we can have confidence that in our weakness, God is strong. He has given us what we need for life and godliness in his Word, and he will give us wisdom to train up our children in the goodness of his ways. As we seek to have important conversations about sexuality with our kids, let’s ask God to give our children ears to hear, hearts to embrace the Savior, and lives that show how good his design is. 

By / Jun 10

In 1999, President Bill Clinton declared June to be “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month.” The official sanctioning of the month fell away during the years of George H. W. Bush’s presidency, but returned in 2009 when President Obama declared June LGBT Pride Month. Since then, the month has been celebrated by President Trump and President Biden. 

When even U.S. presidents are celebrating “pride” in the LGBT identity, it shouldn’t be surprising that the label is taken up as a badge of honor. That seems to be the message that young adults are receiving. For example, a poll taken by Gallup earlier this year finds that the percentage of U.S. adults who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or something other than heterosexual in 2021 has increased to a new high of 7.1%. That figure is a 21% increase since 2020, and double the percentage from 2012. 

Since Gallup began measuring LGBT identification in 2012, the percentage of traditionalists (those born before 1946), baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), and Generation X adults (born between 1965 and 1980) who identify as LGBT has held relatively steady. In contrast, the LGBT identification among millennials almost doubled, from 5.8% in 2012 to 10.5% in 2021. 

In 2017, the percentage of Gen Z who identified as LGBT was already twice that of any other generation—10.5%. But in the next five years, that number would nearly double, to 20.8%. This means that 1 in 5 Gen Z adults currently identifies as LGBT. As Gallup notes, “Should that trend within Gen Z continue, the proportion of U.S. adults in that generation who say they are LGBT will grow even higher once all members of the generation reach adulthood.” 

Most LGBT Americans identify as bisexual

The most common identification of LGBT among Americans is bisexual. More than half of LGBT Americans (57%) and 4.0% of all U.S. adults say they are bisexual. Overall, 15% of Gen Z adults say they are bisexual, as do 6% of millennials and slightly less than 2% of Gen X.

In comparison, 21% of those who identify as LGBT say they are gay, 14% say they are lesbian, 10% say they are transgender, and 4% identify as “something else.” Each of these categories accounts for less than 2% of U.S. adults. 

Women (6.0%) are much more likely than men (2.0%) to say they are bisexual, while men are more likely to identify as gay (2.5%) than as bisexual, and women are much more likely to identify as bisexual than as lesbian (1.9%). 

There has also been an explosion of transgenderism among Millenials and Gen Z adults. While only 0.1% of all Baby Boomers and 0.6% of all Gen Xers identify as transgender, 1% of all Millenials and 2.1% of all Gen Z adults embrace that gender identity. 

From “born this way” to hero status

A decade ago, the LGBT community was still claiming that sexual orientation was primarily genetic, and ​​that those inclined to same-sex behavior were—as one popular song claimed—“born this way.” But subsequent research “suggests genetics may have a limited contribution to sexual orientation.” What then can be driving the increase in identification?

While still a complex topic with no clear-cut explanation, it’s possible that such polls based on self-identification are being skewed by social-desirability bias. In social science research, social-desirability bias is a type of response bias in which respondents to surveys answer questions in a manner that will be viewed favorably by others. LGBT identification is a prime example of such favorable status. Young adults have lived their entire lives in an era when identifying as LGBT is considered progressive and laudatory. Answering that they are “bisexual” in an anoymous poll is a cost-free way to signal one’s own socially approved “virtue” while not actually having to change one’s sexual behavior. 

But even if this bias is skewing Gallup’s self-reported poll figures, the reality is that many young people believe that it is preferable to identify as LGBT than as heterosexual. This preference may be part of or encompass the motivation to emulate those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender since culture deems them worthy of our admiration.

The moral philosopher Linda Zagzebski says that admiration is an emotion toward someone who exhibits, upon reflection, a human power in a high degree of acquired excellence leading to the behavior of emulation, or imitation. Zagzebski proposes that our admired figures tend to fall into three categories: heroes, saints, and sages. Heroes exhibit strength and courage, in either physical or social acts. Saints exhibit self-denying love for God and others. Sages exhibit great wisdom and insight.

As applied to LGBT propaganda, young adults have been conditioned to see those in the LGBT movement as “heroes”—people who exhibit great courage in “living out their truth.” The reality, of course, is that it takes almost no courage for a young person to identify as LGBT in modern America, especially in urban areas or on college campuses. Indeed, as the promotion of Pride Month by corporations and the White House reveals, in many parts of our nation being LGBT is awarded a higher status than being heterosexual.

Millennial and Gen Z adults are given the impression that they are emulating heroic behavior that goes against cultural norms when the reality is they’re conforming to an identification that has become trendy and popular. 

How churches offer a truly “alternative” identity

The trend is likely to increase for the foreseeable future. As Gallup notes, “The proportion of U.S. adults who consider themselves to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender has grown at a faster pace over the past year than in prior years.” But the rate of increase is likely to plateau relatively soon. 

The reason for the rapid increase in LGBT identification—its trendiness and trappings of nonconformity—is likely to lead to its eventual decline. The culture will soon hit a tipping point where identifying as LGBT, and especially as bisexual, will be seen as an insincere pose to fit in rather than as an actual expression of a minority sexual orientation. Besides, the current trend cannot—mathematically speaking—last for much longer.

This trend—whether because of peer pressure or a genuine struggle with same-sex attraction— provides an opportunity for evangelical churches to reach young adults who are exhausted by the broader culture’s over-emphasis on sexual identity. Churches that hold to the biblical standard of sexuality will increasingly be the only area of culture where young people can hear the truth that their sexuality is not the most important aspect of their identity. 

Such churches will be able to provide a safe haven for those who sincerely wrestle with gender identity issues and for those who will feel increasingly coerced to identify as LGBT even when they are not interested in changing their gender idenity or pretending they have same-sex attractions. It is only in biblically faithful churches that Millenials and Gen Z adults will learn that truth that the identity they’ve been searching for—the most important thing about themselves and what they are at the deepest level—can only be found in being a disciple of Jesus, the one by whom all things were created and whose authority over us leads to our ultimate flourishing (Col. 1:16).