A Pentecostal Approach to Transgenderism
As Christians we should treat everyone with love, respect, and compassion. We should also bear witness that God has created humans as male and female (Genesis 1:27). While some erroneously suggest that gender is merely a social or psychological construct, it originates in God’s creative purpose and is rooted in genetic and biological reality. In rare cases of atypical anatomy, qualified medical personnel can be consulted. Aside from such rare cases, families and society should strongly affirm each individual’s biological, anatomical gender. For those who experience gender dysphoria (psychological distress with their sex or gender as determined by their physical anatomy), we recommend spiritual and professional counseling by qualified persons who are committed to biblical values. When children and youth experience confusion related to their social gender identity, we should provide them with biblically based encouragement, training, and modeling. We should not block or subvert puberty through artificial means.
Recently, the US government has issued directives for public schools to make accommodations for people who identify as transgender. Our view is that public restrooms, changing rooms, and showers should be segregated by sex as determined by anatomy rather than as constructed by personal feelings and preferences. Private rooms can be designated for those who express difficulty with this standard arrangement. Individual or family restrooms are already available in many public facilities. The privacy, modesty, moral values, peace of mind, security, and safety of the overwhelming majority of people who affirm traditional biological gender should not be compromised for the sake of political expediency. Safety is an issue not because of people who identify as transgender, but because of predators who could take advantage of the opportunity to harass or molest people of the opposite sex.
How should churches and private religious schools respond to governmental directives? First, they are not covered by the new federal regulations. Second, these regulations will no doubt be subject to court challenges and could be changed under a future administration. Third, under the US Constitution churches and religious institutions have freedom of religion, including the right to uphold biblical convictions regarding sex and gender, and thus the government has no authority to force them to open restrooms to members of the opposite sex.
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