12th September 2017 – I Want To Know What Love Is
Is it really appropriate to withdraw your child from a classroom with someone who is gender non-conforming?
You can get a copy of Mark Yarhouse’s “Understanding Gender Dysphoria” here.
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thanks Peter – excellent commentary on what is embarrassing for so many Christians with a poorly thought – out response by this couple to a difficult situation – and Christian Legal Centre shooting itself in the foot again.
I have no doubt that you mean well, except that I’m not happy with Christians using words like ‘homophobia’ or ‘transphobia’ – neither word has any real truth in it beyond signalling allegiance with those who have a particular agenda to pursue. I’ve not been obsessively following this story although I would say that Mr and Mrs Rowe have been very courageous but have presented their story from a personal point of view rather than explain the fundamental issue which needs to be addressed.
And that fundamental issue, the ‘elephant in the room’, which you have also avoided, is that school teachers (in a so-called Christian school) are forcing the children in their care to assent to the acting out of a delusion. And this is not the telling of a fairy tale, they are dealing with a real deluded pupil right there in their own classroom. But these are not 6 year olds who are playing a game, they being ordered to reinforce a confusion in another child’s mind. That is dangerous: it is a step on the road to tyranny through captivation of people’s minds – I don’t see Jesus ever endorsing this kind of thing; it is truth that makes us free. We need to distinguish respect from affirmation.
None of us knows exactly what is going on with the boy who claims sometimes to be a girl. He could be genuinely confused in his mind. He could be responding to parents who have been reinforcing a particular agenda on this at home. Or it could simply be the attention-seeking of an immature child not long after being a toddler. Whatever it is, the school needs to understand that young children, above all else, need stability which is honest and fair as they start to make sense of the world; and that is how Christian love is truly demonstrated in a school environment.
I think you are making my point for me. The language of “delusion” presupposes that Gender Dysphoria is a psychological issue, a mental health problem. There is a growing body of evidence that there is actually a genetic / epigenetic root and we need to approach that realistically.
No-one is forcing the Rowes’ children to do anything but be nice to a boy in their class who is wearing a skirt. No-one is being made to recite liberal mantras, there is no forcing of using pronouns, no leftist gender-fluid agenda being foisted on anyone. The only thing that is happening is that a gender non-conforming boy is being allowed to work through that non-conformity in a safe environment. Chances are (75% to 90%) that he will abandon his non-conformity in the next few years. When he does that, would you rather his impression of Christians be that they are kind and graceful or that they are confrontational?
Can I recommend getting hold of Mark Yarhouse’s book if you have not done so already – it is written from a conservative perspective but illumines some of these issues.
‘Delusion’ is an erroneous belief that is held in the face of evidence to the contrary; it clearly applies in this case, and the word doesn’t assume any particular cause, nor does it make a judgement on the one who suffers from the delusion.
I’m not sure that you are right in suggesting that: ‘No-one is forcing the Rowes’ children to do anything but be nice to a boy in their class who is wearing a skirt.’ None of us would want to argue against that but, as I understand it (perhaps I’m wrong?), the school is requiring other children to act and speak as if the boy is genuinely a girl (ordering them not to query the obvious absurdity of the notion). If that is true, then surely we must all agree that would be unacceptable coercion, damaging of trust and respect; I would certainly expect it to cause distress in averagely intelligent 6 year old children and to raise questions about the school’s judgement over this issue.
Gender ‘non-conformity’ suggests that to embrace a gender which is at odds with your sex may be purely a matter of one’s own choice to go against social convention. But in this case at least, social convention is entirely rational, and I would argue that such a choice only exists at the cost of living a life blighted by internal confusion; it also hacks through another root of the rational basis on which stable societies are able to flourish. We really do need to be careful how we use words because what words mean and the way they are put together shapes ideas; they can be used either to enlighten and build confidence in truth or to confuse and spread uncertainty (and the ‘confrontation’ which you mention). And where there’s uncertainty people become afraid to speak up, and those who do speak up tend to be mocked. I think we’re seeing that now.
But I’m certain that, while we may differ in some respects, our first concern must be for innocent children who have been caught up in an issue with which they are far too young to grapple.