Let’s Talk About Rape

Rape culture. Have you heard of it? Are you aware that we allegedly live in one here in the US of A? Did you know that our college campuses have rates of sexual assault on par with the Rwandan genocide (23% if you take the highest possible estimations) where rape was used as a weapon.

I am sure that at least some of you are aware of the “1 in 5” statistic that claims that 20% (again, awfully close to Rwanda’s 23%) of our female college students are sexually assaulted (as well as 1.4% of men). I have looked at the study, and have several problems with it—the sample was large, but only taken from two universities, the definition of “sexual assault” was very broad, and sexual assault and rape (3.4% of victims are physically forced; 8.5% are incapacitated by a substance) are often conflated but are not the same thing.

If that is true, then it is safer to send your girls to Cancun for spring break than to class at Harvard.

It seems absurd on its face, doesn’t it? But, could it be legitimate?

I just watched a CNN documentary about this epidemic called “The Hunting Ground.” The film is full of statistics, including that 16% of college girls are sexually assaulted (lower than 20% though). It argues that 88% of these assaults go unreported, and those that are reported are ignored or outright covered up by the institution of higher learning.

They also gave statistics about the number of rape allegations vs. students expelled for rape that are truly problematic. For instance, at one school there were 203 sexual assaults reported, but only 3 students punished. Another school had 169 assaults and 0 expulsions.

Clearly, there is something untoward going on.

Then I did some quick math in my head. The 203 assaults were over a 12-year span. That’s less than 20 per year. But there are another 88% not reported, according to the statistic mentioned before. So let’s multiply by 10 to be generous. Now we are at 200 sexual assaults happening on a college campus each year. This is truly an atrocity! However, the university probably has 20-25,000 students, half of which are female. That means that 200 out of 10,000 women are sexually assaulted on this particular campus—and that’s with using higher than just 88% being unreported.

Does this sound like 16-20% to you? That’s because rather than 1 in 5, it’s more like 1 in 500.

How about the case of Melinda Manning, former Assistant Dean at the University of North Carolina? She claims that she spoke to about 100 young women about their victimization during her career (11 years, so an average of about 10 per year…again, not 20%). She claims that the university ordered her to under-report these assaults, and is an advocate for those perpetuating the 1 in 5 statistic.

However, she quit her job, and enrolled AT THE SAME UNIVERSITY in order to get another degree. This beacon of rapes where women are being assaulted in high numbers with a corrupt administration, and Dr. Manning ENROLLED THERE! Does this seem inconsistent to anyone else?

For the sake of argument, let’s just say that the 20% frequency and 88% unreported numbers are true. I will also cede that universities may very well be trying to underreport the number of sexual assaults. What are some of the ramifications?

First of all, I would love to see these universities fully investigated by outside law enforcement agency—like federal or another county. If there is a rampant cover up, then these schools should not only lose federal funding, but those involved in a cover up should be prosecuted harshly. They should never be allowed to jump from one university to another after being a part in hiding sexual assault from students and the public at large.

If the problem is ever to be corrected, victims do need to be more proactive with their reporting. I understand that there is fear, not wanting to relive the experience, and some PTSD involved. There is fear of being shamed or ignored, and these issues are absolutely justified in most cases. However, I do not understand why these young girls are calling campus security, rather than the police. As a parent, I will make sure to tell my daughters to call 9-11 for any actual emergency—which is exactly what sexual assault is. Whether afraid or not, such a huge influx of reported sexual assaults would most certainly be a method of forcing the public to look into the problem.

And since I have probably already angered some of you, I would point out that university faculty and students are overwhelmingly comprised of those who identify as politically left (Democrat/liberal/progressive). If our campuses really are bastions of sexual assault, the perpetrators are statistically more likely to be leftists. Ironically, those who seem to champion the 1 in 5 stat are predominantly leftist as well. So, the safest place to be if you are a young woman is surrounded by conservatives—but I digress.

This is a very sensitive topic, but we will never make any progress if we avoid an honest discussion about the veracity of statistics, how to prevent attacks, identifying tangible solutions to the problem, and stop shaming 1) victims of assault and 2) skeptics.

Whether 20% or 2% of our girls are raped, the numbers are too high. Ignoring the issue or making false claims in order to “raise awareness” are not helpful solutions. Would anyone treat murder with such tactics? Of course not.

I also do not believe that we live in a rape culture. Most of the men I have ever met would probably beat a rapist half to death if they ever bragged about their conquest. Moreover, the film also put out a stat that 8% of men are committing 90% of the assaults. If true, then a HUGE majority of men are not involved in sexual assault. That is not a culture of rape, but a larger-than-should-be number of bad apples.

Compare the 8% of men to the 8% of Muslims who support violent extremism. Would we say that Islam is a “terrorist culture”? Are we not told that we cannot hold all Muslims accountable for the actions of a few?

How about the 7% of Americans who are LGBT? Are we living in a “gay culture”? Of course not. In fact, we are told every day about how oppressed the LGBT community is. How they must live in the shadows in many cases for fear of reprisal for their behavior.

But rapists are so brazen that 8% of them can make the academic system a rape culture? It makes no sense.

Do your own research, and do not believe statistics (which are almost always manipulated to make a point—I know I just did it). If we really are sending our children to a hotbed for sexual assault, then we MUST take action against it. If there are legitimate findings that support the stats presented to us, then I want nothing more than for those involved to be punished in ways that would make the Inquisition seem like a Disney theme park. If not, though, then we must be big enough to realize that inciting a moral panic is the antithesis of progress.

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All Things Being [un]Equal

“Women are better than men,” declared heartthrob Ryan Gosling. This statement has, for whatever reason, began trending across multiple social media platforms and have feminists of all walks cheering with glee as a young, attractive man decided to tear other men down so that women can stand tall on the pedestals of power.

The unwed father of two young girls has decided that men have had their day, and now that women are “stronger” and “more evolved” than men, the reigns of society should be handed over to the females. Apparently, Mr. Gosling believes that men should not only accept this transition, but should do so willingly because we deserve to be treated as unequal.

Not all of us will do so; nor should we.

I understand that feminists had the “separate, but equal” mentality, but there is truth to the idea. No, I do not subscribe to the doctrine of separate spheres—in which the home is a woman’s domain, and everywhere else is the man’s—but true equality begins when we understand that we have differences.

Men are biologically larger, stronger, and more physical. Whether by evolution or design, men are made for hard, physical labor. Not all men are larger than all women, but the general rule applies.

Women are biologically more capable of nurturing, which actually begins in-utero. It is the mother’s body that provides nourishment for a developing baby in the womb. It is the mother’s milk that nourishes the child after he/she is born. The intimacy of breastfeeding simply cannot be replicated by men.

There you have it. It is biology. It is science. It is nature that men are physical and women are nurturing. This also does not mean that either sex is “better” than the other.

Sure, men are better at certain things, but women are better at other things. Some women are better than some men at athletics, and some men are better than some women at raising a child. Just because there are exceptions, does not make the rule any less true.

In our “all or nothing” society, we tend to forget that even nature accounts for anomalies.

There is also the concept of intersectionality that we must consider. This idea basically boils down to “not all women” or “not all whites.” The experiences of women vary based on other characteristics, such as beauty, race, sexuality, or social class.

A gay black woman from the middle class has different experiences than a straight black woman from the lower class. A white lesbian schoolteacher has different experiences than a white lesbian business owner.

This is the problem with stereotypes—there are over six billion unique individuals with experiences that are not perfectly shared with anyone else. Thus, to say that half of those people are “better” than the other half—whichever side you choose—is ignorant and dangerous.

Moreover, to say that men deserve to be taken down a few notches as some sort of repayment of past ancestral patriarchy is just plain stupid. That’s like saying that white people should be slaves because our ancestors were on the other side of the experience.

Whatever you believe about patriarchy and “white privilege,” I think that the best way to have an egalitarian society is not to bring one side down to meet the other, but to bring both sides UP. Rather than berating masculinity, we should elevate femininity. Rather than firing white men from positions of power, we should create more positions for women and people of color.

We should also understand that it is our differences that make modern society function. This is the crux of Emile Durkheim’s concept of Organic Solidarity. Not everyone can be a mechanic, plumber, professional athlete, and CEO of a tech company. It is the specialization of society that allows us to worry about being good at a few things, rather than being competent in all.

The same logic can be applied to this seeming conflict between men and women. We do not, and should not have to be “better” at all things. It is okay to specialize. As a matter of fact, it is BETTER so specialize. Some men want to stay at home with their kids. Some women want to be a CEO. That is perfectly fine! It is also fine for a woman to want to stay at home while the husband works.

It does not matter whether the couple is straight, gay, lesbian, white, black, Hispanic, Asian, mixed race, polyamorous, monogamous, polygamous, married, co-habitating, dating, rich, poor, etc. ALL HUMAN BEINGS ARE DIFFERENT…but equal.

Knowledge or Wisdom?

We are the most technologically advanced civilization in history, but all this knowledge has not improved our lives in any meaningful way. Sure, we have more luxury and leisure, but we are no happier than our ignorant ancestors who simply sought after things like the meaning of life or what our purpose on the planet is. Unfortunately, these “big questions” are rarely even asked by most. We are lacking something in this “civil” society. We are a society without wisdom.

Regardless of your moral genesis, political affiliation, or religious dogma, all of us feel that the world is lacking “common sense.” But what they mean is that we are failing in the application of all the information and knowledge available to us. We are like living trivia machines, full of facts, yet no idea of how those facts are relevant to our day to day lives.

My fellow university students quote long passages from Karl Marx. They can identify the flaws of capitalism and the inevitable inequality produced when people are paid based on merit, rather than the sheer fact that they are human. However, when ideologues attempt to apply Marxism, it fails. That is simply because the utopian Communist ideal society is impractical. A wise man would take human nature, and history, into account. A wise man applies the ethos that man is flawed, thus to believe that man, himself, can possibly give up all potential possessions for the good of the whole without force is naiveté to the millionth degree.

Putting your trust in a politician, like Obama or Trump is completely unwise. History shows us that political corruption is the rule, not the exception—no matter how few exceptions we try to name. Philosophers are flawed. Our “news” media is flawed. Those who we love to quote—Marx, Jefferson, Franklin, Nietzsche, Plato, Socrates—are all men who are flawed.

Yet some of them were wise.

I believe that our Founding Fathers were wise to the inevitability of corruption, which is why the US Constitution is one of the only documents that seeks to limit the power of our leaders. I believe that philosophers can be wise, so long as they are seeking answers to the big questions.

I also believe that The Bible, whether you believe it is the Word of God or not, is a document full of wisdom. Not killing, stealing, coveting the possession of others, honoring your parents, and not sleeping around on your spouse are “common sense” principles that are almost universal throughout global cultures.

A wise man seeks wisdom from others. We must be prudent in our sources, and be unafraid to ask the big questions. Personally, The Bible and the Founding Fathers have been instrumental in my own acquisition of answers. I have found satisfactory reasons for my meaningful existence. I have tested the answers again and again, and I still find myself returning to those same sources.

I have found a satisfaction with my life that few others that I know actually enjoys. Every action that I make has eternal consequences. My legacy may live on for a generation or two through my children, but my decisions have repercussions that will last longer than the Earth as we know it.

Some may say it is foolish to prattle on about such fantasies, but I believe it to be Truth.

A wise man seeks knowledge from many sources, but discerns what knowledge is good and true through sound study—and dismisses the other as falsehood. A wise man tests Truth by filtering all information through his world view, rather than trying to piece together a world view with scraps of information. A wise man does not change the world to fit his view of it, but understands the world as it exists.

A wise man does not re-define centuries old concepts for the sake of placating the few. A wise man cannot dismiss history and science for the sake of making others feel good about themselves. A wise man takes his time to understand a situation before making any judgments about it.

This used to be “common sense,” which is no longer common or makes any sense.

A wise man recognizes that the world has been changed by those without wisdom.

A wise man understands the danger of wisdom in a world so lacking in it.

Be wise.

The Illegitimacy of the Legalism Label

“Legalism” has become a buzz word in the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) movement lately. To paraphrase Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, we keep using that word, but I don’t think it means what we think it means.

Let us start with the etymology. “Legal” refers to law; specifically, written law. “Ism” is an adherence to a theory or doctrine. Thus, legalism is a strict adherence to written law.

Now, many Christians that I have encountered recently have thrown this term out like it is some measure of their street cred in the IFB movement. One person actually said he is a “recovering” member of the IFB church—like he was a drug addict—and now seems to have some sort of mission to show everyone else that his way is the correct way.

Is it?

Legalism comes up in any conversation that involves worship music (both style and instrumentation), preferred Bible translation, proper church attire, or procedures for rituals like baptism or communion. However, none of these topics are inherently legalistic.

For example, my father is a traditionalist. He prefers the use of hymns to contemporary Christian music. He believes that only string and brass instruments should be used in worship. Of course, we have had many disagreements about this since I am a drummer who wants to use my talent to be a worship leader.

To the modern IFB critic, my dad’s strict beliefs about music are “legalistic”, yet I would argue that his preference stems more from tradition than law. There are no written laws about worship music; therefore, how can this be legalism?

There are many Christians who believe that men should wear suits, and ladies should wear dresses (with hems BELOW the knees, of course) to church. Modesty is the appropriate stylistic choice when crossing the threshold of the House of God. After all, if we were to visit the President of the United States or the Queen of England, would we not dress up for it? Why, then, would we not wear our “Sunday best” when going to the home of the King of Heaven?

Again, this is a traditional view, not a written law.

Perhaps the most volatile of the “legalistic” subjects is Bible translation. Other than worship music, this subject will get Christians riled up like nothing else. Are you a 1611 King James Version person, or are you okay with the alphabet soup of modern translations like NIV, ESV, NLT, NKJV, NASB, NCV, or RSTLNE? LOL, JK.

Those who stand on the soapbox of reformed IFB members will hail down accusations of legalism against any who stand by the traditional King James Version. Some, and I believe this to be idiotic, will go as far as to say that if you claim to be KJV-Only, then you are claiming that the King James is MORE INSPIRED than the original texts (which no longer exist, by the way). As if anyone believes that there was no true Bible until 1611 A.D.

If anyone DOES believe that (in my almost 28 years of being a Christian, I have never met a single person who does), they are simply wrong.

That being said, belief that the KJV is superior to the alphabet soup is not a blind adherence to some written (or even unwritten) law of being a legitimate Baptist. I would say it is actually more than mere tradition. As the source document for our entire religion, The Bible is more important than clothes or music. If the foundation of your worldview is flawed, then so is your worldview.

I personally believe the King James to be the only divinely inspired Bible in the English language. Other translations change words that can change the context of a verse, and some remove verses completely. Some modern translations make errors so large as confusing the Son of the Morning (Lucifer/Satan) with the Morning Star (Jesus Christ).

This truly matters.

Yet those who are critical of the  IFB “legalists” flippantly disregard any discussion of our founding document as some way of measuring spiritual fortitude and they are “recovering” from such drivel. As if somehow listening to Christian rock music and reading a New International Version of The Bible is superior to tradition.

I find it interesting to see the parallels in modern American politics. There is a growing sentiment that The Constitution is an old document that needs updated, and we need to progress beyond the traditions of the past and embrace change.

The King James Version and The Constitution are irrelevant in the modern era, because they are ancient. They are difficult to understand and should be updated. Some of us are “recovering” Baptists; some are “recovering” conservatives.

Traditionalism is not legalism, my dear readers.

Like The Constitution, The Bible is full of written laws. As Americans and/or Christians, we should understand and follow the laws written into our founding documents.

When it comes to worship and clothing, there are very few written laws. Thus, disagreements about these things boil down to preference, not legalism. Our arguments are over tradition, not law.

Odd that someone can break away from being legalistic as soon as they buy a new Bible translation, even if they still believe that we should not wear shorts to church. One stops being a legalist the moment they play a contemporary Christian song from the stage, even if they ban drums from the platform.

The lines of legalism are blurry and ambiguous, at best. Yet we are supposed to believe that “recovering” Christians have any sort of legitimate argument as they pass judgment on the rest of us? The arrogance of their perceived superiority only serves to undermine their critique of traditionalists in the Independent Fundamental Baptist church as being arrogant in their “old” beliefs.

The Pharisees were the models for legalism in that they stuck to their Old Testament beliefs while the New Testament stood before them in human form healing the sick on the Sabbath. They killed Christ for violating the written law.

The Pharisees placed the written law of God over the spoken law of Jesus Christ. There is no modern equivalent in the IFB church.

Christianity in America is in the decline, not because of legalism, but because of petty arguments over preference. There are thousands of churches throughout our country, and I would bet that none are exactly the same. It is not incredibly difficult to fine one to suit your preferences. So find one that works for you and shut your mouth about the rest of us. Save your judgment and your comments about traditionalists being like “Pharisees”.

Like so many other labels, those who tend to use them misunderstand their meaning. There are incredibly few true legalists among us today. Moreover, it is never right to apply the actions of a few to an entire classification of people. This is known as stereotyping, and is generally frowned upon.

If following The King James Bible makes me a legalist, although I play drums to Christian rock music and I care very little about what people wear to church, then so be it. It is not the label I would choose for myself, but I am proud to know that I am advancing the Kingdom of God in a way that does not violate the Word of God. That is good enough for me. Is it good enough for you?

 

The Cure for Legitimation Crisis

We are staring into the eyes of what Jurgen Habermas called a “legitimation crisis.” There is a fundamental mistrust of our government, churches, media, education, legal system, and other administrative agencies that are supposed to be in place to protect us from tyranny.

Regardless of our political or religious affiliations, we feel let down. This is the inescapable downfall of humanism. When we rely on human beings for anything, we will inevitably be disappointed.

Thomas Jefferson is a hero to American conservatives. He was one of the Founding Fathers who was a staunch advocate of a small centralized government and one of the authors of the Federalist Papers. He is one of the most oft-quoted Americans of all time and is one of the few Founders that has his face on not one, but two pieces of our currency.

Thomas Jefferson was also a slave owner who was notoriously promiscuous with his slaves. No matter how hard conservatives try to ignore this history, they cannot. Some of his behavior cannot be excused.

Karl Marx is a hero to American progressives. He is widely taught throughout our university system for his critiques of Capitalist greed and inequalities. His writings in the Communist Manifesto and Kapital influenced multiple nations to try their hand at Communism via Socialism. The U.S.S.R., China, Russia, Germany, North Korea, North Vietnam, Italy, France, Sweden, Denmark, Cuba, and other nations have all tried to invoke Marx’s ideas of eliminating private property and sharing in goods and services by way of government distribution. Most of these Communist states have collapsed entirely after massive genocides and totalitarian regime changes. Others are facing massive economic failures, and even peaceful Sweden has become the rape capital of the world due to their lax immigration laws.

American Marxists would simply blame these failures on the fact that these nations did not actually follow Marx’s principles. We cannot have Communism until global Capitalism collapses. Marx’s critiques of capitalism are valid. His theories of alienation, the fetishism of commodities, and the culture industry are all great and should be discussed.

Karl Marx was also extremely racist and misogynist. He was a poor husband and terrible father. By all indications, he was a rough, arrogant, and aggressive jerk who was infamously difficult to be around. He was a bum who could not keep a job and railed against capitalism while suckling from the teat of frequent collaborator Friedrich Engles, whose father was a wealthy industrialist. No matter how hard progressives try to ignore this history, they cannot.

Ronald Reagan defeated Communism, ended Carter’s recession, lowered taxes, shrank the size of government, and embodied the ideals of conservative Republicans. He is an icon whose name appears in every GOP debate.

Reagan also allowed amnesty and must be held accountable for the Iran-Contra affair.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt is considered to be one of the greatest Presidents of all time. He expanded social programs in America like never before with the New Deal.

FDR also interned the Japanese into camps and was famous for being racist. Many economists are coming to understand that his high taxation and heavy regulations on businesses actually extended the Great Depression rather than ended it.

Sure, politicians are almost always seen as being corrupt, but are church leaders any different? How many major ministers resign from their churches due to sex scandals? Catholic priests are notorious for unlawful carnal knowledge with altar boys. Jimmy Baker disappeared from public after his extra-marital affairs came to light. Mark Driscoll stepped away from his church when allegations of fraudulent book sales surfaced.

Many Christians cringe at news coverage of the Westboro Baptist Church protesting military funerals with “God Hates Fags” signs or when Pat Robertson blames 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina on homosexuality.

No media outlet is trusted—nor are any unbiased.

Our professors are ideologically opposed to the majority of Americans, but they are responsible for helping us transition from immature teenagers to responsible adults. All while coddling young twenty-somethings and keeping them “safe” from harmful subjects and reality checks.

If you are a black man in a courtroom, your fate is almost certainly sealed. We all know that the system is broken, but trying to address the problems will cost votes in an upcoming election. One cannot be elected while seeming soft on crime.

We fear the government. We fear the legal system. We are always let down by politicians and church leaders who only gain power through the cult of personality rather than through merit.

We are the fools who continually put our trust in flawed human beings. We are also flawed and want to hope that our leaders are able to withstand corruption, because we want to believe that we can do the same.

What we are left with is just more disappointment, devastation, and depression.

It has been my experience that standing behind principles is a stronger position than behind people.

My principles are predominantly Christian. I put my Faith in the only perfect being in all of the universe. I do not have to make excuses for ANY behavior exhibited by Jesus Christ. There is no literary “character arc” where Jesus went from a flawed person to a hero. He was and is God from birth to death to resurrection.

No other leader in history can make that claim. Even if you do not believe that The Bible is the literal Word of God or that it is just a collection of stories, you still must admit that there has never been so perfect a character in all of literature.

Peter, Paul, Thomas, King David, Abraham, Moses, and Noah all made a transition from flawed to Faithful. Christ never did.

Mohammed, Joseph Smith, L. Ron Hubbard, Marshall Applewhite, Jim Jones, and the entire line of Popes cannot claim to be as perfect of Christ. They were all flawed human beings that died flawed—and all remain dead.

Christian principles of loving everyone—including enemies—and treating others as you want to be treated, as well as not lying, killing, or stealing are practically universal. Can any other ideology claim the same?

We cannot judge or justify Christianity based on the actions of Christians—but we should base it on the actions of Jesus Christ. To be contrary to Christ is simply not Christian.

I am secure in believing that my worldview is based on universal perfection. That is a standard that will never let me down. I will never waver like a Marxist, a Jeffersonian, or a cult follower. I do not follow a person or god, but THE God.

I challenge you to look to your own worldview and hold it to a standard of perfection. Does it hold up? Should it hold up? If not, then why are you still clinging to a sinking ship with no life raft? There is plenty of room on our boat.

There Can Be No Separation of Church and State

Can the “state” really be separated from the “church”?

We have all heard this now famous statement as a justification for any event in which a Christian who works within a secular government system or private sector business who uses their religious Faith as a means to justify their practices at the office.

But how can we ever expect this alleged divide to actually occur?

I want to first point out that the phrase “separation of church and state” does not exist in the U.S. Constitution. Many of those who throw it around like it has some sort of legal precedent are simply incorrect. In fact the phrase, written by Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists, was meant to further explain what the First Amendment says: “[the] Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, [or] impeding the free exercise of religion.”

The government cannot establish a religion, which is an obvious shot at the Church of England. The Constitution also protects against “impeding the free exercise of religion.” This is possibly the most important part, and is clearly the section of the clause that gets forgotten. The government cannot make a law that prohibits our religious practices. There can be no law that outlaws prayer.

Where the courts have parsed this argument over the past few decades, is that they separate Congressional “law” and public “policy.”

However, how can anyone expect that people of faith can simply leave our worldview at the door when we walk into a government building? That would be like telling an atheist that they MUST believe in God when they enter into a religious structure. It is absurd.

Religion is one of the foundational belief systems in any person of any faith. It informs our opinion on almost every subject from gender relations to abdication of power. The Bible instructs Christians to love everyone, including their enemies. Christians are to follow the laws of man, so long as they do not supersede the laws of God. Christians are to pay their taxes, not steal, lie, or murder people.

Those of us who obey God’s laws are some of the most trustworthy and decent citizens on the planet, regardless of the culture we are in. Those who do not are often vile and bitter individuals, and we should all take a moment to understand that a Christian person does not represent Christianity. People are not always consistent with their principles. Again, this would be like refusing to be a vegan because someone you know who refuses to eat animal products is also a liar or thief.

It would be like saying you are not an American because you’ve broken a speeding law (which I know you have—probably even today).

Being a Christian means that we are to meet the standard of perfection that God himself, in the form of Jesus Christ, put forth as an example. It is an impossible task, and Christians are aware of it.

That being said, in order to try and meet Christ-like standards, we sometimes act against social norms.

If Scripture is clear about certain sins, such as same sex relations or murder, then our principles dictate that we should love the homosexual or murderer, while not condoning their actions. For a Christian, it is a bedrock, fundamental principle that participating in a gay wedding is akin to participating in a murder, in a lie, in a robbery, etc. We become an accomplice.

I tend to use murder because it is such an extreme example of a sin, but it is something that is actually illegal. How about infidelity?

If your best friend came to you and asked you to help facilitate an affair, would that be unethical? Would it be unchristian? Of course. If someone were to come into a store you owned and explicitly told you that they were purchasing an item with the full intent of cheating on their spouse, would you have a right to tell them no? I think most of us would feel the conscious pricking desire to say no, and I would like to think that most of us would have the decency to not become an accomplice.

Would the government then be able to come fine you and FORCE you to sell the item?

I would argue that monogamy is actually more of a social construct than homosexuality. Human nature is to seek pleasure as often as possible. Evolutionary psychology would say that it is due to our need to perpetuate the species. History would say that pre-civilized sexual relations were rarely monogamous. Christianity would call this our “sin nature.” Regardless of title, the idea of infidelity is more natural than marriage.

So why would we have a problem with stopping a cheating husband, while not having a problem with celebrating a gay wedding?

Yet this is the society that has been created for us. Our reality is that it would be better assist in an extra-marital affair than to refuse to bake a wedding cake.

I believe that our principles should be what guides us. A Christian business owner should be able to say no to both of these cases. I also believe that someone who is anti-Christian should be able to say no to making a Christian item that may offend their own beliefs. Either way, the business owner should express their faith, whether it be faith in God or faith in humanism.

A religious person of any kind should have reasonable accommodations made for them, even if they work for the government. Just as a smoker gets several five minute breaks a day, a Muslim should be able to get their prayer time. Just as an atheist can choose to not advocate on behalf of a religious institution, a religious person should be able to choose to not participate in an event that goes against their belief.

It really is not that confusing, and should not be controversial by any means. The true separation of church and state is impossible, just as throwing off decades of parental socialization is impossible. The church guides many of us even more than parents and peers.

I understand that open expression of faith can make non-believers uncomfortable, but do unbelievers understand that their open expressions of fornication, smoking, drinking, drug use, etc. makes Christians feel uncomfortable? Do they understand that telling someone who fundamentally believes in something that informs every action that that foundation is not welcome once they walk through certain doors?

There can be no separation of church and state for the Christian, and that was never the intent of our Founders. The government, however, is constantly overstepping its bounds. Society needs good, honest, decent people in order to thrive. Society is also stopping many good, honest, decent people from being completely free to express themselves.

The Reality of Transgender Children

What would you do if your child was confused about their gender identity?

This was a question posed to a group of college students, and I found their responses to be quite interesting. Answers ranged from “I don’t know” to “I would love them no matter what,” which is quite refreshing. Some of the more compelling arguments were about the nature vs. nurture controversy that continues to rage in both biology and sociology.

The question becomes even more complex when the concept of “intersex” comes into the equation. For those who do not know, intersex is a hermaphroditic condition in which a baby is born with traces of both male and female genitalia and chromosomes.

In the past, doctors have taken it upon themselves to assign a sex to the baby through surgical procedures, but controversy has been brewing as many of these children grow up identifying with the opposite gender from what they were assigned. Most do not even know that they were intersex until later in life. A movement has been gaining traction that supports NOT going through with such a surgery and allowing the individual to make their own decisions later on in life—this is a position that I certainly find to be reasonable.

That being said, some non-intersex children have begun to show transgender patterns from a very early age. So the question, restated, is what would you do if your 8 year old boy decided to play with girl toys, grow their hair long, and wear dresses? We have fairly limited options.

  1. Would you ignore or steer them away from such behavior? For many people, this is a valid response. We take away Barbie and put GI Joe in their hands. We give them trucks and make them watch action movies. We buy them footballs and make sure they are wearing your team’s jersey. We believe it to be a phase, and something that we, as parents, can control. We have final say over the life of an 8 year old. If we can teach them math and science, then we can teach gender norms, right?

Except that there is a danger that our child will not pass out of the phase. In that case, we spent many of their formative years telling them that their interests are wrong. We tell them that we do not actually approve of, let alone appreciate who they are. We run the risk of creating a rift between us and our child that can have lasting repercussions.

  1. Would you totally buy into the lifestyle? This is another popular and valid response. We buy dresses, Barbies, and makeup for them. We let them watch My Little Pony and Tinkerbell. We tell them that we love them and give them free reign in their decisions. Some parents, and these are extreme cases, actually give their children hormones that will make their identities more permanent. We want our children to be happy, so we are fine with leaving them to their own devices, right?

Except that there is yet another danger that this actually IS a phase. For those parents who feed their kids hormones and prepare for gender reassignment surgery, there is the possibility that later in life those kids will regret the decisions they made as a child. There is also a risk that our children will be picked on, bullied, and shamed for going against the norm. Violence against trans teenagers, both external and self-inflicted, is an epidemic in the community. There is a real danger in embracing our differences.

This dilemma is even more complicated for Christian parents. We believe that God created us, yet we also believe that engaging in homosexual or transgender behavior is a sin. How could God create a boy who wants to be a girl? Did He make a mistake?

I would argue, and this is NOT going to be a popular view, that deviance such as this may be 1. An anomaly and/or 2. A mental disorder.

The percentage of transgendered Americans currently sits at about .3% of the population. When 99.7% of a population of ANYTHING conforms to a norm, then that minor population is, by definition, an anomaly. Trans is deviant.

Many mental problems happen by chromosomal imbalances in the womb, by some sort of trauma, or through socialization. Many of the LGBT people I know were sexually abused at some point in their lives.

Moreover, there are similar cases to that of transgender. Trans-able occurs when someone with a healthy body believes that they are handicapped. Some even go as far as to have their limbs severed in order to better fit with their own body image. Is that really any different than wanting to cut off a penis in order to conform to a gendered body identity?

If being transgender is a form of body dysmorphia, is it a form of child abuse to encourage it? Should we let it go untreated? We would step in if our child was anorexic, right?

I also find it interesting how similar the conversations about a transgender child are to conversations about a kid who is autistic or has Down’s Syndrome.

I am not comparing the two issues, only our responses to those issues.

I know several parents of special needs children. From the outside looking in, we ask ourselves what we would do if our child has special needs. We wonder if we could handle the difficulty of intensive special treatment and care of that child. Most special needs kids just want to be treated normally, but we know that other kids will not understand their condition. We know that other children can be mean and may even bully them.

However, if you ask ANY parent of a special needs child, they will tell you the same thing. They love their kids unconditionally, and often learn about themselves through dealing with their children.

So what would you do if your child was showing transgender traits?

If they were born intersex, they may only be trans based on the gender choices that YOU made for them at birth.

If they are just going through a phase, we must be cautious about the ramifications of our responses to their behavior. We may actually get in the way of a natural self-identification process that could lead to suicide.

If they are truly transgender, we may just have to love them unconditionally and hope for the best. However, our religious and traditional beliefs have been challenged and that creates massive cognitive dissonance.

What would you do?