Once again I find myself deeply disappointed by the Church of England’s leadership. During November a 50 page document entitled, “Valuing All God’s Children” was published by our denomination’s Education Office. The sub-heading of the booklet goes on to explain that it contains, “Guidance for Church of England schools on challenging homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.”
In his foreword the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, writes: “All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide.”
And, of course, as Christians we’d all agree that bullying is cruel and harmful and especially must be challenged whenever it happens in a school. That said, I hardly think that the Head-teachers of the three Church schools in Padiham Parish need to be told that bullying is unacceptable; in my opinion the document rather insults their excellent professionalism.
But the problem with the guidance is what it doesn’t say about one of the pressing issues of today. We all know that gender re-assignment is very much in the news at present. Increasingly we’re hearing stories of individuals who have, or are in the process of, transitioning from one gender to the other, or even to no gender at all. The thinking behind this movement is that our sense of being male or female has been imposed on us by parents, wider family and society in general. But, it’s argued, no one should have his or her gender assigned like that; each individual should be free to choose how they (note non gender-specific pronoun) want to live.
But does the Bible have anything to say on this matter? The text that leaps to my mind is the last part of Genesis 1:27 where it’s said of mankind: “male and female he created them.” In other words gender (or sex as we used to call it) was assigned to us by God when we came into existence; what’s more our gender/sex is inextricably linked to the physical body that God made for us to live in.
So gender isn’t a matter of lifestyle choice like vegetarianism. It’s more like the year we were born – it can’t be transitioned. However much I tell the government that I’ve chosen to live as a man of 65 they still won’t pay my pension for another 8 years (or is it 10 years?)
But my real concern is the untold psychological damage that is especially being done to children by encouraging them to be confused and uncertain about their gender. Justin Welby rightly draws on the first part of Genesis 1:27 as he argues against the bullying of those who are going through the transgender process; he writes, “every single one of us is made in the image of God.” (page 1). But sadly the Archbishop can’t bring himself to apply the end of that same verse to the practice of transgendering itself.
Those who promote transgendering are carrying out a massive psychological experiment on the children of our country and they have absolutely no idea what the long-term harm will be. It is reckless and wicked. And as far as I can tell the Church of England gives no word of warning in its glossy, 50 page, ‘Guidance’.
Yours in Christ