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Gender and Sexuality News Roundup (8/13/19)

August 13, 2019

One mission of CBMW is to help Christians think through secular and ecclesial trends on gender and sexuality. Through this work, we pore over a lot of different news reports and articles as we attempt to wade through the ceaseless flow of information on the web. In our weekly Gender and Sexuality News Roundups, we aim to distill some of the more pertinent information for you.

The articles below are from a wide variety of sectors and publications, organized generally into three categories. They are presented in aggregate, not necessarily endorsed.

If you see an article that you think should be featured in future CBMW News Roundups, you can send it to [email protected] with the subject “News Roundup.”


Ecclesial Trends on Gender and Sexuality

Assemblies of God Elects First Woman to Top Leadership Team, Christianity Today (Megan Fowler)

“‘The Assemblies of God affirms women at every level of leadership,’ [Doug Clay] said. ‘While Donna was not selected on the basis of her gender, I know her executive leadership has been meaningful for many women who feel God’s calling on their lives.’…In 2010, the Pentecostal body officially opened its top leadership spots to women, with a position paper stating, ‘We conclude that we cannot find convincing evidence that the ministry of women is restricted according to some sacred or immutable principle.’ The AG’s position on women in ministry has not historically resulted in women rising to the top levels of the denomination, and fellow Pentecostal bodies like the Foursquare Church have seen a similar struggle.”

Almost 550 Alabama Methodists Signed an Apology Letter to the LGBT Community, Newsweek (Matt Keeley)

“A faction of the North Alabama Conference attempted to get the United Methodist Church (UMC) to officially end its anti-homosexuality stance, endorse same-sex marriage and open up deaconship to LGBT people. However, during the 2019 General Conference this February in St. Louis, Missouri, the church instead voted to expel LGBT pastors and pro-LGBT churches…Though not an official act by the North Alabama Conference, the majority of the signatories were from the state. The letter currently has 548 signatures from clergy and laypersons alike, along with an option for new readers to add their name.”

Why Southern Baptists’ Social Justice Spat Is Actually About the Sufficiency of Scripture, Christianity Today (David Roach)

‘Ever since social gospel teaching emerged in the early 20th century, the SBC has alternately embraced and denounced it. Southern Baptists’ reticence to devote themselves fully to social causes, Holcomb told CT, stems in part from early Southern Baptists’ desire to defend slavery. The convention’s founders devised an ‘elaborate defense of slavery’ in the mid-19th century ‘that divorced individual from social sin’ and caused the SBC to develop ‘a religious culture’ that ‘is inhospitable to social justice.’ While support of slavery dissipated long ago, she said, residual resistance to social causes remains.’

Improper voting at GC2019 voids key vote, UM News (Heather Hahn)

“The Commission on General Conference — meeting behind closed doors during its Aug. 7-9 meeting — reviewed an investigation that found ‘credible objective evidence’ of four ineligible people casting votes using the credentials of delegates who were not present…By a two-vote margin, 402-400, the body substituted a minority report for Petition 90066, the originally submitted disaffiliation legislation.”

Conservative Christians have a porn problem, studies show, but not the one you think, Religion News Service (Jana Riess)

“Christians who do use porn are more likely than other believers to reduce their involvement in their churches, or even to exit religion altogether. That’s because conservative Protestants who become ‘born-again’ are ‘supposed to have a new relationship to sin,’ Perry says, and to become victorious over any temptations of the flesh. If they continue to struggle with pornography, some start to wonder if they were ever truly saved in the first place. Rather than face the prospect of ‘willingly violating those moral values that are most sacred to oneself and one’s community,’ some drop out of the fold.”


Secular Trends on Gender and Sexuality

The Day Jeffrey Epstein Told Me He Had Dirt on Powerful People, The New York Times (James B. Stewart)

“If he was reticent about Tesla, he was more at ease discussing his interest in young women. He said that criminalizing sex with teenage girls was a cultural aberration and that at times in history it was perfectly acceptable. He pointed out that homosexuality had long been considered a crime and was still punishable by death in some parts of the world.”

Southern Baptist deputy says he was fired for following the Billy Graham Rule, Baptist News Global (Bob Allen)

“Manuel Torres, a 51-year-old member and deacon at East Sanford Baptist Church in Sanford, North Carolina, claimed in a petition filed July 31 the Lee County Sheriff’s Office fired him without explanation in 2017 after he repeatedly sought relief from an order to train a female deputy. Torres, who regularly attends and serves as a deacon at the congregation affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and Sandy Creek Baptist Association, cited a ‘strong and sincere religious belief that the Holy Bible prohibits him, as a married man, from being alone for extended periods with a female who is not his wife.'”

Will the Supreme Court expand protections for LGBT workers?, The Economist (S.M.)

“Few lawmakers may have had anti-gay and anti-trans discrimination in mind 55 years ago when they passed the Civil Rights Act. But the language they approved is sweeping, and on a court that emphasises a statute’s words—the text itself, not Congress’s purposes or expectations—chances of a new horizon for Title VII seem favourable. If the Supreme Court ends up expanding the Title VII umbrella to protect some 10m Americans from having their gender identity or sexual orientation serve as the basis of discriminatory treatment, the jurisprudential path could be paved not in radical redefinitions of contested concepts but in syllogisms rooted in well-grounded premises.”

Illinois passes law requiring LGBT history curriculum be taught in schools, The Hill (Aris Folley)

“The law requires all schools in the state include ‘the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State’ in official textbooks…’Each public school district and state-recognized, non-public school shall, subject to appropriations for that purpose, receive a per pupil grant for the purchase of secular and non-discriminatory textbooks,’ the bill text reads. The bill also includes a section that allows the department to adopt rules ‘as necessary’ for the implementation the law and ‘to ensure the religious neutrality of the textbook block grant program.'”


Gender and Sexuality Miscellany

The Abolition of Men?, CBMW (Colin Smothers)

“But I am convinced that, more often than not, these ideologies — which, again, in and of themselves should be taken seriously and seriously opposed — are merely what Ross Douthat called ‘a flag of convenience,’ a ‘carapace,’ and that under these shells are not ideological turtles all the way down, but instead disenfranchised, ill-formed, virtueless little boys. And while the relevant factors like gun laws (red vs. blue states) and wicked ideologies (extreme right vs. left) are often different, the near-sure common denominator in each one of these shootings is a male perpetrator.”

Before You Pull the Ripcord on Your Marriage, Beautiful Christian Life (J.V. Fesko)

“Like Hosea the prophet and his adulterous wife, Gomer, Christ pursues us, hedges us in, and showers us with his longsuffering patience and love until we repent. This is the love that should mark all Christian marriages. We live out Christ’s love for us in our marriages when we forgive when sinned against, even when we are the victim of serious sins, such as adultery.”

Does a Christian sexual ethics harm the LGBT community?, The Christian Post (Sean Maguire)

“Joshua Harris’s announcement that he was leaving Christianity made me sad, but I wasn’t really surprised. Once someone rejects basic Christian Sexual Ethics, I don’t think it will be long before they reject Christianity itself. They may argue that they’re only rejecting the way that Christianity is being applied, but that doesn’t really work. Christianity is a religion based on a static source material – the Bible. The Bible doesn’t change. The sexual ethics the Bible teaches have been the same from the beginning.”

Is polyamory on the horizon in American culture?, ERLC (Andrew T. Walker)

“Even before the Supreme Court exercised raw judicial power and wrongly redefined marriage, social conservatives predicted that removing the conjugal (or complementary) basis of marriage would leave marriage open to further redefinition. Their warnings were met with scorn by progressives, who believed that conservative fears were unfounded. In yet another episode vindicating the predictions of social conservatives, the American Psychological Association has organized what it is calling a ‘Consensual Non-Monogamy Task Force.'”

The Fertility Trap, First Things (Brevin Anderson)

“A world without children is a dark one. Ibbitson and Bricker are prophets, and their analysis should be in the toolkit of pro-family lobbyists. It should also be a bridge to parties who would otherwise be turned off by politics as usual. The potential convergence of pro-natal policy and hedging against future social and economic collapse makes for an attractive political position, and one ready for a champion. Those who see strong families as essential for human flourishing must pay attention. In the rising tide of population decline, we only have so much time to get our response right.”

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