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Gender and Sexuality News Roundup (11/12/19)

November 12, 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

Is It Biblically Permissible for a Woman to be Called a Pastor?, Enjoying God (Sam Storms)

“Thus, I conclude that the NT makes room for recognizing women as pastors, or even pastor-teachers. Of course, yet another task is determining in what contexts, how often, and to whom a woman might exercise the spiritual gift of teaching. Mary Kassian has written on this at Desiring God in an article titled, ‘Where Can Women Teach? Eight Principles for Christian Churches’ (October 26, 2019). But that need not detain us here. Thus I conclude from the use of the relevant terminology in the NT that a woman may well be given the spiritual gift of pastoring and thus bear that title, just as one with the gift of teaching may be called a teacher and one with the gift of prophecy may be called a prophet or one with the gift of evangelism may be called an evangelist, etc.” [See response from Denny Burk below]

Can Women Be Pastors?, (Denny Burk)

“How can a woman both function as a pastor and obey 1 Timothy 2:12 at the same time? Perhaps Storms only means that women can exercise their ‘pastoral’ gift over other women. But that point is not clear in Storms’ article. In order for Storms’ argument to work, he is either going to have to make ‘pastoring’ a non-authoritative gift or make it a gift that women only exercise over other women. But to do so would strain the clear teaching of the function of a pastor in the New Testament. Like Jesus, the pastor teaches, leads, protects, and cares for the entire flock. How can this gift be open to those whom Paul says should not teach or lead the gathered assembly?”

A response to Denny Burk’s response to my article on women as pastorsEnjoying God (Sam Storms)

“My conclusion is that Denny and I agree on the most fundamental truths of this debate. Elder and Bishop/Overseer are interchangeable. All Elders/Overseers should pastor God’s people. Only men are to serve as Elders/Overseers.

“Where we disagree concerns the meaning of “pastor”. I’m still waiting for someone to show me where all pastors must be Elders. In the absence of such a text, and given the fact that “pastor” is a spiritual gift, not an office, I see no reason why a woman cannot be given that title.”

Iron Sharpening Iron: Continuing the Conversation with Sam Storms, (Denny Burk)

“I want to thank Sam Storms for his gracious and direct interaction with my response to his earlier essay. I want to reiterate again how grateful I am for Dr. Storms and his long ministry and faithfulness to the Lord’s work. I have been a direct beneficiary of it, and I am truly in his debt. My hope and prayer are that our ongoing dialogue will be a faithful example of iron sharpening iron (Prov. 27:17).”

Pastor accused of abuse no longer Tenn. candidate, Baptist Press (Diana Chandler)

“First Baptist Church of Clarksville, Tenn., is no longer considering for senior pastor Wes Feltner, accused of pastoral abuse by two women who were students in his former youth ministry. Feltner is also taking an administrative leave from a church he pastors in Minnesota.”

Comedian John Crist Cancels Tour Over Sexual Harassment Allegations, Christianity Today (Daniel Silliman)

“According to a Charisma magazine investigation, Crist used his celebrity to exploit at least five women over the last seven years…Five women shared their stories with Charisma, and the magazine independently verified substantial portions of their accounts. The women believed that sharing their stories could protect others from Crist’s manipulative behavior.”

Despite HHS Change, Christian Foster Agencies Still Fight LGBT Requirements, Christianity Today (Megan Fowler)

“States with [regulations…requiring agencies to place children in foster care with same-sex couples]—as well as LGBT advocates—often say that recipients of state funding should not be permitted to discriminate against same-sex couples on religious grounds, and that same-sex couples should be welcomed as foster parents, especially when the system is in need of caring homes for children. Evangelical and Catholic agencies argue that they should be able to keep their standards aligned with their beliefs since same-sex couples can go through other organizations to receive placements.”

Third Indiana Catholic school employee fired in growing scandal over LGBTQ staff, NBC News (Tim Fitzsimons)

“A former social worker at an Indianapolis Catholic high school says she was fired for making public statements in support of LGBTQ colleagues who were terminated. ‘If you publicly support, you know, (being) against discrimination … you too, can be a victim of losing your job,’ Kelley Fisher told IndyStar…The archdiocese has previously said in a statement that the Supreme Court ‘has repeatedly recognized that religious schools have a constitutional right to hire leaders who support the schools’ religious mission.'”

UMC’s Western Jurisdiction announces ‘safe harbor’ for LGBTQ clergy, Religion News Service (Emily McFarlan)

“‘We are haunted by the actions of the 2019 Special General Conference, which impose new and harmful definitions and restrictions on full participation of LGBTQ+ persons in the Church and abandon robust engagement of scripture to narrow biblical literalism,’ the declaration stated. ‘We do not believe The United Methodist Church has the authority or the power to impose limits on the movement of God’s Holy Spirit in the lives of God’s beloved LGBTQ+ children.'”

God heard my prayers.’ Toronto Catholic school board votes to amend code of conduct to include gender issues, The Star (Isabel Teotonio)

“The move came on the heels of the Archdiocese of Toronto — the Catholic Church’s spiritual leadership in the GTA — weighing in on the side of inclusivity. A report submitted at a Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) meeting Thursday evening said the archdiocese would support the board in changing its code of conduct policy to include controversial terms: gender expression, gender identity, family status and marital status.”


Secular Trends on Gender and Sexuality

Adoption Groups Could Turn Away L.G.B.T. Families Under Proposed Rule, New York Times (Derrick Bryson Taylor)

“‘Critics, such as Ms. Brogan-Kator, said the rule would allow organizations to place their personal religious beliefs above the needs of children in their care, but the administration countered that it was not preventing L.G.B.T. people from adopting. ‘The administration is rolling back an Obama-era rule that was proposed in the 12 o’clock hour of the last administration that jeopardizes the ability of faith-based providers to continue serving their communities,’ the White House said in a statement on Saturday. ‘The federal government should not be in the business of forcing child welfare providers to choose between helping children and their faith.'”

Austin ISD approves new Sex-Ed curriculum, Kxan (Candy Rodriguez, Tom Miller)

“The curriculum spans grades three through eight. Under the new curriculum, for the first time, the district will teach students about gender identity and sexual orientation. The lessons will also help kids identify an adult they can trust; plus talk to them about options if they get pregnant, and seventh graders would learn how to use a condom.”

KY Supreme Court rules in favor of print shop owner who stood for free speech, Alliance Defending Freedom (Jim Campbell)

“The Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously affirmed, as Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys argued from the beginning, that the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization did not have a legal right to sue Adamson or his business, Hands-On Originals, for declining to print a message that violates his religious beliefs.”

Judge Voids Trump-Backed ‘Conscience Rule’ for Health Workers, New York Times (Benjanim Weiser, Margot Sanger-Katz)

“A federal judge on Wednesday voided the Trump administration’s ‘conscience rule,’ which would have made it easier for health care workers to avoid assisting with abortion or other medical procedures on religious or moral grounds. Hospitals, insurance companies or local governments that violated their employees’ rights under the rule could have faced a loss of federal funds. The rule is part of a broader agenda by the Trump administration, which says it wants to expand protections for the civil rights of health care workers, even as critics say it has weakened civil rights protections for certain patients. President Trump announced the rule last May at a Rose Garden event for the National Day of Prayer.”

He needed a gender-affirming procedure. The hospital said no., Vox (S.E. Smith)

“Catholic facilities argue that the directives are protected under religious liberty laws. Minton, who was unavailable for comment, felt he’d been denied care on the basis of his gender identity, making it a civil rights issue, and in September, a court agreed to let him continue a lawsuit against Dignity Health, which operated the hospital where he was denied care. (It later referred him to a Methodist facility in the same chain that performed his surgery.) “

Apple Card algorithm sparks gender bias allegations against Goldman Sachs, The Washington Post (Taylor Telford)

“With the spread of automation, more and more decisions about our lives are made by computers, from credit approval to medical care to hiring choices. The algorithms — formulas for processing information or completing tasks — that make these judgments are programmed by people and thus often reproduce human biases, unintentionally or otherwise, resulting in less favorable outcomes for women and people of color. But the public, and even companies themselves, often have little visibility into how algorithms operate.”


Gender and Sexuality Miscellany

6 Ways to Lead and Love Your Wife, The Gospel Coalition (Brad Merchant)

“How can you be ‘head over heels’ in love with your wife? Here are a few suggestions: Remind her why you’re in love with her. Write her a card and list specific reasons why you treasure her. Affirm her before others. Esteem your wife in the presence of others by directing their attention to visible graces in her life. Surprise her with acts of kindness. Take the kids and send her out with friends for the night. Show up to her workplace with flowers. Leave her a card before you leave for work. Encourage her with how you see God at work in her life. Take her on a date and tell her, slowly and specifically, how you see growing in her faith. Is she becoming more patient, wise, kind, bold, holy? Tell her and watch her faith fan into flame.”

What An Expert on Sexual Abuse Says About Sleepovers, (Challies)

“‘Sleepovers place children in a vulnerable situation,’ she summarizes. ‘They find themselves alone and in a bed outside the care of their parents. Though surrounded by peers, there is typically only minimal adult supervision.’ Because Robinson did not want her children to experience this kind of vulnerability, she forbade sleepovers except in the homes of grandparents, aunts, and uncles. She also makes it clear that her recommendation, made on the basis of her expertise, is that parents do not permit their children to participate in sleepovers.”

Dear Therapist: I’m Tired of Explaining Why I Don’t Want to Get Pregnant, The Atlantic (Lori Gottlieb)

“Those close to me understand my reasons for not wanting to get pregnant, but it’s not as easy to explain my choice to others. When pressed about our ‘baby plans,’ I generally coldly shut down the conversation, because that’s easier than dealing with the incredulous questioning that follows my answer of ‘No babies for us.’ I want to be able to provide a polite response (without having to go into too much personal detail) that effectively ends the conversation for good, but I am not sure what to say.”

How Many People Have to Die Before We’re Done With Gender Reveals?, The Atlantic (Julie Beck)

“At least one human life has already been lost as a direct result of the widespread obsession with turning the sex of one’s unborn child into an explosive (often literally) spectacle. In October, an Iowa woman was killed when her family inadvertently built a pipe bomb as part of their gender-reveal party—a gathering at which expectant parents dramatically and colorfully announce the sex of their baby. The methods for doing so seem to have started out as benign, if stereotypical—cutting into a cake to reveal either blue or pink frosting, say. But in the past couple of years, some kind of communal madness has taken hold, and many of these feats of gender performance have gotten more elaborate, more public, and more dangerous—putting lives and entire ecosystems at risk.”

From Christians Who Formerly Identified as LGBTQ: A “Thank You” to Our Allies, Public Discourse (Jean C. Lloyd)

“I want you to know that your opposition strengthens and encourages people like me—Christians who have struggled with same-sex attraction. When we see Barronelle refuse to lay her cross down, she becomes Simon to us and helps us shoulder our own.”

The Alarming Message of Mattel’s “Gender-Neutral” Dolls, Slate (Alex Myers)

“The dolls, in a strange way, present a new sort of paradigm. Their bodies are erased: Biological sex doesn’t pertain to them. Their gender identity—how they understand themselves—is impossible to discern as well. And their gender expression … well, that’s limited to three options: feminine and masculine and half-and-half. That’s still an incredibly binary way to look at gender. To suggest that the ‘other’ option to masculine or feminine is ‘both’ or ‘in between’ is a basic misunderstanding of how many gender-nonconforming people express their gender. Gender is not a line between two endpoints—to be nonbinary is not to be androgynous. These dolls only further entrench that misunderstanding and simultaneously reinforce the idea that gender is ‘playful’ and easy to switch around, accusations that are often leveled at trans youths when they come out.”

Why aren’t more women critiquing the sexist tropes of gender radicalism?, The Washington Examiner (Madeline Fry)

“If a straight, white man said the following sentence, he would immediately be attacked as one of the most repugnant sexists to walk the earth: ‘To be female is to let someone else do your desiring for you, at your own expense. This means that femaleness, while it hurts only sometimes, is always bad for you.’ Yet the author of this sentence has been praised by NPR as ‘one of the sharpest new thinkers on gender and sexuality’ and by New York magazine as ‘one of the most exciting critics working today.'”

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