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Gender and Sexuality News Roundup (01/07/20)

January 7, 2020

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

Methodists propose split in gay marriage, clergy impasse, Associated Press (Travis Loller and Gary Fields)

“United Methodist Church leaders from around the world and across ideological divides unveiled a plan Friday for a new conservative denomination that would split from the church in an attempt to resolve a decades-long dispute over gay marriage and gay clergy. The proposal, called ‘A Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation,’ envisions an amicable separation in which conservative churches forming a new denomination would retain their assets. The new denomination also would receive $25 million.”

United Methodism Moves toward Separation, Juicy Ecuminism (Mark Tooley)

“My prediction: General Conference will approve a version of this plan. During several subsequent years of sorting, United Methodism’s current 6.7 million members in the USA will drop to about 6 million. About 2.5 million will join the conservative church, and about 3.5 million will be in the liberal church. Nearly all the 5.5 million overseas members, mostly in Africa, will join conservative church, so the conservative denomination will have about 8 million members globally.”

Poll: White evangelicals distinct on abortion, LGBT policy, Associated Press (Elana Schor and Emily Swanson)

“White evangelical Protestants stand noticeably apart from other religious people on abortion restrictions and LGBT discrimination protections, two of the most politically divisive issues at play in the 2020 presidential election, according to a new poll. The findings point to an evangelical Protestant constituency that’s more firmly aligned with President Donald Trump’s agenda than other Americans of faith. White evangelicals were also more likely than members of other faiths to say religion should have at least some influence on policymaking.”

Don’t Assume Because A College Is Christian It’s A Safe Place For Your Kid, The Federalist (David Talcott)

“Christian education today is still in many ways excellent and the deeply religious culture of these institutions, Taylor certainly included, can be a wonderful place for spiritual growth. But on matters related to sex, gender, and politics, it is ‘buyer beware’ and ‘trust, but verify.’ Parents and donors who care about Christian higher education remaining Christian for the long-term need to ask pointed questions of the institutions to which they entrust both their children and their donation dollars. We can no longer assume that everything is okay simply because the school has always been Christian and conservative.”

“Fairness for All” Is Unfair, First Things (Emily Zinos)

“While it may be true that the FFA’s supporters want to find a compromise between the clashing interests of religious believers and those who identify as LGBT, their remarks reveal a dangerous naivete. The very legislation they tout as fair and balanced would—to name just one of the ways in which it is dangerous—further entrench the practice of surgically reshaping and sterilizing the bodies of vulnerable young people.”


Secular Trends on Gender and Sexuality

Let’s Fix the Pornography Problem, First Things (Jim Banks)

“Two weeks ago, I and three other congressmen sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, reminding him of Trump’s campaign promise and urging the Department of Justice to make enforcing obscenity laws a priority. We are in an unprecedented era of convenience. With a few simple clicks, anyone connected to high-speed Internet can book a doctor’s appointment, or order a meal and expect it to arrive on their doorstep within minutes. But there is a dark side to this convenience.”

J. K. Rowling Criticizes Transgender Extremism, National Review (Madeleine Kearns)

“J. K. Rowling, the celebrated author of the Harry Potter series, has not been shy in the past about expressing her political views: for example, her scathing tweets about Donald Trump…However, since an English employment tribunal has ruled in a landmark case that Maya Forstater, a tax expert, was legitimately dismissed for her job for posting tweets moderately expressing her belief in the immutability of sex and the dangers of gender self-identification laws, Rowling decided to speak out.”

Physical Interventions on the Bodies of Children to “Affirm” their “Gender Identity” Violate Sound Medical Ethics and Should be Prohibited, Public Discourse (Ryan T. Anderson and Robert P. George)

“Rather than teaching children to identify based on how well they fit prevailing cultural expectations on sex, we should be teaching them that the truth of their sexual identity is based on their bodies, and that sometimes cultural associations attached to the sexes are misguided or simply too narrow. There is a wonderfully rich array of ways of expressing one’s embodiment as male or female.

In Three Days, the Hallmark Channel Managed to Upset Pretty Much Everyone, The Wall Street Journal (Suzanne Vranica)

“Complaints began to pour in to the Hallmark Channel early last week about ads from wedding-planning firm Zola Inc. featuring a same-sex marriage. Network executives thought the controversy would blow over. But it kept building. At one point, supporters of a conservative group contacted family members of Bill Abbott, chief executive of Hallmark Channel’s parent company, to ratchet up the pressure, a person familiar with the situation said. Mr. Abbott and other network executives decided Thursday to pull the plug on the ad. But late Sunday they took a startling U-turn, after a frenetic 72 hours in which they scrambled to assess the feelings of their audience while being pulled in opposite directions by interest groups—one of which had detailed plans to call for an advertising boycott.”

Decade in review: Marital norms erode, USA Today (Ryan T. Anderson and Robert P. George)

“All of us, including those identifying as LGBT, are made in God’s image, are endowed with profound dignity and thus deserve respect. It’s because of this dignity and out of such respect that the institutions serving the human good — like the marriage-based family — should be supported, not undermined or redefined. That basic rights like religious freedom ought to be upheld, not infringed. That a healthy moral and physical ecology — especially for children — must be preserved. The ‘progress’ of the past decade has exacted steep costs.”


Gender and Sexuality Miscellany

Complementarianism: A Moment of Reckoning, 9Marks (Jonathan Leeman, et. al.)

“The uncertainty or discomfort with complementarianism among complementarians is bigger than [Beth] Moore. Step into a group of complementarians these days and it’s likely that one or more will say something about not being that kind of complementarian. Usually the target is someone to a person’s political, theological, or temperamental right, and often the challenge feels generational— it’s a second generation of complementarians wondering about their teachers. Insofar as the organization the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and its writers embody that first generation, they are often the target of such challenges.”

Gender, Intersectionality, and Critical Theory, CBMW (Pat Sawyer and Neil Shenvi)

“In the last few years, the #MeToo movement, revelations of sexual abuse and cover-up within the Southern Baptist Convention, and controversy surrounding the appropriateness of women preaching in Lord’s Day worship have reopened discussions of gender within evangelicalism. While there has been little development within the evangelical church in the underlying theological and exegetical arguments regarding gender roles, there has been a significant shift in how these issues are understood within the broader culture. Ideologies once confined to the rarefied atmosphere of academia now fill the newsfeeds of social media users. For this reason, it’s crucial for Christians to understand these ideas, recognizing that conversations about gender don’t happen in a vacuum but are informed by cultural trends and popular discourse.”

A Simple Question for Complementarians, The Gospel Coalition (Joe Rigney)

“While it’s true that all ditches are dangerous, not all ditches are equally dangerous for all churches, nor for all groups within churches. The particular danger for a particular church is often influenced by cultural, geographic, and demographic contexts, not to mention the history of that church. Thus, some churches might be in greater danger of sliding down the slippery slope to domestic tyranny and abuse. Others might be in greater danger of sliding down the slippery slope to feminism and egalitarianism. Part of the pastoral task is to learn the dangers of one’s congregation.”

Courage, Love, and Sacrifice in the Fight for Marriage Reality, Public Discourse (Robert P. George)

“Every time we fail to muster the courage to do what’s right, what God is calling us to do, there is behind that failure a still deeper failure: a failure of love.”

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