At some point in the past decade, the battle of the sexes seems to have given way to a war on the sexes.
Last month, the Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi enlisted the US House of Representatives in the fight when she proposed, and the House narrowly passed, its new rules for the 117th Congress. According to a press release, the changes are intended to make the House rules the “most inclusive in history.” As part of this effort, the rules will “honor all gender identities by changing pronouns and familial relationships in the House rules to be gender neutral.”
What does this mean? For one thing, the new House rules strike out the following heretofore uncontroversial words: ‘‘father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, step-sister, half brother, half sister, grandson, or granddaughter.”
In the place of these apparently problematic words, the rules allow referrals instead to ‘‘parent, child, sibling, parent’s sibling, first cousin, sibling’s child, spouse, parent-in-law, child-in-law, sibling-in-law, stepparent, step-child, stepsibling, half-sibling, or grandchild.”
Don’t worry, since we’re just coming out of the holiday season, you’ll have at least a little time to get used to referring to your “parent’s sibling” instead of your uncle, and your “sibling’s child” instead of your niece or nephew before the next extended-family gathering.
Of course, we should be able recognize the performative nature of this baffling proposal for what it is. After all, Nancy Pelosi’s Twitter bio still reads “mother, grandmother, dark chocolate connoisseur.” But there is also a profound lesson here to learn, and a warning to heed.
Gender Neutrality is Not Neutral on Gender
For those who have been paying attention, the world was only very recently introduced to gender-neutral identities. The idea that someone could identify neither as male nor female, but as “other,” is quite new.
The whiplash effect this has had on the everyman is quite understandable. We were only yesterday coping with the idea that some think a man can become a woman; now we are having to consider the idea of a person leaving behind manhood and womanhood altogether.
Gender neutrality went public most prominently through the overnight proliferation of non-binary pronouns and various announcements from celebrities you didn’t know existed until they announced they would henceforth identify as “genderqueer.”
Those who insisted on the recognition of their non-binary identities through pronouns like “they/them” or any one of the other gender-neutral varieties were indeed pushing for a change, but the change was originally presented as a non-conformist paradigm set alongside the biologically grounded reality of male-female.
Here is where we need to take note of exactly what is happening in the new House rules. In these rules, gender-neutrality is not merely reserved for those who would no longer identify as male or female. Instead — don’t miss this — everyone is forced into the gender-neutral paradigm, regardless of their respective identities. “Spouse” is not put alongside “husband” and “wife,” but it replaces them altogether. You think of yourself as a mother? Not according to the House rules, you’re not. You’re a parent now. You want to invite your nephew to the House ceremony? You may not. You can only invite your sibling’s child.
Including an Unreality Excludes Reality
Returning to the press release, remember that all of this is being done in the name of inclusivity. These rules are said to be ”the most inclusive in history.” In other words, in the name of inclusivity, “mother” and “father,” “son” and “daughter” are now excluded. In the name of tolerance, “niece” and “nephew” are no longer tolerated.
The reigning cultural values of inclusion and tolerance are the most exclusive and intolerant yet. That is why inclusion and tolerance can never be aims unto themselves. To be sure, they have never been included in the list of cardinal virtues. A virtue is grounded in truth and goodness and beauty, which is grounded in reality. Including an unreality alongside reality on the sole basis of being inclusive ends up denying reality altogether and destroying the very structures of coherence.
The same thing will continue to happen everywhere lies are embraced as the truth. Where the fundamental, incontrovertible differences between men and women — and the implications of those differences — are downplayed and ignored, the acid of pretense will eat away at our grasp of the truth. Nowhere is safe from such corrosion; the home, the local church, and society writ large all become compromised to the point of destruction when we ignore one of the most basic tenets of the human experience.
Think about it. The quickest way to kill women’s sports is to allow men to compete with women. But this is exactly what the new presidential administration has pledged to do, even going so far as to sign an executive order to that effect on the first day of Biden’s presidency. The priorities are telling.
Including men in women’s sports is an oxymoron — seriously, it is, just think about it — an unsustainable contradiction, one to which the US government is now committed.
If the Equality Act is passed, another pledge by Biden and a majority of his Democratic colleagues, we have only just scratched the surface of the potential fallout. Government coercion that promotes false gender ideology as the truth will accelerate beyond anything we have yet seen, forcing an inevitable confrontation with the Christian church.
There is more to this ideological war than words and semantics, sports and bathrooms. If you can be made to doubt the truth about gender and sex — one of the most obvious and well-established truths affirmed at the most rudimentary and most complex levels of inquiry — you will have been primed to deny or embrace anything.
If we care about reality, if we care about the truth, then we will understand that to allow unreality a standing in the name of inclusivity and tolerance is to exclude and no longer tolerate God’s created order.
This rejection of God’s created order is a rejection of God himself. For it is God who created us male and female, no matter how much the US House of Representatives or President may say otherwise.
You, too, can help support the ministry of CBMW. We are a non-profit organization that is fully-funded by individual gifts and ministry partnerships. Your contribution will go directly toward the production of more gospel-centered, church-equipping resources.