PCA votes to commend letter to Biden calling for ban on sex-change surgeries for kids


RICHMOND, Va. — The Presbyterian Church in America General Assembly has voted to commend a letter calling for public officials to stop mutilating the bodies of youth suffering from gender dysphoria. 

On Thursday morning, Commissioners approved Overture 13, titled “Commend and Encourage Distribution of Commission Letter Regarding Gender Reassignment for Minors,” in a vote of 985 in favor, 727 opposed, and 35 abstaining.

The overture called for the 51st General Assembly to “commend as biblically faithful” a letter written by last year’s General Assembly to elected officials denouncing the practice of gender reassignment surgeries for children.

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Originally, the overture asked the General Assembly to “further encourage PCA Sessions and Presbyteries to communicate with their own respective regional and/or municipal governments the same.” However, this portion was struck during the amending process, as it was considered unneeded, especially as many state legislatures have already passed such laws.

Teaching Elder Sean Lucas of Independent Presbyterian Church of Memphis, Tennessee, spoke against the overture, arguing that it was “utterly unnecessary” given the process for how the letter was created.

“It’s an upside-down process to have the commission speak and then for a subsequent assembly to commend what they did,” Lucas said. “We are asking the assembly to reaffirm what essentially the 50th General Assembly said those its commission.”

“The commission has spoken on behalf of the assembly. And so, this overture and recommendation is actually doing something that has the potential at least of being contrary to Robert’s Rules, in reaffirming something that the body has already done.”

Ruling Elder Bob Mattes of the Central Florida Presbytery spoke in favor of the overture, championing the quality of last year’s letter and saying it was “upon us to say ‘yes, we accept what they did, it was an excellent product, and we commend it to you.’”

“We’ve done this in the past, not in this particular way, but I think this is exactly what needs to happen,” said Mattes. “If nothing else, but to avoid the argument from people outside saying, ‘well, it wasn’t approved by the assembly; it was just done by this small group of people.’"

At the 50th PCA General Assembly, held last year in Memphis, Tennessee, an overture was passed calling on the denomination to petition the Biden administration and other elected leaders to "renounce the sin" of sex-change surgeries and the prescribing of irreversible puberty-blockers and cross-sex hormones to children.

In January, a PCA commission sent the letter to government officials in which they "humbly petition[ed]" them to "protect the lives and welfare of minor children from the physical, mental, and emotional harms associated with medical and surgical interventions for the purpose of gender reassignment."

The letter stressed that the bodily disfigurement that stems from gender medicalization can lead to even more suffering.

Such interventions are in opposition to God's design of male and female, the commission letter said, possibly leading to "sterility, infertility, cancer, cardiovascular disease, strokes, blood clots, pituitary apoplexy, pseudotumor cerebri, and diminished bone density."

The letter called on leaders to "use your positions to promote the health, bodily integrity, and wellbeing of minors who are suffering from gender dysphoria and related conditions."  

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