The Presbyterian Church in America will petition the Biden administration and other government leaders in the United States to "renounce the sin" of performing sex-change surgeries and hormonal gender interventions on minors.
At the PCA 50th General Assembly last week in Memphis, Tennessee, the theologically conservative denomination passed an overture titled "Petition Government to End Sex-change Procedures for Minors." The overture passed by a tally of 1089-793.
Introduced by the Birmingham, Alabama-based PCA Evangel Presbytery, the overture argued that "so-called sex change procedures" are "a rejection of God's design" and "a rejection of science."
The overture vows to send a "humble petition" to the U.S. government and all 50 state governments, calling on elected officials to "renounce the sin of all medical and surgical sex change procedures in minors by the American healthcare system because they result in irreversible harm."
"The obedience to God, which places us in subjection to your rightful civil authority, requires of us to humbly, boldly and prayerfully proclaim the counsel of God as it bears upon the same God-given authority," the overture reads.
The overture takes effect immediately and symbolizes the denomination going on record against surgical and hormonal gender interventions on children. The petition will be sent to state and federal officials.
PCA is a reformed denomination with nearly 2,000 congregations across the United States. Dating back to 1973, the PCA separated from the Presbyterian Church in the United States (Southern) in opposition to what it calls "long-developing theological liberalism which denied the deity of Jesus Christ and the inerrancy and authority of Scripture."
The Rev. Fred Greco, the moderator of this year's PCA General Assembly, told Fox News that the denomination felt compelled to speak out against state support of medical professionals subjecting children with gender dysphoria to bodily mutilation.
Although close to 800 voted against the resolution, Greco said most objections were not in disagreement about the harms of sex-change surgeries, puberty-blocking drugs and cross-sex hormones on children but rather the church's role in petitioning the state on a public policy matter.
The Westminster Confession of Faith, which forms the basis of many reformed faith traditions, states that synods and church councils are "not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary." Supporters of the measure believe the Biden administration's support for such interventions fits the definition of "cases extraordinary."
"We have governmental officials saying not only do we have to press [children] to make these decisions, we have to allow them to do so without even the input of their parents," Greco said. "That's very, very dangerous."
"I think that's what has gotten so many people concerned about it, and I think that also makes it rise to the level of a 'case extraordinary' — that it's not just a bad moral decision, it's something where the government is interfering with the rights of parents and allowing this to happen in an irreversible fashion."
The petition comes as a report released earlier this year found that as many as 3 million children in the U.S. attend schools in districts where they can change their name and preferred pronouns to reflect their chosen gender identity without parental consent.
Twenty states have enacted policies that ban medical professionals from subjecting children with gender dysphoria to sex-change surgeries or hormonal interventions.
The Biden administration has opposed such laws. In April, the Tennessee chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the state over a similar law. The U.S. Department of Justice intervened in the case on the plaintiffs' side.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division said in a statement she believes no one "should be denied access to necessary medical care just because of their transgender status."
"The right to consider your health and medically-approved treatment options with your family and doctors is a right that everyone should have, including transgender children, who are especially vulnerable to serious risks of depression, anxiety and suicide," stated Clarke.
This week, a federal judge struck down Arkansas' law banning sex change surgeries and interventions like puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones for minors. U.S. District Judge James M. Moody, an Obama appointee, ruled that adolescents whose parents and doctors agree that "gender-affirming medical care" is an appropriate way to treat their gender dysphoria won't be able to receive such interventions in their home state if the law is allowed to take effect.
Moody argued that while "gender-affirming medical treatments can have potential risks and side effects," those risks are "not categorically different than the types of risks that other types of pediatric healthcare pose."
Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin vowed to appeal the ruling.
"Unfortunately, Judge Moody misses what is widely understood across the United States and in the United Kingdom and European countries: There is no scientific evidence that any child will benefit from these procedures, while the consequences are harmful and often permanent," Griffin stated. "I will continue fighting as long as it takes to stop providers from sterilizing children."