Some LGBT activists are lambasting Christian leaders for celebrating the president's ban on transgenders in the military. In their view, these leaders are celebrating an act of cruelty and discrimination, thereby contradicting the message of Jesus. Is there any truth to this charge?
In the words of Bill Browning, writing for LGBTQ Nation, "While their supposed savior was best known for his radical inclusivity and teachings to love one another, these charlatans are celebrating discrimination in the name of their God." (Browning was referring to Tony Perkins, Micah Clarke, and Bryan Fischer, well-known evangelical leaders.)
Other activists expressed their displeasure, although without the specific attack on Christian leaders.
Bruce "Caitlyn" Jenner tweeted, "There are 15,000 patriotic transgender Americans in the US military fighting for all of us. What happened to your promise to fight for them?" (For the record, it appears that a more accurate number is between 1,320 and 6,630 transgenders actively serving out of a total of roughly 1,300,000 million in active service.)
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, was stronger still. He wrote, "This heinous and disgusting action endangers the lives of American service members, undermines military readiness and makes our country less safe. It is also the latest effort by Trump and Mike Pence to undo our progress and drag LGBTQ people back into the closet by using our lives as political pawns."
According to Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, "Today further exposed President Trump's overall goal to erase LGBTQ Americans from this nation. Trump has never been a friend to LGBTQ Americans, and this action couldn't make that any more clear."
And Michelangelo Signorile called the ban a "brutal, authoritarian act against an embattled minority."
How, then, could Christian leaders support, let alone applaud, a decision like this? The answer is simple: It's a practical decision, it's a wise decision, and it's a godly decision.
I do understand that trans-identified individuals will take the ban as a slap in the face, for which I'm genuinely sorry. They will also feel personally rejected by people like me who applaud the president's actions, and I certainly regret that as well.
As for trans-identified Americans who have served in our military, I commend them for their service and I'm sure that many of them are courageous.
But the military is not concerned with whether its decisions hurt people's feelings or offend them. The only question is: What will make us into the best military possible? It's not hard to figure out why including transgender individuals, as a rule, does not fit well into that equation.
Here are just a few reasons why the president made the right decision.
1) The military cannot engage in social experimentation, yet the inclusion of openly transgender individuals in the military is a massive social experiment. It means women sharing showers and bunks with biological males who identify as female. It means men living together with biological females who identify as men but still get their periods. It means everyone having to accept people at all stages of "transition," such as biological females with their female organs intact, yet sporting full beards. Why impose this on the military?
2) The military cannot waste money on meeting the needs of those who identify as transgender. This includes paying for sex-change surgery, permanent hair removal, and daily hormone supplements. It could even mean reverse surgery for those who experience regrets. Why in the world should the military be responsible for this?
Walt Heyer is a former MTF (male to female) transgender who underwent sex-change surgery and has devoted years to researching the relevant issues. He points out that the military is struggling mightily to provide adequate health care for its veterans. Why add to this a burden of several billion dollars to meet the needs of transgender servicemen? And what about the higher percentage of mental and emotional disorders experienced by trans-identified individuals?
3) The military has certain requirements for men and for women, but this becomes clouded and unduly complicated when men can become women and vice versa. For example, must a FTM (female to male) individual perform at the same level as other men, including strength and endurance tests? And what if hormone treatments are not accessible during an extended time of combat? Will this affect the individual's ability to serve effectively? Once again, these new issues should not be imposed on the military.
But President Trump's decision is not just right. It's godly too.
In short, it is not right or fair or considerate for the military to impose the struggles of less than 1 percent of those serving on everyone else. What about the privacy rights of the 99 percent? What about their expectations and needs? And with sexual abuse rampant among our troops, why would we want to put women at further risk by having biological males rooming with them?
Recently, a MTF prisoner was transferred out of the female prison where he was doing time since he was allegedly having sex with the women. He still had his male plumbing and was still attracted to women, despite identifying as a woman. Do we want this in the military too?
The aggressive LGBT agenda in the military has also trampled religious liberties underfoot, as revealed by headlines like these: "Soldiers Plead for Release from 'Transgender Training'" and "Pentagon's Transgender Policy Steamrolls Religious Liberty." Why does our military want to scorn the deeply held beliefs and convictions of hundreds of thousands of its best men and women?
Religious liberties are foundational to the wellbeing of our nation, which includes our military, and anything that pushes back against the LGBT assault on those liberties is right and good and godly.
As for the claim that Jesus "was best known for his radical inclusivity and teachings to love one another," actually, He was best known for radically transforming all those who followed Him. As I've often said, Jesus practiced transformational inclusion, not affirmational inclusion.
He also defined marriage as the lifelong union of one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4-6), taught that all sexual sin outside of marriage was defiling (Matthew 15:19-20), and reaffirmed the sexual ethics of the Torah, which included the prohibition of homosexual practice (Matthew 5:17-20; Leviticus 18:22).
As followers of Jesus, then, we reach out to the marginalized and hurting with compassion, offering them new life in Him. But we don't throw out logic, common sense, or the concern for the wellbeing of everyone else. Nor do we ask the military to risk the lives of others to affirm the feelings of people suffering from gender dysphoria.
So yes, I applaud the president's decision, and yes, I do so as a follower of Jesus.