Christians should denounce the way in which President Donald Trump announced a new ban on transgender people serving in the military.
Imagine for a moment you are in the military and have gender dysphoria. Wednesday morning you hear the news of Trump's tweets — a complete ban on transgender people seeking to enlist and currently serving in the military. Are you allowed to fulfill your duties for the day, you wonder? What do you do? Pack your things? Polish your resume?
The issue of transgender people in the military is complicated and deserves careful thought and scrutiny. We shouldn't rush full steam ahead like many in the LGBT community would like. But what Trump did was impulsive, unreasonable and cruel, which is why Christians should denounce it.
As we now know, there was no policy in place when Trump decided to post to his Twitter feed. He hadn't consulted his Joint Chiefs. The review being conducted by the Pentagon hasn't been completed. There is no pending legislation in Congress.
In his ignorance of the government over which he is the chief executive, he assumed he could set policy via tweet. I know he admires President Putin, but we're not Russia.
Here is what I believe should happen with regard to transgender military service.
The military should be sex-segregated. Female service members shouldn't be forced to shower with people with penises, and vice versa, in order to advance a social experiment. And the government shouldn't pay for hormone treatments or surgeries to make one appear to be the opposite sex. ("Sex change" surgery is a misnomer since there is no treatment that can change one's XX chromosomes to XY or vice versa.) There is no evidence that these methods actually help gender dysphoric people. Transgender people have high rates of mental illness. In fact, some experts say gender dysphoria is a mental disorder or a symptom caused by mental illness. This should be a consideration.
It's difficult to get into the military, and it should be. There is a long list of conditions that keep people out already. But if a transgender person can meet those requirements, there should be no reason to deny them the ability to serve in the military. Current service members who haven't violated any military code should be allowed to stay. I trust the military will draw this conclusion as well when it completes its study.
I would not recommend, however, that my policy suggestion be implemented haphazardly — Trump's preferred method.
Policies should be implemented through a deliberative process — a thoughtful, careful review in which all sides are taken into consideration, debated, and a consensus is built through those deliberations. It is this type of process that produces majority support.
Trump's preferred method of policy implementation doesn't build consensus, it builds divisiveness and contempt. Conservatives can't win like that. It trades short-term gains for long-term losses.
The reactions of many Christians supporting Trump's tweets were as knee-jerk as the tweets themselves. They praised the policy without considering the process. But getting the process right is just as important as getting the policy right. The right policy using the wrong means is still wrong.
This is why Christians should strongly denounce Trump's actions, even if they have sympathy for his goals.