I read quite a few Right-Wing news websites. I’m always startled by the headlines. This week I was stunned by a headline on the conservative website Hot Air. The headline stated, “Texas Jury: Father Can’t Stop Chemical Castration, Gender Change Of Seven-Year-Old Son.”When I read the headline, my first thought was “WHAT!” Once I settled down a little and started looking at other websites reporting on the same case, I got a little clearer picture. The headline was written for shock value and didn’t represent what was really going on in the story.
In a day and age where everyone is yelling “fake news,” I’m fortunate to have Dr. Ted Preston, a philosophy instructor, give a little advice on how to recognize it. If you missed that article, you can read it here: Echo Chambers, Ideological Bubbles and Fake News
I think everyone needs a follow-up lesson on how to get at the truth. Most people don’t seem to read past the headlines or titles of articles. If they agree with the particular slant of the article title, then that’s good enough. (Hello confirmation bias, our old friend.) As Christians, we are to be people of truth. We must train ourselves to break out of the cultural stupor imposed on us by sound bites and memes. We as Christians must learn to think, reason, and above all, remain skeptical of every piece of news we get.
I know some of us love our Fox news, and some of us love our MSNBC. However, if you are only receiving your news from one source or from one political perspective, then you are not seeking the truth, you are seeking to remain in your comfort zone.
Let’s look at the article mentioned above. “Texas Jury: Father Can’t Stop Chemical Castration, Gender Change Of Seven-Year-Old Son.” First, the child is seven years old. As Heavy.com reports, “the mother was not seeking medical transition at this time, such as puberty blockers, although that could change when the youth hits puberty. The mother wants to socially transition James to be Luna.” The website Outside The Beltwayreports that “Many people wrongly assume that prepubescent transgender or gender-diverse children will receive medical interventions,” Katherine Kuvalanka, a social work professor at Miami University in Ohio, said in an email to The Washington Post. “The only interventions for young children is affirmation and acceptance for who they are.” It seems that the Hot Air headline was indeed full of hot air and has jumped the gun on declaring the child will be chemically castrated.
As you dig deeper into the story, you find two parents who have gone through an extremely acrimonious divorce, and neither is perfect. Unfortunately, it looks like a child has become a pawn in a family dispute, and the media, both sides, are using it to further their own agendas. They remove the complexity of the family dynamics and make either the father or mother the hero or villain, depending on the political slant.
Here are a few facts: the child has been diagnosed by three mental health professionals with gender dysphoria. The Judge ruled that both parents must have a say in the child’s welfare and that James Younger, the father, could not make health and mental health care decisions for the child by himself. It is also equally true that the mother cannot make those decisions by herself as well. In other words, they will have to put their nasty family squabble behind them, step up and act like parents, and put the welfare of the child first.
Right now, the intervention for a pre-pubescent child is affirmation and acceptance. Period. That is an intervention I can agree with. Since when is it wrong to affirm your child? Since when is it wrong to say to your child, “I love you just as you are”? Since when is it wrong to say to a child, “I’ll always be here for you no matter what it is you are going through.”?
The Right-Wing Fundagelicals have rejected both science and reality and declared that issues like gender dysmorphia are lies of Satan. Fundagelicals have become so entrenched in a world of conspiracy, that they believe evil Liberal elites are attempting to change boys into girls, girls into boys, straight into gays, and gays into —I guess even gayer gays. Fundagelicals have gone to war with reality and declared Science, the enemy. They chose to use an ancient text, not written as a science book, to define reality. This causes them to create a world of evil conspirators that lie to them constantly. Evolution—a lie. Global warming—a lie. Gender dysmorphia—a damnable lie.
In their quest to maintain the Fundagelical view of reality, they have forgotten to care for other human beings. The collateral damage of the culture war is humanity. Fundagelicals can’t provide you with the affirmation that is necessary to nurture your soul because then they will be going against their Fundagelical beliefs.
So, we are left with conservatives and liberals distorting the truth to score political points. Worse, the Church has lost an entire generation because winning a theological argument has become more important than trusting Jesus and loving one another.
Let’s make a commitment to read past the headlines. Let’s make a commitment to read from several news sources. Let’s make a commitment to finding facts before we get outraged at the other side.
In the whole messy divorce and child custody fight between the child with gender dysmorphia, the Church needs to stand up for the wellbeing of the child and say, “Child of God you are loved no matter your sexual or gender identity.”
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