We’ve all undoubtedly heard a lot in recent years and months about gender identity and the rise of transgenderism. For those in the church, we generally understand that this is not exactly a godly thing. But how are we supposed to deal with those in our communities, circle of friends, or families dealing with gender confusion or identity issues?
Well, a Catholic diocese in Iowa has just given a great example of exactly that, including a number of policies that are not only God-affirming but are “committed to respect for human dignity.”
As the Diocese of Des Moines announced on Monday, the guidelines came about due to parish and school leaders asking Bishop William Joensen for advice on how to deal with gender identity and dysphoria issues. What resulted was a full two years of time spent in prayer and serious consideration on the subject.
Like most good leaders, particularly Christian ones, the diocese knew that whatever they came up with would have to consider what these individuals were going through and where those thoughts and feelings came from. But they would also need to stay faithful to the word of God and its profound truths.
And as someone who was born and raised in church, I have to say I believe they’ve done a good job on both accounts.
So what is their decision?
Well, the core of it boils down to the importance of one’s sex and sexual identity in relation to God and his plan for each and every person.
The recently released document states that your sexual identity is a “gift created by God,” and as such, “we are not authorized to seek to change” it.
Additionally, it notes that we are to respect God and his creations, believing that he has a plan for our lives, then we must also be willing to admit that we were created with a specific “biological sex” for a reason. It is an inherent part of who we are and what God’s plan for us is. Us trying to change that is basically spitting in God’s face and saying we don’t believe in those plans.
The document then goes into seven policies it believes can be used to help those suffering from gender dysphoria or feelings that they were born the wrong sex.
To summarize, the policies can be consolidated into three main parts.
The first is to refrain from using “preferred pronouns.” Secondly, only allowing those individuals to use bathrooms and locker rooms and participate in sporting events consistent with their biological sex. Lastly, it is to refer those who seem confused about who and what they are to counselors.
The reason for the first and second run along the same lines. Basically, if we are to help individuals who may be confused about their gender or biological sex, allowing them to live in a fantasy won’t help them to figure out the truth. If we constantly let them pretend to be something they are not, it will be much harder and likely take much longer for such an individual or student to come to terms with the truth.
And that leads us to the third.
Instead of contributing to their confusion, let’s compassionately move them towards truth, towards those who can speak truthfully about God’s will and word for them without judgment. This also acknowledges that what they are going through is a serious mental illness. That’s not to say they are bad people or there is no hope for them.
Rather, like any mental issue, reality must be distinguished from fantasy, which takes time and counseling.
With these guidelines, hopefully, many individuals will be reminded of the power of knowing exactly who and whose you are.
Call me a nerd, but I’m reminded of a Lord of the Rings scene in which Eowyn of Rohan killed an evil and terrifying monster.
If you aren’t familiar with the book or film, the premise is basically that man can’t kill this monster. Most presume that means humanity, even the beast himself.
But it really means that “no man” can defeat him. As a woman and one who knows who she is and is proud of it, Eowyn can do the impossible.
And so can you if you take hold of the truth of who you are and what God’s miraculous plan for your life is.