Govt to define transgenders out of existence?

Apparently, the Trump administration intends to define transgenders out of existence.

The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a government-wide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.

A series of decisions by the Obama administration loosened the legal concept of sex in federal programs, including in education and health care, recognizing sex largely as an individual’s choice — and prompting fights over bathrooms, dormitories, single-sex programs and other arenas where gender was once seen as a simple concept. Conservatives, especially evangelical Christians, were incensed.

Because, you know, reality can be defined however you want it to be, and resolute ignorance is an invincible force.

Gender dysphoria is a real thing, and science has known that for decades. The problem is not transgenders, but ignoramuses who just can’t stand that the world is more complicated than their simplistic binary understanding of it. It is time — time past, really — to bring an end to deference and confront evangelical ignorance straighforwardly; their resolute ignorance is a character failure, and it should not be allowed to harm people.

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Not planning to read this

I am a regular reader of the New York Times’ and Washington Post’s book pages, and also the New York Review of Books, but this is a re-cycled release that won’t go on my to-be-read list.

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Quote for the day

The story: I was raised Catholic in the liberal West Coast church of the 1960s and 1970s. I attended Catholic schools through 12th grade, and was taught my religion by a bunch of wonderful nuns who were determined to raise up a student body of social justice warriors. They tended to slide over the parts of the theology that were disconcerting; the important things in life were to take joy in the gifts of God, be properly grateful for them, and put them to the uses he intended. In college I made friends with Evangelical Christians, and discovered there was a whole other Christian religion out there. They seemed to have a more evidence-based faith, one based on the bible and not the pronouncements of the church hierarchy. I explored that for a few years. Meanwhile I met and married a man who was raised in an Evangelical tradition but was not religious.

I got into serious trouble with the Evangelical message. I couldn’t get my mind around the notion that one could take the entire bible literally. And the constant emphasis on sin, and my worthlessness, fed my depression fiercely. We were attending church regularly, but my husband finally insisted we quit, because the sermon would leave me in tears of despair; not even God could love someone as worthless as I. So I stopped going to church, but the damage was done, and it ate and ate at me for several years.

This comes from a brief compendium of comments by a frequent commenter at Bruce Gerencser’s blog.

I was not raised in the evangelical church, but I now live in Wake Forest, North Carolina, the home of a Southern Baptist seminary, and I am surrounded by bellowing Holy Men whose life’s work is, short version, degrading others in order to later exploit them.

There was no first couple, there was no Fall, there is no such thing as Original Sin — and there is absolutely no educated, intellectually serious debate about that, even if evangelicals do claim to be evidence-based. The unhappy truth is that the people who believe the Bible is ‘inerrant’ lack the intellectual rigor to sort through and weigh the evidence.

If you want to do yourself and your children an easy favor, go to the park on Sunday morning instead of church.

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Deranged quote for the day

No, no. Some say that [anthropogenic climate change is real] and some say differently. I mean, you have scientists on both sides of it. My uncle was a great professor at MIT for many years. Dr. John Trump. And I didn’t talk to him about this particular subject, but I have a natural instinct for science, and I will say that you have scientists on both sides of the picture.

Donald Trump

Uh-huh. Not only is this dangerous, it’s insulting to the people who actually have done the hard work of understanding science.

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The post-Patterson SBC

Regular readers will recall that, a few months back, I devoted several posts to the slow-motion public collapse of SBC biggie Paige Patterson, the president of the denomination’s Southwestern Seminary and a co-leader of the so-called Conservative Resurgence that drove-out so many of the denomination’s smartest and most capable people. Wade Burleson, a Southern Baptist pastor and one of the few who doesn’t irritate me, speculates about the post-Patterson future.

In the Southern Baptist world, at least for the past forty years (1978 – 2018), opposition to Paige Patterson meant occupational, personal, and vocational banishment.

The forty years of wandering in a spiritual desert are officially over for the Southern Baptist Convention. The trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary will open the doors to their first plenary session since the historic 2018 Southern Baptist Convention.

They will have to answer some questions of their alleged “oversight” of former President Paige Patterson while he served as President of their institution, all the while seeking to control every other institution in the SBC world.

I started this blog in 2005 when I saw for myself how Patterson lackeys fawned over him and did his bidding in banishing opposition from positions of leadership. For nearly 15 years I’ve been writing of the travesty of what our Convention has become.

Finally, people have listened.

I wish I could feel optimistic that the SBC will cease to be a destructive presence — but I’m skeptical. After all, membership in the SBC is wholly voluntary — and Patterson was able to exercise cult-like, near-dictatorial control because the SBC is comprised of the sort of people who like to be told what to do and allowed him to exercise dictator-like control. I wish them the best, but the most likely future is a few years of jostling and turmoil and then the appearance of another Patterson-like figure — because that’s what history suggests Southern Baptists actually want.

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