MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: It’s Culture Friday here on The World and Everything In It. And here’s Mary, filling in for Nick.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Earlier this week we brought you the story of James Younger. He’s the 6-year-old Texas boy whose parents are in disagreement over his gender.
The mother insists the boy is actually a girl and has everyone treat him that way. It seems the courts could well cede this child’s future to his mother’s wishes— and that includes gender transition, puberty-blocking hormones, and even gender reassignment surgery.
Here’s Younger’s father Jeff speaking at a rally at the Texas state capitol.
YOUNGER: Here’s what she’s asked the court to do: Jail me, if I say my son is a boy or present him as a boy to any of you; to jail me if I refuse to attend transgender ideology education classes… jail me if I use male pronouns for my son or allow others to do so. She also asked the court to jail me if I don’t pay for all this—because currently, in the state of Texas, that’s all considered medical child support, and I’ll go to prison for it.
John Stonestreet is the president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. John, welcome.
JOHN STONESTREET, GUEST: Good morning.
REICHARD: The facts of this story are almost too hard to believe. How should Christians respond to a story like this?
STONESTREET: You know, in one sense it is hard to believe just because we’re seeing kind of a real, young victim of our kind of cultural confusion right now.
But in a sense, maybe we should be shocked by this story, but not surprised, because when you take something that’s as built-in to who we are as our male and female-ness, then these sorts of situations are going to arise. It’s inevitable. It can’t not happen, and there’s going to be plenty of others.
And the people in the crosshairs on these sorts of, in the midst of our culture changing its minds on basic, fundamental realities, have really historically been kids throughout the whole process.
And I think, too, we haven’t quite seen the bottom of parents really, in a sense, forcing a gender on a child. I don’t know if that’s as common or as uncommon as we think it is. But I can’t imagine that this is not going to be an increasingly common story where moms or dads who wanted a child of the opposite gender are going to kind of move this way.
Christians should, I think, respond with an awful lot of sadness. This is sad. It’s sad when children become kind of the ball getting batted back and forth between parents. It’s sad when it comes to any kind of case of divorce or family break-up. And when you’re talking about something as fundamental as identity, it’s super sad.
I think Christians also have to stand on the side of biological reality. We’re not gnostics. That’s one of the earliest things that the church decided, that the body matters. That the body itself is not evil in and of itself. That the body is the creation of God and, therefore, is part of the goodness of his creation. And that includes, I think, our genitalia and our chromosomes and our biological realities. We’re going to have to stand here.
And I think, also, Christians have always—in times when cultural realities fly in the face of God’s word and God’s purposes for things—have to be there to do victim care. The church is always at its best when it does victim care. And the victims of the sexual revolution are many, and many times they’re kids.
REICHARD: You know, I’m just trying to take this down to street level. Suppose that you were to encounter the mother of this boy on the street, walking with her son, what would you say to them? How would I as a Christian be able to respond to that situation? Do I just ignore it? Do I address it directly? Do I state some kind of biblical truth? You know, how do I handle when I encounter people face to face with this sort of scenario?
STONESTREET: I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all answer to that. I mean, if you’re a Christian and the street that you’re meeting on is in front of the courtroom where it’s going to be decided, and you’re a lawyer on one side or the other, then you have a responsibility that looks in a particular direction.
If you’re a neighbor who’s had a long-standing relationship with the mom or with the dad or with the child, then the way that you love and stand up for what’s true might look like apple pie across dinner with a late-night conversation.
If you’re a family member who has a vested close, familial interest in the child, that’s going to look different as well. And this is why there’s not a silver bullet and this is the nature of the fall.
This is why I tell every Christian on the planet to real Neal Plantinga’s book Not The Way It’s Supposed to Be, because the fall breaks things. It crumbles things. It’s not like you’re putting a rock in a clear glass of water and the solution is to get the rock out. It’s like you’re putting a drop of dye in a clear glass of water. You can’t take the dye out.
So how you mitigate it depends on kind of what your purposes are and what we’re trying to accomplish. And this is the way relationships are. And when you talk about something that’s as clearly upside down and wrong means right and right means wrong as what we’re currently saying about gender—here’s what I know: is that we need to be really clear on what is true. We need to recognize that children are being victimized by these bad ideas and we have a responsibility to do that victim care. And we should, as the church has always done, run into the brokenness.
Finding the right thing to say is extremely difficult depending on the role that you play in their lives. But running away isn’t an answer either.
REICHARD: John Stonestreet is the president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. John, this was fun! Thanks for talking with me today.
STONESTREET: Thank you.