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Whenever the topic of transgenderism comes up, I have multiple reactions: emotional pain, compassion, anger, and rejection. With the research I have done, I have decided that transgenderism comes out of unresolved gender dysphoria, and the results usually manifest as depression, confusion, and the inability to fit into society. Rather than treat this condition as a mental illness, it has been recognized as legitimate. Don’t even get me started about the damage the propaganda and transitions will do to children.
Glenn T. Stanton in the Federalist has written about the case of Megan Rohrer, who was recently ordained as a bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, calling herself transgender and queer. She should not have been put in a position of counseling, leading, and guiding a community, because she has openly admitted that at the age of 41, she still doesn’t know who (or what?) she is.
Certainly, serious people see life as a journey where our paths may shift and we go in different directions. We may alter our commitments to others, try new vocations, and even change our belief systems. We can hope that these changes only minimally affect those around us, and that we are clear on the reasons for our new choices and can explain our thinking behind those opportunities.
In the case of Megan Rohrer, her choices seem to be in flux, and her identity not only as a transgender but her understanding of who she is as a human being, is tenuous:
Rev. Megan Rohrer, the new bishop, is a very interesting person. Although God joyfully created her female and she still retains her lovely female first name, she employs the plural pronouns ‘they’ and ‘them’ for herself, as well as ‘he,’ and asks the rest of us to do the same. She does not, however, seem to fully identify as a man, and at 41, her ‘transition’ seems to still be in process.
To me, the gender and sexuality that we were born with are key to our identity. They are not necessarily the most important elements, but they certainly influence our values, belief systems, relationships, commitments, and a myriad of other factors as we interact with the world. Since our gender and sexuality are interwoven with our thoughts and actions, they provide a grounding for our place in the world. No woman is the same as any other woman; no man is identical to any other man. So, the gender and sexuality we are born with offer countless ways of being, within a moral and ethical framework. That framework, rather than boxing us in, provides us with a way to see ourselves and our roles in the world, and guidance for developing relationships with others. It is also central to Judaism and Christianity, as we are created in G-d’s image.
So, my issue with Megan Rohrer, and even more so with the ELCA, is that they are becoming their own gods. ECLA has decided to re-create G-d’s decisions, to change his creation to their own preferences, and has tried to intimidate others to follow them. Their decision is unconscionable. For Megan Rohrer, my heart is pained by her lack of clarity, and I am disturbed that this woman will be leading and misleading others to follow a path of self-destruction:
Megan’s is a tragically sad story and she shares it poignantly in a video on her personal website. In the video, produced by Cosmopolitan magazine, Megan confesses her confusion about who she is, ‘I haven’t really figured out how I want to have my body in the rest of my life.’ Her dysphoria is evident and arresting.
The most heartbreaking part comes when she talks about the body God gave her through nature as Megan. She explains, ‘Churches regularly pray for you when you have surgery, which is weird when you are having what would normally be a private part of your body removed,’ referring to her breasts. With tender and uneasy tears, she relays, ‘You wheel into an operating room trying to get relief and you come out wondering how people are going to engage with your body, and it’s new to you, and you don’t even know how you feel about it…’
In all fairness, transgenderism and its advocates are everywhere, even in Judaism (primarily in Reform Judaism or other liberal communities). I protest their choices as well, for the same reasons. Conservative Rabbis have dealt with the issue since 2016, but I wasn’t able to locate decisions regarding transgenders becoming Rabbis.
Let me end with Glenn T. Stanton’s closing paragraph:
But by dictate of an intentional policy, one of the largest religious entities in America has just radically changed God’s first words to us about His own image and likeness in the world, as well as what it means to be human, officially affirming the false idea that God tells us lies about who we are through the bodies He gave us.
We can be sure of this: God isn’t the confused one. The ELCA has also told all members of their denomination that in order to be good and loving members, they are expected to embrace and celebrate the leaders who believe those lies.
The ELCA deserves rebuke and correction. Megan, as a person, deserves absolute compassion and care for her deep psychological and emotional pain. The larger church and world at large must understand the difference between these two responses, the reasons for them, and that we can and must engage in both at the same time. May God give us the strength and wisdom to do exactly that.
This is where diversity and inclusion have taken us. My heart aches for my spiritual brothers and sisters.Published in