Should a Confused Trans Bishop Be Serving a Community?

 

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 Religion & Philosophy
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  1. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):
    Precisely. Now, I’m not a conspiracy nut but a reasonable person has to wonder if this was a Leftist ploy to bring about the destruction of organized religion.

    I don’t think you are a conspiracy nut at all! Why would the secularists and Marxists work so hard if they weren’t trying to destroy their enemies? They not only show disdain for religion, but frequently create roadblocks to faith and community. They see religious people as kooks, but they also see them as threats to their agendas. I have no doubt that their efforts at some level are intentional and strategic.

    I think there’s two kinds involved here. I’ve just gotten through 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles in my Bible reading. There’s occasionally someone like Jezebel in these stories: An actively anti-G-d agent who’s interested in their own power and influence. But there’s a lot more of the type that look at the world around them and assume the way to success is to abandon the G-d who got them to where they are now and instead adopt the methods of those who seem successful around them. The end is of course, well-documented, but it’s a long and painful trip getting there.

    • #31
  2. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):
    Precisely. Now, I’m not a conspiracy nut but a reasonable person has to wonder if this was a Leftist ploy to bring about the destruction of organized religion.

    I don’t think you are a conspiracy nut at all! Why would the secularists and Marxists work so hard if they weren’t trying to destroy their enemies? They not only show disdain for religion, but frequently create roadblocks to faith and community. They see religious people as kooks, but they also see them as threats to their agendas. I have no doubt that their efforts at some level are intentional and strategic.

    The Church itself seems determined to destroy itself.  I was raised at the end of the time of the Latin mass, old time hymns and the old fire and brimstone clergy that had experience evangelizing foreign lands.  Now we get gay priests that have never left the country that sings folk songs and are into touchy feely religion.  If you have an issue with the new ways then it seems the Church would prefer you not to be around other than mail in a check.  

    • #32
  3. Eugene Kriegsmann Member
    Eugene Kriegsmann
    @EugeneKriegsmann

    I am not much convinced that a person can change their sex/gender/whatever by medications and surgery. My first exposure to a transgender person was a substitute teacher who covered for me when I had to attend a workshop. He, in the process of becoming a “she”, was a tall, very masculine looking person with long blond hair, wide shoulders, and, pardon the expression, boobs. To me he/she looked like an extra in a Vikings movie. You can well imagine the reaction of my middle school EBD class to such a creature being left with them while I unwillingly left the room in his/her charge. 

    Your question as to whether someone going through such a transition should be leading a congregation is of particular interest to me. In the cases I cited above ,I feel that the placement of this person was totally inappropriate. Children who are already somewhat unstable didn’t need to be subjected to an adult who was possibly more disturbed than they. They had no choice in the matter. They were a captive audience. As to this pastor, I think the situation is a bit less clear. If the members of his/her congregation  accept the authority of this person in his/her position, then who are we to say that they are wrong for doing so. If he/she is duly ordained by his/her church then we can only assume that he/she possesses whatever knowledge is deemed necessary for the position. 

    I have known quite a few psychologists and psychiatrists on a professional level. Very few of them were what I would call stable characters. Many possessed really damaged personalities which is likely what drove them into the profession that they were following. Most were pretty effective at treating their patients. Whatever personality defects they possessed did not interfere with their ability to help others. To some extent the Jungian School of psychotherapy operates on this assumption, requiring its practicianers to undergo continued therapy while conducting their practice.

    In the case of this Bishop, there is no question that there is some serious psychological angst. A healthy person doesn’t maim their body in an attempt to be something they are not. However, if he/she can find some sense of peace and bring comfort to others at the same time, more power to “they, them/their.”

    • #33
  4. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I’m trying to walk a respectable line here and still display my ignorance. Back in the day, I’m reasonably certain that the Reverend would have been considered a “masculine” lesbian (there’s another term, which I won’t use). Has there been a merger of this type of person with the transgender movement now that the latter is in vogue?

    Your guess is as good as mine, @ hoyacon. Why does she call herself transgender and queer? It all makes my head spin . . .

    I don’t blame the persons who are confused; I blame those who take that confusion and turn it into a doctrine.

    I’m at least as confused as Hoyacon is. What does it mean to “feel like I’m a man” or “feel like I’m a woman”? The transgender movement is limiting the range that has always been present in people. There have always been men who exhibit a lot of “female” attributes, and women who exhibit a lot of “male” attributes. 

    • #34
  5. Dominique Prynne Member
    Dominique Prynne
    @DominiquePrynne

    Susan Quinn: So, my issue with Megan Rohrer, and even more so with the ELCA, is that they are becoming their own gods.

     Genesis 3

    1Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

    2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

    4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

    And so as it ever was…..

    -DP

     

    • #35
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Eugene Kriegsmann (View Comment):

    I have known quite a few psychologists and psychiatrists on a professional level. Very few of them were what I would call stable characters. Many possessed really damaged personalities which is likely what drove them into the profession that they were following. Most were pretty effective at treating their patients. Whatever personality defects they possessed did not interfere with their ability to help others. To some extent the Jungian School of psychotherapy operates on this assumption, requiring its practicianers to undergo continued therapy while conducting their practice.

    In the case of this Bishop, there is no question that there is some serious psychological angst. A healthy person doesn’t maim their body in an attempt to be something they are not. However, if he/she can find some sense of peace and bring comfort to others at the same time, more power to “they, them/their.”

    I have doubts about your viewpoint, @eugenekriegsmann. I’m aware that psychoanalysts can be damaged. But there are no moral or ethical rules about having to be “healthy” to practice. And if a person wants to mutilate themselves, it’s tragic but they can do so. My concern is that her confusion as a bishop about her sexuality is out there, and people who have the same issues are unlikely to be helped by her, since she has a clear bias. Not only that, her position violates Judeo-Christian/ Biblical beliefs. What are people supposed to do about that clear conflict?

    • #36
  7. Jan Coolidge
    Jan
    @ChileGirl

    Your instinctive reaction to this is 100% correct.  A deflected mental disturbance, which becomes a fixation. It’s so sad, but again, I am weary of having to accommodate the mental issues of others, and by others I mean whomever demands it in every setting, including the church. 

     How long is this going to go on?  Until something truly awful focuses our attention on staying alive; that is my prediction.

    • #37
  8. jonb60173 Member
    jonb60173
    @jonb60173

    Mathew 15:9 – “And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”

    • #38
  9. Giulietta Inactive
    Giulietta
    @giuliettachicago

    What a thoughtful piece you wrote on this topic. So many things to say here.

    The actress Ellen Page recently underwent top surgery after announcing to everyone that she was becoming Elliot Page. A comment from the interview referring to the surgery has stood out to me as particularly significant: “He wants to emphasize that top surgery, for him, was “’not only life-changing but lifesaving.’”

    My close friend recently had a double mastectomy on the strong recommendation of her doctors after a year of grueling breast cancer treatments (as a 33 year old, no less). When we talked on the phone after she got out of the hospital, she was exhausted. We talked about other things but finally the surgery came up and she burst into tears. She said, “I looked at myself this morning in the mirror- I couldn’t help it- it’s so awful- I look so horrible.” She just cried and cried for awhile. It took awhile to get used to the extensive initial scarring but reconstruction has helped and she’s better now.

    I simply cannot fathom having an elective double mastectomy, nor allowing insurance to cover it for people who suffer from gender dysphoria. It is a procedure than can indeed save lives, but not the way Page thinks. That so many in the medical community support this shocks me.

    • #39
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Giulietta (View Comment):

    What a thoughtful piece you wrote on this topic. So many things to say here.

    The actress Ellen Page recently underwent top surgery after announcing to everyone that she was becoming Elliot Page. A comment from the interview referring to the surgery has stood out to me as particularly significant: “He wants to emphasize that top surgery, for him, was “’not only life-changing but lifesaving.’”

    My close friend recently had a double mastectomy on the strong recommendation of her doctors after a year of grueling breast cancer treatments (as a 33 year old, no less). When we talked on the phone after she got out of the hospital, she was exhausted. We talked about other things but finally the surgery came up and she burst into tears. She said, “I looked at myself this morning in the mirror- I couldn’t help it- it’s so awful- I look so horrible.” She just cried and cried for awhile. It took awhile to get used to the extensive initial scarring but reconstruction has helped and she’s better now.

    I simply cannot fathom having an elective double mastectomy, nor allowing insurance to cover it for people who suffer from gender dysphoria. It is a procedure than can indeed save lives, but not the way Page thinks. That so many in the medical community support this shocks me.

    Thanks for your kind and thoughtful response, @giuliettachicago. Yes, we women all respond in our unique ways. I just had a single mastectomy and am in the middle of chemo. Without going into detail, I fortunately felt that the surgery was okay, and don’t put that much weight on my physical attributes. I saw it as a life-saving step, so the scar (without reconstruction) is easier to accept. But to remove breasts voluntarily is beyond my understanding. I’m glad your friend is doing better and I pray for her continued acceptance and peace of mind. (Also, I’m 71 years old, so that might make a difference!)

    • #40
  11. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Without comment:

    • #41
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Without comment:

    What the heck is that?? Or who is that?

    • #42
  13. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Without comment:

    What the heck is that?? Or who is that?

    I got that from a tweet of a statue in Amsterdam. Apparently celebrating transgenderism. I don’t have the backstory.

    • #43
  14. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Without comment:

    What the heck is that?? Or who is that?

    I got that from a tweet of a statue in Amsterdam. Apparently celebrating transgenderism. I don’t have the backstory.

    If that’s the front, I’m afraid to ask for the “back” story…

    • #44
  15. Giulietta Inactive
    Giulietta
    @giuliettachicago

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Giulietta (View Comment):

    What a thoughtful piece you wrote on this topic. So many things to say here.

    The actress Ellen Page recently underwent top surgery after announcing to everyone that she was becoming Elliot Page. A comment from the interview referring to the surgery has stood out to me as particularly significant: “He wants to emphasize that top surgery, for him, was “’not only life-changing but lifesaving.’”

    My close friend recently had a double mastectomy on the strong recommendation of her doctors after a year of grueling breast cancer treatments (as a 33 year old, no less). When we talked on the phone after she got out of the hospital, she was exhausted. We talked about other things but finally the surgery came up and she burst into tears. She said, “I looked at myself this morning in the mirror- I couldn’t help it- it’s so awful- I look so horrible.” She just cried and cried for awhile. It took awhile to get used to the extensive initial scarring but reconstruction has helped and she’s better now.

    I simply cannot fathom having an elective double mastectomy, nor allowing insurance to cover it for people who suffer from gender dysphoria. It is a procedure than can indeed save lives, but not the way Page thinks. That so many in the medical community support this shocks me.

    Thanks for your kind and thoughtful response, @ giuliettachicago. Yes, we women all respond in our unique ways. I just had a single mastectomy and am in the middle of chemo. Without going into detail, I fortunately felt that the surgery was okay, and don’t put that much weight on my physical attributes. I saw it as a life-saving step, so the scar (without reconstruction) is easier to accept. But to remove breasts voluntarily is beyond my understanding. I’m glad your friend is doing better and I pray for her continued acceptance and peace of mind. (Also, I’m 71 years old, so that might make a difference!)

    I think you must be right Susan. There’s also no telling how we might react until it actually happens. My friend thought she would deal with the experience better, being quite low-maintenance about her appearance. Thankfully that chapter is closing for her. I have a good thought for you too, going through all this too.

    • #45
  16. dukenaltum Inactive
    dukenaltum
    @dukenaltum

    One doesn’t require a deep understanding of Christian theology to understand that person denying the reality transcribed on every cell of their body by a willed desire is a violation of their very being and an affront to the Creator.  

    It is the same old story: Non serviam (I will not serve).  

     

    • #46
  17. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    dukenaltum (View Comment):

    One doesn’t require a deep understanding of Christian theology to understand that person denying the reality transcribed on every cell of their body by a willed desire is a violation of their very being and an affront to the Creator.

    It is the same old story: Non serviam (I will not serve).

     

    Precisely. From this deluded individual I should expect truth – let alone Truth?

    Sorry. A philosopher dropped Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols on me last night, and now I want to beat up a 19th century German materialist. 

    • #47
  18. dukenaltum Inactive
    dukenaltum
    @dukenaltum

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Without comment:

    The third arm is a clever touch but why stop there.  If you’re building an unnatural idol one should go full Kali.  

    • #48
  19. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    dukenaltum (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Without comment:

    The third arm is a clever touch but why stop there. If you’re building an unnatural idol one should go full Kali.

    A second head and I think you’ve got Zaphod in the nude.

    • #49
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