The Issue of Personal Pronouns
I began this morning by sitting down on the couch to catch the news headlines. The first two reports were connected by a common issue – gender identification. Not the war in Ukraine, or soaring inflation at home. Gender identification. One story highlighted the new policy Disney implemented to discontinue the use of male and female pronouns in public communications at their theme parks. The second story focused on teachers in Florida who were outraged by the newly signed law forbidding elementary school faculty to promote transgenderism. One teacher stated that a child has the right to be a boy, girl or neither if they so choose. Furthermore, all children, she continued, should be identified by the pronoun of their choosing – not their biological reality. And, that choice should be made without the pressure of parental consent or interference.
Personal pronouns have become a hot-topic issue in American culture. Society is now charting waters never before explored. Human history spans thousands of years, yet this cultural controversy is only a decade old. We have no precedent from which to draw wisdom. But, is wisdom really necessary? Is this a spiritual matter, or one of mere common sense? Perhaps, it is melding of the two.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with this new system of identification, it is important to remember that all people should be afforded respect. While there is no doubt that reprimand and censure have their place, we cannot forget this is a broken world, and people without Christ are subject to limitless deceptions. Deliverance from this falsehood will never come through a club, only a cross. To the Christian, the issue is obvious, but sin by its very nature confuses and complicates those matters God has otherwise made clear (Romans 1:21:22).
There are certain principles that should guide the response of the Christian community toward this new social crisis (and, yes, the implications of this matter can have catastrophic repercussions). Displaying compassion does not necessitate a compromise of truth, or a betrayal of conscience. Using a personal pronoun that is the opposite of a biological reality is to be dishonest. While respect is important, endorsing ideas condemned by Scripture becomes an act of treason against the truth. Even the secular courtroom demands a truthful testimony, lest the witness be guilty of perjury. (How can Ketanji Jackson Brown decide between right and wrong when she is incapable of distinguishing between this and that?) It is important that Christians do not give the impression of endorsing or reinforcing something that is intellectually and factually false.
Life is complicated, especially in the realm of relationships. It is easy to make dogmatic pronouncements from a distance, when those involved are strangers. However, when interactions of a professional or personal nature are at play, the challenge becomes more daunting. So, what are we to do? Christians must remember that circumstances do not altar right and wrong. Context and audience does not change reality. Jesus was merciful to the adulterous woman in John 8:18, and the woman at the well in John 4:23, 24. Yet, He gave no miscellaneous signal about their sin (John 4:17, 18; 8:11).
It is my practice to call a transgender person by their proper name. I refuse to call a male by the pronouns “she” or “her,” or vice versa. I feel doing so is to bear false testimony. At the same time, I am trying to remember the reason for which Christ came – to seek and save the lost (that means me, as well as a transgender person). My goal is to reach all people with the love of Christ (Mark 12:30, 31; Romans 1:14-16).
Christians should seek wisdom and boldness from God in all things. The subject of transgenderism and falsifying pronouns only makes this truth all the more apparent. May God help you in this trying time of cultural contamination, and moral deprivation.