By Bob Allen
Transgenderism is “the ultimate rebellion” against God’s created order, a former Southern Baptist leader said recently in a television interview.
Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary near Charlotte, N.C., made the comment June 26 on Newsmax TV during a discussion of Vice President Joe Biden’s declaration that protecting gay rights is a defining mark of a civilized nation and must trump national cultures and social traditions.
Land, who served 25 years as president of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, dismissed Biden’s comments to a gathering of U.S. and international gay rights advocates as “simplistic, for starters, and wrong-headed, secondly, and a total conflation of what he’s calling cultural and social values with what are very often deeply held religious convictions.”
“Speaking as a Christian, I am called upon by the savior to treat everyone humanely, but I’m also called upon to uphold biblical standards of morality,” Land said. “The Bible, especially in the New Testament, is quite clear that homosexual behavior and lesbian behavior is a rebellion against God’s order.”
Land continued: “And perhaps the ultimate rebellion against God’s creation is transgenderism. You know, ‘I was born this way but I don’t want to be this way so I’m going to change my gender.’”
“I don’t know how you could have a more ultimate rebellion against God’s creation and God’s order than that,” Land said. “For Joe Biden to put the U.S. government on the side of lowering religious convictions to the level of cultural and social values is ignorant at best and malicious at worst.”
A recent Time magazine cover story described transgender identity as “America’s next civil rights frontier.”
The Southern Baptist Convention responded with a resolution at the SBC annual meeting June 10-11 in Baltimore declaring the transgender experience is not supported by Scripture.
The resolution described “the creation of two distinct and complementary sexes” as part of God’s design and stated that “distinctions in masculine and feminine roles as ordained by God are part of the created order and should find expression in every human heart.”
For that reason, the resolution says, “cultural currents” including medical treatments of “gender dysphoria,” attempts by LGBT activists to “normalize the transgender experience” and public schools “allowing access to restrooms and locker rooms according to children’s self-perception of gender and not according to their biological sex” all run contrary to biblical teaching as summarized in the Baptist Faith and Message, the SBC’s official consensus doctrinal statement.
The resolution said Southern Baptists oppose “efforts to alter one’s bodily identity” through treatments like cross-sex hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery, “cultural efforts to validate claims to transgender identity” and efforts by the government to validate the lifestyle “as morally praiseworthy.”
It condemned acts of abuse or bullying against people who identify as a gender different than the one assigned at birth. It invited “all transgender persons to trust in Christ and to experience renewal in the gospel” and welcomed them, as they repent and believe in Christ,” into church membership.
Leaders of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists said they fear the resolution will encourage churches to target transgender youth with methods similar to “ex-gay” ministries, which are criticized as ineffective and for doing more harm than good.
Launched this summer, Newsmax TV is the latest spinoff of Newsmax Media, on top of a monthly magazine and Newsmax.com, recognized as the Internet’s most-trafficked conservative site. The aim is to create a 24-hour cable news channel as “a kinder, gentler” alternative to Fox News in a bid to attract younger viewers.
During his appearance June 26 on the program “America’s Forum,” hosted by former U.S. Congressman J.D. Hayworth, Land said he attributes polls showing growing support for same-sex marriage to both “propaganda” in media like MTV targeted to young people and the less-discussed “power of law.”
“When something is legal a lot of people begin to accept it, and when it’s not legal they don’t accept it,” Land said.
“Legalizing something gives an imprimatur to behavior or to activities,” Land said. “Many people who, for instance, would like to smoke pot don’t smoke pot because it is illegal. But if it is legal they smoke it and it becomes more acceptable. There is a tutoring that comes in a democracy from what is legal and what is not legal.”