Christianity and Sexual Orientation - Transgenderism

Transgenderism

Abrahamic religions have creation stories in which God creates people, "male and female". The Torah contains prohibitions about men wearing women's clothing, and women wearing men's clothing. Men with damaged testicles or cut off genitals are not to be admitted to religious assemblies.

The New Testament is more ambiguous about gender-variant identities than the Old Testament is. Eunuchs (Greek eunochos, similar to Hebrew saris) are indicated as acceptable candidates for evangelism and baptism, as demonstrated in a story about the conversion of an Ethiopian eunuch. At one point, while answering questions about marriage and divorce, Jesus says that "there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven." There has been discussion about the significance of the selection of the Ethiopian eunuch as being the first gentile conversion to Christianity: the inclusion of a eunuch, representing a sexual minority, similar to some included under today's category of transgender, in the context of the time.

A 2000 document from the Catholic Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith concludes that the sex-change procedures do not change a person’s gender in the eyes of the Church. “The key point,” said the reported document “is that the transsexual surgical operation is so superficial and external that it does not change the personality. If the person was a male, he remains male. If she was female, she remains female.” The document also concludes that a “sex-change” operation could be morally acceptable in certain extreme cases, but that in any case transgendered people cannot validly marry.

Pope Benedict XVI has denounced gender theory, warning that it blurs the distinction between male and female and could thus lead to the "self-destruction" of the human race. He warned against the manipulation that takes place in national and international forums when the term "gender" is altered. "What is often expressed and understood by the term 'gender,' is definitively resolved in the self-emancipation of the human being from creation and the Creator," he warned. "Man wants to create himself, and to decide always and exclusively on his own about what concerns him." The Pontiff said this is man living "against truth, against the creating Spirit."

In the Church of England, the Bishop of Hereford defended his decision to ordain a transsexual woman as a priest. Assistant curate Sarah Jones, 44, from Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire, spent the first 29 years of her life living as a man.

Modern Christian denominations vary in their views. The United Church of Christ General Synod called for full inclusion of transgender persons in 2003. In 2008, the United Methodist Church Judicial Council ruled that transgender pastor Drew Phoenix could keep his position. At the UMC General Conference the same year, several petitions that would have forbidden transgender clergy and added anti-transgender language to the Book of Discipline were rejected.

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