Father Jenkins and Transgenders, Fact and Fiction



Father Jenkins’s wavering on transgender “rights” calls into question truths of both science and faith.

NOTRE DAME, IN — As we’ve reported in a previous bulletin, Father Jenkins has said he’s undecided about the demands of transgendered persons to use the showers, dressing rooms, restrooms, and dormitories of the sex that they claim.

He has described “heightened respect for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens” as “a signal moral achievement of our time” — an extraordinary accolade considering that same-sex marriage is the principal “achievement” of the LGBT rights drive and that its ramifications present perhaps the gravest threat to religious liberty of our time.

While Father Jenkins said he is given pause by “those who might be uncomfortable undressing in front of a member of the opposite biological sex,” this would be a feeble reason indeed for standing in the way of another step in LBGT victories that are a “signal moral achievement of our time.”

But in fact, the basis for objecting to these transgender demands is far more compelling. It is rooted in the ontological and theological teachings of the Church, teachings that undergird the Church’s opposition to the transgender agenda, as we pointed out in our prior bulletin.

We now add to the authorities we cited (including Pope Francis) a new statement by prominent religious and lay leaders, including Professor Gerard Bradley of Notre Dame and four bishops who chair key committees of the USCCB, in which they assail laws that are “used by the government in an attempt to compel citizens to sacrifice their deepest convictions on marriage and what it means to be male and female.” (You can add your name here.)

Notre Dame will have to make up its mind. The question whether schools receiving federal funds (as does Notre Dame) are obliged under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act to accede to transgender demands respecting showers, dressing rooms, dormitories and restrooms is now before the Supreme Court. And irrespective of the outcome, the LGBT forces will not relent in pressing the transgender agenda one way or another.

imagesWe devote the balance of this bulletin to a reproduction of a singularly instructive article on the transgender question by, we are pleased to say, a member of the Sycamore Trust board, Katherine Kersten. We reprint it, copyright reserved, with the consent of First Things, where it first appeared. (If you are not a subscriber, examine its web site  and see why you should be.)

A 1973 summa cum laude graduate of Notre Dame, Katherine holds a masters degree from Yale University and a law degree from the University of Minnesota and was the 2003 recipient of   the Notre Dame Alumni Association’s Family Exemplar Award. She  is a senior policy fellow at the Center of the American Experiment in Minneapolis and an author, columnist, and radio and television commentator.

Katherine begins with a vivid account of the devastating impact upon a school community of the adoption of a “gender inclusive” policy in a prominent private K-12 school in St. Paul. She proceeds to an illuminating account of the medical and psychological aspects of gender dysphoria and sex-reassignment treatment. She explains why the evidence shows that the “fundamental claim” behind the transgender movement – “a human being can change his or her sex” – is simply and demonstrably baseless. In the words of a leading medical authority,

Transgendered men do not become women, nor do transgendered women become men. All … become feminized men or masculinized women, counterfeits or impersonators of the sex with which they identify.

Katherine describes how, notwithstanding the evidence of serious deleterious effects of sex-reassignment treatment, it is becoming ever more popular at earlier and earlier ages and why that is so – particularly “the breakdown of the family and other social institutions” that has produced a crisis of mental and behavioral health among the young. In this environment, “transgenderism has attained cult status.”

Finally, Katherine considers the phenomenon of the startling success of the LGBT campaign. It is linked, she writes, to the weakening of the Judeo-Christian concepts of God, man, and nature in the face of the post-Christian dismissal of God and insistence upon man as a “free-floating self” that “forges its own ‘identity’ through a creative assertion of will.”

After noting how the federal government has thrown its weight behind the transgender movement – a subject we will consider in a later bulletin in light of the election — Katherine concludes with reasons for hope that “transgender ideology’s disconnect from reality [will] render it unsustainable over time.”

This is, of course, the part we like the best and so will you, so we will not try to summarize it lest we do a disservice.

Click here to proceed to the article.  

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