Waves of anti-transgender bills in Republican-led states divides U.S. faith leaders
Via the Associated Press

transgender religion
Pastors are among the lawmakers promoting anti-trans legislation in the name of standing up for God's natural order; others horrified at the invocation of Christianity for cruelty.

As Republican-governed states across the nation, including Florida, advance myriad bills targeting transgender young people, America’s faith leaders are starkly divided in their assessment. Some view the legislation as reflecting God’s will; others voice outrage that Christianity is being invoked to justify laws they view as cruel and hateful.

In one camp are many legislators who have cited their conservative religious beliefs while promoting these bills, as well as leaders of America’s two largest denominations — the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

U.S. Catholic bishops have rejected the concept of gender transition; they issued guidelines in March to stop Catholic hospitals from assisting in such transitions. The SBC has been on record since 2014 asserting that gender transition is “contrary to God’s design.”

In an online article, the Rev. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, depicted gender transition as “a blatant attempt to undermine the very order of creation.”

“The Bible reveals that any attempt to subvert creation ends in disaster, not in human liberation,” he wrote.

Faith leaders who support transgender rights bristle at the use of religious rhetoric to marginalize trans people.

“As a Christian leader, it’s horrifying to me that Christianity and the Bible are being used by the religious right to bludgeon people through these many bills,” said Serene Jones, the president of Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

“To use religious language like that is an abomination,” she said. “They are threatening the lives and well-being of so many people around the U.S. and the world.”

Jones said it was wrong to cite the Bible in rejecting transgender identity.

“It wasn’t something that the Bible even thought about,” she said. “The larger message there is a message of love and inclusion.”

In Oklahoma, state Sen. David Bullard cited a biblical passage in introducing what he calls the Millstone Act — a bill that would make it a felony for doctors to provide gender transition procedures to anyone under the age of 26. Bullard, who has served as a deacon at his Baptist church, said the act’s name alludes to a passage in the Book of Matthew suggesting that anyone causing a child to sin should be drowned in the sea with a millstone hung around their neck.

In the Texas legislature, one of the leading backers of anti-trans legislation is an ordained minister — Rep. Steve Toth. One bill he introduced also proposes making it a felony to provide gender-affirming care for minors.

Bills in other states have sought to restrict transgender people’s use of public restrooms and limit their ability to be called by the pronouns that reflect their gender identity.

In recent months, several of the Southern Baptists’ state affiliates have adopted resolutions embracing the overall thrust of the anti-trans bills.

The South Carolina Baptist Convention urged its followers “to resist speaking falsely and giving credence to the philosophies of the LGBTQ+ movement by adopting preferred pronouns that do not refer to a person’s created sex and biological makeup.” And the Southern Baptists of Texas cited a verse from Genesis in rejecting “any type of false doctrine or deceptive application related to gender identity and sexuality.”

In various communities across the U.S. — including Knoxville, Tennessee, and Madison, Wisconsin — interfaith groups of moderate and liberal religious leaders have held events to show support for transgender people and denounce the wave of anti-trans legislation.

Even though California’s Democratic-controlled legislature would not approve any anti-trans measures, an organizer of the event said it was important to speak out in support of trans people in states enacting such bills.

“If our voices can be heard by some trans kid in Kentucky, realizing there are faith leaders who’ve got their back, they might hang on a little bit longer,” said the Rev. Pat Langlois, senior pastor of Metropolitan Community Church United Church of Christ in the Valley.

“These bills are the most vitriolic and cruel legislation I’ve seen,” she said. “I have a non-binary teenager, so I take this really personally, not just as a person of faith and as a lesbian, but as a mom.”

Langlois, whose LGBTQ activism spans several decades, described the current situation as “probably the scariest time” because of the array of hostile bills.

Her worries were compounded on May 4, when the rector of All Saints, Mike Kinman, told his congregation that the church had received two threats — that a bomb would be detonated during Sunday worship, and that someone would come to a service with a gun to kill the pastor.

In response, Kinman said the church would be deploying security guards, requesting that police conduct a sweep of church property before the services and closing the church balcony to the public.

The leader of one of the largest mainline Protestant denominations, the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has condemned the anti-trans bills as an attack on trans people’s humanity.

“While members of our church hold various convictions regarding gender, the teaching of our church supports legislation and policies to protect every person’s human dignity and civil rights,” Eaton said in a recent statement. “Our church teaches that we affirm transgender and nonbinary siblings as God’s children.”

As for U.S. Catholics, there are diverse views among church personnel.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has told Catholic hospitals they must not perform “interventions, whether surgical or chemical, that aim to transform the sexual characteristics of a human body into those of the opposite sex.”

Christine Zuba, a transgender woman who lives in New Jersey, was disappointed that transgender people weren’t even mentioned in the USCCB’s 14-page document, except in a footnote.

“All we ask is listen to us,” she said. “Open your hearts and try to understand.”

Yet some parish priests — including Zuba’s pastor — have welcomed transgender people into their congregations, and honored their decisions to transition. In March, several thousand Catholic nuns, representing orders across the U.S., signed a statement urging people to oppose anti-transgender legislation in their states.

“As members of the body of Christ, we cannot be whole without the full inclusion of transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive individuals,” the statement said.


Republished with the permission of The Associated Press.

Associated Press


  • corruption and abuse of power in Florida

    May 12, 2023 at 9:54 am

    gop in self destruct mode

  • Earl Pitts American

    May 12, 2023 at 10:01 am

    Good morning America
    These so called faith leaders need to dust off their Bibles, crack them open, and start teaching from The Bible.
    Turn befor you burn so called faith leaders.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts “Man Of God” American

    • Dr. Franklin Waters

      May 12, 2023 at 11:41 am

      God isn’t real Earl.
      So let other people live their one life in peace and stop beating them over the head with a book full of fairy tales.

      • Earl Pitts American

        May 12, 2023 at 1:29 pm

        Good afternoon evil Dr. Frankenstein
        Get thee behind me evil Dr. FRANKENSTEIN.
        Thank you,
        Earl Pitts American

          • Earl Pitts American

            May 14, 2023 at 8:52 pm

            Good evening Evil Dr Frankenstein,
            That whole EPA is a perve is nothing but a vast left wing conspiratory…glad we were all able to come to agreement on that.
            And in regards to your request for me, Earl Pitts American to fill up ziplock bags with my Fart Gas and mail them to; well Evil Dr. FRANKENSTEIN your payment seems reasonable so for you I am constructing a state of the art flatuance collector and you should receive 23 – 30 full size zip lock bags of my farts by UPS as early as 7:00 pm tomorrow. Br carefull not to open them near fire or flame. Oh and just so you know I have already made a prototype automobile which rund 100% off my fart gas.
            Thank you Evil Dr. Frankenstein,
            Earl Pitts American

    • Elliott Offen

      May 12, 2023 at 12:19 pm

      If not for the asteroid strike that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.. there would be no man and thus no God. God has been debunked.. now being used as a political weapon. And you Earl are a schizophrenic narcissist. You need medication and inpatient psychiatric treatment.

      • Earl Pitts American

        May 12, 2023 at 1:31 pm

        Good afternoon Smelliott
        Keep up the good work my man.
        Thank you Smelliott,
        Earl Pitts American

  • Manufactured Outrage

    May 12, 2023 at 10:09 am

    A falsified righteous outrage at things that are basically unimportant and meaningless, frequently employed by politicians, political activists, or the media. Politicians and talking heads use it to garner support for their causes, to claim the moral high ground and to tar their opponents; the media often just uses it in a cynical bid to increase ratings.

  • Don’t Look Up

    May 12, 2023 at 11:07 am


  • ScienceBLVR

    May 12, 2023 at 11:08 am

    As we know, and hopefully the concept is still being taught in Fla classrooms, the founding fathers included the doctrine of separation of church and state as an integral and overarching guideline for governing. Organized religion may be the opiate of the masses, but the fantasy was never meant to rule the day. Sure, helps to deal with the day to day trials, and our own morality, but come on now… we know it’s just a pretty delusion, right?

  • Elliott Offen

    May 12, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    Separation of church and state. Founding fathers never intended for religious whackos to pass laws based on their own personal religious beliefs… laws that effect everyone. You are free to assemble and tell lies about the origins of the planet and mankind, swing incense around, talk to thin air, but you aren’t supposed to leave the assembly and try to impose your religious beliefs on others through government and law. Mind you these are many of the same people who don’t want to pay taxes and put nut jobs like Trump in office.

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 12, 2023 at 8:18 pm

    Why can’t the Gross Old People move past their need to hate somebody, anybody?

  • Abortion Exemptions Needed

    May 15, 2023 at 9:12 am

    If fetal DNA testing predicts a trans human and/or a child molester, shouldn’t that scenario be an exemption to Rhonda’s abortion ban? Why leave the fetus to grow into a child molester and/or trans? Why leave the infant to waste food, resources, a seat in school, etc? Ultimately Rhonda will just have them executed by the State of Florida, so why not just save everybody some time and money and do in-vitro testing for child molesters and/or trans potential and, when found, just allow the abortion. It’s the fiscally conservative thing to do while keeping people safe.

Comments are closed.


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