In the not-too-distant future, when the transgender wars are over and the stick figure placards for male and female bathrooms have been thrown in the dustbin of history, the sexual progressives will need a new sexual practice to de-stigmatize. Whether it’s incestuous marriage or some other long-oppressed form of sexual expression, the new cause will emerge, desperately in need of a defense. On that day, we will need a liberated theologian to rise from the muck of church prejudice and explain away all those pesky passages of the Bible that prevent dimwitted bigots from embracing the new orthodoxy.
While this task may seem daunting, it can actually be carried out with ease if you follow the very simple formula given to us by Eliel Cruz. In a recent article for The Washington Post, Cruz argues Christians have no legitimate grounds on which to oppose transgenderism because the erroneously-interpreted-for-2,000-years Bible actually praises the practice.
To make this argument, Cruz employs three clever tricks that work for any issue imaginable. So when the gears of the transgender wars have finally ground to a halt and a new scripturally indefensible practice needs to receive a godly benediction, just follow these three easy steps to make the Bible support any sexual practice imaginable, and you can be the hero the progressive world will need.
Step 1: Invent a Frivolous Distinction That’s Not Against the Old Rules
Imagine that your high school algebra teacher catches you copying answers off of your friend Jason’s test in class. She pulls you out in the hall and reminds you that, at the beginning of the year, she told the class that any student caught cheating would fail the course. What do you do?
Since it won’t do you any good to deny having copied Jason’s answers, just invent a frivolous distinction that is not substantially different from the forbidden offense but that seems different enough to avoid punishment. Just say, “Oh, no, I wasn’t copying Jason’s answers. We were sharing answers. You see, recently, Jason and I developed a system of answer-sharing that’s distinct from cheating, so I haven’t actually broken any of your rules.” Granted, this tactic may not work on Mrs. Driscoll, but it works marvelously with regard to the Bible, as Cruz’s Washington Post article shows.
“Gender and sex are different things,” he writes. “They don’t always align, and neither is binary. The biological reality of intersex individuals is a testament to that. The biological and psychological reality of transgender and intersex individuals needs to be the context in which Christians read scripture.”
In other words, “Oh, the Bible has certain requirements for men and certain requirements for women? Well, keep in mind that five minutes ago we learned male and female is determined by your inner feelings, not your anatomy. So remember that if it ever looks like we’ve broken the rules that God established for men and women. Remember this distinction between sex and gender that we made up after the rules were set. Remember that, if it looks like we were cheating, we weren’t copying answers, we were sharing them.”
Once you’ve invented your distinction-without-a-difference, it’s time to put it to good use in step two.
Step 2: Say the Bible Clearly Isn’t Talking About the Issue When It Totally Is
In Deuteronomy 22:5, the Law of Moses states, “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.” While theologians throughout history have mined the depths of this verse (Martin Luther, for example, believed this was, in part, a prohibition against women putting on armor and serving in military combat), the overarching consensus has always been that these words are rather straightforward, forbidding men from seeking to give the appearance that they are women and vice versa.
Cruz is keenly aware of the plain meaning of the words, so he cleverly employs step two, saying “that verse talks about cross-dressing…Being trans is not cross-dressing. It is embodying a gender that does not align with the one that was given at birth.”
In other words, “Remember how we just said that sometimes a person with a penis is really a female because that’s what she feels her inner gender to be? Well, that’s why God obviously isn’t forbidding those particular people with penises from dressing like women when he tells people with penises not to dress like women. The sin, you see, is not when a man dresses as a woman because he believes he’s a woman. The sin is when a man dresses as a woman but acknowledges that he’s a man. Moses was clearly intending to condemn Dame Edna for minimizing the struggle of Caitlyn Jenner, as any first-year seminarian should know.”
Once you’ve shown how the passages directly condemning the practice are silent on the matter, it’s time to move on to step three, where you make the silent parts of the Bible speak words of blessing on the practice.
Step 3: Say the Bible Is Totally Talking About the Issue When It Clearly Isn’t
Another common text Christians generally cite in rejecting the notion that a woman with facial hair and testicles must be allowed to share a locker room with your daughter is Genesis 1:27, which states:
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
“Male and female he created them,” Christians argue, is a confession that God has created two sexes—that of Adam and that of Eve, with every other conception of gender being the fantasy of man’s imagination and every other manifestation of sex, such as hermaphroditism, being a genetic abnormality that was not a part of God’s creation but came into the world after the fall into sin.
Cruz, however, finds references to concepts of gender that didn’t exist in Old Testament times hiding in Moses’ pen. The “male and female he created them” of Genesis 1:27, he argues, isn’t suggesting that the only two sexes God created are male and female. Rather, just as the “and” of “I am the Alpha and the Omega” includes every letter of the Greek alphabet, the “and” of “male and female” includes every gender expression, from cis males like Adam at one of the gender spectrum to cis females like Eve at the other and everything in between. Of course Moses wanted us to recognize the divinely created legitimacy of the genderqueer and the genderblank. It’s just that those rigid rules of Hebrew poetry prevented him from specifically naming them.
None of This Is New
Granted, Cruz didn’t invent this technique for tricking God into blessing transgenderism. He’s following the same template used by those who tried, with notable success, to steamroll over biblical reservations to same-sex marriage.
Step one: Argue that there’s a difference between lustful, rapey homosexual acts and loving, committed homosexual acts. Step two: argue that every Scriptural prohibition against men having sexual relations with other men is speaking only of lustful, rapey homosexual acts and never of loving, committed homosexual acts. Step three: Insist that any biblical account of men showing concern or love for each other means they’re totally gay and God is totally blessing their super-loving gayness.
No matter what kind of sexual practice you’re trying to justify, the formula works each time. First, invent a new kind of a sexual practice that’s indistinguishable from a preexisting sexual practice. Second, insist that God is not talking about the new sexual practice when he clearly condemns it. Finally, insist that God is praising the new sexual practice when he’s clearly not talking about it.
So, in the near future, when those poor, oppressed mothers who desire to marry their sons need a champion to defend their cause, you’ll know what to do. Step one: Note that we’ve recently discovered that some people are genetically hardwired to express familial love through sexual contact. Step two: Argue that every instance of the Bible forbidding incestuous relationships refers only to icky, unloving incest and not the loving, compassionate forms of incest we just discovered. Step three: Argue that Paul requiring Christians to provide for their relatives obviously includes meeting the sexual needs of those who require affection to be shown in a rather Oedipusian fashion.
Granted, none of this will actually benefit those who struggle with the afflictions this template seeks to justify. When people are legitimately hounded by their consciences, telling them “You’re not sinning” only estranges them from the words that bring true peace: “Your sins are forgiven.” Those who struggle with unnatural sexual desires or inaccurate perceptions of their own sexual identity would best be served by hearing that Jesus has not come to condemn the world but to save the world, by finding strength to face temptation through the sacramental life of the church, and by being welcomed into the arms of those who aren’t afraid to acknowledge the mental health problems and the sexual abuse history that is frequently a root cause of these struggles.
But if you’re more interested in getting Christians out of the way than you are in genuinely helping those in need, if your primary concern is to get those Bible-believing bigots off the road as you pave the next mile of the Sexual Liberation Expressway, these three simple steps will help you lay down the asphalt with ease.