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Like Jumping off a Building: Gender and Moral Order

In his book, The Right Questions, former Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson tells of a liberal professor at a very politically correct university. The professor and his wife considered themselves “feminists against homophobia,” and were quite willing to apply their views to their own family.

Had their son told them he was gay, they would have eagerly affirmed him. But they were shocked at what their son actually did tell them: That he was transgendered.

What did this mean? As Johnson recalls in his book, the son answered: “It means I’m a girl. I want to wear dresses and makeup and challenge the whole patriarchal, bourgeois idea of gender.”

The parents went into a panic because that very evening they were expecting prominent dinner guests, who “might think their son was making a fool of himself and his parents,” Johnson writes.

To the parents’ relief, their son dressed normally. But after dinner, the son explained that he had picked up the concept of transgender from the same books his dad assigned to his students.

It’s a great story about how even the most outspoken advocates of political correctness have great difficulty living with the conclusions of their own teachings. In this case, it’s the teaching that the homosexual or transgendered lifestyle is morally and socially equivalent to a heterosexual lifestyle. If that were truly the case, certainly the esteemed professor and his wife would have had no qualms about their son’s dinner attire. But they did.

Perhaps that is because deep down, most people recognize there is a moral order to the universe -- much as there is a physical order. As Calvin Seminary President Cornelius Plantinga has written, “Wisdom in Scripture is, broadly speaking, the knowledge of God’s world and the knack of fitting oneself into it.” In other words, to be wise is to know reality -- physical and moral -- and to live according to that reality.

It’s the reason sane people don’t jump off a 10-story building. They realize that doing so would be to ignore the law of gravity and risk catastrophe. Well, in the very same way, when we violate the moral laws of the universe, we are in for a world of hurt.

And, I should add, the moral order of the universe is tied to the physical order. God made men and women in a complementary way for their mutual benefit and joy and for the propagation and nurture of the human race. To look at the human body and think otherwise is, well, irrational.

I’ve been talking this week about Dr. Joseph Nicolosi’s book A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality. Nicolosi -- who has been roundly and fiercely criticized by the homosexual community -- believes that homosexuality and other gender disorders can largely be traced to environmental factors—and they can sometimes be overcome. If you know children struggling with their gender identity, I urge you to read Dr. Nicolosi’s book.

As Christians we must never be self-righteous, but we ought to be reaching out lovingly to those who are tempted by the homosexual or transgendered lifestyle. They, after all, are made in God’s image just as we are. Treat them as you would anyone ensnared in behavior that is harmful to them.

Because we, of all people, find true happiness not by following our appetites, but by living the way God designed and intended us to live.

This article published on June 3, 2011. Chuck Colson's daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. 

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