By Rob Slane
What are we to make of a civilization that says there is no difference between male and female—that allows men to use the women’s restroom if they self-identify as female?
In case you missed it, last month’s newsletter featured an article by WORLD magazine founder Joel Belz about a city ordinance in Charlotte, North Carolina, that “by any sensible reading will make sex-specific restrooms illegal.” Since then the North Carolina state legislature responded by passing a law defining the terms “male” and “female” as a person’s “immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.” The public outcry continues as I write this. The governor of New York banned non-essential travel to North Carolina, Bruce Springsteen cancelled a concert in North Carolina, and the NBA is considering whether to move the 2017 All-Star game to another state.
It may seem irrational to us, but this development is the logical next step for our Western civilization, which seems determined to defy our Creator’s design.
Consider that decades of no-fault divorce preceded the moment we suddenly decided that marriage is now so important that we just had to extend the “right” to two men. Or that the average person spends five hours out of every twenty-four watching moving pictures on a box. Or that Americans once had men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin leading them, but now have people of the caliber of … well, I won’t mention their names, you know who they are … vying for rule.
What should we make of a civilization that makes it legal to kill hundreds of thousands of its own citizens each year? How about a civilization where those that support those deaths do so by invoking words like “my choice” and “my right”? And a civilization that, when faced with a barrage of videos exposing the harvesting of baby organs, prosecutes the guy that made the videos, rather than the organ harvesters?
I could go on, but by now you know what I am describing. Hopefully you will have correctly identified it as an asylum, a madhouse of gargantuan proportions where craziness and folly, far from being looked upon as things to be avoided, are celebrated with banners and ribbons and parades and held up as evidence of something called “progress.”
Progress? Bruce Springsteen certainly thinks so. He cancelled the show in North Carolina because he wanted to raise his voice “in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.” That’s right. Correctly identifying an X chromosome as an X chromosome and not a Y chromosome is a mark of backwardness, and forcing bakers to write stuff that directly contradicts their ethical beliefs is a sign of forwardness.
A few years back I wrote a satirical piece for another publication which dealt with what I called “Transkindophobia.” I was trying to get ahead of the curve to anticipate a time when, bored with merely changing genders, someone somewhere would come up with the idea of changing their kind. From man to giraffe, in fact. Not only this, but a new “hate” label would have to be invented for those who called out this madness: Transkindophobia. But things have moved on apace since then, with reality not only catching up with satire but kicking up dust in its face as it sprints on past, so I was only mildly surprised when I read recently of a man who, having first tried to become a woman (emphasis on tried—it’s that irksome Y chromosome again), is now trying to turn himself into a dragon. I’m not sure what chromosomes dragons have—D maybe?—but he’d love to have them. And no, unfortunately I’m not kidding. Google “Eva Tiamat Medusa” if you need convincing and prepare yourself for a shock.
The problem, though, is not so much the odd “transgender dragon,” but rather that what two minutes ago was seen by 99 percent as obvious folly now has the official stamp of approval. “Men are men,” “women are women” is something that every previous generation would—without fail—have readily confirmed. But now men may be women, or 6-year-old girls or even dragons, and this is sold to us like the unearthing of infinite wisdom that has been buried beneath thousands of years of human backwardness and repression.
The Bruce Springsteens and the “progressives” of this world see a new world opening up before them, one where the old certainties are being left behind and we’re all being made new again. Forwards march! But unfortunately what they took to be a new world opening up before them turned out to be a yawning chasm—you know, the one that Wile E. Coyote sees out of the corner of his eye just moments after he thinks he’s finally caught Roadrunner, only to realize he’s heading for the splat!
In case you didn’t know, this is what cultures look like before they die. They proclaim their great and infinite wisdom exactly at that moment of embracing the biggest follies. Yet the arrogance and hubris won’t allow them to see it, and it’s left for the future historians to scratch their beards and wonder how it was possible for that many people to have believed that up and down are interchangeable concepts.
None of this should come as a surprise, however. Henry van Til said that culture is religion externalized, by which he meant that it is the outworking of what people believe and who they worship. And since our culture decided it did not want to retain God in its knowledge, choosing instead to give itself over to the worship of The Self, God gave us over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which ought not be done (Romans 1:28). And so here we are.
Van Til’s comment can be read in such a way as to get us Christians off the hook. The problems are out there with their religion and the culture that they have built, we could say. The mad people are now running the asylum, and since they worship The Self no wonder the culture looks the way it does.
But that won’t do. If we could honestly look across the churches in our civilization to see the robust worship of God, the strong proclamation of the Gospel, and the commitment to living out the Christian life in all areas of life, the theory might stand up. However, though many such churches exist, they are the exception, not the norm. Worship in the West is, by and large, all about me and my experience. The idea that Christianity could have anything to say to all areas of life and the outside culture is something only believed by weird people.
In other words, it isn’t only that the culture we live in is just the externalization of secularism, though it is that. It is also clearly the externalization of a weak, compromised Church.
You don’t buy that? OK, do a little thought experiment. Imagine whether transgenderism and the same-sex mirage could ever have gotten off the ground in Medieval Europe, or in the days of Calvin and Knox, or in in the colonial period of America. Hard to imagine isn’t it, but really not so difficult to imagine in a culture teeming with churches that are—to borrow a fantastic expression once uttered by the mayor of London—Great Supine Protoplasmic Invertebrate Jellies.
To press the point further, the Apostle Paul is pretty clear that the role of men and women in the family and the church are not the same. If the church thinks that gender is interchangeable when it comes to both family and church, why should we think the culture around us is going to stick firmly with the idea of fixed gender categories in the rest of life?
So we are living in a civilization that is close to collapse. And we can’t just blame it on secularism or the worship of The Self. The Church has played a huge part. So now is the hour that the we urgently need to repent. We need to do this before we all take a tumble off Wile E. Coyote’s cliff and find ourselves splat on the rocks below.
Rob Slane lives with his wife and six home-educated children in Salisbury, England. He is the author of The God Reality: A Critique of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, contributes to the Canadian magazine Reformed Perspective, and blogs on cultural issues from a Biblical perspective at www.theblogmire.com.