Not that long ago, culturally speaking, someone known throughout the world for being neighborly said some things that most likely would have gotten him fired today. And believe it or not, he said these things on public television!
Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood often performed songs he wrote to address issues that confused children or caused them to struggle. One of these songs, “Everybody’s Fancy,” was featured in numerous episodes of his hit show from 1968 to 1991. He hoped to help children love and value their bodies and to respect other children, too. Rogers was, of course, completely unaware of the modern controversies over LGBTQ identities that would soon dominate the culture, but, in several lines of the song, he expressed truths that are no longer permitted to be said out loud.
Since the 1990s, fatherlessness has soared while median earnings for men have declined. Boys represent 70% of all D’s and F’s given out at school and are twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. They spend time in juvenile detention at over five times the rate of girls. There will be, on average, two women who graduate college for every male, over the next five years. As NYU marketing professor Scott Galloway mentioned recently on Bill Maher’s show Real Time, “The most unstable nations in the world have one thing in common. They have too many lonely, broke [men].” And yet that’s exactly the type of person modern culture is producing.
Our culture has long struggled with the realities of sexual difference, or “gender.” While first- and second-wave feminism generally asserted that women were equal in value to men, transgenderism now asserts that women are interchangeable with men. Notice the underlying assumption: in order for men and women to have equal value, they have to be the same thing. Yielding to this fallacy has been a disaster, not just for the concept of gender, but also for the concept of human dignity. It’s as if many think there’s not enough of it to go around.
If this leaked draft opinion overturning Roe is indeed reflective of what the final decision will be, then we must do two things. First, we must thank God that this decades-long legal nightmare is over. Our efforts to protect babies and care for vulnerable women will no longer be pre-empted by an evil masquerading as an invented “right.” Second, the Court has done its job. It cannot do our job. State legislatures now have very important jobs to do, but they cannot do the jobs that we are called to: to speak the truth in love and to create a culture of life and care.
The power to name and be named is, in Scripture, uniquely granted to image bearers. Scripture is full of examples of naming children, family members, friends, lovers, enemies, and self. Today, we approach language, particularly names and pronouns, with the assumption that we, and we alone, have a right to define our own reality. This ignores how much of the world is given to us, including the relationships into which we are born and that make up much of who we will become. Identity, in other words, is not “constructed.” It is, at least to a significant degree, received. For the vast majority of people, a name is the second gift their parents will ever give them, second only to life itself.
The faithfulness that individual Christians demonstrate in their everyday lives makes a compelling case that the Christian worldview is both true and good. The Colson Center’s mission is to help Christians live faithfully to what is true and good, aligning both their personal convictions and public lives with revealed truth. It is a gift and grace of God to hear from Christians who’ve been served and helped by a Breakpoint commentary or another Colson Center ministry.
Cultural artifacts are particularly effective in making ideas seem normal. Huge advertisements at cosmetics stores like Sephora portray young men dressed provocatively in women’s clothing and covered in makeup. Boarding most Delta flights requires walking past an image of a same-sex couple cuddled up in premium economy.
Without using a single word, cultural artifacts can communicate ideas not merely about what counts as normal behavior but about what it means to be human. In essence, Sephora is telling our sons and daughters that “the way we know a boy is a girl is that he is dressed provocatively and covered in makeup.” What message does that send if not to be a woman is to be like this?
Making prison safer for everyone, including people who identify as transgender, is a goal worthy of any civilized society, one of the great causes in the life and ministry of Chuck Colson, and grounded only in Christian history. At the same time, the safety of some should never come at the expense of others, especially the most vulnerable. Just yesterday, that was common sense.
No matter our ideals, reality remains. Biology is not a social construct. Rather, it is hardwired into reality. Reality does not disappear because some alter their appearance or claim new pronouns, nor does the tendency of lawless men to victimize women change because we’ve committed ourselves to made-up new virtues such as “inclusion.” This should be especially obvious.