The Evangelical Alliance (EA) has published a new booklet, Gender Recognition: A Guide for Churches to The Gender Recognition Act (UK).
In a comment on their web site about a previous publication, Transsexuality, EA reveals why it is publishing booklets on gender dysphoria. Transsexuality assessed the potential impact of the Gender Recognition Act, especially on third parties and drew attention to the need for churches to understand the implications for religious liberty of the legislation which. It expressed the conservative evangelical fear that the Act could increasingly affect the ways in which such churches operate, not least with regard to marriage.
The new booklet gives a much briefer overview of the subject, and claims to be considerably updated. The Act confers rights on transsexual people not to be discriminated against as a result of their changed status. The conservative fear is that although concessions were gained, churches are not exempt from potential offences incurring substantial fines.
Because in the future tribunals and courts may require evidence of considered and agreed church and organisational policy on transsexuality EA is recommending that churches consider whether it might be appropriate formally to amend constitutions or trust deeds, or perhaps minute agreed policy statements for use in case of need. The guide says that “An outright negative response to a transgendered person is likely to be seen by them as provocative and involving a clear breach of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) … Churches also need constantly to bear in mind the threat of legal action and media exposure.”
The Guide outlines EA’s belief that the GRA is a threat to faith groups and religious liberties; that it destroys marriages through insisting on the divorce of transgendered people; and that it raises the “bizarre prospects” of female fathers and male mothers. They claim that transsexual people are increasingly becoming involved with churches, raising churches anxiety about gender to a high level. What will not be news to supporters of Changing Attitude is that transsexual people have long been involved in churches.
The guide warns that long-established members of a congregation can suddenly emerge as transsexuals and claims that congregations confronted with this change are likely to react with shock, confusion, anger, and some compassion. It says helping such people is a long process, with legal pitfalls and the constant possibility that the transgendered person can revert to a former lifestyle (sic).
The guide maintains the Bible teaches that God created men and women, and it is flying in the face of scripture and the “compelling physical evidence” to say a biologically normal person could change sex. It makes the incorrect claim that transsexuality is “a self-determined, self-diagnosed condition”, and not biologically determined. Patronisingly and wrongly, it concludes: “Christians should support in every possible way the struggles of transgendered people to accept their true birth sex and gender.”