By Bishop Arthur Serratelli
Two years ago, Rachel Dolezal enjoyed a good reputation as a civil rights activist and a well-respected professor at Eastern Washington University. She was the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter in Spokane. Today, she has a hard time finding a job.
Her tragic change of fortune came suddenly when an interviewer on a local TV station asked her the seemingly innocuous question: “Are you African American?” After all, she looked like she was; and, her work for the NAACP made the very question rather strange. But stranger yet was the truth soon uncovered.
Dolezal was born white. Both her parents were white. At one time, she even filed a lawsuit as a Howard University graduate student. She claimed that the historically black university had discriminated against her because she was a white woman. But, now she identifies herself as black and insists that others must accept this. She claims that race “is not a biological reality. It’s a hierarchical system that was created to leverage power and privilege between different groups of people.” For Dolezal, race is merely a social construct.
In many quarters today, the question of identity has become extremely fluid. Anyone can identify themselves as whatever they wish: white, black, male, female or other. Taking quite literally the theory that one determines one’s own identity, the City of New York allows its residents to choose from 31 different categories to define themselves. In the last two years, 731 New Yorkers have changed the gender on their birth certificate. Of these, forty-one were minors who had their parents’ consent. Today, all that is required to make the change is simply the approval of a licensed medical or mental-health provider.
But not everyone is buying this social engineering of redefining one’s identity. On March 4, 2017, a million and a half Peruvians went on the streets to protest their government’s attempt to force-feed young children the new gender ideology on their children. They firmly believe that the introduction to this type of brainwashing in the schools violates the rights of parents to educate their children.
Ever since the 1970s, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland have been in the forefront of gender identity. They provided funding for the NIKK Nordic Gender Institute, the flagship of the “Gender Theory.” However, in 2012, these countries closed down the institute. They found no solid scientific evidence to back the continued work of this institute.
In the United States, in May of 2016, President Obama issued a directive that schools must allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice. The schools could provide separate facilities on the basis of gender identity. However, at the cost of losing federal funding, public schools could not prohibit transgender students’ access to the facilities of their chosen gender identity.
This ruling forced schools to accept whatever gender identity that the parent or legal guardian wanted for a child. It did not require a medical diagnosis to support the stated gender identity. Ostensibly issued out of concern for a few students who are coping with gender dysphoria, President Obama’s directive effectively swept aside the privacy rights of thousands of other students.
On February 22, 2017, President Trump rescinded the directive. The new ruling rejects the position that not allowing students to use facilities based on their chosen gender identity is discrimination. The new ruling is a return to sanity and common sense. It is a hopeful sign that society can encourage policies and norms that are based on a true anthropology of the human person. When identity merely becomes whatever anyone wants it to be, children are robbed of their chance to mature without confusion.
To be honest, it must be said that the issue of gender identity has gone beyond the limited scope of protecting a vulnerable minority among us. It is, in fact, an aggressive ideology that aims at changing the very notion of human sexuality. In his meeting with the bishops of Poland during World Youth Day, on July 27, 2016, Pope Francis strongly criticized the gender theory. “Today, in schools, they are teaching this to children — to children! — that everyone can choose their gender,” the Holy Father said. “God created man and woman. God created the world this way…and we are doing the opposite.”
Should we be surprised that those who have no place for God have no place for his purpose in creation? Ultimately, a society based on the theory that anyone can determine his racial or gender identity is a modern Tower of Babel. A place of confusion and collapse! At the end of his remarks on gender ideology, Pope Francis courageously labelled an age that promotes these theories with its rightful name. He told the bishops of Poland that “we must think about what Pope Benedict said — ‘It’s the epoch of sin against God the Creator.’”
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