Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist who podcasts and writes about feminist issues. She was recently blocked from Twitter for questioning the validity of transgenderism.
In her response, she notes that “Twitter knowingly permits graphic pornography and death threats on the platform (I have reported countless violent threats, the vast majority of which have gone unaddressed), [but] they won’t allow me to state very basic facts, such as ‘men aren’t women.’”
She adds: “This is hardly an abhorrent thing to say, nor should it be considered ‘hateful’ to ask questions about the notion that people can change sex, or ask for explanations about transgender ideology.”
Here’s her problem: Twitter has changed its rules to ban “misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.” For those (like me) who didn’t know what these offenses are: “misgendering” is using a pronoun that contradicts a person’s perceived gender identity, while “deadnaming” means using a person’s “birth name” rather than the name they now prefer.
For instance, if I send a tweet describing Caitlyn Jenner as “him” rather than “her” or refer to this person as “Bruce,” I risk being blocked by Twitter.
Man disrobes in women’s locker room
In light of Twitter’s decision to enforce LGBTQ ideology, the following story, if posted on my Twitter account, could cause my expulsion.
Ben Shapiro is a popular conservative writer and Orthodox Jew. A fellow congregant told him that many of the women in their congregation exercise at a female-only gym for modesty purposes.
This person, who retains his male biological characteristics, walked into the locker room and proceeded to disrobe. When management told him that he could use a private dressing room, he refused, announcing that he was a woman and could disrobe in front of the other women.
Many of the biological women began canceling their memberships. When management appealed to their supervisors, they were told that requiring the man to use a private dressing room or rejecting his membership would subject the company to litigation and possible boycott. So, the gym will have to lose its chief clientele because a man believes he has the right to disrobe in front of women.
Twitter would object to Shapiro’s and my “misgendering” this person.
The threat of being “deplatformed”
The opposite occurs when society advances a particular ideology to the denigration or exclusion of others. For instance, popular culture is so replete with LGBT characters that we would never imagine they make up only 4.5 percent of the American adult population.
Decades ago, LGBTQ activists started working to normalize their lifestyles. We began to see gay and lesbian characters in movies and on television shows such as Will & Grace. Next, they moved to legalization, launching a strategy that began in Massachusetts and culminated in the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage.
Now they have moved to ideological enforcement. If a person objects to LGBTQ dogma for any reason, that person is branded as intolerant and “homophobic.” He or she can be removed from social media and otherwise deplatformed.
How should Christians respond biblically?
The urgency of courage
Defending unpopular truth requires compassionate courage on our part. We’ll consider Jesus’ interaction with a Samaritan woman (John 4) as our model.
Let’s begin with courage.
In John 4, Jesus talked with an immoral woman at Jacob’s well, a very public place (vv. 6-7). He addressed her sexual immorality (vv. 16-18) and her theological confusion (vv. 19-24), dealing honestly with her sins and wrong beliefs. He risked rejection by her, the Samaritans in the region, and any Jews who learned of his interaction with her (v. 27).
However, he considered her eternal soul worth any cost to himself.
It is far easier to retreat from cultural issues than to engage with them. But the people being deceived by the falsehoods of our day deserve to know the truth.
Conservative commentator David French: “I understand the desire for social peace. Truly I do. The culture wars are exhausting and divisive. But treating every single human being with dignity and respect means not just defending their constitutional liberties and showing them basic human kindness, it also means telling the truth–even when the truth is hard.”
From water to “living water”
As we stand courageously for biblical truth, however, we must do so with gracious compassion.
For instance, we should relate to transgender people and their ideological supporters with empathy rather than antagonism. They have been taught that gender is “fluid” and truth is subjective. They are therefore convinced that they are embracing and defending a basic civil right and that those who oppose them are prejudiced and homophobic.
If we believed what they believe, we would probably see biblical Christians as they do.
Rather than condemn the Samaritan woman for her personal immorality or aberrant theology, Jesus asked her for water and moved their conversation to the “living water” of salvation (v. 10). He kept the focus on her need for a Messiah (v. 26) and led her entire village to himself (vv. 39-42).
In the same way, we should intercede for those with whom we disagree morally. Let’s ask Jesus to give us his heart for them and use our engagement to lead them to himself.
For whom will you pray today?