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I notice that the Wall Street Journal says the Trump administration is planning to announce new exemptions for health-care practitioners who have “religious objections to performing procedures such as gender-reassignment or abortions”. The critics say this is rolling back recent progress on anti-discrimination.
Not at all!
It is pretty obvious that no matter which way the law is stated and enforced on these subjects, someone’s rights will be infringed. This is a legal battle between two sets of religious beliefs.
On the one hand there is the very large number of people who believe that human life is not just a highly evolved phenomenon, but is the sacred result of a personal creator who made personal beings in his image—and that they have full personal potential and incumbent rights from conception. On the other hand, there are those who believe that human life is valuable, but not sacred and that the unborn child is really only a collection of tissue in the womb and should not have human rights. Those are religious beliefs—actually ones which the evidence does not support.
The issue of gender-reassignment usually divides opinion along the same lines. Those who believe there is a creator who made us male and female are usually uneasy about gender reassignment. That is not because of bigotry, but because the chromosomal picture is fixed and perfectly clear in more than 2449 cases out of 2500 babies born.
If there is some dissonance between a person’s biological identity and their emotional identity, the emotions are more readily influenced towards change than the chromosomes which are fixed.
(It should not be necessary to point out that a person’s body almost always conforms to their chromosomes.) So, logically, we should help a person change their perception of themselves rather than start on a slow and very painful process of changing the appearance of the sexual parts of their body. We should also keep in mind that the hormonal and surgical process can never create as well as the normal process of procreation. It is no wonder that a growing number of trans-sexual people are asking to change back to their original gender.
Given all this, is it discriminatory to want the law to protect logical and defensible beliefs?
The law has to go one way or the other. For those of us who hold the logical belief that only an infinitely wise personal creator could originate life as we know it, here is a little advice: the primary commandment from our creator is that we should love him and love one another. If we hold firmly, unshakeably to our beliefs, but express them in loving kindness, people who have the other belief will not be as likely to feel that this is about discrimination. Remember, the main thing Jesus was scathing about was religious harshness and legalism.