‘An Icon of the Trinity’: Fighting Transgenderism for the Fate of the Domestic Church
This attack on the traditional family and the mockery of it is outlined in a recent book by Bursch that delves deeply into his own experience inside the courtroom while assessing this ongoing war wrought on by secular culture.
In 2015, attorney John Bursch was arguing inside the Supreme Court fighting to keep traditional marriage the law of the land. However, with the fifth vote going to Justice Anthony Kennedy “for a right to marriage that doesn’t exist anywhere in the Constitution,” Bursch and much of the mainstream media knew that marriage was about to change drastically — so drastically that it didn’t take long for the transgender movement to spring into action.
The White House was drenched in the colors of “pride” the night Obergefell v. Hodges was decided. And that was just the beginning.
“They immediately pivoted then to the T in the LGBT,” Bursch recollected to the Register, saying, “Within a matter of weeks, Bruce Jenner was on the cover of magazines coming out as Caitlyn Jenner. I Am Jazz, a very popular cable and book series, was put into elementary schools, involving a young boy who identified as a girl and was encouraged by his parents to make that transition; those were immediately the front-page news, and the thing hasn’t really stopped since.”
The events of 2015 are even more aggressive today. In the last week alone, several media outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and even the New York Post are writing stories touting the joys and trials of polyamory, recounting "the highs and lows of juggling an open marriage with work and child care."
This attack on the traditional family and the mockery of it is outlined in a recent book by Bursch that delves deeply into his own experience inside the courtroom and assessing this ongoing war wrought on by secular culture.
Loving God’s Children: The Church and Gender Ideology fleshes out the dangers of transgender ideology; offering scripturally sound advice on what parents can do today to protect their children from this all-out assault on the family unit, the core that keeps society growing and thriving. Bursch spoke with the Register about his book and where we go from here.
What are you most concerned about regarding transgender ideology?
I’m most concerned about the harm to children. One of the things that you’ll often hear from those who support gender ideology is that it’s better to have a living daughter than a dead son or something like that. And that’s really just a lie because the best evidence that we have shows that when kids get on puberty blockers, to stop them from going through puberty so that they can decide what their gender is, that causes an increase in mental-health harms. And if you go all the way through, through the puberty blockers, to cross-sex hormones, and then eventually even a surgery, that doesn’t change your body; every cell in your body is coded as male or female.
Unsurprisingly, the best research studies that we have, long-term studies following large groups of people in Europe, they show that when adults go through those transitions, it results in higher suicide rates, higher incidence of mental-health problems, as well as brain issues, bone-density problems, heart problems, permanent loss of fertility, permanent loss of sexual function, and, in many cases, a reduced life expectancy by as much as half.
And so this ideology, which is being pressed so strongly in our schools and by our government, and in society writ large, through Hollywood and the media, is hurting the very kids that it’s designed to help. And we shouldn’t be surprised about that because gender dysphoria is the only mental-health dysphoria where society encourages kids to align their bodies with their minds, rather than their minds with their bodies, as we would do with anorexia or body dysmorphia. So that’s really what’s disturbing about this movement.
We now see parents even being villified in states like California for standing up for their children, especially with the grave consequences of transitioning. How have we come this far?
You first saw this with the same-sex marriage movement, culminating in Obergefell, where you couldn’t simply accept God’s plan for marriage between one man and one woman, which is beautiful, that domestic church; the family is an icon of the Trinity; that, you know, there’s so much beauty in that and the ability of the race to propagate itself. But people took that into their own hands.
Pope Francis has recognized that if we reject that gift of the body, that we reject our Creator, and by rejecting that gift of the body, we can’t enter into authentic relationships with other people, you know, so that’s very difficult. But instead, people say, “Well, no; this body is mine. I can do with it whatever I want. And if that means how I dress and you know, even as far as surgery, that’s all okay because I’m the one in charge, and I’m going to take control away from God.”
And in this case, the medical consequences to people who transition are stark. And we need to have compassion and empathy for individuals who are suffering from gender dysphoria. Yes, they have suicide rates that are much higher than the general population. But the way to address that is through care and counseling, addressing the underlying issues that cause the dysphoria; for example, 60% of those with gender dysphoria suffered some kind of child sexual abuse, and all kinds of other considerations as well.
Your book not only points to Catholic teaching on the human dignity of each person and on the the humanity of each person; it also points to what objective truth really is. Looking at the secular landscape, specifically in public schools, this concept is lost these days.
Pope Benedict was asked once what the greatest problem facing the world was today. And he didn’t say abortion; he didn’t say loss of belief in the True Presence. He didn’t say lack of Mass attendance. He said moral relativism, because if you can’t wrap your arms around the idea that there is an objective truth, and that it can be discerned through our will and through logic, then you can’t even have discussions about important moral issues like transgender ideology, like abortion, because everything is just a matter of an opinion. And the problem with that is it tends to cause parents especially to then give in to their kid’s desires, because there is no objective truth to ground them, because their child wants this, maybe even demands this, and says that they’ll commit suicide if they don’t get a transition and affirmation. And the parents think, “Well, if I love them, I have to do this.” But parents also understand that there is an objective truth and that to truly love someone is to will the best for them, not to give into their wants and desires.
African Archbishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya of Cameroon told the Register recently: “In Africa, we understand marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and anything short of that is witchcraft.” But the Western world seems to be all-in when it comes to same-sex relationships.
When you’re concerned about where your next meal is coming from, or whether you’re going to be attacked by a neighboring warring nation, you don’t see people pursuing same-sex marriage or trying to modify their body or identifying as the opposite sex or something between the sexes or no sex at all. You’re more grounded in those very difficult problems that confront you. But in the prosperous Western Europe, in the United States, we don’t have to worry about where the next meal comes from. Generally, we’re not worried about being attacked in our homes. And so people tend to go off on on some of these other tracks.
But the Church teaching on these things is so crystal clear. Pope Francis has talked repeatedly about how sad it is that we’re teaching kids in schools to deny their God-given natal sex. And if we think about the two great commandments, love of God and love of neighbor, both of those commandments are violated when we pursue a gender ideology that is at odds with God’s plan for the human body.
We really are just living in a subversion of truth in culture. And now the medical profession has really jumped on the bandwagon. We’ve heard from so many detransitioners, those that lament and regret their choices; we think of Chloe Cole. And your book wades into how the idea of accepting those living in this confusion is only harmful. How do we engage with those on the other side of this issue?
Well, definitely the story of detransitioners is a helpful one, and I devote a whole chapter to that in the book. And their stories are really heart-wrenching. For those who don’t know what a detransitioner is, it's someone who transitions to the opposite sex or a different sex than their natal sex, realizes that that was a mistake, and then it was harming them, and so they transitioned back and now they identify with their natal sex again. And their stories are horrific; stories of women who aren’t able to breastfeed their babies because they had their breasts removed in a surgery when they were only teenagers and didn’t know any better; other individuals who took the cross-sex hormones and even the surgery and can’t get their bodies back anymore. And the thing that you hear about from them the most is: “Why didn’t anyone tell me? Why didn’t anyone tell me that there might have been other mental-health issues that were driving my dysphoria and that I could have worked on those through counseling? Why didn’t anyone tell me that there were alternatives to surgery? Why didn’t anyone tell me about this research from Europe with these long-term studies that document the harm to people who go through those transitions?”
And so my hope in the book is to really cover all of this, the theology, the science, where culture is taking us in a really simple way, so you don’t need a theology degree; you don’t need a medical degree; you don’t need a law degree. So that when you confront this situation in your family, your extended family, with a neighbor or a close friend, someone at work, you can talk to them winsomely and truthfully about these issues and try to prevent those harms.
- john bursch
- alliance defending freedom
- obergefell v. hodges
- same-sex blessings
- 'gender ideology'
- "lgbt rights'