Every Saturday, the Washington Post Metro section devotes a story to religion news...and quite often, it’s pushing the liberal agenda. That’s certainly true for May 28. The Post ran a Religion News Service dispatch from Jesse James DeConto celebrating the new trend of transgenders entering divinity schools to become ministers.
In the paper, the headline was “Wrestling with questions of identity: A growing number of transgender students seek answers in divinity schools.” Online, it was “A transgender divinity student finds peace as a man.”
As the headline might suggest, this was just another propagandistic dispatch that could only celebrate this trend, and allows no criticism or dissent from conservative divinity school students or professors. There is the side opening doors to progress, and the side that “didn’t honor that.”
Transgender divinity school graduates are seeing some ministry doors open to them. The Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and many Presbyterian churches have affirmed LGBT clergy. Most evangelical churches and the Southern Baptist Convention have not.
There is no room for the idea that God is the one doing the "assigning" at birth, and that rejecting that gender is rejecting God.The story began by celebrating “Adam” Plant, newly male, graduating from the divinity school at Wake Forest, complete with his own biographical video:
Three years ago when he began his studies, Adam was a North Carolina woman with a desire to plumb the intersection of faith and sexuality. By the time of the graduation ceremony, Plant had found acceptance and peace as a man.
"Coming out to myself was, I think, one of the hardest things I ever did," he said. "I think I was most afraid of being wrong. What if I am crazy? What if this is wrong?"
As he explains in a video shown during graduation: "Those voices no longer rule my head. Now I hear one clear voice ring out: You are whole. You are beautiful. You are loved."
Seminary is often a place where students come to terms with their identities, and gender is among them. A small but growing number of transgender students seek out divinity school precisely because it is a place where they can wrestle with questions about their place and purpose in the universe.
Conservatives are the ones that require colleges to create new courses for those who are “slow to recognize” gender fluidity.
[John] Senior, assistant teaching professor of ethics and society, said the need to think theologically about the pressing issues of the day pushed Wake Forest to require courses addressing religious pluralism, race and class, but also gender and sexuality.
Wake Forest students come from lots of different backgrounds, and some of them were slow to recognize their fellow students’ gender transitions.
“Some students came from traditions that didn’t honor that as a way of being in the world,” Senior said. “Even though they were hard moments, I think they were important for not just the students involved but also for Adam and Liam [Hooper, the first trans-man graduate] as well.”
Indeed, the Wake Forest crowd insists on a political correctness every bit as fierce in the divinity school as in anyother school it operates. From its language code:
Embody hospitality: The School of Divinity seeks to cultivate a community of learners that celebrates diverse religious, racial, ethnic, cultural, gender, and sexual identities and that fosters accessibility for all its members.
That includes calling God the Father....and the Mother:
Writers and speakers are encouraged to seek balance when using pronouns to refer to God, for example, alternating between gendered pronouns....
Hospitable language acknowledges and affirms the value of all creation and the humanity of all people. While language about God is a theological choice, language about people needs to reflect standard grammatical practices of inclusivity.
PS: In fact, this same Adam Plant of Wake Forest had an “Acts of Faith” op-ed against North Carolina's bathroom law in the Post on March 31 where “he” was just like Peter, Paul, and Abraham in the Bible:
I believe that we are all on a journey of becoming – a journey to find our true name. For many of our Biblical forebears, that name is different from the name we have been called our entire lives. Abram and Sarai were on a journey to become our patriarch and matriarch Abraham and Sarah. Jacob became Israel once he wrestled with God. In the New Testament, Simon made a journey to become Peter, and Saul to become Paul.
Plant even worked in God the She:
Those fragile pieces of my heart which I feared had crumbled to dust, leaving me as empty as I felt, were being brought to life again by a God I had never felt was this real or this close until She breathed life into a body that I never thought was mine.