C of E and CONSULTATION,
I wonder if Bishop Julian Henderson ever found the time or took the trouble to consult James Caspian, as he oversaw the preparation of the new ‘Pastoral Guidelines’ that the Church of England has released to be incorporated into the latest editions of the Church’s baptismal liturgy?
We have a list of four clergy trans activists whom he did consult, but Mr Caspian isn’t among them.
That’s a shame. Because James Caspian was a well qualified and well respected psychotherapist who had spent some considerable period of his life helping people who suffered from gender dysphoria, transition from one gender to another. He too was an activist. But he had discovered that the unfettered support of the trans project may be doing more harm than good.
Caspian was also a trustee of the Beaumont Trust, a charity that provides education about and support to transgender, transsexual and cross-dressing people. In an encounter with a surgeon who performed the gender reassignment operations, he suddenly found that a surprising and alarming proportion of people who had undergone hormonal and surgical re-assignment, deeply regretted it.
CENSORSHIP AND VIOLENCE
That was when the issue became more than a mater of choice, and disclosed itself as a catalyst for censorship and violence. Why that should be requires some thought and reflection. Nowhere does the Church of England appear to have asked itself why there even should be a dark underbelly of censorship lying under this issue. But let’s look at the censorship first. The violence follows all too quickly.
James Caspian enrolled at Bath Spa University to engage in some hard statistical research about these rising levels of ‘trans-regret’; that is until the university having accepted his academic proposal, did a volte face and threw him out.
“The fundamental reason given was that it might cause criticism of the research on social media, and criticism of the research would be criticism of the university. They also added it’s better not to offend people,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.”
But this was the tip of an iceberg of censorship and intimidation.
Maria Machlachlan, a 60 year old woman was standing at Speakers’ Corner waiting to be told the location of a meeting critically exploring the Government’s new Gender Recognition Act. She was beaten up by trans thugs.
‘Tara Wolf” originally a man, but now transitioned was later arrested and admitted posting on Facebook ahead of the event: “I wanna f*** up some terfs (‘trans-exclusionary radical feminists’). They’re no better than fash (fascists).”
The truth about gender dysphoria and trans regret is silenced by censorship on the one hand and violence on the other. The media are terrified of telling the truth.
FIGURES AND IDEOLOGY
Before the media helped give momentum to this new stage of the progressive assault on the given-ness of gender identity, the mental illness of gender dysphoria was found in a tiny percentage of the population estimated at 0.07%.
The wider context for this cultural bandwagon is the assault on categories of gender and sexual expression by progressive politics. Many attribute the energy to cultural Marxism, but be that as it may, it’s first target is orthodox Christianity (and Judaism.) Its ambitions go further than that and stretch as far as destroying the Judaeo Christian categories of human identity and the foundations our society rests on.
Again, it seems odd that the Church of England theologians and managers haven’t interrogated a project that seeks to locate human self-understanding within the spectrum of sexual appetite and sexualised identity; and at the very least question whether it is compatible with the vision of human identity forged by the teaching of Jesus in the Gospels.
This great seismic shift of social anthropology is not taking place in a vacuum however. As it happens the shift in the moorings that human identity is fastened to, is taking place just at the moment when the existential glue holding our childrens’ lives together is being weakened.
There are few certainties in the narcissistic ideologically fluid culture our children grow up in, but their biology was one of the few remaining ones. But that too is under pressure. And to what effect? The enormous increase in anxiety and discomfort about gender amongst the young.
In 2016, the Tavistock and Portman Foundation Trust, the only clinic
In England that offers help to minors who found their mental map at odds with the reality of their biological gender, reported an increase of 42% in the previous 12 months. The year before the increase had been 104%.
All this takes place in the context where the mental health of our children across society has been found to be rapidly deteriorating. The Guardian reported that
“One in eight people aged under 19 in England have a mental health disorder, according to the first official statistics to be published for 13 years.
The figures, based on a survey of 9,117 children and young people, showed the incidence of disorders rose to one in six for people aged 17 to 19.
Between 17 and 19 almost one in four girls were the victims of a mental disorder, and half of those said they had self-harmed or attempted suicide.”
If the Church had any real concern for the welfare of children growing up in a highly pressurised world it would notice that the best social outcomes for children happen ‘coincidentally’ to combine exactly with what the Church has always taught; that children flourish best brought up in a family comprising of a mother and father who live together in committed mutuality. Of all times in all cultures, ours needs most urgently to be offered the Christian antidote to personal and social disorder.
Instead, the Church of England is inexorably putting its weight behind gay marriage, trans rights and the hubris of a fragile narcissistic culture that is energetically hostile to the person of Christ and the medicine of the Gospels.
Perhaps one of the saddest elements of this is abandonment of the rich theology of renewed personhood that Christianity offers. “Therefore, when anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation, The old has passed away the new has come” (2 Cor. 5.17).
There were plenty of identity politics in the ancient world. It was sharply divided between Greeks and the rest, Romans and the rest, Jews and the rest, slave owners and the rest, men versus women, everyone against the Jews, slaves against their owners. In a text that has been hugely misused, St Paul points to a new Christian identity where these identities and their antipathies are dissolved:
“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3.27)
We use different categories St Paul explained:
“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.” (2 Cor 5.16)
TRANSFORMATION OR AFFIRMATION?
At this point identity politics are what Paul dismisses as ‘the flesh’. Theologically the two ways are expressed through the lens of baptism. If the individual is baptised they are changed. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Gal 3.27)
But the Church of England does not baptise to change but to affirm. It is trying to achieve the impossible by ‘baptising’ secular, anti-Christian culture into Christ. This is a not just a contradiction of categories, but displays a frightening abandonment of the basic categories of the faith.
In the face of unremitting secular propaganda it can’t be said often enough that there cannot be any such thing as a ‘gay’ Christian. Because a Christian, by definition, cannot have any other adjective that Christ Himself. We do not say the old has gone, the new has come, and then define ourselves by the old. We don’t accept and celebrate and deepen our life in Christ by immersing ourselves into the identities of sub and anti-Christian anthropologies and appetites. No other value system gets to subvert and distort the essential category of Christian identity. For what possible reason can the Church of England justify its wholesale surrender to the homosexualisation of personhood and identity?
We do not recognise ‘white’Christians, ‘old’ Christians, ‘straight’ Christians, ‘Keynsian’ Christians, ‘eco’ Christians, ‘intelligent’ Christians, ‘schizophrenic’ Christians. Why ‘gay”? Why ‘trans’? unless it signifies a wholesale surrender to the alternative anti-Christian world view of progressive politics and a commitment to the neo-Marxist project of power redistribution.
There is plenty of scope for affirmation in the Christian life, but only for those elements of our struggle that we are invited to affirm. In the Christian hierarchy of ethics some things need affirming and some need repudiating. To confuse sin with virtue, or affirmation with repudiation suggest an inability to tell the difference between good and evil, which is about the most serious flaw a church could suffer from.
THE PERVERSION OF BAPTISM
Baptism is the immersion into the life, forgiveness and Spirit of Christ. The person is remade and begins the process of transformation in the Holy Spirit.
But the Church of England has turned the rite on its head. A victim of this dreadful conflict between body and mind, the transgendered person re-invents their identity, manipulates the body and then asks the Church to affirm its choices and priorities. But baptism is a means of healing not repressing. It is there for us to be changed, not to use God to affirm our self-imposed changes.
Frighteningly, it plays into one of the deepest madnesses of progressive culture
Promoted by both third-wave feminism and existentially indulgent media, it pushes the idea that what you want reality to be in your head takes priority over everything else. Inner imagination of wishful thinking can or must be the means of changing reality beyond your head and imagination. It is one of the most fragile and deceptive ideas promoted by our “you can be whatever you want to be” narcissism. It is unreal and verges on the mentally chaotic, which is very much the place where victims of gender dysphoria find themselves. Sympathy support and kindness are all due to victims of this profoundly debilitating state of internal conflict. But not the perversion and inversion of the categories of the faith.
MUTILATION AND UNKINDNESS.
On the surface the Church of England’s new guidelines about supporting gender transitioning appear warm and affirming of personal choice. But in reality they conceal a dark secret that progressive protagonists do all they can to hide. The scale of ‘trans regret’ is serious, enormous and unacknowledged. You hurt people by not telling the truth. You betray people by allowing the truth to be censored and suppressed.
Under the guise of pastoral concern the C of E bishops have sanctioned the promotion of mental illness made cruelly irreversible by genital mutilation and hormonal bombardment. These are circumstances where to appear to be kind the church has in fact been cruel; and it has mixed cruelty with pastoral and theological incompetence; a tragic combination for a failing church that once knew better.
In a society where children once again bear the brunt of adults’ fantasies and fears, and mental illness and distress is at all time high; in a context where the Gospels offer stability, identity, hope and transformation, perverse progressive culture pushes instability, fear, violence and disintegration.
And once again, just as the children bought from surrogate parents to prop up homosexual ‘marital’ self-image, the most vulnerable in our society pay the highest price. The children, the most vulnerable bear the brunt of uncertainty and dismantling of biological identity and safety. How is this being faithful to Christ and the Gospel?
‘Suffer the little children” has developed another dark and rather terrible meaning in the context of transgenderism and identity politics. It follows the betrayal of the reality, the vulnerable and the Gospel by politically correct and weak bishops, who have surrendered to the secular and preferred the praise of people to fidelity to Faith.