A few days ago I stumbled onto a blog by a man named Matt Walsh. After a little research, it seems that Matt is pretty well known around the internet, but this was my first exposure to him. Specifically, I found myself reading an article entitled, “You are born a man or a woman. You don’t get to choose.”
One thing I could do is go through his entire article and list all the problems I have with it. I’m sure there are people who have done that already, but I think most of what I’d want to talk about can be summed up in point I’ll get to in a minute. Instead, I want to apologize. I want to apologize to all those who have been hurt, because regardless of your opinion of the truth that may or may not be contained within Matt’s post, it’s written in a militant, angry tone that seems to go out of its way avoiding compassion, empathy, or understanding. Moreover, I think it does so in the name of some things I believe in. So I’m sorry, because Matt Walsh seems to be trying to speak for Christians, and as a Christian, I want you to know that Matt Walsh doesn’t speak for me or for millions of other Christians around the world.
Now, if Matt Walsh isn’t trying to espouse a Christian message, I owe him an apology, too. To be honest, it’s a little hard to tell. Multiple places on his website say he’s writing about “absolute truths,” but the source of these absolutes is never enumerated. So I have to make assumptions based on the Staurogram tattooed on his arm that I can see in the ad for his speaking tour, and the fact that his article seems to hold Christian social constructs as the gold standard, and the fact that his site is part of the Liberty Alliance consortium, an organization that has Bible verses on its masthead and “Soli Deo Gloria!” prominent in its “About Us” section. All told, I feel pretty safe in my assumption.
Let me share a little interaction about this post I’ve already had on Facebook. And by the way, kudos to Steve Krieshok, wherever he is, for being willing to engage with this civilly.
Tim Falkenberg: It would be nice if he took some time to suss out a rational argument instead of just penning a rant that panders to people who already agree with him, but when an article proceeds from the thesis, “Sure, it should come as no surprise to anyone that progressive ‘gender theory’ is a perverse, morally bankrupt, backwards, maniacal force of destruction,” I guess it’s a little silly to expect the writer to actually engage in a public discussion
Steve Krieshok: Tim, explain to me how the progressive gender theory is rational and deserving of consideration. I’m willing to have a discussion with you…
Tim Falkenberg: Thanks Steve. My main point in quoting this was to highlight the improbability that Matt would allow that he could ever be wrong in his base assumption, i.e that he is holding to a dogma rather than a belief and thus trying to discuss the issue with him is a fruitless exercise. It is possible, for example, to disagree with the idea that “progressive ‘gender theory'” has merit without resorting to the sort of name calling that ensures only one side of the argument will pay attention.
This rhetorical tactic allows Matt to produce what may by some appearances be a reasoned argument, but it also means he doesn’t have to engage with studies in neuroscience and psychology which have identified gender dysphoria as a real physiological phenomenon. In fact, I’ve personally known people who experienced varying degrees of gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria does not necessarily equal transgenderism, so you can still argue that transgenderism is “perverse” or “morally bankrupt,” but I don’t find that argument in this article, and the foregone conclusion that a scientifically verifiable phenomenon necessarily has a certain effect strikes me as arrogant, hostile, and unreasonable.
We can have a public debate about what’s edifying to an individual and to a society. We can even approach it from perspectives which are deeply influenced by religion. What we can’t presume is that any one of us has a perfect understanding.
I can’t remember if I’ve said this on this blog before, but it bears repeating: Some of the best advice I’ve ever received in my entire life is, “Always allow for the possibility that you are wrong.” That doesn’t mean that you don’t hold very strongly to things you believe in, but it does mean that you’re always ready to treat a person as a person.
I honestly can’t tell you what I think about transgenderism. I haven’t spent enough time thinking about the specific issues which relate to transgender identity. That’s probably a personal failing.
What I can tell you is that as I do consider it, I’ll be thinking about what is in a transgender person’s best interests. As a Christian, I believe there is a benevolent God who loves every. Period. Last. Period. Person he’s ever created, and like a perfect parent, he wants the best for each one of us. I’m not going to claim to know God’s will at every turn, or in every detail, but to the best of my ability I will try to help you figure that out and I hope you’ll do the same for me. I know I can use all the help I can get.
So once again, I apologize for Matt Walsh, and for others who seem willing to throw you under the bus for some website hits that are, regrettably, all too easy to mine. Matt Walsh doesn’t speak for me, and it’s time the Christian community went to bat for you, calling out the hate a post like this one is filled with, whether you care anything about Christianity or not.