It is not just gay and lesbian people that are sinners in need of a cure according to the Evangelical Alliance – the extremist Christian group who boast Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb as one of the council members of their voluntary sector offshoot in Wales. Transgender people are also targetted by the organisation.
In a report published in 2000 the group say they oppose the use of surgery as treatment for gender dysphoria and insist that an ‘authentic’ sex change is both impossible and incompatible with God’s will. Mirroring their attitude towards lesbian and gay people, the Alliance say ‘transsexuals’ should be welcomed into the church, but that they ‘hope and anticipate’ that transgender Christians will accept the need to ‘re-orientate their lifestyle with God’s teachings’. In return the church should offer ongoing care following ‘gender re-orientation’.
The report also endorses discrimination against transgender people in the workplace, claiming that in principle they oppose this, but in practice some circumstances may make the continuing position of a transsexual ‘extremely difficult’ whether or not they were transitioning.
A later report on transsexuality was published by the Evangelical Alliance in 2006, in association with Parakaleo Ministeries. This report is no longer available online, but a quote discussing Caitlin Jenner from Parakaleo ‘s website gives a hint of what to expect: “The sick national conspiracy to pretend that Bruce Jenner is a woman because he is mentally confused, has surgically mutilated his male body, and received plastic reconstruction surgery to give him a not entirely successful appearance as a woman, to the fanfare of the twisted leftwing elite.” This is compassion, evangelical style.
More recently the Alliance published a glowing review of a book by Christian psychologist Mark Yarhouse discussing church responses to transsexuality. Yarhouse believes one way of looking at gender dysphoria is as a “disability resulting from living in a fallen world”. In a somewhat garbled rant he seems to say that cross gender identitity compromises the “sacred integrity of maleness or femaleness implicit in the body” and calls for transsexual people to be drawn into the ‘transformative’ power of Jesus Christ.
Yarhouse believes that through a “combination of holistic therapy and professional psychotherapy” those who are transgender will “accept their true selves as created by God”. He calls for compassion during this process, saying if a transsexual person shares their name with him, then he will use it along with any desired pronouns, as an act of respect.
This is a bit much for the Evangelical Alliance who comment that some Christians might be nervous Yarhouse is making “too many concessions towards colluding with illusion and deception.” They agree with the general argument though which is that transsexual people should be welcomed into the church and then cured. Or in their words churches should point transsexuals to “the transformative work of Jesus Christ who created each individual and knows them from the moment of conception and is able to lead them to acceptance rather than rejection of their true selves – body, soul and spirit.”
The review of Yarhouse’s book was written by Don Horrocks who also wrote the Evangelical Alliance’s Transexuality report in 2000. Horrocks was Head of Public Affairs at the Evangelical Alliance until retiring recently. Stephen Crabb sits on the Council of Reference of GWEINI, the voluntary sector offshoot controlled by the Evangelical Alliance. It is inconceivable that he was unaware of the views of this organisation – they never shut up about LGBT people. It was only once he got a top job, and decided he wanted to be Tory leader that he had a sudden conversion to LGBT equality. He has never condemned his evangelical colleagues. Were a senior minister linked to a group that promoted extremist racial or religious hatred then they would be gone from government office in seconds. Crabb however has shrugged this off like it is nothing. That says everything you need to know abut the true beliefs of not just Crabb, but also the party he seeks to lead.
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