The U.S. Army has implemented new training that requires soldiers to accept the presence of people with the physical traits of the opposite sex in barracks, bathrooms and showers.
The Army is thereby threatening the religious freedom of service members and playing a role in promoting falsehoods about what it means to be male and female, said a policy director for the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).
The mandatory training follows the 2016 repeal of the prohibition on transgender men and women serving openly in the armed forces. Then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter set a deadline of July 1, 2017, for implementing the new policy. New Secretary of Defense James Mattis, however, announced June 30 a six-month delay in enlisting transgender people.
Mattis’ action does not affect current service members, and the Trump administration has shown no indication it intends to reverse the policy established under President Barack Obama, according to “The Weekly,” an email digest of news and opinion published by ERLC.
Religious liberty concern
Andrew Walker, ERLC’s director of policy studies, said the Army leadership’s acquiescence “to the demands of transgender activists is misguided.”
“Most problematically, the Army is complicit in advancing a worldview that tells fundamental distortions about what it means to be a man or a woman,” he said in written comments.
“The Army’s actions overlook the protests of dissenting soldiers uncomfortable with the idea of sharing private spaces with members of the opposite sex, which also pose risks to religious liberty.
“It is unfortunate and lamentable that a venerable institution such as the U.S. Army is now trafficking in radical proposals about human nature,” Walker said. “While Southern Baptists want to show love and extend dignity to those who identify as transgender, the Army is wrong to make soldiering a place for political correctness.”
Details about the mandatory training were reported by James Hasson, a former Army captain and Afghanistan war veteran, according to the July 7 edition of “The Weekly.”
An estimated 15,500 transgender people are serving on active duty or in the guard or reserves, according to The Williams Institute, a pro-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) think tank, “The Weekly” reported.
Affirming God’s design
In 2014 messengers to the SBC’s annual meeting approved a resolution regarding transgender identity that “affirm[ed] God’s good design that gender identity is determined by biological sex and not by one’s self-perception.”
The resolution “regard[ed] our transgender neighbors as image-bearers of Almighty God and therefore condemn[ed] acts of abuse or bullying committed against them.” It also said, “[W]e continue to oppose steadfastly all efforts by any governing official or body to validate transgender identity as morally praiseworthy.”
In addition, the resolution said, “We invite all transgender persons to trust in Christ and to experience renewal in the gospel.” (BP)