Every previous rise of a so-called sexual minority came with its mantra “leave us alone,” but not with the transgender revolutionaries. Their demand is not “leave us alone,” but “notice us and pay for our expensive gender-reassignment surgery.” This is something very new.
This is an interesting episode of The Briefing, as usual, but I found the comments with which Mohler closed the first segment noteworthy – they are listed above. I’ve had some conversations recently on the topic, but the above illustrates an important trend in the culture wars which I believe to be at the core of what we’re facing now. Previously, dissenters were asking for space to do what they wanted or to be what they wanted. Now, demands for acknowledgment, approval, and support have been made at the highest levels and of a gratuitous quality. It is worth acknowledging that this now approaches the level of coercion; Mohler is correct in acknowledging that this action attempts to make Californian taxpayers complicit in the mutilation which it has performed upon this man.
To engage in a bit of conservative prognostication, I only see two ways in which the conversation at the federal level can progress regarding the culture wars. The current climate is that the federal government has a strong and consolidated power to define social norms, and it is not shy about wielding that power. We are reaching the point where the cultural consensus in this country is so fractured, diverse, and unintelligible that the government will either pick a particular set of cultural norms to enforce upon everyone (which is the current trend), or it will have to divest itself of a great number of its powers to permit a diversity of expression and belief at a more local level. Secularism, as a governing religious ideology, is entirely incapable of permitting a diversity of beliefs when some of those beliefs actively undercut its fundamental assumptions. I hope that we will trend more toward local culture, away from a national, consolidated culture, but I struggle to believe that is likely to happen, at least on a governmental level.
The invocation of Darth Vader, while silly and only about a step shy of actually screaming “Nazis!!!,” is actually pertinent. Much lip service is given to toleration and diversity on a national level, but in instances such as this one, the hypocrisy of such promises is made clear. What is actually offered is libertinism for those in power and coercion for those who dissent.
On a weird note, to close this point, I actually have a degree of optimism for this issue under Trump. It is painfully obvious Trump does not care, at all, about the culture wars. He is happy to use them for his political purposes, but he genuinely has no moral stake in them either way. If his indifference can actually be leveraged into a divestiture of certain responsibilities of the federal government, we actually might have some significant movement toward promoting a localist culture, rather than a nationalist or globalist culture. I doubt many of the political powers-that-be would be amenable to such a shift, but a man can hope.
What we are finding out from the controversy over legislation to protect religious freedom is this: You will be made to care. There will be no middle ground.Erick Erickson
Since I waxed long on the previous point, I will be brief here. Read this. There isn’t a ton of good commentary here, but it’s a relatively robust presentation of how these issues are playing out. Christianity Today is being entirely too careful in how they’re putting things, but things are coming to a head.