Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Nashville Statement-Poorly Titled AND Worded

The week before Labor Day, the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (you need a council to discuss that like the canon of Christian scriptures nearly 2 millennia ago?) released what they called the Nashville Statement, codifying their views of sexuality and gender and how everyone should conform to their particular view of Christianity and “Godly” morals as relates to them.

The title is odd for a few reason: 1, they’re not headquartered in Nashville, it’s out of Louisville, Kentucky. And the last statement they released, reflecting a somewhat similar complementarian view of male and female, was out of Danvers, Massachusetts.

Weird how they chose Nashville as the point for this new statement, but it was because they convened at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. So it could’ve just as easily been the Atlanta Statement, unless they often go to Nashville to talk about how their religious liberty is “at risk”.

The group is known for their reactionary views, the Danvers Statement their first protest against “revolutionary” ideas like women not being relegated to submissive roles and expectations about how they ought to live their lives. They haven’t changed much, except that they’re not primarily against feminism now, but gay and transgender people. In modern times, it’s become less acceptable to reduce women to servants in one manner when it comes to worshipping God.

So I’ll be doing a point by point analysis of sorts on this 14 part thing, including the preamble for 15 aspects total.


First off, the Preamble, which is really just complaining that the world is changing, even though that’s a core tenet of Christian practice: believers are meant to stand out from the world, even as they are involved within it. Put another way: Christians are supposed to feel persecuted and be disparaged for their beliefs because, in a sort of pariah complex to rationalize it all, they must be in the right when people point out the inconsistencies or disbelieve in general.

Cognitive dissonance aside, the gist is that anything apart from God’s “plan”; which they apparently think they know fully in spite of God being a perfect entity, which even the Bible is arguably only a portion of its complete nature, seen through a glass darkly; is making us less good as a society at large.

If anything, the evidence suggests the opposite: we’re physically healthier than before in many respects, even if our psychological health is questionable for a number of non religious factors, such as socioeconomic pressures and unrealistic societal expectations. Obviously, with a focus on manhood and womanhood, the group is trying to spin any nontraditional sexuality or gender expression as the major threat to Christianity without considering other factors as to why people feel alienated by Christian groups, so we’ll just chalk this up to the echo chamber of the Southern Baptist Convention reinforcing their own ideas

Article 1

The 1st article affirms that marriage is covenantal, sexual, procreative and a lifelong union designed by God. And by association, anything homosexual, polygamous or polyamorous is against that design. They also emphasize that they believe marriage is not a purely human contract, even though anthropology suggests that marriage was not primarily religious in nature as economic, bringing families together for general benefits to their social group at large

Today we have an arguably better society where people can elect to get married or not in terms of both the civil contract for tax benefits/etc and the spiritual union that represents an important moment in one’s religious worldview as a metaphor for worship of their deity, etc.

Marriage is indeed sexual and lifelong, I won’t contest that. Physical desire is a part of it, especially in the beginning, though it shouldn’t become the primary aspect, especially when intimacy is as much about being open with your feelings as how you express love physically with your spouse.

Covenantal is, I’m almost certain, meant to reflect the Christian idea that marriage is likened to the church marrying itself to Jesus as the core aspect for God’s grace and salvation. I’d meet them in the middle and say that marriage should be regarded as unitive, something that bonds two people for the rest of their lives, provided there aren’t problems of infidelity/abuse/etc. People too often seem to regard marriage as something of a fad and that IS a problem, as I’ve said in the past regarding how giving marriage recognition to gay couples is hardly an issue contrasted with people being able to nullify their agreement because they don’t feel like they’re in love anymore versus actual harm to the couple’s trust in each other.

The procreative aspect is the most questionable here, though it’s not uncommon for that to be a sticking point, since people are so scared about immigrants overpopulating us, or, heaven forbid, Muslims in a country that has far more issues alongside the religious fundamentalist groups that blend with extremist political views. The problem is not that some groups are “outbreeding” others, as if this was reducible to natural selection of populations, but that people are unrealistic in how much they think they ought to breed in the first place.

I’m no gynecologist, but I’ve heard something to the effect that the average woman is usually only recommended to have, at most, 5 pregnancies before things become dangerous for their own health and future children. 5 children is more than I think many people can reasonably provide for and even China has in more recent years, loosened its one child policy because of the unforeseen consequences of having too few girls and limiting the field for dating and marriage by association. The inverse is also a problem when you have multiple children born into situations where the parents sacrifice more of their health than anyone would think reasonable to provide for them, when a better solution is moderation, since, even if I don’t want children, I can’t deny that they are a benefit to society at large. And isn’t self control important in Christian ethics to begin with, sexual ethics in particular with tempering one’s desires?

So the 1st of 14 points already sets the stage for making an unreasonable limitation on people, to say nothing of unrealistic expectations of every couple conforming to so many qualifications that you’d be lucky to find even a quarter that meet them all.

Article 2

Onto the 2nd article, which is simpler and less disagreeable, but still questionable. It says that everyone should be chaste before marriage and faithful in marriage. Again, I can agree with the latter point, because at its core, that’s what marriage is, trust and commitment between two people with a deep romantic connection. But they further muddy the waters by saying that no desire justifies any sexual immorality, but fail to qualify what this category entails. Rape, abuse, infidelity, of course those are a generally immoral group of sexual acts. And I don’t disagree that desire and affections are not the determinant factor of a healthy relationship, but mutual reciprocity and understanding

They also note that even if you make a commitment otherwise, you cannot be seen as anything but sinful for having sex outside their particular idea of what constitutes marriage. So even if I and my future spouse decide not to get married, but nonetheless exchange rings and make such a union that resembles it in all other ways, we’re still not good enough, even if there’s the same spirit and intent of remaining faithful to each other in a lifelong partnership. And this definitely means civil marriage is just a façade, since it’s not Christian marriage either

So while the intent is good, we have a similar problem of being too short sighted in trying to solve a problem that they think only requires people to conform to how they think rather than considering that maybe their god’s a bit bigger than people fitting its will into a narrow box that doesn’t realistically align with the human experience with regards to sexuality.

Article 3

Article 3 gets into the first hints of trying to make the reductionist ideas of male and female seem appealing even while they further suppress any variation from their expectations at the same time.

First off, it talks like Adam and Eve were actual people, but even granting that they might see it as somehow metaphorical, not sure how you can talk about that without betraying your own naïve ideas about human evolution (which is very likely theistic evolution, 1 step from creationism), to say nothing of speciation and biological evolution over the demonstrable millions of years that Earth has sustained life.

But here’s the part that has that vague notion of being socially acceptable while also maintaining the countercultural idea of fundamentalism. Any Christian worth their salt probably prescribes to part of this in one form or another, unless you take that Genesis verse literally that says women should be subject to men because God says so to Adam and Eve (in which case, you’ve got bigger problems than just sexism). That idea is that even with the divinely created differences between men and women, they are not unequal in their dignity as people.

As I said, this sounds great, and on its own, would probably gel pretty decently with a society that treats people with equality and equity.  But we haven’t gotten to the deeper parts of what they really mean here.

Article 4

Article 4 exposits further on this complementarian idea of a purely binary view of the sexes.  It says that the “divinely ordained differences” between male and female are for the benefit of humanity, but also note that it should not be said to be from the Fall and something to overcome.

Few problems already: 1) there’s no need to invoke the divine as to why male and female are distinct: science can explain why we have sexual dimorphism in terms of evolutionary benefits, as well as a theory I recall learning around age 13: that having male and female allows for much greater genetic diversity and thus the species can survive better should there be some disease that spreads through the population at large. With enough time, you’ll have strains of people that may be more resistant or outright immune, so it benefits humanity just because of how nature functions based on an innate law of trial and error without needing a mind behind it. The species that don’t function will die out and the ones that function better will survive.

But there’s also the claim that this isn’t related to the Fall, even though I’m pretty sure the Fall directly notes that at least the aspect of a woman suffering pain in childbirth directly proceeds from Adam and Eve being kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Does this mean epidurals are against God’s design, since God gave a “just” punishment to Eve for being tricked by a talking snake into eating a fruit that didn’t kill her, but instead made her aware of good and evil (as if that was a bad thing for creations that were intended to use their free will)?

They also say these differences aren’t something to be overcome, which is somewhat vague as to what they mean. I don’t think it’s reasonable to characterize people wanting women and men to be treated with fairness in regards to hiring, etc, as overcoming the differences between male and female, especially if these extend beyond distinct physiological traits due to evolutionary progress and necessity for copulation, etc. Someone having sexual reassignment surgery is hardly something that should be done lightly anymore than someone entering into marriage: they’re both very serious things that should be entered into with a lot of thought beforehand and in the case of SRS, steps that take at least a year or more to my knowledge to even qualify.

A person wanting to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with in a persistent sense of themselves and doing so without standing out is hardly something worth the attention of a deity that apparently just let its creation run wild after 2000+ years ago, because it gave them the best solution to a problem it set the stage for: killing itself for redemption of sins that it was angry about for millennia as long as people believe hard enough.

So we see a clear indication that this isn’t purely about complementarianism so much as encouraging sexual and gender norms that reinforce it because otherwise the world would be too scary and their god wouldn’t want them to feel uncomfortable (which is absolute bollocks when you consider what I noted earlier in regards to being persecuted for being “right”, if the Christian view is even remotely correct in its views about an afterlife). And we’re not even halfway done

Article 5

This article is more directly about transgender issues and how they think that one being distinct in their sexual identity is essential to one’s concept of being male or female, even stating in no uncertain terms that the differences of reproductive structures are integral to one’s self conception as male or female.

First off, that’s a complete load in even a cursory consideration of what makes someone masculine or feminine. People can behave in various ways, but not stop identifying as a male or female, among some other categories (because as much as I do acknowledge transgender people are a thing, I think even they would say that some of the distinctions might be a bit more about attention than self realization).

A woman can be tough and dress more masculine in society’s view, but still very much identify as female and appreciate childrearing or more “traditional” female practices.  One’s idea of being male or female is as much about the clothes you wear, what things you enjoy doing and how you act, being more emotional or logical, among other dichotomies that aren’t unique to one sex or the other, just tendencies in the same way that personalities vary from person to person. Myers Briggs personality tests basically figure out preferences rather than exclusion of one point or the other on the 4 spectrums.

The article then continues to note that both physical anomalies AND psychological conditions don’t negate that their rigid 2 sex system is right and you can’t identify outside your genitals.

I don’t think anyone claims that intersex people or hermaphrodites are common, but to be fair, transgender people are also a minority. Intersex people are a whole other issue to tackle, but along with hermaphrodites, the general differences are more physiological androgyny, to my knowledge, and many may just be gender neutral or lean towards one gender without being especially strong in their feelings. Much of this is based on hormones and not even people born without chromosomal variations are going to be perfect in regards to that, same as the related spectrum of mental illness that can come about because of chemical dissonance in the brain and such. People being different doesn’t mean they should feel ashamed about it in any sense, but acknowledging that sometimes, there is harm involved, either to oneself or others.

I won’t deny there can be an environmental aspect to developing one’s concept of gender, since society is where we get the ideas of what is considered conforming to a male or female identity, though that changes, since the societal presuppositions aren’t always right and in fact are usually misguided because of people not wanting to incorporate something slightly different from what they’re familiar with. But this article is one of the worst in saying that someone should reduce their idea of being a male or female to their genitals when that’s something we use maybe a quarter of our lives and honestly aren’t usually that fixated on as we grow up and appreciate life as more than just physical experiences.

Article 6

This one is not so much anything problematic in the statements they make, but more the implication that they felt the need to do this as a way to avoid being accused of prejudice towards transgender people in any way.

Put simply, they utilize a bible verse referring to eunuchs who were born that way and connect that to people born with physical anomalies such as being intersex or the like.  It then goes on to say that such things do not mean that a person isn’t born in the image of God and that they can most definitely still live a life dedicated to Jesus.

All that is very much true, and I’d imagine no self respecting person, let alone a Christian, would claim that someone being born with some physical deformity means they shouldn’t try to live a full life. It’s an admirable thing to see people with handicaps behaving in a way that acknowledges that they are still a full person, not someone to be pitied

So really, this article is just reiterating a point that should be a given from the start, as if it needs to be its own article out of the 14 in this attempt at bridging a gap between the secular and religious world. It works slightly, but it’s arguably an attempt at smoothing over public relations so that they don’t look like heartless people who don’t care about the disenfranchised.

Article 7

Here’s a fun one to read, and by that, I mean just retreading old ground with a new coat of paint.

Article 7 says that people ought to live as male or female by God’s intended purpose of creation and redemption, which rings fairly hollow if we consider that one being born male or female, while not comparable to being born into a particular religious household, isn’t something that should be so important to one’s identity to deny anything counter to that in their self worth as a person. If a biological male feel like a female and have for years since one was old enough to have a gender identity in any sense, then it doesn’t mean they’re a broken individual. And even if it did, that doesn’t mean the solution involves repression of those feelings, insisting that you’re better off just going through the motions as what people expect, rather than being true to yourself and respectful without being a doormat.

Here’s the weird part: they follow it up by talking about both a homosexual and a transgender self conception, as if they’re meant to be even remotely the same, when one’s sexuality and gender identity are not innately connected. One can be attracted to females as a trans female and consider oneself lesbian even if they are technically a biological male. Or one could be polysexual or pansexual, not making an intimate connection based on one’s sex or gender identity, more about the person themselves. 

And who are they to say that being gay or transgender is in conflict with God’s design for people as humans? Aren’t these the same people that said a few articles ago that people ought to be chaste before marriage? So if someone feels that God has told them they should never be married and live a chaste life, they’re in the right, but if someone wants to be in a committed relationship, a union that is marriage at its core, then they are wrong even if they are faithful to their spouse of the same sex? There are straight and gay people that choose a chaste life, but if someone wishes to participate in an institution they have deep respect for and understanding of, denying it to them feels more than petty, it alienates them as a fellow creation of a loving god.

The same applies to gender identity as with sexual orientation: if you are a Christian and love God, believing that it created you as good, only with a flawed core in desires not lining up with what is best for you, then something that is not harmful to you, but helping your self-actualization and improving your perception as someone with dignity is the exact opposite of sinful or in conflict with God’s plan.

So again, we have people taking the “straight and narrow” path Jesus spoke of and putting it even more out of reach for anyone who doesn’t fit into an outdated idea of what is considered appropriate for a human created in the image of God, as if they somehow know God’s intentions for people in regards to things that are primarily inborn, environment twisting them more than complementing them.

Article 8

Just to follow up on the trend of dismissing transgender people, they go on to cover up their bigotry  with more platitudes saying that people who have same sex attractions can still be good servants to God if they live like every other good straight Christian (without directly stating that, of course).

It then claims that someone who continues to be gay and live as such is not in line with God’s plan, but is not outside of salvation either, so they can have their cake and eat it too. They get to waggle their finger in disapproval at someone being gay, saying it’s impossible for them to be seen as good to their heteronormative God. But they also get to act like they have a moral high ground, because they’re just concerned about the well being of the poor gay people, trying to direct them to a way that is better for them

So in short, this seems a lot like the ideas that some Mormons put out there to seem more positive towards gay people, but still having that disregard for any idea that they could be functioning and faithful Christians just because they have desires for the same sex that they likely realize should be tempered in marriage and fidelity to someone in a lifelong monogamous partnership (or polyamorous or polygamous, however uncommon they are)

Article 9

We’re back to the “being gay is bad” angle, but with a fun twist, trying to cover up the prejudice with a tinge of acknowledging flaws within the flock

It states that sin is the cause of your desires to commit sexual immorality outside of marriage, and this includes BOTH gay and straight. I don’t think anyone denies that; the only difference is how people make a mountain out of a molehill for a disproportionately small group and ignore the proverbial plank in their own eye. Sure, there are bad examples for same sex couples, but they’re far outshone by the horrible patterns that have persisted for decades, if not centuries in regards to straight marriages, rooted in unhealthy practices when marriage was less about autonomy and more about utilitarianism sacrificing people’s feelings for the greater “benefit”

And the follow up is just redundancy, as if anyone is going to claim that an enduring pattern of desiring to do something immoral justifies that action in any sense. If you want to murder and rape and are compelled to do so, you should get help, no one’s going to say you’re confused and need sympathy, so why try to say that anyone is claiming that gay people just want to do this knowing that it’s wrong rather than others perceiving it as such?

Article 10

Now we get into more of how approval of gays being in a committed marital relationship or being transgender is in complete opposition to God’s plan. Again you shouldn’t presume that you know the full plan from books transmitted 4000+ years ago in a perspective when people didn’t think about things beyond tribal identity and whose god was better (henotheism was arguably a thing for the Israelites, considering they acknowledged a power from the lesser gods, even if it paled in comparison to Yahweh)

Interestingly, they use the terms homosexual immorality and transgenderism, not homosexuality and transgender identity. As I said before, there can be immorality in homosexuality as much as heterosexuality, which they noted previously. So just being homosexual and chaste is fine, but being transgender in any way, even if it just means presenting as the opposite gender without any SRS or hormones, is a horrible sin against nature? There’s a verse suggesting as much in 1st Corinthians 11:3-15, like having long hair is an affront to God when you’re a male.

The article then continues by saying that such a thing isn’t just a matter of debate that Christians can agree to disagree on, like whether the day of rest is Saturday or Sunday, or if women can wear pants and be authoritative alongside men in terms of church leadership (which in most circles stops at the point of counseling others as a priest/minister would, but they can still teach kids in Bible school). Which makes you wonder why this has to be so essential except in the most basic of agreements among any Christian group: there shall be no adultery, no rape, no sexual impropriety that would violate the autonomy and dignity of God’s creation. It’s not that complicated to say that some groups could say that gay people ought to be chaste and never be married because it’s “not their place”, but it’s hardly antithetical to Christianity for people to want them to be happy and expect the same restrictions of not being adulterous and violating consent as with straight couples.

So they really want to hammer it down that being gay isn’t immoral, just acting on it, but being transgender, even if you don’t try to transition, is something that needs to be erased entirely? If they qualified transgender immorality, though, I guess they’d start to acknowledge gender roles as variable and not monolithic, and that wouldn’t do for the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, right?

Article 11

This article is shifting the conversation back to transgender people and in this case, it’s saying that intentionally misgendering someone isn’t a bad thing, it’s just “speaking the truth in love…about one another as male or female”. And they even insist they are under no obligation to speak to someone in a way that would ruin the idea of people as created by God as male or female.

I’ve misgendered people before, many times because I’m still used to their previous identity. And I don’t pretend to fully understand the situation, mostly because I haven’t had the opportunity to speak and ask about it with said individual. Accidentally calling someone by the wrong pronoun is a genuine mistake anyone can make, regardless of generation. But when you’re so stubborn you can’t even attempt to change your perspective and try to spin your ignorance as a moral high ground, it’s no longer just a mistake, it’s opposition to someone being happy and not making an attempt to compromise because you don’t want to admit you could be wrong.

The whole angle here is that calling someone by their preferred pronoun as a transgender person is somehow insulting them as a creation of God. If someone is born male, but their disposition (apart from sin nature, which is desires regarding actions and habits) is that they self identify as a woman, then it seems to me it’s not the person that made a mistake, it’s the one that created them. If someone wants to self realize AND acknowledges they are a creation of God, who is supposed to love them unconditionally and will remove male/female distinctions in the afterlife (Jesus even notes as such in saying there is no marriage in heaven in the Gospels)

Speaking to someone from God’s love seems more like paying lip service rather than actually being compassionate and understanding of someone being different from, but not fundamentally opposed, to you. I’m borderline antitheist at times, yet most of my best friends are religious or spiritual: yet do you see me trying to “speak the truth of reason” to them and be a caricature angry atheist? No, because I have empathy and a human conscience, which means I understand that we can coexist without agreeing universally on everything.

Just because many people see being a man as purely based on what you have between your legs or your chromosomes doesn’t mean it’s true, nor does it mean people have to take it seriously when the evidence and experiences of many people, cisgender AND transgender, suggest the opposite

Article 12 and 13

More fun pseudoscience and conversion therapy defending malarkey here: these articles basically says that God’s grace lets you overcome any sinful desire, strongly implied to connect back to same sex attraction and outright stated for transgender self conception.

Again, I’m not one to believe in such things, but a sense of purpose can motivate people to change from habits that are demonstrably damaging, such as alcoholism (though that is lifelong, it doesn’t just go away like a cold or the like) or abusive behavior to loved ones, to say nothing of things like compulsive lying/etc. The difference is that being gay, same as being straight, is not the same as the twisting of sexual desire into something it shouldn’t be, it’s the default state.

Gay and straight people can have desires to rape, to violate marital trust, to inappropriately touch others and justify it by saying they were asking for it. But these are not the same as the innate desire to be with someone in a healthy relationship. And I’ve already noted how being transgender is not connected to your sexuality, plus, if you are better off as a person when you present as the gender you genuinely and thoughtfully align with, then it’s no different than someone correctly regarding sex as something special between people, not just physical pleasure.

When someone claims that conversion therapy doesn’t work or that you can’t pray the gay (or transngender?) away, that doesn’t mean they’re limiting God, should they believe in it. It’s more that God’s nature is such that it doesn’t interfere with freewill and most certainly doesn’t force someone to conform to societal expectations, since that would encourage a person to be part of the world rather than just in it (see my comments on the Preamble)

We keep getting the insistence that this perspective is right and that there’s somehow no debate among Christians in its entire history about how self conception as male or female that clashes with one’s assigned sex might not be sinful, same with how same sex desires can be used in the same way as opposite sex desires, reflecting a healthy and God centered relationship that follows respectful communication, mutual trust and fidelity to the commitments made

You know what that’s called? Presuppositionalism, circular logic that invokes the Bible to make claims that only work when you believe the Bible to be true, and in the case of this inane thought process, infallible and inerrant, as if nothing could be wrong when written by humans, even under divine inspiration, or that people could misinterpret, using eisegesis, which is inserting your own prejudices into an interpretation of the bible. Ultimately, this is trite idealism that refuses to recognize the world doesn’t work that way and that people should be willing to adjust to new ideas, especially when they’re not forced down your throat from childhood through church indoctrination and suppressing any other ideas.

Article 14

We end the whole torturous, needlessly divided set of patriarchal ideals masked as better sounding “complementarianism”, with a statement that no one is apart from God’s love as long as they repent of sin. Even the “poor gay and/or transgender person” is not too far from God’s grace, because they’re the people that the CBMW is trying to make peace with (and failing utterly at).

Well, that’s nice and pithy, but it’s in contradiction to any sort of claim that God is perfect love and that said affection is unconditional, which is one of the major reasons many people are less than impressed with Christianity even as it shifts with the times while trying to remain “pure”. When the love requires you to follow such things, it’s not unconditional anymore, because there’s a demonstrable condition there. One could argue that it’s more like common sense, but the problem with such sense is that it’s often too common and doesn’t use any kind of critical thinking, so it amounts to conformity and peer pressure rather than principles like empathy or compromise.

If God is indeed such a loving being and created humans good, even if they had some twisted dispositions regarding actions, this is entirely different from stuff that is innate to their identity as people: skin color, sexual orientation, gender identity, among other traits I could list. To say that someone can be made so that even good desires are wrong is to ascribe utter cruelty to a deity that you insist loves you.

That’s like saying you love the mindless obedient automaton you create to serve your needs or even to reflect you. That’s not love, that’s pure ego masquerading as kindness, as if you’re some magnanimous ruler, when you’re just a feudal lord looking down on their serfs.

Not only does this statement not represent Nashville, but I can’t even say it represents Tennessee as the Volunteer State.  At best it reinforces the preconceptions of the Southern Baptist Convention to not stray away from biblical fundamentalism and inerrancy, tow the party line of being the moral majority and religious right, and generally be a fading group in terms of relevancy to a generation that isn’t passive about mistreatment of minorities.

Call it the Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, it’d be far more accurate and easily convey the same message, even if you have to use more words than just the location to qualify the meaning.  In 30 years, all that’s managed to be done is change the format of their presentation, the Danvers Statement from 1987 the same thread of bemoaning change as some doom and gloom indication of the world being worse off. But again, I have to remind them that the whole point is that the world will never be perfect until Jesus comes in with the end times, a sword in his mouth, unrecognizable as anything but the petty apocalyptic prophet who cursed fig leaves and knocked over tables in the temple.

And let’s not forget the most important thing here: that many of the signers here also supported President Trump, some even in his evangelical advisory committee. These “Godly” people have seemingly ignored the swath of sexual immorality he’s engaged in, particularly divorce if there was no infidelity on the part of either couple, though if he was unfaithful, it only raises more questions of his morality.

Any sorts of statements about knowing proper sexual morality fall apart and lose impact with these people saying that Trump is a good Christian, which apparently means he pays good enough lip service to it rather than acting in a way that’s remotely like a follower of Christ ought to be (which is to say, doing more than empty charity by refusing the presidential stipend and actually using his wealth for bigger things than casinos, golf and frivolity on the beach)

I only know people who are Nashville natives or otherwise are part of the city, but I still cannot imagine this represents anything more than a dying breed of rural theology that insists that change shouldn’t be accepted unless it’s on their terms: again, ironic, considering that Christian doctrine would probably vehemently disagree on that, since it’s God plan that is of prime importance, not what humans think is God’s plan.

This group can continue to exist as long as people keep encouraging this backwards ideology, but like Westboro Baptist Church and the like, being on the fringe of society tends to not change and with time, like the Shakers, you die out because there’s no real persistent interest. The sooner this happens with overly traditional gender roles and ideas about sexuality, the better.