When Bruce Jenner told the world in an interview with Diane Sawyer in April 2015 that he considered himself a woman, it seemed a massive tipping point for the transgender community. Finally, a well-known man – an Olympic gold medalist, no less – said he was transitioning to becoming a woman, and perhaps people who hadn't taken time to learn anything about this community could begin to understand. But what kind of stance does the Christian religion – and all its denominations – take on this issue?
Here are seven Christian denominations with liberal stances on the transgender community:
SPECIAL: Prayer Changes Your Brain in 4 Amazing Ways
1. Catholic Church
While Pope Benedict XVI said in 2012 that a rejection of the idea that people are created either male or female is to say that the God can be wrong, Pope Francis made international headlines when he met with a transgender man from Spain and embraced him. The church under Francis' leadership has become more liberal on gay marriage rights, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him continue to speak up more for transgender Catholics, as well.
The church has, in a handful of cases, installed a transgender person as the pastor to lead a congregation, and in 2010, seven gay or transgender pastors were reinstated after two decades of being banned from serving. "We finally got to the direction we knew the Lutheran church was heading. It just took it longer to get there," Rev. Jeff Johnson told the San Francisco Chronicle
at the time.
In 2012, the Episcopal wing of the Anglican church approved the idea that transgender people can be ordained as ministers and made it illegal to ban from priesthood those who were born as one sex but identify as another. But as the Huffington Post wrote, "Liberal trends in the [Episcopal] church regarding the ordination of gay priests and bishops have increasingly strained its relations
with its more conservative counterparts in the United Kingdom and Africa."
ALERT: When Do You Think Christ Is Returning? Vote Now
When More Light Presbyterians, a group of congregations in the Presbyterian Church (USA) that advocate for more LGBT inclusion,
appointed Alex McNeill as its new executive director in 2013, it was the first time a transgender person had become the head of a mainline Protestant organization. Said McNeill in a statement at the time: “I’m honored to join More Light, which has always been on the forefront of the Christian tradition of fostering acceptance for the most vulnerable among us. I look forward to building on this proud tradition to create a fully welcoming church."
While the United Methodist Church doesn't have a policy about the transgender issue, Drew Phoenix in 2007 became the first pastor to transition from female to male and retain his ordination. He faced a number of obstacles at the time, but he also helped blaze a path for others. "Transgender people are just newer on the radar, and for a lot of us who transitioned years ago, we were told by the folks we worked with not to share our story," the Rev. David Weekley, who transitioned in 2009, told the Huffington Post
in 2013. In 2015, it's clear that the church is becoming more progressive on this issue.
The Religious Society of Friends doesn't have a unifying policy around this issue. But the Human Rights Campaign writes that "many Quaker communities are open and welcoming to LGBT people, and an increasing number take the marriages and unions of LGBT couples under their care" and that "many local Friends communities welcome LGBT people unequivocally."
SPECIAL: Can Prayer Heal You? Dr. Crandall Discovered the Truth
When Elder Dallin H. Oaks – a high-ranking church official – was asked by the mother of a transgender son about whether she could support her child and still follow the church's beliefs, he responded by saying, "I think we need to acknowledge that while we have been acquainted with lesbians and homosexuals for some time, being acquainted with the unique problems of a transgender situation is something we have not had so much experience with, and we have some unfinished business in teaching on that." As Slate wrote, "the church is showing subtle signs of evolving some of its paradigms on gender and sexual identity."
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.