Last week, when Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner was enjoying a fresh 15 minutes of fame, a number of social conservatives passed around this Wall Street Journal article by Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Arguing against transgender surgery, he shared a number of politically incorrect facts, including a sobering corrective to those parents who seem eager to embrace transgenderism in their young kids, going so far as to administer puberty-delaying drugs. (It turns out that 70 to 80 percent of kids who report transgender feelings “spontaneously” lose those feelings.)
But most sobering of all was a study out of Sweden demonstrating that ten years after sex-reassignment surgery, transgendered people experience “increasing mental difficulties” — culminating in mortality from suicide at a rate 20 times greater than that of the “comparable nontransgender population.” While the gay community has long suffered from extraordinary rates of attempted suicides, the number McHugh reports for the “T” portion of LGBT is horrifying. Yet what does the Left demand? That we double down on transgenderism by celebrating it in all its forms, including the most surgically extreme.
At the same time that I watched the Left cheer Caitlyn Jenner, I was finally finishing Robert Putnam’s Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. While I don’t think Putnam set out to write in defense of the traditional family structure, I can’t think of another book that more clearly lays out the devastating consequences of the breakdown of the family. As Putnam states:
Children who grow up without their biological father perform worse on standardized tests, earn lower grades, and stay in school for fewer years regardless of race and class. They are also more likely to demonstrate behavioral problems such as shyness, aggression, and psychological problems such as increased anxiety and depression.
There is no rational reason to be ashamed of natural law, much less Biblical law. In fact, reality is vindicating both.
In other words, human beings tend not to respond well when their partners have complicated sexual pasts (and presents). But what is the Left’s response to the avalanche of social science showing that the two-parent family with a faithful mother and faithful father is far better not just for children but for parents as well? Well, the Left elite lives the traditional life (wealthy liberals tend to get married, stay married, and bear children within wedlock), while it advocates for alternative families, mocks traditional values, and pours trillions of welfare dollars into ameliorating the consequences of single parenting (as if “Julia” were just one more government program away from parity with a married family). In other words, it doubles down on fatherlessness.
All of this takes place against a background of quasi-religious devotion to abortion, a procedure with a 100 percent mortality rate for innocent children — science shows us that, from the moment of conception, each of us is biologically distinct from his mother and father. But when it comes to radical sexual autonomy, science be dammed. To the radical Left, women shouldn’t just enjoy a right to “choose,” that choice must be federally subsidized. Recall that Democrats went so far as to threaten a government shutdown to preserve Planned Parenthood’s hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funding.
Transgenderism, the decay of traditional marriage, abortion — none of these things are conducive to human flourishing. All of them have been relentlessly pushed and often celebrated (or even subsidized) by the social Left. Yet it is puzzling that the response of so many social conservatives, especially Christian conservatives, has been so timid and uncertain. All too many Christians wring their hands and wonder, “Should I really speak up about marriage? Should I say anything about abortion? Should I acknowledge Bruce Jenner’s sex change? Will people think I’m judgmental or uncaring?”It’s an upside-down world when life, marriage, and the created order are considered oppressive, but death, divorce, and surgical mutilation are considered liberating. There is no rational reason to be ashamed of natural law, much less Biblical law. In fact, reality is vindicating both. I’m reminded of the words of the Psalmist, who embraced God’s law by declaring, “How I long for your precepts! Preserve my life in your righteousness.”
This moment of maximum cultural pressure — exerted precisely because the case for radical social change is hardly self-evidently true — is exactly the moment when people of faith should step forward with a decisive response, one that echoes the words of their Creator. God has given us the same choice he’s given all other cultures — a choice between life and death, between the known blessings of divine law versus the revealed and manifest curses of self-indulgence. Now is exactly the time to choose life — so that we and our children may live, may flourish, and may enjoy a future and a hope.
— David French is an attorney and a staff writer at National Review.