In the early hours following the shooting at Covenant School in Nashville, a question emerged: Was the shooter a woman, a woman transitioning to a man or a biological male?
Determining the correct pronoun to use for the killer became, in some newsrooms and social-media circles, the central issue, rather than the calculated murders of innocent people. The confusion points to an ideology threatening our ability to trust our instincts; a growing imposition placed upon society that is about coercion, not compassion.
To clarify, it’s the ideology, and not the individuals who deserve our sincere caring, that begs scrutiny. This distinction is key. Another key point: coercion or shaming isn’t an effective method for peace.
Soon after the shootings, Josselyn Berry, then-press secretary for Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, tweeted a picture of a woman toting a gun in each hand, and: “Us when we see transphobes.” Berry rightly resigned a few days later, but not before revealing a glimpse of her misguided heart.
The transgender ideology has claimed many victims, including a growing number of children unaware of the permanent damage they’ll experience from transitioning, and countless parents warned that by not acquiescing, they could lose their children.
The movement’s force has made victims of countless bystanders, too. The threat of being called a hater, or fired, has been silencing. It’s a mind game played from fear.
Pope Francis has stated that biological sex and gender can be distinguished but not separated, noting that it’s “one thing to be understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life, and another to accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality.” He warned of “falling into the sin of trying to replace the Creator.”
And more recently, the United States Catholic bishops issued a document addressing “moral limits to technological manipulation of the human body,” stating that the body is “a constitutive part of the human subject, a gift to be received, respected, and cared for as something intrinsic to the person.”
Dr. Quentin Van Meter, a pediatric endocrinologist, cautions that the life expectancy of those who surgically and chemically transition is reduced by half. They also face sterility, a suicide rate 20 times higher than others, and greater incidences of serious disease.
Some European countries, alarmed by these devastating effects, have begun forbidding transition surgeries.
Those hurting deserve to know the truth, including that they’re deeply valued individuals with a unique place in this world, and that the most effective transition is one of interior transformation; of turning toward God and receiving his unconditional love.
Removing healthily functioning body parts won’t make psychological wounds disappear, and giving puberty-blockers to children with premature frontal cortexes won’t bring contentment. Only God’s penetrating love, and true human compassion, will.
If Audrey Hale, the Nashville shooter, had absorbed these truths, might it have saved seven lives, hers included? Leaving her soul in the merciful hands of God, may we continue seeking clearer understanding, and just solutions for all our earthly confinements.
[For the sake of having a repository for my newspaper columns and articles, I reprint them here, with permission, a week after their run date. The preceding ran in The Forum newspaper on April 17, 2023.]