Wombs for men

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Some scientists are saying that it might be possible in a decade or so to transplant a functioning womb into a man.

In the UK there is an effort to have the National Health Service sponsor the necessary research and to have taxpayers fund the operations.

This would allow “transgender women who were born male” to have children.

The advocates see another market with gay men and even heterosexual men so that they too can experience the “joys” of being pregnant.

The joys of being pregnant!  More likely in that decade is the perfection of the artificial womb so that women can avoid those particular joys.  Perhaps in that day, men may have children, while women won’t.

Or will nature will reassert itself?   [Read more…]

Eliminate gender on birth certificates?

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A Canadian who claims to be neither male nor female has had a baby.

This individual believes that babies should have the right to choose what gender they want to be.  Therefore, birth certificates should not specify a child’s gender.

I thought that “gender” is cultural, while “sex” is biological.  So what birth certificates record is the baby’s “sex.”  Feminists made that distinction, playing down the connections between biology and culture, but now transgenderists are insisting that “sex” too is cultural.  Actually, neither gender nor sex are cultural, but are rather individual self-determinations.  (As in this mother who identifies as “neither male nor female.”)

Here is a modest proposal:  Instead of listing gender on birth certificates, other legal documents, applications, etc., just put down what chromosomes people have in in every cell of their bodies:  XX or XY.

At some point, to solve the pronoun dilemma, we could assign pronouns based on the chromosome pattern each person has:  XX could use “she, her, hers.”  And XY could use “he, him, his.”

Interestingly, XX individuals can have babies,  with the help of someone who is XY.  (There can be no babies from couples if both are XX or if both are XY.)  Maybe that could be the basis of family law.

But perhaps that objective genetic identity might interfere with an individual’s right to gender self-determination.  In that case, the individual should complain to Nature, whose laws, however, are not subject to human courts or legislation.

Read about the case after the jump.

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Marriage Is a Civil Matter, Not a Church Power

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With the government legalizing same sex marriage, many Christians and their pastors are asking, what does marriage have to do with the state?  It’s a religious institution.  Let the church marry people and the state can stay out of it.

Some pastors are marrying couples who aren’t bothering to get a marriage license.  In some cases, elderly couples are asking pastors to marry them “in the eyes of God, but not the state” so that they can avoid the legal entanglements and financial issues that come with an official, government sanctioned marriage.

But Rev. John Frahm explains why the church cannot marry people outside of the civil ordinances.  If you are a Catholic, believing that marriage is a sacrament, that might work.  But not if you are a Protestant.  This was actually an issue during the Reformation.  The church had so many restrictions and so much control over marriages that the Reformers pushed for the civil authorities to regulate and conduct marriages, which would then be blessed in a church service.  (Or conducted in a church with the pastor functioning as an officer of the state.  “By the power vested in me by the state of Oklahoma, I now pronounce you husband and wife.”)

Lutherans particularly cannot “leave the government out of marriage.”  Their confessions and theology don’t let them.

This by no means diminishes the value or significance of marriage, which was established by God and which mirrors Christ and the Church.  God is still the One who “joins together” (Matthew 19:6).  It’s just that God uses the civil realm to bring men and women into this vocation.

But what if the state interferes with God’s design, as it is doing with same sex marriage, easy divorce laws, and the like?  Pastors mustn’t cooperate with those.  But that doesn’t negate the state’s general responsibility for marriage.

Read Rev. Frahm’s discussion after the jump.

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What percentage of gays have gotten married?

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Gallup now has some data about same-sex marriage.

According to Gallup’s survey, 10.2% of LGBT adults are married to someone of the same sex.

Interestingly, this is fewer than the number of LGBT adults who are married to someone of the opposite sex: 13.1%.  Gallup says that this is because half of LGBT folks are bisexual!  (What are the implications of that fact?  For pastoral care?  For the same-sex marriage debate?)

Other findings:  Of all LGBT adults who are cohabiting, 61% are married to each other.  The number of domestic partnerships has plummeted to 6.6%.  But the number of gays who are not living with a partner, who consider themselves “single,” has shot up, to 55.7%. [Read more…]

Infant morality

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Christians who don’t believe in baptizing infants generally hold to the notion of “the age of accountability.”  This means that children below a certain age (which varies) do not really sin because they don’t know what they are doing and therefore are not accountable.   After they reach that point, they can understand their sinfulness, repent, and make a “decision” for Christ.

An article in the evangelical publication Christianity Today recounts some fascinating experiments that show that infants do, in fact, have a moral sensibility.

I don’t know that these experiments can address the question of “accountability,” but they do show that infants are not blank slates, to be programmed as we will.  Rather, they are complex human beings with an innate sense of right and wrong.

And thus, we Lutherans say, they are good candidates for baptism.

FURTHER THOUGHT:  These experiments also provide evidence that the Law is “written on the heart” (Romans 2:15), rather than morality simply being a social construction, as is often assumed today.

[Read more…]

Americans’ moral beliefs

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Gallup has released its latest study of Americans’ moral beliefs.

Gallup’s Values and Beliefs poll has been taken each year since 2001, so that it is possible to track changes.

Some two-thirds of Americans see nothing wrong with sex between unmarried couples (69%), homosexual relations (63%), and having a baby outside of wedlock (62%).

Despite this sexual revolution, the vast majority of Americans still strongly disapprove of adultery, with only 9% considering it “OK,” a number that has changed little over the years.

Only 43% consider abortion to be moral, a number that has also been stable since 2001.

For the numbers on these and many other issues, as well as data about the values that have changed, go here.

The summary report, excerpted after the jump, observes that no issues have shown change in a conservative direction.

While it is true that most Americans consider themselves conservative politically, conservatives too are mostly liberal when it comes to morality.

 

Painting:  Moses with the 10 Commandments by Rembrandt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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