The culture wars have reached a new low. At a Horry County school board meeting in South Carolina held to discuss transgender bathroom policies, the only woman to speak in favor of transgender rights was drowned out by Christian parents singing “Jesus loves me.” I never thought I would see the sweetest children’s song ever written being used to make somebody shut up. It was a very apt metaphor for what the culture wars are really about.
The culture wars are an emphatic defense of the right not to listen to people whose identities make our world too confusing. In this sense, “Jesus loves me” is actually the perfect song to use to drown them out. It expresses the need to cling to a nursery rhyme level of understanding reality. Why do you people have to be SO complicated? A boy is a boy and a girl is a girl. If your boy is a sissy, spank him until he mans up. If your girl is trying to be a boy, spank her until she agrees to be a princess. That’s the way humanity’s done it for thousands of years before all these dadgum feminists came along with their political correctness and attacks on gender norms that are now causing all hell to break loose in our elementary school bathrooms.
A lot of things were less complicated in the past. Boys who fit the norm for what a boy is supposed to look like and girls who fit the norm for what a girl is supposed to look like were the popular kids who were not only pretty but also smart and confident enough to grow up into successful, well-adjusted adults with healthy, normal families. Kids who didn’t fit the norms were just freaks and dweebs and sissies. They didn’t have all these special names to call themselves. They just accepted their place in society at cafeteria tables by themselves. They couldn’t find others like them in the days before the internet. They just thought they were ugly and stupid. Maybe some of them grew out of it and became well-adjusted adults. Many tried to kill themselves, some successfully. Many others fell through the cracks of society, became homeless, and spent their entire lives in a state of social rejection.
The God whose greatest concern in the universe is making sure that gender norms are strictly enforced is a projection formed by the need for an uncomplicated world. The God who is love is not threatened by the evolution of human society into a world where yesterday’s freaks have their identities legitimized so that they have a chance of becoming fully flourishing human beings. Even if this positive evolution of our society means acknowledging that Christians are not forced to retain a first century anthropology forever.
It is not God who cannot handle complexity. It is the people who turn a song appropriate for teaching children they are loved into a weapon for drowning out difference. Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, trans or cis, straight or gay, he will love them every day, Jesus loves the children of the world.