Much has already written about whether President Donald Trump can define transgender people out of existence or not. But what about their “divine dignity”? Can President Trump take away the dignity of transgender people?
A group of transgender “Christian” leaders told HuffPost that no matter what decisions the Trump administration makes about transgender people, their inherent worth cannot be touched. Rev. Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza said in an email to HuffPost, “No government entity or leader can take or excise or erase the depth of worth that Transgender people are and embody. My religious tradition teaches that I am made in the image of God and of sacred worth.”
Henderson-Espinoza is correct. No one, not even the president of the United States, can take away the inherent worth of transgender people.
That doesn’t mean, however, that there is not much, MUCH wrong within the HuffPost article, because there is. But, for once, I’m not here to excoriate transgender activists. I’m here to agree with them, at least on one point: all humans, including those confused by their gender, are made in the image of God and have inherent worth.
There are several things that all humans share in common. First, all humans are created in the image of God. This is a standard Christian belief first revealed in Genesis 1:26-27, which says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
Humans, male and female, were created to govern the earth as God’s vice-regents. And humans were intended to do so while enjoying perfect fellowship with God in a perfect relationship with Him. However, the second thing that all humans have in common is sin.
Shamefully, just two chapters after we read about how humans are the pinnacle of God’s creation, it’s revealed that God’s image bearers rebelled against Him. The first humans, Adam and Eve, decided that they, too, could be like God and so they disobeyed their Creator. That rebellion plunged the world into sin resulting in the just punishment of God’s curse of death.
From that time on, all of God’s image bearers have been born in sin and under the curse of death. As the Apostle Paul points out in Romans 3:10-12, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
The third thing that all humans have in common is that we all need to be saved from our personal sin and reconciled back to God. Otherwise, we exist under the righteous wrath of God and are already condemned to an eternity in hell because our sins are against an eternal God. This is why Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, took on human flesh and came into the world. Living the perfect life that none of us can, Jesus died on the cross for the sins of those who repent and believe on him. He was then buried and rose from the dead, vindicating his claim to be the Son of God.
While there are other commonalities between all humans, those are the three most important. And no human has the power to undermine any of those commonalities, even a little.
So, yes, transgender religious leaders are correct when they assert that President Trump can’t touch their inherent worth. I just wish that they would recognize the other two things we all share in common. But, back to their point, transgender people do have inherent worth and should be treated with dignity and love.
Dehumanizing anyone is a grievous sin against God. Doing so is ultimately an attack on God. This is why racism is so disgusting. Likewise, those of who believe that there are only two genders and that those genders are synonymous with biological sex do not have the right to treat transgender people with less respect than we do those who are not confused about their gender.
This doesn’t mean that we should affirm their sin, because doing so would be the opposite of loving them. It does mean that we should treat them kindly, and not allow others to mock and ridicule them. It means that we should befriend them and not refuse them aid or help. In other words, we should treat transgender people with the dignity they’re owed since they, too, are God’s Image Bearers.