“There are Complexities Associated with Gender Identity”: Church of England Admits it Doesn’t have a Definition of “Woman”
Campaigner Maya Forstater said: When the Government redefined women through the Gender Recognition Act, the Church of England could have stuck with its long-established understanding, which makes sense whether your starting point is biology or the Bible. It is shocking that they so readily gave up the definition of man or woman for the state to amend, as if this fundamental truth did not matter.
The Church of England has admitted it does not have a definition of the word woman.
A bishop said yesterday that the meaning of the word used to be ‘self-evident’.
But he added that there are now ‘complexities associated with gender identity’ which a church project about sexuality and relationships is exploring.
The admission, in an official report prepared for the gathering of its governing body this weekend, stirred criticism last night.
It comes despite Anglicanism continuing to oppose same-sex weddings – and only recently allowing women to be bishops.
Campaigner Maya Forstater said: ‘When the Government redefined women through the Gender Recognition Act, the Church of England could have stuck with its long-established understanding, which makes sense whether your starting point is biology or the Bible.
‘It is shocking that they so readily gave up the definition of man or woman for the state to amend, as if this fundamental truth did not matter.’
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By Adam Nesmith — 6 months ago
God can use the small act of faithfulness in gathering your family together to pray or sing or read His Word for His great ends. There will always be more that you want to do with your family worship time. But by starting small and incrementally building and by adjusting your plans as needed you can ensure that your family keeps up the habit of growing in the knowledge and love of the Lord together.
When I was a single college student, I operated under the assumption that family worship is simple to implement and execute. I expected to find the “perfect formula” soon after I was married and then spend the rest of my life executing that perfect plan. How wrong I was. I am sure for some people, implementing family worship is easy and straightforward. But I would wager for most people, even though you have a desire to start and continue regular family worship, you find that it is easier said than done. This can quickly become discouraging if you don’t remember that family worship is typically incremental and iterative.
Incremental: Little Victories Build to Bigger Victories
What do I mean by incremental? Oftentimes, your family worship will not start with a long, complicated liturgy right off the bat. There are a dozen different things you can do with your time: Bible reading, catechism memorization, hymn singing, prayer for your local Church, and on and on the list goes. If you try to do too much all at once, the habit of worshiping together as a family each day actually becomes more difficult to nurture. There is a lot you could do with your family worship time. The question is what is most realistic, spiritually edifying, and glorifying to God way to spend the time that you have.
If you want to start worshiping God together as a family on a consistent basis, start small. Focus on one or two activities primarily, like reading a chapter of the Bible together and then singing a hymn. Your family worship time does not need to become a daily mini-Church service right away. In fact, biting off more than you can chew with family worship is, in my opinion, one of the main reasons so many families with good intentions end up giving up on it. Start small and build up as you go.
By T. M. Suffield — 9 months ago
Written by T. M. Suffield |
Friday, May 13, 2022
We should be serious about food, about feasting, about serving the best our resources and skill allows—whether that’s chicken dippers or cordon bleu cuisine. We become friends around a table, because we become friends with God around a table. If at the Lord’s supper God meets with man, then at our tables man can meet with man because God has done so first, even if some round the table have not known this for themselves.
The world is infused with wonder, and the presence of God reveals truth that was previously unseen.
When seen with the eyes of faith, every tree is a song that sings of life, of wisdom, of death that flowers with the scent of unknown spices. Every rock is the Rock and hides honey and gushing water. Every sky is a painting masterfully created for the eyes of a single human, before another masterpiece is hung as the wind blows. Every table is the Table.
I have a thing about tables. You might have picked that up if you’ve been around nuakh for a little while. You will certainly have if we know each other in real life. I’ve written why, or at least the superficial reasons why, and tables make homes, but there’s a deeper reason that I’ve only scouted around the edges of. The Table changes our tables.
Where does God meet man? At a table, where we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Not only there, but if anywhere then there is where we can be assured that God will meet with us.
As our Sunday meetings culminate in this acted story, this symbol, this faith bought opportunity to sup with God, we sit down with God at the Table. And as we eat by faith we are lifted to the heavenly Temple and feast on Christ’s body and blood, a genuine foretaste of the feast at the end of history.
If you agree with my vision of the world—riven with the presence of God through the heart of every atom—then how could this not change the world? Most importantly because we get to eat with God, but how could that event not change the nature of the act of eating on every occasion? We cannot eat anything in the same way ever again—the simple of act of sustenance has gained a new resonance, a significance beyond itself, as though it became a sign itself.
By Abigail Shrier — 12 months ago
This is gender ideology—the belief, not backed by any meaningful empirical evidence, that we all have an ineffable gender identity, knowable only to us. This identity has no observable markers, and it is immutable (until the moment we change our minds and reveal ourselves as “gender fluid,” of course). It is promoted by virtually every practitioner of “gender-affirming care,” it is unfalsifiable, and its hold on our legal system is gaining ground.
Before she decided to strip him of all custody over his son, Drew*—before determining that he would have no say in whether Drew began medical gender transition—California Superior Court Judge Joni Hiramoto asked Ted Hudacko this: “If your son [Drew] were medically psychotic and believed himself to be the Queen of England, would you love him?”
“Of course I would,” the senior software engineer at Apple replied, according to the court transcript. “I’d also try to get him help.”
“I understand that qualifier,” Judge Hiramoto replied. “But if it were—if you were told by [Drew’s] psychiatrist, psychologist that [Drew] was very fragile and that confronting him—or, I’m sorry, confronting them with the idea that they are not the Queen of England is very harmful to their mental health, could you go along and say, ‘OK, [Drew], you are the Queen of England and I love you; you are my child and I want you to do great and please continue to see your psychologist.’ Could you do that?”
“Yes,” Hudacko said. “That sounds like part of a process that might take some time, sure.”
“What process?” Judge Hiramoto said. “What is the thing that might take some time? Accepting the idea that [Drew] occupies an identity that you believe is not true?”
“The identity you just mentioned to me was the Queen of England,” Ted began. “I can tell him and I can affirm that to him, to reassuring him situationally; but objectively, he is not the Queen of England and that won’t change, and even the therapist in that case would know that.”
The then-54-year-old father of two teenage minor sons (Drew is the elder) felt that he was walking into a trap. For Ted, precision is not merely a requirement for his job but almost a constitutional necessity. His recall of every fact, date, and filing of the complicated court proceedings involving him and his ex-wife is astoundingly accurate—the sort of feat you might expect from a brilliant lawyer, not a distraught father battling the legal system alone for his son.
But at this point in the child-custody hearings, Ted couldn’t understand what the judge wanted from him. His soon-to-be-ex-wife, Christine, then an executive at the investment firm BlackRock, had already agreed to shared custody of their younger son; no one—not even this judge—seemed to believe that he was anything like an unfit father.
Ted isn’t a particularly devout Episcopalian, and he describes his politics as libertarian. He’s athletic, health-conscious, and takes a keen interest in his sons’ talents. He coached their baseball teams and researched conservatory programs for Drew, already an accomplished pianist. Just one year earlier, Ted had been one-half of a Bay Area power couple with high-status careers and precocious kids. Now, he was one-half of a contentious divorce, presided over by a judge who was referring to Drew as “they” and pressing Ted to accept that his 16-year-old son was actually a girl.
“And do you think that being transgender is a sin?” Judge Hiramoto asked, according to the transcript.
“No, of course I don’t think it’s a sin.”
“So you don’t think that it’s a sin. But you probably think that [Drew], if they are truly transgender, you would prefer that [Drew] not be transgender because in our society transgender people are the subject of a lot of discrimination. Would you agree with that?”
“I agree that transgender people suffer some discrimination and prejudice. I agree with that,” he said.
“I’m sort of going off the parallel experiences that I’ve read about or heard in family court or in family law classes for judges where gay children come out to their parents,” the judge said. “And sometimes it is difficult for the parents because they believe that the identity of being gay or lesbian, in their religion, is a sin. And then some people don’t feel that it’s a sin, but they say—they take a different angle, and they say, I just would prefer my child not to be gay or lesbian because they suffer so much discrimination in our society.
“So I’m sort of asking these parallel questions to see what is your—what I see in the papers is that you think that [Drew] is not truly transgender and that they are merely confused and—”
“He might be transgender,” Ted said. “He might be.”
“Okay. So if [Drew] might be transgender, it’s just to say they might.”
Ted realized his error and corrected himself: he had used the “he” pronoun because he remained deeply skeptical that the boy he’d coached in little league—the son he’d once seen crushing on a cute girl in his fifth-grade class—was actually a young woman.
“They might be,” Ted said. “[Drew]—they might be. Might be. We don’t know.”
While trying to keep an open mind about Drew’s gender, Ted was adamant to the judge that he did not want Drew to begin medical transition. In the 312 days since he had last seen his boy, Ted had done a lot of research on medical transition and gender dysphoria. He begged the court to consider research that suggested puberty blockers could impair cognition and diminish bone density. He knew that Drew, if administered puberty blockers along with estrogen, would be at high risk of permanent infertility. He wasn’t even sure that his son had gender dysphoria. He wanted to see his son—and he wanted this bullet train to slow down.
“It sounds to me that you would prefer that [Drew], when all is said and done, is just going through a phase. Is that a fair assessment?”
Ted evaded the question. Did he prefer that his son avoid a medically risky regimen that would render him permanently infertile and make him a lifetime medical patient? Wouldn’t anyone?
In the three years I’ve spent writing about families with transgender-identifying minors, the story of Ted Hudacko stood out as a case study of how gender ideology has infiltrated family law. It also frames the unintended consequences of medical professionals’ fudging science, rewriting medical definitions, and tolerating shoddy research to placate activists. At each stage, doctors may have thought: Where was the harm? And so, as a consequence, judges now decide the fate of children and their families based on phony, medically unsubstantiated metaphysics, as if it were factual that all adolescents have an immutable, ineffable “gender identity,” knowable only to the adolescents themselves.
On June 24, 2020, following her discussion with Ted about the Queen of England hypothetical, Judge Joni Hiramoto granted Christine sole legal custody of Drew on a temporary basis and approved the shared legal and physical custody arrangement of their younger son. She assured Ted that her order was not yet permanent. Judge Hiramoto had decided to order the appointment of a minor’s counsel to investigate how the boys were faring before making any permanent decisions. She already had the perfect person in mind. “I actually know of one who was previously appointed by the court, by a different judge, on a case involving children that were allegedly transgender,” she said. That minor’s counsel was attorney Daniel Harkins.
Ted didn’t know it yet, but the appointment of Harkins would place the final nail in the coffin of his parental rights. Within just a few months, the court would definitively end Ted’s parental relationship. He would have no right to see Drew, no right to talk to him, no right to demand that Drew attend therapy with him, and absolutely no right to stop a medical transition already planned by the Child and Adolescent Gender Center of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.
And finally, the court also felt that Ted had no right to know that Judge Hiramoto had a transgender child of her own, whose gender transition she had publicly supported. No one disclosed this information to the parties.
Ifirst spoke to Ted in May 2021, after Judge Hiramoto—following the recommendation of minor’s counsel—had stripped him of all custody of Drew. Ted was leaning heavily on support groups just to get himself through the day. He compared himself to the morose Edward Norton character from the movie Fight Club, who attends multiple support groups to relieve his depression and insomnia. “I’m in six support groups,” Ted said, laughing a little at himself.
Ted estimated that he had spent only 75 minutes total with Drew in the previous 12 months. His wounds were raw. Part of him wanted to blast his story across America, but he also worried that he might lose any remaining chance to see his son again if he did so. He had dismissed his attorney, who had failed to restore any of Ted’s rights, notwithstanding $25,000 in legal fees. For four months, Ted had been representing himself in court, filing motion after motion, attempting to terminate the appointment of the minor’s counsel (denied), pleading the court for more access to his son (also denied). The man I spoke to was distraught, half in shock, like someone arriving home from work to find his house being bulldozed.
The whole notion that Drew might be transgender still seemed bizarre to Ted—a fantasy told about someone else, bearing no connection to him. Even his divorce still seemed more like a nightmare than waking life. Sure, Christine had been distant in their marriage for some time, Ted told me, but that was easy to explain: for more than a year, she had been distracted by tragedy. In 2018, Christine’s sister had been stabbed 23 times at her workplace by her own estranged husband, who had recently been discharged from an inpatient mental-health facility. Christine spent the next year shuttling from the Bay Area to upstate New York to aid her sister’s recovery and provide evidence to strengthen the district attorney’s attempted murder prosecution. For the sentencing phase of the criminal trial—in June and July 2019—Christine stayed on the East Coast with both boys.
Ted was then fully preoccupied with a grueling six-week project for Apple. He hadn’t slept well in weeks, he says. On a Saturday in August 2019, shortly after returning from upstate New York with the boys, Christine walked into Ted’s home office and announced both that she was leaving and that their son Drew was transgender. By his own admission, Ted became angry. He believed Christine must have talked Drew into this during their weeks together in upstate New York. Ted says he begged to have this conversation after he had gotten some sleep. But Christine walked out, taking the kids to stay with her at a neighbor’s house.
“Saturday, when she left, I was under the impression, mistaken impression, that, you know, she simply temporarily left,” he said. “You know, maybe going out to get some fresh air or to just get, you know, give us some space or maybe even have gone to see a movie. I just went upstairs. I didn’t get up till the following morning.”
Court documents reveal Ted’s struggles with the court-appointed minor’s counsel, Daniel Harkins. No part of his tragedy is more Kafkaesque.
Harkins met with both boys, interviewed Drew’s therapist and both parents, and conducted two 90-minute interviews with Diane Ehrensaft of the UCSF Benioff Child and Adolescent Gender Clinic. Harkins also did some research on Ken Zucker, the Toronto-based psychologist and gender dysphoria specialist whom Ted preferred. Harkins never spoke with Zucker.
Zucker is arguably the world’s leading expert on gender dysphoria. He oversaw the writing of the entry of the condition for the DSM-5, the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. He also helped write the most recent final “Standards of Care” guidelines for the World Professional Association of Transgender Health. (New final standards are forthcoming.)