An Abomination Of Desolation
What this New Zealand woman has done is an abomination. I use the word non-hyperbolically, and will explain what I mean after the excerpts:
When Scout Barbour-Evans gets asked if they are expecting a boy or a girl, they have the stock answer ready: “I hope it’s human”.
At eight months pregnant, the Dunedin takatāpui (part of the rainbow community) – who wishes to be referred to as they and them – has been fielding a lot of side looks, intrusive comments and questions.
Another common question is: “Who’s the dad?” to which the single by choice Otago Polytech student and volunteer responds: “It’s me. My child will call me pāpā.”
Barbour-Evans is a biological woman. More:
They were also keen to move to the next step of their transition: Getting a hysterectomy.
Barbour-Evans became pregnant only a few months after getting a double mastectomy. Stopping testosterone for the pregnancy and putting their transition on hold has been difficult.
“Not being able to take my testosterone and anxiety and sleep medication meant that during the first trimester I was having those four-hour long panic attacks but it did normalise and settle as my body got used to it.”
Other transgender dads are able to hide their pregnancy, passing it off as a beer belly, but Barbour-Evans’ small frame makes that impossible.
This means getting misgendered a lot.
So: this woman had her breasts chopped off as part of her quest to create an identity as a male. Then she stopped taking testosterone for long enough to get pregnant via a sperm donation. After suffering injustices (misgendering) during her pregnancy, and delivering the baby, she intends to have a hysterectomy. And, having surgically removed her breasts, Barbour-Evans still plans to “chest-feed” her newborn. More:
Recent legal changes makes it possible for trans and gay parents to be listed in the way they identify in relation to their children.
“I feel incredibly privileged to be in a position that I could make this a choice and that I am beginning to have the legal and social framework to raise my child in the way that is truest to me.”
The laws of New Zealand were changed to accommodate this madness — and naturally the media celebrate it, even abusing the English language to give Barbour-Evans what she wants. This is perhaps the best line of the entire story:
Internet trolls have called them crazy and mentally ill, “which I am”, Barbour-Evans says, “but it has nothing to do with my gender”.
Barbour-Evans really is mentally ill. She wrote about it on Medium. Excerpt:
I wrote a lengthy story this week about my most recent admission to a psychiatric ward, and the events that lead to it. I got a lot of really amazing, positive feedback for that piece. I figured I owed everyone more of an update than a thread of tweets.
I decided as a teenager, really, that I didn’t want to keep my mental illnesses a secret. I never liked how society treats mental illnesses so different from physical illnesses. Sometimes, we do everything we can to stop ourselves from getting the flu, but we still get the flu. I don’t think getting depressed is very different, though it’s technically speaking not contagious.
The first psychiatrist I ever saw, I was 18. I’d been in counselling for about 4 years prior, I just hadn’t been able to access a psychiatrist yet. He was one of Australia’s best, who generously donated his time to the youth health clinic I was a patient at.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar II, Social Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Anorexia Nervosa. It was certainly a handful, and I’ve always hated rattling off my list of diagnoses. I moved back to New Zealand and since then, I’ve been rediagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, then re-rediagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, an “unknown mood or personality disorder”, and Gender Dysphoria, which is a fancy doctor term for someone who is transgender that allows us access to basic healthcare we should just be able to choose to have of our own accord.
This poor woman needs serious help. But our radically individualist society is allowing her to mutilate her body and bring a baby into the world — and celebrating her as a social-justice pioneer.
The term “abomination of desolation” has a specific meaning in the Bible. It means “desolating sacrilege.” In the Gospel, it has an apocalyptic meaning; Christ’s use of the term is taken as a prophecy of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. Some Christians today take it as a double prophecy — a prophecy of Jerusalem, and also of the Last Days.
I use it here to refer to the sacrilege this insane woman has done to her body, which Christians believe is a “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6-19). St. Paul explicitly instructs Christians that their body is not their own, that it belongs to God. Therefore, they are to use their bodies in ways consistent with God’s will.
Scout Barbour-Evans plans to destroy her femininity, specifically her ability to give and nurture life. At least temporarily, she has maintained the “give life” part by retaining her womb, though that will be cut out shortly. She sliced off her breasts, which a mother uses to feed her newborn, though Barbour-Evans — who is mentally ill — believes that through some application of chemicals, she will be able to nurse her baby without breasts. After her final surgery, what will remain is a severely mutilated mentally ill woman who has charge of a baby.
Barbour-Evans is an icon of the New Order: an entirely self-created Self, who has used technology (surgery and chemicals) to destroy the givenness in her nature, and in so doing is also in the process of destroying her God-given gift: the ability to produce new life. What is so revolutionary about this is that the social, cultural, and legal order has changed not only to permit this, but to celebrate it.
Soon this celebration will be mandatory. One will not be permitted to dissent from this madness. Withholding approval of or consent to this phenomenon will not be tolerated. For example, medical personnel will be compelled to provide transition services for people who seek them. If you don’t see this coming, and coming soon, you are blind.
The young are already being catechized. In Scotland, the government recently ordered a revision of the national school curriculum to include lessons on “LGBTI rights,” with no opt-out allowed.
(Incidentally, Scotland’s Catholic schools are state-funded, so they’ll bend the knee and burn the pinch of incense. Indeed, a spokesperson for the Scottish Catholic bishops said the Church welcomes the new policy, and hopes that its impact will be “positive for all.” Presumably Pope Francis’s new crop of LGBT-friendly bishops — see Father James Martin praising the pope here, at the 6:48 point, for his actions on that front — will see to it that Catholic institutions affirm the New Order.)
Plus, public schools by nature are on the front lines of the latest and worst trends in popular culture. For example, under pressure from the federal government and LGBT activists, many school systems are now welcoming and normalizing transgenderism—with the support of many parents.
Theologian Carl Trueman discovered this when he tried to rally moms and dads in his suburban Philadelphia school district to oppose a proposed transgender policy that he contended would erode parental rights and harm women’s sports.
‘I was amazed that parents either saw no problem with the policy or thought it a positive good. Nobody seemed to grasp that the issue was bigger than helping a child genuinely struggling with identity issues,” says Trueman. “They simply could not see that the proposals involved setting a significant precedent for the expansion of the power of schools at the expense of the rights of parents. Needless to say, the policy passed without significant opposition”
Anecdotally confirming what seems to be a trend, a woman in suburban Baltimore said to me, “All those people who say you are alarmist about the Benedict Option must not be raising children.” She went on to say that at her daughter’s high school, a shocking number of teenagers were going to their parents telling them that they think they are transgender and asking to be put on hormones.
What do the parents do?
“You’d be surprised how many of them do it,” the woman said. “They are so afraid of losing their kids. And this is how our culture tells them to react. Parents like this become the fiercest advocates for transgenderism.”
Three months after our conversation, that woman’s daughter came home from high school with the news that she is really a boy, and demanding that her family treat her as such.
A reader of my blog said she sees the same sort of thing watching her daughter navigate from junior high to high school. “There’s nothing like having your twelve-year-old come home from school and start ticking off which of her classmates are bi,” the reader said. “I told my daughter it was statistically impossible for there to be that many bisexual students in her class, and that for most girls—and they were all girls—seventh grade was entirely too early to make pronouncements on their sexuality. In return, I got a lot of babble about gender being fluid and nonbinary.”
The reader called a friend with a daughter in the same class and asked her what was going on. “‘Where have you been?” she laughed. “‘At least a third of these girls are calling themselves bi.’”
Whether it’s happening officially — that is, via institutional means — or through the culture’s shift, it’s definitely happening. One liberal high school teacher in deep Red America told me this past summer that she’s delighted by how clueless parents of the kids in her school are about how radical their teenagers are on matters of sexuality and gender identity.
Why should this matter so much to Christians? Because our religion is incarnational. Traditional Christian teachings says that matter matters. Matter has implicit meaning. The divine logos is embedded in Creation, and finds its most complete expression in the Incarnation of God Himself in the form of a man, Jesus Christ. Because of the Incarnation, we cannot separate the body from God. The human body is part of the meaningful cosmos. As I write in The Benedict Option:
Early Christianity’s sexual teaching does not only come from the words of Christ and the Apostle Paul; more broadly, it emerges from the Bible’s anthropology. The human being bears the image of God, however tarnished by sin, and is the pinnacle of an order created and imbued with meaning by God.
In that order, man has a purpose. He is meant for something, to achieve certain ends. When Paul warned the Christians of Corinth that having sex with a prostitute meant that they were joining Jesus Christ to that prostitute, he was not speaking metaphorically. Because we belong to Christ as a unity of body, mind, and soul, how we use the body and the mind sexually is a very big deal.
Anything we do that falls short of perfect harmony with the will of God is sin. Sin is not merely rule breaking but failing to live in accord with the structure of reality itself.
The Christian who lives in reality will not join his body to another’s outside the order God gives us. That means no sex outside the covenant through which a man and a woman seal their love exclusively through Christ. In orthodox Christian teaching, the two really do become “one flesh” in a way that transcends the symbolic.
If sex is made holy through the marriage covenant, then sex within marriage is an icon of Christ’s relationship with His people, the church. It reveals the miraculous, life-giving power of spiritual communion, which occurs when a man and a woman—and only a man and a woman—give themselves to each other. That marriage could be unsexed is a total novelty in the Christian theological tradition.
“The significance of sexual difference has never before been contingent upon a creature’s preferences, or upon whether or not God gave it episodically to a particular creature to have certain preferences,” writes Catholic theologian Christopher Roberts. He goes on to say that for Christians, the meaning of sexuality has always depended on its relationship to the created order and to eschatology—the ultimate end of man. “As was particularly clear, perhaps for the first time in Luther, the fact of a sexually differentiated creation is reckoned to human beings as a piece of information from God about who and what it meant to be human,” writes Roberts.
Contrary to modern gender theory, the question is not Are we men or women? but How are we to be male and female together? The legitimacy of our sexual desire is limited by the givenness of nature. The facts of our biology are not incidental to our personhood. Marriage has to be sexually complementary because only the male-female pair mirrors the generativity of the divine order. “Male and female he made them,” says Genesis, revealing that complementarity is written into the nature of reality.
This is why the battle against the body is a cosmological war. Most Christians in the West today, having fully absorbed nominalism, don’t understand that. Once, in a conversation with a group of Christians about LGBT issues, one frustrated participant said, “When can we stop talking about this and get back to talking about the Gospel?!” As if the Gospel were somehow separate from the body, and from creation itself! For her, no doubt, the whole of Christianity was about assenting to a proposition (“accepting Jesus Christ as my personal savior”) and rearranging one’s emotions. But that’s a counterfeit Christianity. You sever the connection between the Bible and the body, the metaphysical link between God and Creation, and you end up with insanity like this, which has been making the rounds this week:
Listen, transhumanism is coming. The belief that the body is nothing more than an expression of individual human will, and has no intrinsic meaning and limits, is paving the way for a post-human future. For those who believe that the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Scout Barbour-Evans’s radical disfiguring of her body, her willing that her mental disorder be made flesh, is a profound sacrilege. Almost overnight, we have become a culture that says madness is sanity itself, and seeks to punish those who refuse to assent to this ideologically-driven mass dementia.
Are we ready for this? I don’t think we are.