Created Male and Female: An open letter from religious leaders

Editor’s Note: The following Dec. 15, 2017 letter was distributed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Dear Friends:

As leaders of various communities of faith throughout the United States, many of us came together in the past to affirm our commitment to marriage as the union of one man and one woman and as the foundation of society. We reiterate that natural marriage continues to be invaluable to American society.

We come together to join our voices on a more fundamental precept of our shared existence, namely, that human beings are male or female and that the socio-cultural reality of gender cannot be separated from one’s sex as male or female.

We acknowledge and affirm that all human beings are created by God and thereby have an inherent dignity. We also believe that God created each person male or female; therefore, sexual difference is not an accident or a flaw—it is a gift from God that helps draw us closer to each other and to God. What God has created is good. “God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27).

A person’s discomfort with his or her sex, or the desire to be identified as the other sex, is a complicated reality that needs to be addressed with sensitivity and truth. Each person deserves to be heard and treated with respect; it is our responsibility to respond to their concerns with compassion, mercy and honesty. As religious leaders, we express our commitment to urge the members of our communities to also respond to those wrestling with this challenge with patience and love.

Children especially are harmed when they are told that they can “change” their sex or, further, given hormones that will affect their development and possibly render them infertile as adults. Parents deserve better guidance on these important decisions, and we urge our medical institutions to honor the basic medical principle of “first, do no harm.” Gender ideology harms individuals and societies by sowing confusion and self-doubt. The state itself has a compelling interest, therefore, in maintaining policies that uphold the scientific fact of human biology and supporting the social institutions and norms that surround it.

The movement today to enforce the false idea – that a man can be or become a woman or vice versa – is deeply troubling. It compels people to either go against reason – that is, to agree with something that is not true – or face ridicule, marginalization, and other forms of retaliation.

We desire the health and happiness of all men, women, and children. Therefore, we call for policies that uphold the truth of a person’s sexual identity as male or female, and the privacy and safety of all. We hope for renewed appreciation of the beauty of sexual difference in our culture and for authentic support of those who experience conflict with their God-given sexual identity.

Sincerely Yours:
Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera
Bishop of Scranton
Chairman, USCCB Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs
The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church in North America
The Rev. John F. Bradosky
Bishop
North American Lutheran Church
Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Philadelphia
Chairman, USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth
Most Rev. James D. Conley

Bishop of Lincoln
Chairman USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage
The Rt. Rev. John A. M. Guernsey
Bishop, Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic
Anglican Church in North America
Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison
President
Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod
Imam Faizal Khan
Founder and Leader
Islamic Society of the Washington Area
Most Rev. Joseph E. Kurtz
Archbishop of Louisville
Chairman USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty
Melchisedek
Archbishop of Pittsburgh
Orthodox Church in America
The Rt. Rev. Eric V. Menees
Bishop, San Joaquin
Anglican Church in North America
Rev. Eugene F. Rivers III
Founder and Director
Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies
Church of God in Christ
Rev. Dr. Gregory P. Seltz, PhD
Executive Director
The Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty
The Rev. Paull Spring
Bishop Emeritus
The North American Lutheran Church
Rev. Tony Suarez
Executive Vice President
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Very Rev. Nathanael Symeonides
Ecumenical Officer
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
The Rev. Dr. L. Roy Taylor
Stated Clerk, General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in America
Andrew Walker
Director of Policy Studies
Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
The Rev. Dr. David Wendel
Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism
The North American Lutheran Church
Paul Winter
Elder
Bruderhof

 

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