What lengths will these Christian conservatives not go to in order to disparage transgender people? I cannot get a handle on just who or what Matthew Hanley is other than a Defender of the Faith™. with blistering stupidity Mr. Hanley has authored: What happens when transgenderism and pedophilia become a ‘condition.’ I note that Hanley’s title is a statement, not a question. This does not start out very well:

There is no standing still on the societal front either. Look how quickly the transgender movement followed Obergefell. It would be folly to imagine that this “achievement” would placate progressives – as if transgenderism were the goal to end all goals. So one logical question is: what comes next?

The only people who seem to believe that there is such a thing as a “transgender movement” are Christian conservatives. Apparently it might shock them to learn that there isn’t a pressure group looking to be placated. Mr. Hanley is seemingly unaware of the fact that the so-called slippery slope is a logical fallacy per se. One more time I will step through this.

  1. It is a medical and scientific fact that a small segment of the population have a condition called gender dysphoria. It is the incongruence of gender and natal sex.
  2. The condition causes great suffering in terms of anxiety and depression.
  3. It is also a medical and scientific fact that there is no known intervention to cure gender dysphoria. A handful of noisy Christians promote a form of conversion therapy without research demonstrating that it is either safe or effective. It probably is neither.
  4. People obtain relief from the symptoms of gender dysphoria through gender affirmation which is what being transgender is.
  5. Without relief the condition creates a potential for self-harm that is considerably higher than for the general population.

That begs the question: With lives on the line why would anyone want to fuck around with superstition to address a medical issue? A few hundred years ago illnesses were thought to be caused by demons. In 1796 a scientist, Edward Jenner, developed the smallpox vaccine. I wonder if religious conservatives referred to “the smallpox movement.”

I get it. I really do. God created men and women (and a few intersex folks). However, medical science understands and has researched gender as a separate construct. If one is that religious then surely it seems only logical to assume that some of the gifts of knowledge to medical science are gifts from the same god who apparently doesn’t approve of trans people.

But let us return to Mr. Hanley for some of his merriment:

It seems there are only two general options. We might recover a saner appreciation of reality and tradition, or we will continue to degenerate in yet other destructive ways. My guess, unfortunately, is that the latter is more likely.

Let me make sure that I have this right. Embracing science is an imaginary enterprise but honoring religious opprobrium which dates back to demons of disease is reality? Was that not the “thinking” when witches were tortured and burned? A call to tradition? By all means. Let’s stock up on blood-letting supplies. Personally I am a bit short on leeches. I wonder if Amazon.com can provide them with two-day Prime shipping.

Polygamy is a somewhat obvious candidate for the next wave to crash ashore. As predicted, Muslims in the West have begun advocating for its acceptance based upon legal precedent sanctioning “gay marriage.” Why should “love” lose in a polygamous context?

Remind me. How many wives did Noah have? Moses? Conservative Christians have been floating the polygamy balloon as a tread on the
Teflon slope ever since they decided to oppose marriage equality. Polygamy must stand on its own. What are the benefits and detriments? I do not know. What I do know is that it is unrelated to same-sex marriage.

The point is not hard to appreciate: they got theirs by throwing reason out the window, why shouldn’t we get ours? There is also now a special term for incest – “Genetic Sexual Attraction” – designed to give it a scientific aura and thus a kind of respectability; well, if that is what we are calling it now, it’s ok then.

Actually I find the point very hard to appreciate and the notion that Obergefell threw “reason out the window” is religious gibberish. There were sound, rational reasons to allow for same-sex marriage. I have yet to entertain a coherent secular reason to oppose. I should not pay attention to hyperbole I don’t think that legalized incest is on the horizon. Too many downsides come to mind. I often wonder, however, if inbred humans are the cause of some backward religious “thinking.” That’s no crazier than the pope’s “transgender ideology.”

On the next note I will drop the sarcasm:

But we may also have to contend with an attempt to normalize pedophilia. I hate to even write this, but you tell me what is beyond the pale nowadays – and why? Providing a reason it should be singled out as verboten is not so easy, given the justifications we now accept for other transgressions.

So he is comparing LGBT people to pedophiles I suppose. It is not perfectly obvious why we do not accept pedophilia? I do not know what “justifications” for things that he does not approve of Mr. Hanley is referring to but it is pretty well established that children cannot offer informed consent. The hyperbole is both idiotic and offensive.

Now I can resume being just generally shitty:

A few months ago, I saw an episode of Chicago Med – a hospital-based TV drama – in which one of the patients facing a life-threatening medical emergency happened to be a pedophile. He did not want to continue being an offender and thus chose to forego treatment in order to ensure his death.

While cast in this sympathetic light, his medical team was eager to find explanations for his “condition”: there was talk about new “scientific” indications that pedophilia could be classified as a disease – traced back to a gene or some neurological trigger. This explains the title of that episode: “Born This Way.”

Presumably Mr. Hanley has more difficulty in separating fact from fiction than I would have thought possible. You know; script vs. reality. I assume that even he (without consulting ancient treatises by Thomas Aquinas) knows the difference between being gay and being a pedophile. Personally, I leafed through my Talmud and it provides little guidance — although I did learn that one must learn some version of “on the other hand.” Those old Jews loved to argue with each other.

Let’s take a leap to the land of ignorant absurdity and enjoy the journey knowing that it is temporary:

Pope Francis seems comfortable with that mindset if, as per media accounts, he really did tell a “gay” person – a victim of clerical sexual abuse! – he was born that way. Whatever Francis’ actual view, the impression remains that he might have actually confirmed him in that lifestyle; if so, why could he theoretically not say the same for a polygamist or even a pedophile?

Sexual orientation probably forms by the age of two and it cannot be influenced by parenting. I know this because I have read a fair amount of peer-reviewed research. It is a trait. Pedophilia is also (possibly) a trait. I do not know enough about it to be certain. If we assume that is the case, the fact that the two things are traits in no way means that they are remotely similar — any more than, say, eye color or handedness. Polygamy is not a trait. It is a choice which seems to be most prevalent among fundamentalist Mormons meaning that it is also an ideology.

Biology is what we say it is, when we say what it is. Got the reasoning there? Good, then you see the attempt to classify pedophilia as a disease for what it is: the first step towards normalization. Disease can become benign just as bad can become good – when we say so.

Oy veh. These are not things subject to judgment. Mr. Hanley wouldn’t be trying to muddy the waters; now would he? He is also stuck on comparing things that he does not approve of (due to religious dogma) to pedophilia because he can take it for granted that nobody approves of child molestation. It’s a rather cheap way of making a point and suggests an inability to formulate a meaningful, persuasive and coherent argument.

Notice how children are viewed in our post-truth era: unwelcome (contraception), out of the equation (gay), malleable innocents to be steered towards destruction (LGBT indoctrination), and unworthy even of protection from violence (abortion).

You need to understand that Matthew Hanley’s idea of truth is whatever the Church says it is. There is no amount of evidence that will ever convince Hanley that, for example, gay people are not objectively disordered or that sexual orientation is not something that is developed through the influence of other people. Hanley lacks that layer of critical thinking necessary to be able to separate and understand real truth from dogma.

Children can also become, through technology, objects engineered to suit the wishes of adults. If we accept these “reasons” to treat children in such a disinterested and ruthless manner, why cannot they also be used as sex objects?

Pushing the envelope in that direction may be packaged by some radical Westerners as “progress.” Yet the practice of abusing boys is already entrenched in Afghanistan. Take PBS’ word for it.

Hanley is referring to bacha bazzi which dates back more than a thousand years. It should serve as a warning to those who are fixated on tradition and those who are slaves to ancient religious chronicles.

I often wonder how some of these people manage to work for a living surrounded by all those people who are not adherents. This piece was intended for Catholic consumption so Hanley can feel reasonably safe. However that does not excuse the sheer bigotry and appalling stupidity that he expresses. Nothing throughout human history has caused more misery than fundamentalist religion.

Related content:

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.