If there really is a god, he or she is going to be mightly pissed off at the hateful rhetoric spouted in his or her name.

One of the more rabid anti-LGBTQ bigots I come across is Jonathon Van Maren. Van Maren believes that his hate is a means of defending the teachings of the Catholic Church.

On Thursday, Van Maren wrote: A horrifying look at how transgenderism butchers people’s bodies – and the language we use. The subtitle reads:

Read at your own risk – by far the most disturbing part of all of this has to do with sex. This is a movement driven by mental illness and mutilation, and young people are signing up for it in droves.

Stop attacking our community’s children and less opprobrium will come your way.”

Van Maren is comfortable playing psychiatrist and behavioral health diagnostician. Dr. Bobby Azarian, a highly respected psychologist, has written an interesting paper: How Religious Fundamentalism Hijacks the Brain — Fundamentalist ideologies act like mental parasites.

I will quote no more of Van Maren’t bigoted narrative! I do not have to.

In the past, Mr. Van Maren has tried to offset accusations of bigotry and hatred simply by claiming that “I am right and you are wrong.” (Paraphrased of course.) No one wants to be called a hater and a bigot.

That is easily avoided:

Stop attacking our community’s children and less opprobrium will come your way.

The dynamic is easy enough to understand. Many members of the LGBTQ community had arduous experiences growing up as a result of our sexuality. For me that extended well into my work experiences, largely in the closet.

“The religious fundamentalists ask people to ignore medical science in order to preference religious dogma.”

Therefore, many of us feel obliged to protect kids from having similar experiences. Call it “Catcher in the Rye” syndrome*. We will stand up for LGBTQ kids and kids who have LGBTQ parents. Among those are transgender kids. They are the most vulnerable and fragile. If defending children makes me a “radical homosexual activist,” so be it.

We will protect those children and adolescents to the best of our ability. Religious fundamentalism is the source of most of the bigotry that those kids have to endure. They do not have fully-developed ego-strengths which means that they suffer more at the hands of bigots than adults might.

The religious fundamentalists ask people to ignore medical science in order to preference religious dogma. Belief systems — like religion — are based on faith. Science is based on evidence. Those two things are more likely to be in conflict than accord.

This is not comparable to esoteric debates over whether one should keep kosher, whether cows are sacred or whether evolution is more sound than creationism. No one dies as a result of some geocentrist’s denial of all scientific reason.

When it comes to gender-diverse kids, in contrast, the mental and physical wellbeing of real humans is at real risk. If just one parent subscribes to the religious bullshit over scientific scholarship then that parent is going to make a kid suffer. That parent will place his or her own child at risk for self-harm.

“These are determined Christians. They have concluded that trans minors should not receive gender-affirming care.”

This potential for unnecessary suffering goes even further. Armed with religious doctrine and religious piety, some state legislators are passing laws that target transgender minors. The debate over whether trans girls should participate in sports should be resolved through science; not prayer.

It gets worse. In Arkansas, legislators who are insurance salesmen, lawyers, real estate agents and store managers have determined that their judgment is superior to that of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

These are determined Christians. They have concluded that trans minors should not receive gender-affirming care. Administering, prescribing or consuming puberty blockers is now a crime in Arkansas. Children will die.

Returning to the aforementioned article by Dr. Azarian:

But religious fundamentalism—which refers to the belief in the absolute authority of a religious text or leaders—is almost never good for an individual. This is primarily because fundamentalism discourages any logical reasoning or scientific evidence that challenges its scripture, making it inherently maladaptive.

Moreover, it is “never good” for the victims of that individual.

“Add to all of that the fact that the existence of transgender people has no effect whatsoever on these religious warriors.”

Jonathon Van Maren might say that he is not criticising trans youth; he is criticising their caregivers and doctors. Why? For conforming to science? The constant repetition of the religious bullshit that trans kids are “confused” does violence to those children.

The messaging basically says that being transgender means that trans youth have made very poor choices.

Add to that the morons who refuse to use gender-appropriate pronouns and it appears that the fundamentalists are deliberately toxic. Do they believe that their obnoxious disparagement is going to cause gender dysphoria to heal itself in order for no one to create a conflict with scripture?

Add to all of that the fact that the existence of transgender people has no effect whatsoever on these religious warriors. It is easy to discern that they are irrational to the point of clinical insanity.

Furthermore, their insanity harms others. Being transgender is no more a choice than wearing eyeglasses or hearing aids or using a cane. Self-righteous indecency is a choice. The indecent behavior of religious fundamentalists which harms children is really no different than pedophilia or Munchausen by proxy. The kid survives but is damaged.

If they want to be respected then they must be kind to the most vulnerable constituents of the LGBTQ community. What they are doing now is simply unacceptable in a civil society. Perhaps Jonathon Van Maren is fond of the negative attention — or any attention at all.

———
* Holden Caulfield, Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Chapter 22:

Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around—nobody big, I mean—except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff—I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all.

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.