WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - The U.S. bishops are rejecting gender ideology and affirming the beauty and dignity of the human person created male and female.
On Friday, a group of ecumenical and interfaith leaders, along with the U.S. Bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, released a letter promoting the biblical teaching on male and female.
The open letter, titled "Created Male and Female," was signed by a number of prelates in the Church, including Bp. James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.
The faith leaders address the topic of the sexes, our "shared existence," which is 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."
They reaffirm the teachings of the Church concerning the human person and his sexuality:
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).
The religious leaders emphasized the understanding of sexual identity also to address the confusion and harm surrounding gender ideology, which harms children's psychological, physical and mental development.
"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," according to the letter.
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. Gender ideology harms individuals and societies by sowing confusion and self-doubt. 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." 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 bishops note that gender ideology must be confronted with "sensitivity and truth." Those persons who struggle with sexual identity should be treated with "compassion, mercy and honesty," the letter states.
It concludes with a call for "policies that uphold the truth of a person's sexual identity as male or female, and the privacy and safety of all." It also calls 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."
"Created Male and Female" follows on three past letters: "The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment," "Marriage and Religious Freedom: Fundamental Goods That Stand or Fall Together" and "The Defense of Marriage and the Right of Religious Freedom: Reaffirming a Shared Witness" written by other U.S. bishops and ecumenical and interfaith leaders.