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Should Christians use preferred pronouns as a matter of respect for other persons, or should Christians decline to use preferred pronouns in order to speak truth?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #145 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issuesand everyday life.

“Misgendering,” a word most of us would not have recognized a mere ten years ago, is now a matter of controversy in American culture. Misgendering means “to identify the gender of (a person, such as a nonbinary or transgender person) incorrectly (as by using an incorrect label or pronoun).” For example, call a woman identifying as a man “she,” and you are guilty of misgendering.

Deadnaming” is a similar, relatively new word, that refers to the act of calling a transgender or non-binary person by a name they used prior to transitioning, such as their birth name. Usually this involves a person who has gone from a masculine or feminine given name to one they believe better aligns with their gender identity.

Enormously successful Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has been criticized, demeaned, made a victim of efforts to cancel or silence her, and threatened with arrest in Scotland simply because she believes a woman is a woman, values her life experience as a woman, and has had the temerity to say so.

The issue of gender pronouns has become controversial because some (activists)… want people who self-identify as transgendered to be called by their gender pronouns of choice,” what are now called preferred pronouns.

For fear of offending someone, people are being encouraged, or in many corporate environments required, to say things like: “Hi, I’m John and I go by he/him. Nice to meet you,” or in a meeting: “Hi everyone. I’m Mollie. I’m the senior program manager and I go by she/her” or “Hi, I’m Akeem, and I go by ‘they’ pronouns. How should I refer to you?

Theoretically, “these actions help make…workplace(s) more inclusive of transgender, gender nonconforming, and gender non-binary people.”

The rationale goes like this: “Using appropriate pronouns (or new names) is a first step toward respecting people's gender identity and creating a more welcoming space for people of all genders…the bottom line is that everyone deserves to have their self-ascribed name and pronouns respected in the workplace.”

Intentionally calling someone by the wrong pronoun (or old name) can make them feel disrespected or alienated, and can take a toll on their mental health. It is also offensive and can be considered harassment.”

Now, employees in some Christian organizations are declaring they wish to use preferred pronouns, indicating they are personally identifying as, or are at least supporting, gender status other than male or female.

Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, recently updated its policy handbook. “The college explains that stating pronouns violates school policy, and that anything beyond saying "he/him" and "she/her" is outside a “created reality of a biological binary.”

“Houghton University, another evangelical school, recently fired two resident hall directors for putting pronouns in their email signatures.” 

So, this is a current controversy, and it is not going to go away because misgendering, preferred pronouns, deadnaming, and related vocabulary battles are where the ideological wars are being fought. Ideologically driven activists know they cannot win based upon logic or science or history, or if honestly reviewed, historic religion, so they work to win with words. Change the vocabulary of the discussion and you’re halfway to victory.

This is why it is disconcerting to hear Christians, or even conservatives in general, use words like “partner,” for “it denotes no gender, no relationship status that involves exclusivity or fidelity. You can’t cheat on a ‘partner,’ you’re just partners.” This “normalizes whatever someone does sexually, and it removes gender from the mix.” It's even more disconcerting to hear television anchors replace mothers and traditional language with words like “birthing people,” “chest feeders,” “people who menstruate,” “egg producer,” or just “carrier.”

Gender pronouns are inscrutable, but that’s really the whole point. The bane of the American left is meaning, and they’re engaged in total war…The left understands very well that if they control language, they control thought.”

But, “assenting to someone’s gender pronouns isn’t (just) a matter of politeness, or an easy means to avoid conflict, nor is it a matter of affirming someone’s preference. Bending the knee to…gender pronouns…is affirming a lie. It’s a denial of what we all know intuitively, what classical philosophy recognized as the natural law — that there are only two sexes/genders extant among humans on this planet.”

“Deny(ing) something so primal, so fundamental is intellectually and spiritually suicidal — you host and propagate the worst kind of lie, the kind you tell yourself. In doing so, you cripple your ability to reason, suffocate conscience, and unmoor yourself from reality. Moreover, having accepted the irrational, you become complicit in the self-destruction of those within your power to rescue.”

Does loving our neighbor demand we accept their false values? No. In 1 Jn 3:18, we’re reminded “let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

Pronoun madness is a post-Christian culture malady. And now there is an ever-growing list of possible gender identities. As of late last year, 81 possible gender identity hybrids had achieved recognition, and they come with associated pronouns.

New on the block are “neopronouns.” “Neopronoun can be a word created to serve as a pronoun without expressing gender. Examples are ‘xe/xir/xirs,’ ‘ze/zir/zirs,’ ‘ey/em/eir,’ etc. (as opposed to ‘he/him/his’ or ‘she/her/hers’). With neopronouns, a person’s pronouns don’t need to reflect the gender binary. Gender becomes a creation of the individual and loses almost any connection to the physical world.”

“A subset of neopronouns is noun-self pronouns…‘a pre-existing word … drafted into use as a pronoun. Noun-self pronouns can refer to animals — so your pronouns can be… ‘kitten/kittenself.’ Others refer to fantasy characters — ‘vamp/vampself,’ ‘prin/cess/princesself’ …” In other words, a noun-self pronoun doesn’t even need to reflect the fact that you are a human being.”

If our sexual and gender identities are no longer expressions of our biological sex and our bodies, then there’s no stopping a person from identifying as the opposite sex, no sex, both sexes, or nonhuman things like animalsobjectsfictional characters, or abstract concepts. Without the human body as the source of one’s identity, ‘I am a woman trapped in a man’s body’ becomes just as plausible as ‘I am a wolf trapped in a human body.’ One’s identity is limited only by one’s imagination.”

Pronouns have become expressions of one’s self-proclaimed identity, a claim that proponents insist that everyone must affirm—or else.” “‘Gender’ is no longer correlated to an empirical reality like the body but has become a mere expression of one’s own self-perception or self-declaration. It has become, like so many other things, a mode of expressive individualism.”

Pronoun madness is a spiritual virus to which we must respond, lovingly yes, caringly yes, never hating yes, but still, recognizing there is a different set of values being pushed upon us, upon American culture, and upon the next generations, values that are irrational, nihilistic, ungodly, and deadly.

Even “former President Richard Nixon (a person whose own moral conscience went astray) once observed that many make the mistake of thinking that conflict is the result of misunderstanding rather than difference of belief.” He was correct.

What we are talking about regarding this intentional change of vocabulary is not resolvable via dialogue around a campfire in Aspen. It’s not about two equally worthy points of view with a peaceful consensus somewhere in the middle. It’s about fundamental differences in beliefs about God, the created order, humanity created in God’s image, and truth.

I recognize that “in cases of professional or personal relationships, believers may feel that it’s best to ‘pick their battles’ rather than take a rigid stance on such terms.” I realize that for some, the choice not to use preferred pronouns, i.e. to misgender, could threaten one’s employment.  

Yet, “while Christians need to be careful and respectful, respect cannot extend to endorsing ideas that the Bible calls false.” This helps no one.


Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2024  

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