Or, why Dennis Prager should do two minutes of research before writing something for publication.
Prager, as one piece of his “The Case for Judeo-Christian Values” series, writes about how transgender people threaten our Judeo-Christian society. Except he doesn’t get what “transgender” actually means, and seems to equate it with cross-dressing. He is careful, at least, to say that “transgender” does not equal “transsexual” — except does anyone outside of conservatives and Rocky Horror Picture Show use the word “transsexual” anymore?
Transgendered is not the same as transsexual. In theory, Judeo-Christian values have no problem with a transsexual — someone who has undergone a sex change — if that person then behaves in ways associated with his or her new sex.
First, is it even possible for “values” to have a problem with something? I was under the impression that it was people who hold particular values who are capable of finding things problematic. But that’s beside the point. What struck me about this particular paragraph is that it’s just not true — I’m pretty sure Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson aren’t big supporters of “transsexual” rights.
He is also apparently offended that gays and lesbians would include transgender people in their strugge for equal rights (cuz you know that Dennis Prager is a big supporter of the LGB part of the acronym).
It is remarkable that activists on behalf of gay and lesbian acceptance always include the transgendered. What, after all, do the transgendered, who are usually heterosexual men, have to do with gays and lesbians?
Since when are transgender people “usually heterosexual men”? Now if he’s talking about cross-dressers, then I can see where he would get that idea, given that guys in dresses get a whole lot more attention than a woman in, say, pants and a tie (hello there, Annie Hall). But while male cross-dressing may be more obvious — and also perceived as more radical than female cross-dressing — that doesn’t have much to do with how many people identify as transgender. And, while this certainly isn’t a scientific study, of the four transgender people I know, three were born female.
He goes on to complain that the word “sex” has been replaced with the word “gender,” implying that sex is fluid. I’m not going to waste my time and yours by rehashing the first day of Gender Studies 101, but suffice it to say that “sex” hasn’t been replaced. Feminists and LGBT activists didn’t make up the world “gender.”
But my favorite part is this:
One of the major values of the Old Testament, the primary source of Judeo-Christian values, is the notion of a divinely ordained order based on separation. What God has created distinct, man shall not tamper with.
As examples, good is separate from evil (attempts to blur their differences are known as moral relativism and are anathema to Judeo-Christian values); life is separate from death (in part a reaction to ancient Egypt, which blurred the distinction between life and death); God is separate from nature (see part XVI); humans are separate from animals (see part XV); and man is separate from woman. Blurring any of these distinctions is tampering with the order of the world as created by God and leads to chaos. So important is the notion of separation that the very word for “holy” in biblical Hebrew (kadosh) means “separate,” “distinct.”
This helps to explain one of the least known and most enigmatic laws of the Torah, the ban on wearing linen and wool together in the same piece of clothing (sha’atnez). Linen represents plant life, and wool represents animal life. The two are distinct realms in God’s creation.
And that is why the Torah bans men from wearing women’s clothing.
I think Prager may be shocked to learn that humans are animals. I guess he missed elementary school science class. So perhaps we can blame that fact for the crumbling of society. I also won’t hold my breath for Judeo-Christian conservatives to attempt to ban the wearing of linen and wool together (although I wonder who in their right mind would do that in the first place).
So here’s my question: What does God define as “men’s clothing” and “women’s clothing”? And how do we know? I mean, if God doesn’t want men to wear women’s clothing (and I assume vice-versa), then how do we figure out what God intended for men and women to wear? What they were wearing way back in Jesus’ day doesn’t much resemble what we wear now. Am I a sinner because I wore pants — “men’s clothing” — last night? Hell, I even wore boxers — men’s undergarments –to bed. And yesterday I didn’t wear a bra, possibly forsaking my femininity. Is that evil? Or is it only men in women’s clothing who bring out God’s wrath? If only God had cleared this whole mess up when He wrote the Bible with His own hand — perhaps a word or two in Genesis (“And then, God said, ‘Let Adam have pants!’”) would have made this situation a whole lot less confusing.
But, wait a minute… isn’t that a dress?
- Anti-Semitism, Columbus, and nip/tucks: A Mini Round-Up by Jill October 10, 2005
- Now I’m Really Confused by Jill September 14, 2006
- “Traditional Values” in Russia by Jill May 28, 2006
- Dear Dennis Prager, “America” and “Christianity” are not synonymous by Jill December 4, 2006
- Trans In Iran by Rad Geek February 5, 2005