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Meditation 1218
Ruining God's Less-Than-Perfect Creation

by: John Tyrrell

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It is 48 years since the first successful human heart transplant. Initially controversial, particularly among some religious people, because it involved “playing God”, the procedure has become routine, though still relatively rare. (About 3,500 annually worldwide.) These days we only hear about the procedure when someone famous undergoes it, otherwise it is not particularly newsworthy. And other than perhaps the Jehovah’s Witnesses, nobody objects to it on religious grounds.

Another medical procedure has been in the news lately, largely because it involves someone famous. And even though this procedure has been successfully performed for over thirty-five years longer than heart replacement, this latest operation managed to generate religious criticism.

While the first known operation was in 1931, the sex-change operation as it was then called (now named gender reassignment surgery) came to wide public attention in the early 1950s with news stories about Christine Jorgensen. Even as a pre-teen, I could recognize, when reading about this at the time, that this was something that Jorgensen did not undertake lightly – she really did feel like a woman in a man’s body. It's not the sort of think done on a whim. As a ten year-old, I was intelligent enough not to consider it, as the idiotic Mike Huckabee called it, a boy trying to shower with the girls in the girls’ locker room.

Huckabee, and others who brought their not-so-brilliant Christian commentaries to play on Caitlyn Jenner showed no empathy at all. They seem incapable of understanding that life is not a one-size fits all endeavour. Just because they are incapable of putting themselves in another’s position, they are incapable of recognizing that for some people, this procedure is necessary.

A couple of comments (from non-theologians) in my Facebook newsfeed:

Those are just ordinary Christians, reacting from their gut and not trying to actually understand Jenner’s situation.

But there are those who should know better – but don’t. Consider the Pope. While not commending directly on Jenner (these comments are from February), Pope Francis in the forward to a book “This Economy Kills” said Christians should safeguard God's order of creation and that people who 'manipulate' their bodies are similar to 'Herods' that 'destroy, that plot designs of death, that disfigure the face of man and woman, destroying creation.

“Let's think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation.”

Similar to those more uninformed Christians I mentioned earlier, the Pope seems to think gender reassignment surgery ruins God’s perfect creation.

I would ask these people

“What do you think of surgery to correct a newborn’s hare lip? Is that ruining God’s perfect creation?”

“Or how about fixing an operable disfiguring birthmark?

 “What about fixing a hole in the heart?”

What about separating conjoined twins? Would you prefer them to go through life physically linked together rather than ruining God’s perfect creation?

There are any number of operations performed to correct things that are seen as defects, abnormalities, or differences. Generally, the Pope does not criticize these procedures as running God’s perfect creation.  I suspect the Pope would see the availability of such benefits as an example of God’s mercy.

Frankly – I don’t see that treating gender dysphoria is any different morally than treating a cleft palette. If it is needed, it is the right thing to do.


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