HEADlines: The Ever-Moving Line

Published in The Mustard Seed Sentinel, 3/27/21~

It was interesting to observe. A sociological experiment of sorts. We were at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. Our busload of people and several hundred others.

And just two bathrooms.

The driver explained that, because there were so many people and such little in the way of facilities, we were to just get in line together–men and women–and take care of nature’s callings as such.

It was a practical matter–how to move so many people faster. It wasn’t about ideology.

Yes, I was uncomfortable and found the experience unpleasant. But what surprised me most was that the most vocal complaints came from the younger women in our group.

They, of the generation who grew up with the most open views on gender and sexuality since Rome, were beyond uncomfortable. Horrified might be the word they would use. They weren’t prepared for such a change in their social practices.

In his book, The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race, and Identity, Douglas Murray puts forth his thesis that, just perhaps, Western Civilization is shifting too quickly, too sharply.

That happens, he says, when one side wins a battle–but the war continues.

“Our public life is now dense with people desperate to man the barricades long after the revolution is over,” Murray writes.

For example, America and much of Europe have instituted same-sex marriage. Where else can the new social line go? Yet it keeps moving.

It shifts to a Big Brother effort to get everyone on board. To make us all believe the same thing about same-sex marriage, about white privilege, about the evils of the patriarchy that wields power unjustly, holding women down. Justice never happens because the line to fairness keeps moving.

In such times, it’s rare to find a book that, to mix my metaphors, puts a finger on the pulse of the constantly moving line in a way no other author has. We see the “great crowd derangement,” Douglas Murray describes, but “we do not see the causes.” He shows us the causes.

Murray’s book contains a message that is cogent, urgent–and surprising, considering its source.

The perspective in The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race, and Identity is distinctly liberal but at the same time very conservative. Douglas Murray is gay. He believes the line has gone too far. And there may not be a way to pull it back.

He is honest about his fear that “We face not just a future of ever-greater atomization, rage and violence, but a future in which the possibility of backlash against all rights advances–including the good ones–grows more likely.”

Murray says, “Our public life is now dense with people desperate to man the barricades long after the revolution is over.”

When the ObergefellSupreme Court decision came down legalizing same-sex marriage, I thought–albeit briefly–they have what they want now. We will stay in this place. We did not. Instead, we saw lawsuits over wedding cakes, photos, and flowers.

What we saw and continue to see, as Murray puts it, is that once the “boot is on the other foot” the victors treat the losers the way the losers once treated the now victors. Murray implicitly makes a case for the Golden Rule and pulls back the curtain on the “gobbledygook” that has filtered into society from liberal academia.

I’m not sure I’ve ever read a secular book with more wisdom from someone whose worldview is so vastly different from my own.

In his section on Transgenderism–entitled “Trans”–Murray tells three stories.

One is about a man who had felt uncomfortable in his body since childhood. After serving in the military, marrying, and fathering five children, he divorced his wife and became a woman. Once same-sex marriage became legal in the UK, the now trans woman remarried the former wife.

Formerly James, now Jan, felt “euphoria” post-surgery, and was convinced “I had done the right thing.”

Murray writes that the “four surviving children . . . obviously did not have the easiest time adapting to the change in circumstances, though they seem to have been as adaptive as anyone could be.”

That’s Murray’s best case scenario.

The story he opens the chapter with doesn’t end happily.

Murray tells the story of Nathan, born Nancy. As a young girl, Nancy felt the family favored her brothers. Nancy’s mother admitted she found her infant daughter to be “so ugly” that she never bonded with her.

Nancy eventually underwent surgery to become Nathan. But one year later, disappointment in the results drove the trans man to ask the state for euthanasia. The state complied.

Nathan’s mother said, “Her death does not bother me.”

The story prompts Murrays’ questions: “Are we sure that [trans] exists as a category? And if so, are we certain that attempting to turn somebody physically from one sex to another is always possible? Or even the best way to deal with the conundrum this presents?”

Some may say that Nancy/Nathan’s story is a straw man. A terrible example of family rejection and a striving to do anything to find acceptance–which apparently was not to be had.

Yet Murray has other stories. I’ll summarize one that best supports his thesis that today’s culture is moving too fast on this issue.

“James” was a teen when he discovered the gay/drag queen scene. He shared his sense that he was “in the wrong body” with his doctor at age 18. After three and a half hours–yes, hours–of therapy at age 19, James heard the clinician’s conclusion: “You’re trans.”

He then entered the NHS (British health care system) that would accommodate all his needs, beginning with hormones and culminating in surgery–every need except one that would question the diagnosis of trans.

It was a process that began with James living as a woman for two years. Then came the hormones, next, would come the surgery that would finalize the transformation.

James–no female name provided in Murray’s retelling–would see NHS folks once every six months. During that time, no one questioned–or asked him to question–the diagnosis of trans.

Yet, James himself began to ask questions as a point of no return approached.

One can take opposite-sex hormones only so long before an important effect becomes permanent. If he continued to take these medications, James would be irrevocably infertile.

“[The NHS] had treated him as someone with a condition that needed fixing. But online James sought–and found–contrary points of view. Through alternative media he discovered YouTube stars and others who were questioning the wisdom of his decision, including younger and hipper people than he had expected.”

James also had questions about his faith as a liberal Christian–“Questions of God and design.”

He began to ask, “What I need to do to be content with my body, not change my body.” No one at NHS had encouraged such thought.

The government’s philosophy about transgenderism had moved too fast–in only one direction–for James.

Murray’s voice is an important one for our day. It is a voice of reason calling us to the manned barricades that want to move us to a place of no return–without much consideration of the consequences as we go.

Murray calls us to hear what the changes are doing, not just for the “Jan”‘s who are happy with the results of social change–but for the Jameses who looked beyond the NHS’s quest for a one-size-fits-all solution–for the Nancy/Nathans who found that solution insufficient to fulfill a lifelong search for love and acceptance.

Can we hear Murray in time?

Can we hear the truth of who we are as created humans?

Or are we already too late?

Photo Credit: Jason Leem, Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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23 Replies to “HEADlines: The Ever-Moving Line”

  1. It makes me sad to think hw many people alter themselves with surgery (whether cosmetic or gender-transforming) just to please others. I wish we all could just focus on the eternal and not the earthly and know this time here is so fleeting. My heart breaks for all these people experiencing such pain.

    1. I think about that often, Jessica. About how our grandparents didn’t have television telling them how they should look and that they should spend time, money, and pain getting to be like people who are depicted in all their (not always accurately presented) beauty. Thanks for commenting. God bless!

  2. This entire post breaks my heart. A spirit of confusion permeates our society, and people who are confused by their gender are encouraged to act on that confusion–often with terrible results. Thank you for shining a light in the darkness.

  3. Now legislation is contemplated to make it illegal for anyone to even try to tell these people their thoughts are wrong. Because this group is so vocal and aggressive, politicians and society give in to them out of fear. It is sad to know that people are trapped by wrong thoughts. Turning to Christ will set them free. That’s the reason the devil is fighting to make it illegal.

  4. As you mentioned, I think this book seems to hit the nail on the head. I have felt this same way but could not find words to express it. Thanks for sharing and making us aware.

  5. Short of a national Christian spiritual revival, we are destined to follow the same paths as other societies before us that traveled down this road. For those nations that chose “Mans’ Standards” over God’s standards the spiral downward is the inevitable conclusion. The 20th century provides enough evidence. When you look at Russia and China since their Communist Revolutions you see clearly the result of removing God. Europe since the end of World War II demonstrates a “kinder and gentler” form of imposing mans’ enlightenment on society. Not a communist takeover but rather a socialist utopia removing God and substituting “fairness” for all has led to a less violent but similar outcome. The USA waited until the post Viet Nam era to begin imposing the “Higher” authority of man’s intelligence in place of a Supreme Being. I have concluded that if we abandon God for long enough of a time period, He will abandon us! A remnant may remain but the greatest country God ever designed will not!

    1. Thanks, Jeff. I wonder the same thing. And I wonder whether Him abandoning us has already begun. It would surely be the case that we abandoned Him first. God bless!

  6. Wow, Nancy. This sounds like a fascinating read. I find it interesting that the author has such a different worldview from traditional Christians, yet his words resonate, perhaps go beyond those barriers and barricades each “side” sets up. I am grateful you shared this review!

  7. What an intriguing book! That the author is gay and liberal and yet has clearly seen through all of the lies our culture is pushing right now about sexuality and human rights and transgenderism is a welcome surprise! I want to read this book, and to examine his ideas more thoroughly. He seems to be seeing what most other liberals cannot see at this moment in time, but I fear will rue in the future when they look back at what they have foisted on today’s confused and questioning adolescents.

  8. Too many people think they are the only ones affected by situations and events in life. Too many people put self first instead of putting God first. Turmoil will continue until Jesus returns. The way humans handle the turmoil will help or hinder the moments of each day. I pray we all will live for Him, not for self.

  9. A lot of wisdom here, Nancy. Your point that often the attitude of the “winners” in a social battle tend to develop the same kinds of behaviors they supposedly abhorred in the other group is right on target. I’ve seen it happen in political situations, workplaces, and our churches. I agree, we are moving too fast in certain areas and some folks (you show examples) are carried along by the tide and may regret their decisions. Much prayer needed.

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