The Tyranny Of The New State-Religion: Incoherence

James Anderson is among many calling attention to the case of a teacher who has been fired by the West Point, Virginia school board for refusing to submit to their demand that he refer to students who belong biologically to one sex with pronouns of a different (grammatical) gender. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Peter Vlaming, a French teacher at West Point High School…resisted administrators’ orders to use male pronouns to refer to a ninth-grade student who had undergone a gender transition.” Vlaming tried to compromise by using the student’s preferred name. That was compromise unsatisfactory to the administration, who demanded that Vlaming submit or face termination. The administrators accused Vlaming of discrimination against the student but the news story observes, “[t]he nondiscrimination policies were updated a year ago to include protections for gender identity, but Vlaming’s lawyer, Shawn Voyles, said there was no specific guidance on the use of gender pronouns.” The administrators and the board demanded that Vlaming tolerate the student’s chosen pronoun by using it but they were unwilling to tolerate or accommodate his conscience, that it is wrong to refer to a biological male with the pronouns of another sex. As Vlaming notes, there are first-amendment questions in play. No one is accusing Vlaming of treating the biologically female student rudely or without compassion. He did not refer to her using the feminine pronoun in her presence but that was not enough for administrators, who demanded conformity to a non-existent policy. Because he would not submit to their demands the board terminated his employment.

This, is, of course, a bizarre case. Rather than accommodate the teacher, who adheres to objective, biological and grammatical realities, school administrators the board are punishing him for refusing to say what he and they know to be false. The student is not a male but a female. To illustrate how bizarre things have become, the news story, after acknowledging that the student is biologically female refers to her as a “boy.” Of course, this is not journalism, it is sheer propaganda. To further illustrate how absurd things have become, even the prosecuting principal slipped up at one point:

…Vlaming and his lawyer pointed out that [the principal] Hochman used the wrong pronoun for the student during his testimony.

As Hochman described his conversation with Vlaming after the incident on Halloween [in which Vlaming referred to the student, to others, as her to prevent her from running into a wall], Hochman said he told Vlaming: “You need to say sorry for that. And refer to her by the male pronoun.” (editorial comment and italics added—rsc)

This is the definition of incoherence. This has nothing to do with objective truth or reality or even kindness. This is about power. This is also about relgion, but not Vlaming’s. It is about the new religion of political correctness as imposed by the transgender ideology. The child and her family are seeking to impose upon the school (and the rest of us) the radical subjectivist religion that holds that reality is what anyone says it is. This is the school of thought that leads to talk about “my truth” and “your truth.” It is a particularly irrational religion. So it is ironic to read of a self-righteous subjectivist tut-tutting about separation of church and state (Vlaming is a Christian) and about how the school is a secular school. That is hardly true. It is of the essence of religion to require people to affirm as true what they cannot see. The student is biologically female but wishes, against nature and empirical evidence, to be regarded as a male. Faith believes what it cannot see. Dogma insists that others repeat that affirmation. In the USA, religious affiliation and affirmation is a voluntary matter and may not be coerced by the state. This has been settled law in here since the early 19th century, when the last state-churches were disestablished. In Engel v Vitale (1962) the Supreme Court elminated school-organized prayers from public schools. If teachers cannot pray in class then principals cannot force teachers to call girls boys and boys girls.

That the politically-correct principal was unable to be consistent in his affirmation of the new transgender religion illustrates how difficult it is. The principal knows that the student is biologically female and that, in the case of humans, there is a real relation between the sex of a person and the gender (a grammatical category) of the pronoun used to represent that person. It is an act of politics (coercion by the state) and religion (affirmation as true of what cannot be seen) to require Vlaming to affirm a female student’s identity as a male. Its incoherence of it all is obvious. To impose that incoherence, to refuse to compromise even just a bit, is spiteful, vindictive, and the raw exercise of power. That imposition of conformity was, by the way, one of the hallmarks of the Roman pagans as they sought to coerce the Christians to affirm Caesar’s deity (something that most of them did not actually believe) and the deity of the Roman pantheon. That ostensibly “secular” administrators are seeking effectively to do the same now is an illustration of where the culture is.

The new, incoherent state-religion of political correctness needs to be tested in the courts and addressed in the legislatures. Rational people should not be made and a free people will not be forced to say things that are obviously contrary to universal sense experience. Just as the little boy shamed the grown ups by declaring that the emperor was naked, so we ought to stand up and refuse to say what is contrary to fact. It is not only a religion it is a manifestly silly and incoherent religion. However difficult Christianity may seem to the late-modern mind and soul, we can at least point to the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth, to the cross, and to the empirical fact of the empty tomb. In their delusion, late modern subjectivists may be not moved much by appeals to objective reality and sense experience but they shall have to give account to the Christ who was crucified, raised, and ascended. It is not ours to overcome their willful blindness. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. Ours is to testify to the truth as it is in Christ. We ought to pray for those who persecute us and love them but as we live in a twofold kingdom (sacred and secular) we have duties in the secular sphere and one of them may be to require even adherents of late-modern subjectivist religion to speak sense in the secular sphere.

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  1. This story is a great self-esteem builder for me. I am not nearly as dumb as I thought.

  2. Forest for the trees and connecting the dots in the larger picture as it were, is it one of the church of Jesus Christ’s “duties in the secular sphere” to observe in lock step tradition an automatic national day of thanksgiving called for by a civil magistrate that legalizes, promotes and condones abortion, same sex “marriage” and now gender transitions with all the mandatory perversions of pronouns?

    There’s no question the world is in rebellion against nature and its God, but perhaps the church might do a more thorough job of vetting its testimony, in order to have a credible witness rather than a compromised one.

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