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Policy is character, too

The Biden administration’s character is revealed in its work to erase age limits for “gender-affirming care”


President Joe Biden has ice cream at a Baskin-Robbins in Portland, Ore., on Oct. 15, 2022. Associated Press/Photo by Carolyn Kaster

Policy is character, too

Rhetorical restraint is a virtue one must exercise when writing. There comes a time, however, when stories surface that test the limits of one’s restraint.

One such test is the revelation from The New York Times of the Biden administration’s attempt to remove the age restrictions at which children and teenagers can access “gender-affirming care.”

According to the story, fearful that age requirements would lend credibility to concerns about transgender medicine, the Biden administration pressured the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) to eliminate age minimums and succeeded in doing so. An internal battle at WPATH ensued, with even transgender-supporting clinicians raising concerns about dropping age requirements.

According to the Times, “The draft guidelines, released in late 2021, recommended lowering the age minimums to 14 for hormonal treatments, 15 for mastectomies, 16 for breast augmentation or facial surgeries, and 17 for genital surgeries or hysterectomies.”

At that time the Biden administration stepped in to pressure WPATH to remove age minimums, which the final guidelines, in fact, did.

Internal correspondence reveals that Biden administration officials were fearful that anything short of fully embracing transgender medical interventions, regardless of age, would stymie the movement’s efforts at continued normalization and would justify skeptics’ concerns. The putative solution was to embrace the concept that kids need transgender interventions at whatever age they desire.

I want to put the actions of the Biden administration in the clearest possible light: Ideologues within the administration, led by a “transgender” Health and Human Services appointee Rachel Levine, are seeking to bring transgender ideology to ever-younger populations. Please let that sentence sink in. These individuals believe it is not only permissible but praiseworthy to tell confused children and teens that perceived gender conflicts are to be embraced and medicalized.

Such actions, while obscene, are at least morally consistent with other voices in the transgender activist community who insist that changing one’s gender is a natural moral right, regardless of age. We can sit back and raise a justified alarm at these revelations, but these steps are the natural consequences of abandoning a Biblical worldview. If human beings have no natural fixed purpose or teleology, then that means humans of any age. Of course, this claim is false. But when one’s authority is nothing higher than that of an already-politicized organization like WPATH, what should we expect?

One does not get to play the part of a grandfatherly sage gingerly eating ice cream while at the same time working against the creation order of Genesis.

There are simply no words to adequately capture the level of opposition the Biden administration deserves in light of these revelations. In service to a sick and twisted ideology, the administration is preying upon our children and youth with a body-denying dualism that has life-long, irreparable consequences. This is now a Romans 1 administration. This administration displays a fervent wickedness in every dimension of Biblical anthropology.

Christians cannot sit back and equivocate on this administration’s active denial and suppression of Biblical anthropology, a worldview principle that is the prerequisite for all other political interactions within a society. And to visit this upon children seems like something out of a dystopian novel. If our society cannot reasonably determine what a man or woman is (or whether to terminate them in the womb), tax rates and entitlements seem of little consequence when weighed against the merits of cutting off one’s genitals. Moreover, to actively prey upon children is such high rebellion against a holy God that nothing short of indignation is what this administration is owed (Psalm 58:6).

What should be said is this, in the least: For all the chatter of how “decency is on the ballot,” or how “character matters,” both of which are true in every election, to focus only on the character flaws of Donald Trump while excusing or overlooking the actions of President Biden’s administration is to fail to see how policy manifests as a reflection of character, too. Policy—the type of policy that has real-world implications on others—may be a more accurate barometer of one’s deepest convictions that have a formative or deformative effect on character than even the words that come out of one’s mouth. And remember, we are talking about children and teens.

One does not get to play the part of a grandfatherly sage gingerly eating ice cream while at the same time working against the creation order of Genesis. There are plenty of character issues everywhere you look in this election cycle, but I am unwilling to be lectured by progressives in the media on why character matters, only to have these same voices willfully cover for the Biden administration’s attack on human nature.

Lowering the age when kids can have their bodies destroyed by gender ideology—as the Biden Administration fervently argues for—does seem like a character issue, after all.


Andrew T. Walker

Andrew is the managing editor of WORLD Opinions and serves as associate professor of Christian ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also a fellow with The Ethics and Public Policy Center. He resides with his family in Louisville, Ky.


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