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Reality proves hard to beat

Americans are not buying the transgender agenda


Protesters rally against the LGBTQ agenda in Los Angeles schools on June 2. Associated Press/Photo by Richard Vogel

Reality proves hard to beat
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A recently released survey by the Public Religion Research Institute shows that a significant majority of Americans still believe in the reality of two genders, and it’s not just the much-covered cohort of evangelicals who are shaping public opinion. According to the latest numbers, 65 percent of Americans—up from 59 percent two years ago—believe that there are only two genders, male and female. Unsurprisingly, this belief is held by 90 percent of Republicans. What is surprising is that 66 percent of Independents and 44 percent of Democrats also hold to the traditional view. These figures are also an increase from the same survey in 2021.

Among major religious groups, this belief holds steady as well. Ninety-two percent of white evangelical protestants, 81 percent of Hispanic Protestants, 73 percent of black Protestants and 73 percent of other Protestants of color believe gender is a fixed reality. Every other religious cohort including white and black Roman Catholics and non-Christian religious groups affirm the same understanding.

The survey is even more revealing of American attitudes when broken down by generation. A majority of Generation Z, whose membeers have grown up in a world with nonstop messaging about gender fluidity, nevertheless holds to traditional views on gender. Fifty-seven percent—up a whopping fourteen points from two years ago—believe men are men and women are women. The survey shows that a majority of every other generational cohort agrees.

A majority of Americans, including every racial, religious, and generational cohort, also believe that topics of sexuality and gender should not be taught to children in K-fifth grade. This belief was at the heart of the controversial law signed by Florida Gov. Ron Desantis in March of 2022. 

What should Christians make of these numbers? We can at first rejoice that everyday Americans are resisting the attempt to distort reality when it comes to the meaning male and female. Even though corporate boardrooms, academic faculty lounges, and media green rooms are attempting to convince us that gender is fluid, people are recoiling. This is one significant instance in which our elite institutions are measurably out of touch with the people they claim to serve.

Christians should take heart that history does not travel in a fixed line, despite the progressive dream of the unstoppable march of progress.

Witness the backlash to school boards across the country or the significant financial losses incurred by corporations such as Budweiser and Target for their preaching of these destructive, left-wing shibboleths. This is a testament to the reality that natural law—God’s fixed order in the universe designed for human flourishing—is visible even to those not regenerated by the Holy Spirit. This gives conservatives a window to appeal to common sense and press beautiful creational truths into a confused world.

Christians should also take heart that history does not travel in a fixed line, despite the progressive dream of the unstoppable march of progress. Throughout history, perhaps even American history, conflicts churn, false ideologies rise and fall, and there is always possibility for renewal. Witness the pullback of some European nations from gender transition surgery for minors.

But even as we rejoice that a majority of our fellow Americans accept the basic realities of the male and female gender binary, we should not base our belief system on the fickle winds of popular opinion but on the unchanging realities of God’s Word. In every time and in every season, the true and beautiful vision for humanity found in Genesis is good for human flourishing, regardless of whether it polls well. We speak this truth, not merely to be contrarians, but to obey our calling as the people of God.

With compassion we speak up against “every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5) not out of spite, but out of love for our neighbors at risk of falling prey to destructive ideologies. We can “have an answer for every person for the hope that lies within us” and we can do this with “gentleness and kindness” (1 Peter 3:15-16).

Because we love our neighbors, we can point out that the reality they see—the glory of God in the creation of His image bearers as male and female—is a reality they shouldn’t deny.


Daniel Darling

Daniel Darling is director of the Land Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His forthcoming book is Agents of Grace. He is also a bestselling author of several other books, including The Original Jesus, The Dignity Revolution, The Characters of Christmas, The Characters of Easter, and A Way With Words and the host of a popular weekly podcast, The Way Home. Dan holds a bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry from Dayspring Bible College, has studied at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and is a graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Angela have four children.


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