By Joshua Arnold
The Washington Stand
Protecting children from premature, harmful exposure to gender ideology and its life-altering consequences is “close to sinful,” said President Biden Monday on “The Daily Show.” The remark came as Biden searched for language strong enough to describe Florida’s recent efforts to protect children — he also called it “terrible” and “cruel.”
President Biden said:
“What’s going on in Florida is, as my mother would say, ‘close to sinful,’ alright? I mean, it’s just terrible what they’re doing.
“It’s not like a kid just wakes up one morning and says, ‘You know, I’ve decided I want to become a man,’ or ‘I want to become a woman,’ or ‘I want to change.’ I mean, what are they thinking about here? I mean, human beings — they love, they have feelings, they have inclinations that are — I mean, it just, to me, is, I don’t know, it’s cruel.”
Mainstream media publications like The Hill connected Biden’s remarks to the recently introduced Florida House Bill 1421, which states that “a physician may not perform or provide gender clinical interventions to a minor,” including “sex reassignment surgeries or any other surgical procedures that alter primary or secondary sexual characteristics” and “puberty blocking, hormone, and hormone antagonistic therapies.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) responded, “It is not ‘sinful’ to prohibit the mutilation of minors.”
If that was Biden’s target, he must have been unaware that the Florida Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine already agreed upon professional guidelines prohibiting gender reassignment procedures for minors earlier this year. It’s also strange that he would single out this Florida bill at the beginning of the legislative process, when four other states have already passed laws this year restricting gender transition procedures for minors.
Perhaps it was habit that caused President Biden to draw on his Florida talking point. The president has routinely contrasted Florida’s conservative success story with his own administration’s radical LGBT agenda. Last spring, Biden (along with many national Democrats, celebrities, and the mainstream media) obsessed over Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill (which they absurdly labelled the “Don’t Say Gay” bill), calling it “hateful” for providing transparency for parents and restricting age-inappropriate sexual conversations in K-3 classrooms. National leftists repeated their false claims of censorship in Florida as the DeSantis administration removed explicit books from school libraries — so graphic that news stations covering a press conference cut their feeds rather than show the examples.
Whether Biden intended to target Florida HB 1421 or a different action that state has performed to protect children, his comments made news for the mismatch between his undeserved, barely coherent insults and the state’s stellar track record. “Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, a curse that is causeless does not alight” (Proverbs 26:2).
First, the theological aspect. “‘Close to sinful’ is not a biblical category,” director of FRC’s Center for Biblical Worldview David Closson told The Washington Stand.
Instead, the Bible says sin “clings so closely” to us that we must struggle against it (Hebrews 12:1,4). Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4), failing to do what we know is right (James 4:17), and “whatever does not proceed from faith” (Romans 14:23). In the Bible’s accounting, anything that isn’t righteous is sinful, and it doesn’t make sense to call righteousness “close to sinful.” Nor is such a buffer category much use to us, as all mankind blows right through it into full-fledged sin. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,” and “we make [God] a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:8,10).
Nevertheless, Closson said the president’s meaning was clear. “From his perspective, support for commonsense legislation like Florida’s House Bill 1421 … is tantamount to a moral wrong that ought to be opposed.” Perhaps “close to sinful” was Biden’s mother’s (and his) shorthand way of saying, “the church doesn’t say this is wrong, but I think it is.”
“Ironically, the Florida bill, not the president’s position, is in line with historic Christian sexual ethics and a biblical understanding of sex and gender,” Closson added. “The very first chapter in the Bible makes it clear that God’s design for His image bearers is that we are born male and female, and that this design is good and ought to be acknowledged and embraced.”
“I’m fascinated by the use of religious language,” said Jennifer Bauwens, director of FRC’s Center for Family Studies, on “Washington Watch,” because “this absolutely has spiritual implications.” Bauwens said the spiritual influence is evident from the unnaturally political pressure behind this supposedly medical practice. “Never in my whole time of practice or research have I ever seen the level of political power, political effort and finance to go into something as a treatment. … In the natural it doesn’t make much sense.”
Bauwens also called attention to Biden’s claim that children don’t wake up one morning and decide they identify as transgender. “Not true, that’s exactly what’s happening,” she said. “The way that these kids get pulled into gender ideology is very different than it was, you know, say, 10 years ago. We don’t have scientific data on that. But we can see from a spiritual standpoint, there is some kind of wave sweeping over this land, over our nation.”
“Here you have someone who’s saying protecting children through these bills like Florida is actually missing the mark. But he’s the one who’s missing the mark here,” said Bauwens. Inflicting gender transition procedures on children “actually is cruel.”
“The president’s own church recognizes this reality,” added Closson, “and it is a shame that he continues to push the policies of the moral revolution that will only bring pain and hurt to its victims.”