The president of the Southern Baptist Convention says Christian charity compels him to call a transgender person by their preferred pronoun.
JD Greear was asked the question on his podcast "Ask Me Anything": When talking with a transgender person, which pronoun should you use? His first thought, oddly, was to question the motives of the person asking the question.
"When I hear a question like this, one of the first things I want to try to do is filter: Is this somebody that's antagonistic? Are they trying to pick a fight? Is this like the Pharisees with Jesus?" he replied.
Then he said too many Christians think their choice is black and white: affirmation or alienation. He argued that churches should strive for a middle ground.
"Too often, let's just acknowledge [it]: the Church has failed to be the sanctuary. The Church ought to be the one place where people that struggle with sins of any kind ought to feel safe," he offered.
Greear explained that gender is determined by God and is evident in a person's DNA – but out of Christian charity, that he tends to go with the transgendered person's preferred pronoun.
"There's others who say, Look, as a courtesy you should refer to a transgender person by their preferred pronoun – and it's sort of a generosity of spirit kind of approach …. Personally … I lean a little bit toward generosity of spirit."
But not everyone agrees with that approach. Dr. Robert Jeffress of First Baptist-Dallas argues it's not generous or loving to indulge a sick person's delusion.
"If somebody came to you and said, You know, I'm the reincarnation of Abraham Lincoln – Would you, out of respect, address them as Mr. President?" Jeffress asks.