A SENIOR Scottish church minister has compared the teaching of transgender rights with ‘state-sponsored child abuse’.
The Rev David Robertson, a former moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, condemned what he called the ‘fanatical ideology’ of telling children they can choose their own gender.
And he asked whether the unhappiness suffered by some trans people was their own fault rather than the result of bullying.
His remarks have been angrily condemned by other church leaders and politicians, and described as “unacceptable” by the Scottish Government.
Writing in the church’s magazine, Rev Robertson asked the question: “What would Jesus do about transgender?”
He wrote: “The Christian Church must stand up against the current fanatical ideology of the trans theorists who deny that biology and gender are connected and who think that we can just tell little children that they can choose their own gender.
“Many people have pointed out already…that what is now happening is in danger of becoming state-sponsored child abuse.”
The minster at St Peter’s Free Church in Dundee added: “I recognise that life isn’t always that simple and that there are those who feel as though they were born in the ‘wrong body’ and that there are a tiny percentage of people who are intersex and who need help because of that.
“But what we are talking about here is the demonic ideology that we can pick and choose and change our gender.
“It is precisely because Jesus loves people that he wouldn’t just accept that brokenness and depression amongst trans people is because of bullying.
“Maybe it is because, for some people, being trans itself causes so much unhappiness?
“There are two genders – not 71 (Facebook take note!). And human beings are not ‘assigned a gender at birth’ by society. We are born that way.”
The Church was asked this month to respond to The Scottish Government’s consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act, the law which allows trans people to change their legal gender.
But the Most Rev Mark Strange, Scottish Episcopal Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness rejected Rev Robertson’s claims.
He said: “After many years working as a chaplain in school what I am aware of is young people being taught in an environment of love and care which does not judge them for who they are but respects them for whom they will be.
“I believe we are all the children of God, equally loved and cherished for who we are.”
Monica Lennon MSP, Scottish Labour’s equalities spokeswoman, said: “Accusations of ‘demonic ideology’ towards those working to deliver inclusive education in our schools is preposterous and will be hurtful to many people of faith or none.”
A spokesman for Scotland’s largest teaching union (EIS) added: “Our schools are not centres of indoctrination but they should be safe, discrimination-free, inclusive environments which equip young people to recognise and challenge prejudice.”
And James Morton, of the Scottish Trans Alliance, said: “Research has shown that when young trans people are supported to express their gender identity they do not have the elevated depression levels seen in trans people who face the kind of hostility perpetrated by Rev Robertson.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Language like this is unacceptable in Scotland where we rightly have a reputation as one of the more progressive countries in relation to LGBTI legal and human rights equality in Europe.”
A spokesman from the Free Church of Scotland said: “As editor of the Record, Mr Robertson is given a large measure of literary freedom to express himself and provoke the kind of debate which the subject of transgenderism deserves.
“Along with other major world religions the Free Church believes that humanity exists in two genders: male and female, which are assigned in the womb.
“In equating the teaching of transgenderism with ‘state sponsored child abuse’, Mr Robertson is simply restating views which several others have publicly voiced as part of the nationwide debate.”
Speaking today, Rev Robertson said: “I completely reject that I am transphobic.
“My problem is not with people who have gender identity disorder. My problem is with people who take the view called queer theory [that cross-gender identification is common to all]. I think that’s really harmful to children.
“I think it’s insane to tell children that they were assigned a gender at birth by society.
“I think 90% of parents in Scotland would agree with this. It’s the fashion of the moment and it’s something that’s not being opposed.”
The Free Church of Scotland is a Presbyterian denomination which split from its original church in 2000 following allegations of sexual misdemeanors and ‘theological differences’.
The Free Church of Scotland currently has over 100 congregations in Scotland, and over 13,000 people attend worship each week.