Bruce Jenner, Transvestism, and Republicans: There is Nothing to Party About!

According to John Gill, ancient heathen soldiers who deserted their armies were forced to walk around in the marketplace dressed like women to be a humiliating punishment.[1]  Nowadays, every June, men proudly prance down their American Main Street catwalks flouncing female garb. 

A year ago this month, tolerated among a California Republican Party gathering was gubernatorial candidate Mr. Bruce Jenner masquerading as a woman in name and clothing only.  A conservative talk show radio host featured a website selfie posing with him to represent the station’s podcast event coverage (thankfully, later replaced upon request).  More recently, Jenner was hired as a contributing analyst across all platforms for the supposed conservative voice, Fox News Media,[2] debuting with the popular self-avowed Christian host Sean Hannity.

Yet God forbids transvestism as a horrid evil against Him to be shamefully shunned.[3]  Deuteronomy 22:5 reads, The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a womans garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

J. Montgomery Boice preached, “One of the saddest things in the world is a man who tries to become a woman or act like a woman, or a woman who tries to become or act like a man … what you have is a monstrosity.”[4]

Not long ago, transvestites read to children in San Diego public libraries.[5]  And Blues Clues and Nickelodeon produced music videos for kids by drag queen “Nina West” (Mr. Andrew Levitt).[6]

Many suggest God’s forbidding of transvestism related to Eastern women in war armor—this would match with the Israelites about to conquer Canaan while their women and children stayed behind.  In fact, rather than the more common Hebrew word for men, “ish” (in contrast to “isha”), the less frequent “geber” is used, denoting a strong young warrior man in distinction from women whom he was to defend.

In his article, “Reconstructing Meaning in Deuteronomy 22:5: Gender, Society, and Transvestitism in Israel and the Ancient Near East,”[7] Harold Torger Vedeler explains that employing “geber” here illustrates an important nuance in the Israelite conception of masculinity.[8]  He points out the text forbids wearing clothes that deliberately mimic and confuse a gender.[9]

Further, there is scant evidence of transvestitism within the Hebrew Bible or ancient Israel, while there are records of transgender behavior and mythology in neighboring Canaan, Mesopotamia, and Egypt.[10]  Gill shares that men worshipped Venus in women’s clothing, and women Mars in male attire.[11]  Vedeler notes that when Pharaoh Hatshepsut (1478-1458 BC) seized power, she depicted herself with a beard and male kilt and crown with her body having no female breasts.[12]  Transvestism was more commonly found in Canaan and Mesopotamia around the gods Ashtarte, Inanna, and Istar—the latter manipulating its genitalia between male and female.[13]  So transvestitism was proactively excluded from the worship of Yahweh before entering the Promised Land.[14]

Vedeler instructs that the Hebrew word for “garment” regarding what a woman must not wear could be utensil or weapon,[15] naturally connecting with the specific word “geber.”

This all logically has a general implication.  Keil and Delitzsch posit: “ … the divine distinction of sexes … which was kept sacred in civil life by the clothing particular to each sex … was to be … sacredly observed.”[16]

If transvestism is an abomination to God and upon our children,[17] then how was Mr. Jenner apparently unchallenged for his lifestyle at the June 14, 2021, Republican Party of San Diego Gubernatorial Forum and Central Committee meeting?[18]  Previously a male decathlon Olympic Gold Medal Champion, he now is a 72-year old man playing female dress-up.[19]  The radio program host said the concern was mainly to discuss economics, that Jenner was special, and that it was an honor to interview “her.”

This is a national problem across the aisle, as the first transgender federal official was confirmed into the Senate last year.[20]  And Gina Roberts, a San Diego County Republican, was the first transgender of his party elected to California public office in 2020,[21] after being a sponsored guest for the 2017 Republican National Committees quarterly meeting addressed via video by President Donald Trump (the father of two had a sex change the day before Trump’s inauguration).[22]

Some party.  Well, it’s not my party—anymore, but I can cry if I want to.  Because, in our country and in a vast majority of conservative and Christian political circles where everything else is confused for the gods of mammon and might, There is Nothing to Party About![23]

 

Grant Van Leuven has been feeding the flock at the Puritan Reformed Presbyterian Church in San Diego, CA, since 2010.  He and his wife, Fernanda, have six covenant children: Rachel, Olivia, Abraham, Isaac, Gabriel, and Gideon.  He earned his M.Div. at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA.



[1] John Gill, An Exposition of the Old Testament, vol. 1, Genesis to Joshua (London: William Hill Collingridge, City Press, Long Lane: 1852), 770-771. 

[3] So as much as we might be tempted to chuckle at the antics of Tim Conway, Tom Hanks, and other “Bosom Buddies,” such television comedy reruns should be immediately turned off being recognized as travesties—a word based on the same root for transvestite, meaning “cross” such as in being “crossdressers.”

[4] James Montgomery Boice, Man, God’s Regent, The Bible Study Hour, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, Lancaster, P.A. (June 10, 2022, Genesis Series, vol. 2) 27:50 min.: https://www.oneplace.com/ministries/the-bible-study-hour/player/man-gods-regent-924589.html?type=branded#now-playing.  Here is a fuller section of this sermon dealing with gender relations including the quote above, which is most relevant today: “God created man male and female and he still is.  We live in a day when this is denied in its effect as well, because just as men and women today try to deny responsibility on the basis of determinism so is there an attempt in our time to deny the distinction between the sexes.  Either the distinctions are denied and minimized, or else they’re said to be meaningless because the whole process of evolution is meaningless … Many of the women’s liberation’s spokespeople today are saying that this matter of maleness and femaleness is simply an accident, if you will, a joke of nature, that needs to be overcome as quickly and as thoroughly as possible.  Can a Christian take that position? Not at all.  Because what we’re told here in the early chapters of Genesis is that God created man both male and female.  Therefore, because God does not do anything without meaning or anything bad, maleness and femaleness is both meaningful and good just as everything else that God does is both meaningful and good.  There are distinctions.  A man is not a woman, a woman is not a man.  One of the saddest things in the world is a man who tries to become a woman or act like a woman, or a woman who tries to become or act like a man.  Someone will say, but which is superior? After all, this is the matter of the battle of the sexes, which is superior?  What is the Christian point of view?  Let me put it like this: a man is infinitely superior to a woman at being a man.  And a woman is infinitely superior to a man at being a woman.  And when a man tries to become a woman or a woman tries to become a man what you have is a monstrosity.  You see, your maleness if you are a man is God’s gift to you of maleness.  And if you are a female, that femaleness is God’s gift to you if you’re a female.  God does that not because He’s a god of whim, but because this is the way He has chosen and seen best to arrange the human family and the human constitution and human society as we know it.”

[7] Harold Torger Vedeler, “Reconstructing Meaning in Deuteronomy 22:5: Gender, Society, and Transvestitism in Israel and the Ancient Near East,” Journal of Biblical Literature, no. 127 (3, October, 2008): 459–476, https://www.jstor.org/stable/25610133.

[8] Ibid, 460.

[9] Ibid, 462.  He also qualifies that the text is not ruling out the potential need of a woman wearing a man’s coat to survive making it through the wilderness (so I often insist my wife wears my sports jacket when she gets cold on a date).

[10] Ibid, 465.

[11] Gill, 771.

[12] Vedeler, 465.

[13]  Almost all in cultic gatherings.  Ibid, 465-466.  Such did not normally occur outside such contexts in general life. Ibid, 467.

[14] Ibid, 468.

[15] Ibid, 469-476.

[16] C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, trans. James Martin, vol. 1, The Pentateuch: Three Volumes in One (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1976), 409. Yet, as John Gill warned, a man wearing women’s clothing “would lead the way to many impurities… since in nature a difference in sexes is made, it is proper … and necessary that this should be known by a difference of dress, or otherwise many evils might follow.” Gill, 770.  So we see transvestism and transgenderism lumped in with the other debased sexually proud perversions of the LGBTQ+ community.

[17] Notice “abomination unto the LORD” is applied later in Deuteronomy 12:31 to idolatrous infanticide.

[18] On Flag Day no less, during Gay Pride Month.  At that time looking to oust the sitting governor with a recall vote.

[19] Along with having had genital surgery and receiving hormone “therapy.”

[20] https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/politics/dr-rachel-levine-becomes-first-openly-transgender-federal-official-to-win-senate-confirmation/2754807/.  While this is largely due to voting according to party lines for this former Pennsylvania Health Health Secretary, yet the political landscape on the whole has allowed things to deteriorate to such a situation.

[21] This is not only a Golden State problem in the Republican context, but is far reaching across America.  Such as in Massachusetts: https://freedomforallamericans.org/massachusetts-elected-official-being-transgender-and-being-republican-are-compatible/.

[23] To listen to a sermon by the author on this text and title, from which this article is largely derived, visit https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=62121346323430.

 

Grant Van Leuven

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