culture

Rosaria Butterfield: SCOTUS and the “Complete Redefinition of Personhood”

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Rosaria Butterfield rocked the Evangelical world with her “train wreck conversion.” “As a leftist lesbian professor, I despised Christians,” she said. “Then I somehow became one.”

Butterfield recently spoke at Southeastern Seminary about gender identity and sexual orientation. In the first thirteen minutes, she talked with Mark Liederbach about her personal journey from lesbian feminist to Christ follower. Later, she explained why that “people are hungry for authentic Christianity.”

Next (starting at 21:5), she talked about the significance of the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage: it completely redefined personhood. Here is a transcript of her comments:


“[The SCOTUS decision] wasn’t just a redefinition of marriage; it was a redefinition of the metaphysics of personhood. And that’s why Christians need to be prepared for the next round, which is the SOGI — gender identity, transgender rights issues. You simply cannot have even a concept of transgender rights without a complete redefinition of personhood, and you cannot have transgender rights without an overwhelmingly societal embrace of postmodernism and postmodernity as a social good. That is the real issue.

You cannot have even a concept of transgender rights without a complete redefinition of personhood.

“Sometimes when on college campuses you go and say, ‘Well, civilization is going to explode now that gay people can get married,’ that gets poo-pooed, absolutely. But when you say, ‘Look, have you thought about what it means that every human being is now defined by sexual orientation because of five unelected supreme court justices?’

“Why don’t we look at this concept of sexual orientation? People act as if it’s as old as Adam. It’s actually as old as Freud. It’s a category mistake. Even Foucault — this is fun to talk about on a secular campus — Michel Foucault, the founder in some ways of the idea that gender and sexuality are social constructs, himself declared that when sexual orientation became rooted to personhood, as it did in Freud’s economy, that ‘a new species’ was born.

“All of a sudden, homosexuality went from a verb (a practice, what people did) to a noun (a person, who you are). You simply didn’t have that before. Instead, what you had was a biblical understanding. Not because everyone embraced the Bible, but because you had a Christian world- and life-view that predominately organized how we thought about people. So you had an understanding that human beings were this — male or female, with a soul that will last forever.

Homosexuality went from a verb (a practice, what people did) to a noun (a person, who you are).

“So the imposition of sexual orientation as a category (and I say category mistake) completely takes out soul-bearing and gender-essentialism at the same time. If you want to say something really scandalous on a secular college today (or, I will say, at a Christian college) just say this: Being born male or female comes with ethical or moral responsibilities and constraints.

“We now have a bigger problem than society collapsing…. We have a redefinition of personhood. And when people cannot relate to themselves and others as human beings and understand that is a distinct category different from other mammals — it is not just that we have a mammal brain, it is that we are image bearers of a holy God — we are unable to live at any semblance of peace.”

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Center for Faith and Culture

The L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture seeks to engage culture as salt and light, presenting the Christian faith and demonstrating its implications for all areas of human existence.

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