We live in a time where we are inundated with statistics. We also live in a time where the average American lacks a basic understanding of statistics and how to interpret them. For example, imagine me writing that there’s been a 200 percent increase in deaths from the flu vaccine (this is a made-up stat). Why, many people would lose their collective minds, thinking that the flu vaccine is killing millions of people. Most people are headline surfers. Few would actually read my article so they could gain a proper understanding of the statistics behind the headline. If they had read my article, they would have learned that, historically, two out of every 100,000 vaccinated people annually die from the flu vaccine. In 2020, one out of every 100,000 vaccinated people died from the vaccine. In 2021, the death rate jumped to two out of 100,000 vaccinated people. Is this an alarming increase? Of course not. Yet, many people will read the headline and think that the flu vaccine is killing people in droves.
Some websites and blogs love to use statistics to advance their political, social, and religious agenda. Evangelicals — a group of Christians who generally believe we are living in the end times; that the return of Jesus is imminent; that the world will become worser and worser 🙂 until Jesus raptures them off the face of the earth — love to use, misuse, and distort statistics to advance their Fundamentalist agenda.
Take Protestia, a “discernment” site originally operated by disgraced Calvinistic pastor J.D. Hall. Discernment ministries came of age in the 2000s. I have been following Evangelical sites such as Protestia (previously Pulpit and Pen), The Dissenter (previously Reformed Charlotte, operated by Jeff Maples), Christian Research Network (started by the late Ken Silva, an arch-nemesis of mine), Michelle Lesley, Lighthouse Trail Research, Way of Life Literature (David Cloud), and others since their inception. Initially, these groups focused on rooting out and attacking perceived heresy and heretics in their midst. They pride themselves in calling out by name preachers, colleges, denominations, and churches who fail their theological and social purity tests. Over time, their “discernment” has become more extreme; more political; more hysterical. They have now become sites that are “keepers of the flame” or “keepers of the book of life.” These gnostics — people who think they have some sort of elevated or inside knowledge about and experience with God — now routinely decree who is and isn’t saved. They are the Pharisees of Evangelical Christianity.
The current king of the discernment hill is Protestia. Known for their hateful anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, the boys at Protestia published a post today with a headline that stated: ‘Gender-Affirming’ Mastectomies in Children Spike 389% From 2016 to 2019. Protestia’s post was an excerpt of a Faithwire post with the same title. The goal of both articles was to enflame the anti-transgender hysteria presently burning through the Evangelical community.
Is the latest wave of the sexual revolution really targeting children? Protestia decided to excerpt the Faithwire article before giving its readers the context necessary to properly understand their inflammatory headline:
In 2016, roughly 100 children went under the knife for the procedures. Just a handful of years later, in 2019, that number soared to 489 — a 389% increase.
The findings were based on statistics gathered by the Nationwide Ambulatory Surgery Sample, which found 1,130 chest reconstruction surgeries were performed on children from 2016 to 2019. More than 98% of those procedures were masculinizing, meaning they were performed on females who had their breasts removed. Only 1.4% were feminizing mammaplasties, augmenting but not removing breast tissue.
Of the children who underwent these “gender-affirming” surgeries, nearly 20% were also placed on hormone therapy, presumably to address their gender dysphoric diagnoses.
As for the new research, the data shows the patients who underwent double mastectomies ranged in age from 12 to 17 years old. While the majority were 17, roughly 5.5% were reportedly under 14.
For context, the researchers estimated there are currently around 300,000 adolescents in the U.S. between the ages of 13 and 17 who identify as transgender.
Context is everything, right? Is the statistical increase significant? Sure. But the statistics in the aforementioned article tell us that few “children” are getting gender-affirming surgery; and that of the “children” who do, the majority of them are seventeen.
The only way to understand the Protestia and Faithwire articles is through the lens of their hatred and hostility towards LGBTQ people in general, and transgender people in particular. Certainly, there is debate to be had on gender-affirming surgery, and a host of other sex/gender issues, but that’s not the goal of the “fine” Christians at Protestia and Faithwire. Their goal is to provide a daily diet of red meat culture war issues; posts that reaffirm their hatred of the “world.”
Please read Cutting through the Lies and Misinterpretations about the Updated Standards of Care for the Health of Transgender and Gender Diverse People by Dr. AJ Eckert and Dr. Quinnehtukqut McLamore on the Science-Based Medicine website for accurate information on gender-affirming surgery.
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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