Before the latest polluted wave of toxic gender ideology washed over our fair land, just about everyone knew what their “personal pronouns” were simply by looking in the mirror.
In fact, there was really no such thing as “personal” pronouns at all. There were just pronouns — handed out for free by the English language — and every Tom, Dick, and Harry, or Molly, Sue, and Jane, just grabbed the matching pronoun, “he/him” for men, “she/her” for women, and they/them for groups of men and/or women, without a second thought. And if any singular individual ventured to suggest that “they” contained “multitudes” or were “gender-fluid” and insisted that you use “they/them” in reference to, again, a single person, said person would either be scheduled for a mental examination or an exorcism.
Now, with the rise of transgenderism, gender ideology, and general wokeness, even Christian college professors are getting in on the pronoun game. Dr. Alicia Jackson, professor of history at my very own alma mater, Covenant College, was recently caught with “she/her” pronouns in her LinkedIn bio.
How should Christians respond? At the outset, allow me to be clear: Christians should never agree to call people by “gendered pronouns” that do not correspond with that person’s biological sex, as determined by God and revealed at birth or in the womb. To do so is to participate in a lie. It’s a violation of the Ninth Commandment, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16), because it is bearing false witness for your neighbor. It’s also a high-handed act of rebellion against God and His good creation order, which fixed, for all time, men as men and women as women. Furthermore, Christians should never willingly participate in the pronoun-offering charade, even if they are using the “right” ones. For that is an act of offering incense, of worship, to the false god of gender ideology.
The famous British author and Christian apologist C.S. Lewis never lived to see the days of “ze/zir” descend on Western civilization. But in his prescience, he articulated the stakes of speaking truthfully, even if the culture demands otherwise, in the book A Horse and His Boy (a criminally underrated entry in his well-known Chronicles of Narnia series). And he does so, amazingly, out of the mouth of a horse. A talking horse, to be exact. A horse from the free country of Narnia and the North.
I’ll provide just enough context to airdrop you into the story at this insightful interchange. Shasta is a young orphan boy being raised by a man (not his father) in the southern kingdom of Calormen, run by lords called “Tarkaans” and ruled by an emperor known as the “Tisroc.” In Calormen, it was standard cultural practice to venerate the Tisroc after every mention of his name with the honorific “May he live forever.”
One night, as Shasta realizes his non-father is about to sell him into slavery to a ruthless Tarkaan, he goes out into the nearby stable where the Tarkaan’s horse is quartered, and wonders, out loud, about his predicament. To his astonishment, the horse — Bree — audibly answers him. Bree lets Shasta know just how bad of a master the Tarkaan would be, and together they begin to hatch an escape plan. Hence, and I trust you are tracking, the title: A Horse And His Boy.
As Bree begins to sketch out their route, he says: “‘My Tarkaan is on his way North to the great city, to Tashbaan itself and the court of the Tisroc—’”
Shasta’s surprise at his refusal to say the magic words that are supposed to follow every mention of the Tisroc, and Bree’s answer, is what concerns us here and applies directly to the pronoun debate:
‘I say,’ put in Shasta in rather a shocked voice, ‘oughtn’t you to say ‘May he live forever?’
‘Why?’ asked the Horse. ‘I’m a free Narnian. And why should I talk slaves’ and fools’ talk? I don’t want him to live forever, and I know that he’s not going to live forever whether I want him to or not. And I can see you’re from the free North too. No more of this Southern jargon between you and me!’”
Through the pen of Lewis, and out of the mouth of a horse, comes a lesson for us today.
Why should we, as Christians, talk “slaves’ and fools’ talk”? For that’s exactly what these twisted pronouns are: The talk of slaves to gender ideology and the utterances of fools who go along with it.
Bree also gets at another important aspect of the debate — men who want to be referred to as “she/her” aren’t women, whether they want to be or not. And just as the Tisroc was never going to live forever, so too no one can change their biological sex.
Besides honoring God’s creation order, and refusing to speak lies, our refusal to honor gender madness with our modern version of “May he live forever” is an exercise of our precious, and all-too-often undervalued, intellectual freedom. The use of cultural shibboleths is a sign of an ideologically captured mind and, possibly worse, a darkened heart and damned soul.
So let there be “no more of this Southern jargon” — this “gender” jargon — between us, brothers and sisters. We are from the free country of the North, the land of the risen and reigning King Jesus.
In all things, and particularly in our speech, we should humbly but firmly display our allegiance — not to the false gods of gender ideology but to the one true God who created biological sex itself.
In a day and age full of confused and confusing speech, harken to this wise, if fictional, horse and join him in speaking freely and forthrightly.
If you need to, take the first step by deleting those pronouns from your bio. Let the world know which country you are from and where you are headed to as your final home. Then, invite others to join you in the journey through repentance and faith in the Gospel message of the one true King who will live forever: Jesus Christ.
Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and politics? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page, where we’ve published several long-form pieces to help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.