President Biden’s pathetic use of the image of God language to justify irresponsible policies toward children and to displace the role of parents is a damning indictment of his administration. Perhaps even more significantly, it is also a sign of the cadaverous stench of de-creation that now marks what is left of our culture.
What did he mean? He believed the West after World War II had abandoned any sense of the sacred and had turned the symbols of the sacred into ironic tools for purposes of what Philip Rieff called “de-creation”—a repudiation that the world had any transcendent moral structure by which society is to be ordered.
President Joe Biden offered yet another first-class example of this when he recently declared that trans people are made in the image of God. Yes, of course, trans people are made in the image of God. They are human beings, and as such, they are worthy of love, care, and dignity, the same as disabled people, gay people, ugly people, and every other kind of people. So far, so obvious.
The problem is that President Biden uses the language of the image not as the foundation for his thinking about trans people but rather as a rhetorical flourish to grant the sentimental gospel of American progressive sexual and gender politics a veneer of transcendent and sacred authority. It is a means to seize the moral high ground for definitions of love and dignity that mean exactly what the spirit of the age says they mean: mushy affirmations of whatever piously progressive gibberish the progressive electorate demands.