Last week, the ladies on the Fox News’ morning show “Outnumbered” went after major multi-national corporations like Nike and Bud Light for using “trans” people like Dylan Mulvaney as spokesmen. The panel spoke strongly about how such choices are hurting the ways young boys and girls view what it means to be a healthy man or woman in an age where strong sex-based role models are so needed. They were right to do so.

But curiously, three of the hosts intentionally misgendered Mulvaney in the segment. And they deserve strong pushback for doing so. But not in the way you might think.

Dylan Mulvaney, as most people know, is a 26-year-old man who famously plays at being a girl on social media. And “play” is exactly the right word. This fact is evidenced hereherehere, and here. But each member of the “Outnumbered” team who referenced Dylan’s sex referred to him as her, even as they held him up as an unhealthy role model for boys and girls.

Kayleigh McEnany explained, “She now has a paid partnership with Nike…” and “Dylan Mulvaney, it’s a capitalist society. If she wants to make money, she can…”

Emily Compagno stated, “Mulvaney went on her personal Instagram post, saying ‘I just learned what March Madness was.’”

Kennedy Montgomery commented, “If Dylan Mulvaney wants to make a bunch of money and has figured out her lane, and her way of branding herself…”

They all know he is a man. This fact was what the segment was all about. But no one on the show who referenced his sex used male pronouns or actually explained that he is a man. You can see the whole segment here.

However, the hosts did properly refer to “transwomen” generally as “biological men” and biological women as actual women. Every person on the show celebrated the power of real men and real women and how we need to hold up that virtue to everyone. Guest Sean Duffy even declared, “When you denigrate what it means to be a man, to be female, you denigrate all of society.”

But most played along, deliberately using language as if Dylan is actually a woman.

So why the terribly mixed messaging from Fox in a segment specifically addressing how mixing up what men and women are hurts women? Fox did exactly that in how it scripted its talent for the segment. Certainly, no one on that panel believes the lie that “transwomen are women.” So why the intentional verbal confusion from a famously “conservative” news source and a majority of hosts who are self-confessed Christians?

This is a very important question because words matter, especially when they speak to something as fundamentally important as what sex/gender someone is. It is not a topic that is up for debate or disagreement. And especially in a segment that is focused on the importance of not denigrating what it means to be male or female.

This is no small quibbling question and Fox should provide an answer.

Rosaria Butterfield, a favorite Focus on the Family radio guest, recently wrote that she is publicly repenting of ever falsely using pronouns in this way. She explains bluntly,

My use of transgendered pronouns was not a mistake; it was sin.

Public sin requires public repentance, not course correction.

I have publicly sinned on the issue of transgender pronouns, which I have carelessly used in books and articles.

I have publicly sinned by advocating for the use of transgender pronouns in interviews and public Q&As.

Too many Christians excuse such false pronoun use a way to be nice. Some Christian writers like Preston Sprinkle mistakenly refer to such use as “pronoun hospitality.” There is nothing hospitable or charitable about pretending as if male and female are not real things.

Butterfield explains she improperly used pronouns because, “I wanted to meet everyone where they were and do nothing to provoke insult.” She now calls this a “lame and back-side covering” excuse. Butterfield takes this all very seriously, explaining boldly but truthfully: “Transgenderism is satanic.” She adds, “We who once promoted ‘pronoun hospitality’ lent false credibility to a wolfish theology that fails to protect the sheep.”

She challenges Christians who believe “being winsome” is a new fruit of the spirit and “nod in the direction of traditional values but then swap biblical clarity for postmodern pluralism, thus burning to the ground any legitimate theological bridge to gospel grace.”

All Christians must face the truth of what Butterfield is saying here because male and female are not mere “social constructs” as gender theory tells us. They are certainly not just “identities.” Nor are they “assigned at birth.”

The first time we encounter the words male and female in Scripture, it is not in reference to Adam and Eve specifically. It is in direct reference to the very image and likeness of God in creation. The first thing God teaches us about male and female are their divine purpose. As Butterfield rightly stated, Satan gets the significance here. Do we Christians?

No Christian has the option of pretending male or female are mere roles any person can take on as an identity. They are real … and divinely reflective and divinely appointed.

We should all speak of them with proper reverence and truth, even in pronouns.