It seems nothing brings young, white, cisgender Evangelical guys together, quite like talking smack about “the gays.”
Yesterday I watched a group of such folks interacting on a friend’s timeline as they discussed the recent bathroom bills here in America. It’s become an all-too familiar sight: professed Christians falling all over themselves to ridicule Transgender men and women, to minimize their pain and abuse, and to do what far too many young, white Evangelical guys do: imagine themselves experts on Biology, simply because they’re read the first few chapters of the Book of Genesis.
I looked on as they massaged each other’s egos with insider religious language, as they patronizingly poo-poo’d the firsthand testimonies from LGBTQ men and men and women who tried to educate them, as they let fly with a barrage of know-it-all pontification about the inner workings of complete strangers. It was a microcosm of the Bible Belt Church’s sinful obsession with sexuality; the way homophobia and transphobia have become false idols they worship with unrivaled passion.They will do anything to hold onto to this inherited, antiquated fearful religion—even at the expense of the innocent human beings they fracture in the process.
Over the past two decades as a student pastor, I’ve sat with and listened to hundreds of LGBTQ young people, and I’ve had a front row seat to the violence the Church has manufactured: the depression, self-harm, and the isolation it breeds. As I watched these guys recklessly make bold public pronouncements about gender and orientation, I couldn’t help think about the people looking on; those too afraid or too hurt to respond. I thought about the people in their churches, about their family members and co-workers and neighbors. I wondered if they had any inkling of the harm they do to these people every single day—and I’m almost positive they don’t.
So many white Evangelicals have existed so long in the bubble of their inherited privilege, they’ve come to believe they’re the baseline for humanity and the rightful moral policemen for the world; so self-assuredly telling other people what is true about them, instead of actually listening to them speak their truth. Once they decide they’ve figured God out (and that God looks and thinks and loves like them)—there’s no humility, no effort at compassion, and certainly no considering they might actually be wrong—they just bulldoze strangers with a theology of damnation, delivered with hubris and ridicule, and some condescending lip service about “truth in love.”
When it comes to gender identity and sexual orientation, I’m amazed how many Christians still rely on a literal handful of 4000-year old verses written in another language by authors they often can’t verify and know very little about—than millions of flesh and blood gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender men and women standing in front of them telling their stories. (Not to mention, Science.)
It’s all such a waste that such vast resources are expended by Christians continually fighting a battle that bears no redemptive fruit, that actually multiplies people’s marginalization, that generates unnecessary pain—and a war that Jesus isn’t asking them to wage in the first place.
Jesus did say that he came to bring help to the poor and oppressed; that those who loved him would care for the least, that they would be fierce lovers of people. Yet I don’t see a passion to be about these things, and that’s one of the most wasteful sins the Church is guilty of. If Evangelicals were just a fraction as burdened to stop poverty, hunger, systemic racism, or bigotry as they are about policing LGBTQ folk’s bedrooms, bathrooms, and body parts—we’d have very little poverty or hunger or racism or bigotry.
But I guess those other things encroach too much on these folk’s comfort, they’re more personally inconvenient, they’re far more taxing than simply dismissing a total stranger based on who and how they love and imagining they’re being righteous.
Every day I grieve the way Christianity is putting LGBTQ people through undue suffering, the callousness of the hearts of so many of those who claim Jesus, and the excuses we make for doing everything but what Jesus actually called us to do.
It’s all a terrible waste.
Daresay the same old same old voices will shout out erroneously translated Bible verses to say how wrong homosexuality is. <yawn>
The issue is NOT and NEVER has been whether or not homosexuality is wrong in God’s eyes. The issue is the same as it ever has been. The issue is stated in the Hebrew Scriptures. It is repeated in the Christian Scriptures. The issue is that we must love our neighbors as ourselves as God first loved us.
However, all the homophobic rhetoric is responsible for heinous acts that have no place in God’s Kingdom and are not welcome in heaven.
If a reader of this blog thinks there is anything justifiable in the following two stories, then my most loving recommendation is that the reader seek mental health treatment with great urgency.
Dear Wheaton College: Hazing Has No Place in Christ’s Kingdom
SEPTEMBER 27, 2017 BY LINDSEY PAR
“It certainly doesn’t seem possible to be focused on Jesus while kidnapping, physically restraining, and attempting to insert an object into someone’s rectum before beating him and leaving him half-naked on a baseball field with two torn shoulders.
“Five young men who identified as Christians not only singled out another young man for violence, but also signaled their Islamophobia and homophobia in the process. According to the victim’s statement, the football players who kidnapped him played Middle Eastern music and claimed to be Muslims who wanted to have sex with goats before telling him that he would be their “goat” for the evening. The Islamophobia is obvious; the homophobia of their action is shown in the way they attacked his masculinity in their efforts to humiliate him, as Wheaton alumnus Hank Chen explains. In an act of team bonding that is a modern manifestation of building cohesion through violence, these five men asserted themselves not only against a vulnerable freshman, but also against those whom they consider enemy others – Muslims and the LGBTQ community.”
“Trans Teen Brutally Murdered in Missouri; Four Charged”
“Three people have been charged with first-degree murder in the brutal slaying of a transgender teenager in Houston, Mo., and a fourth has been arrested on other charges.
“Ally Steinfeld, 17, was found dead last week in a rural area near a mobile home occupied by one of the suspects, the Associated Press reports. Both local and national media identified Steinfeld by a male name, but The TM Planet, a website focusing on transgender issues, identified her as Ally. She had been stabbed repeatedly, including in the genitals, and her eyes had been gouged out, according to the AP. Her body was burned in an attempt to conceal evidence of the crime.”
The kind of people who teach their children that such actions as those above are righteous, are also the kind of people who elected mentally deranged people such as Roy Moore and Donald Trump.
People guilty of such hich crimes and misdeamors had better get help very soon. I mean that with all love because otherwise too many lives, those of both victims and perpetrators are lost to hate and fear.