There was a recent article about a town in Ohio where a school budget was voted down because a Yes vote would have made the district allow transgender youth the right to use the bathroom of their internal identity. This was one of many complaints the organizers had about the schools; people also claimed they were upset that students were watching porn in the library, there was vaping going on in the bathrooms, and that bullying was a problem, among other concerns. I have no way to know what is happening in this very troubled community, but it is obvious that there are many problems they are trying to address. Many of the comments are disturbing; you can read the article here Residents vote against school funding after rightwingers protest “demonic” trans bathroom policy (msn.com).
What troubles me is the scapegoating of transgender people that is not just rampant in this community, it is all over the country. Over the years, I have gotten to know a lot of different kinds of people, and I will fully admit that I don’t understand how some people are not the same on the outside as they feel on the inside. I just know it is real. I also don’t understand nuclear fusion or how gravity works, but I am told they are real as well. And the fact that gender fluidity and sexual orientation differences have always been in every culture throughout history is also real. They have been murdered and tortured and discriminated against because they are a minority. This happens all the time to minorities. Some people like to do that; they like to get the torches and pitchforks and scream that we need to get rid of whoever we perceive to be the monster. That only means that they are bullies because there are no monsters.
No – that’s not true. There are monsters everywhere. They write laws to limit rights and point fingers from pulpits. They define things like marriage as normal and reality based on false readings of scripture and history. They are the new heretics, believing in the god they have created in their images. That god is a false god, and these people are the real monsters. I remember a group conversation we had in church during our Open & Affirming process when one member asked what we would do to protect our children from the “gay lifestyle”. One gay member, who was sitting there with his partner, spoke up. He said, “Do you know what the gay lifestyle is? I wake up and have coffee – I go to work – I come home and have dinner and then watch TV. Then I go to sleep.” My response (since I often use humor to diffuse tension) was, “Wow, I guess I’m gay.” We all laughed, but that homophobic guy left the church anyway.
Jesus never spoke about any of the people signified by any letters in the LGBTQ community, but he did speak about eunuchs. Jesus didn’t denigrate them even though many cultures throughout history have. In fact, Jesus said that “For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.” (Mt. 19). And Philip baptized an Ethiopian who was a eunuch in Acts 8. It seems that Jesus and His disciples had no problem with these kinds of differences. Scapegoating is what monsters do. The rest of us just want to live our lives. But, as Jesus said, not everyone can accept the truth. Monsters live on lies. Don’t be a monster.
Prayer – Holy God, we are all fearfully and wonderfully made in Your image. Heal the monsters among us who cannot accept that You love all of us. Amen.
Today’s art is “Scapegoat” by Hartwick HKD.