I don’t suppose I’m a very good Christian. At least that’s how I feel when I look at recent social media posts by so many who claim the title. Apparently, right now I am supposed to be outraged over the backlash to NC’s new HB2, which requires people to only use the bathroom corresponding to the biological sex listed on their birth certificates. Apparently, if I think HB2 is ridiculous (and I do), I must not be in line with the majority of bible-believing Christians, and I must be promoting sexual perversion. Let me just state, for the record, I hold to biblically conservative views on sexuality and marriage, so my problem with this bill has nothing to do with promoting a lifestyle.

The problem I have with the responses I have seen from my Christian friends is that they seem to have an “us vs. them” mentality. From the looks of the posts I’ve read they see the LGBT community as some evil, faceless hoard rather than souls who need God’s love and redemption just as much as they do. I can’t help but think that Jesus would have embraced “them,” rather than reacting in fear or anger at their nerve. For some reason, God has seen fit to place many gay and lesbian folks in my life. They are people I love dearly—from family members to a dear friend who graduated with honors from same conservative seminary I attended. They are not an evil faceless hoard; they are precious people that God treasures and I treasure. In some cases, I have more respect for them than many in the church I know, because they are real. And I certainly understand why so many of them have rejected Christianity.

I think of who I was before I knew Him, and how angry I was at the church. I rejected Christianity just because of the people. My father was a pastor who left the ministry after KKK members in his congregation basically ran him out of town for his support of civil rights. In my mind, all Christians were judgmental hypocrites. I wanted nothing to do with Jesus, because of the people who claimed his name. The only reason I continued to attend church as a teen was because my mother dragged us from the time I was too young to refuse. I had a deep contempt for religion, but I have to say the church we attended after Dad left the ministry was different. One day, after spending a few years in blatant rebellion and running away from home, the pastor of the church gave me a New Testament and told me he’d like to see me “give my life” to Jesus. I had never heard it phrased that way, and I decided to start reading. As I did, I noticed that Jesus never said a harsh word to sinners. In fact, he reserved his reprimands for the religious alone! (See Matthew 23).

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice. ’For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mt. 9:10-13)

 If I had never seen that mercy, I never would have come to faith, and right now, I see a lack of mercy on the part of many in the church that is pushing people away from the Lover of their souls. Consider this– even Jesus spoke about gender issues, and indicated that there are exceptions to the norms. “For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men” (Mt.9:12). (Emphasis added).  Creation is fallen. Babies are born with all sorts of congenital anomalies. Historically, there have been babies born with both XX and XY chromosomes pairs, as well as both male and female sexual parts. When it comes to gender confusion, there could very likely be physical causes.

When I was in Israel, I was surprised to find many co-ed restrooms. At first, it was a shock, but after a while it was nothing. I imagine our NC law is more culturally influenced than anything. I am sure that most of my life I’ve shared public restrooms with transgender folks, and didn’t even know it. Now suddenly, these folks are breaking the law if they use their restroom of choice, and following the law has to be really frightening. Can you imagine what might happen to a man dressed as a woman in a men’s restroom? I would imagine it could be dangerous! But who cares? It’s just “them.”

Proponents of HB2 act as if this bill is protecting us against sexual predators. Really? Was the Charlotte bill really a license to break the law by sexually assaulting someone? I am sure that even if it had remained in place, crimes like peeping and assault would still have been illegal. Will HB2 protect little boys from sexual predators of the same sex in men’s rooms? Sadly, it seems to me that HB2 technically outlaws mother’s from bringing their boys into the ladies’ room so they can protect them from such things[1].

I’ve been a victim’s advocate for two decades now, and I have to say I would love to see such fervor over making laws that would really protect victims. Laws are weak, and the church suffers from a huge lack of knowledge when it comes to the true dynamics of abuse. Abusers tend to look really good on the outside, and they would never be affected by this legislation. In fact, there’s plenty of legislation that they could focus on if they really wanted to protect people from predators. As it is, we have a bill that only serves to make people feel despised and rejected. I don’t want to side with that, because that’s not who my Jesus is. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Mt. 9:36). In fact, he became “despised and rejected– even for the likes of “them” (Is. 53:3). He understands their pain, and does not condemn (Jn. 3:17).  Religion condemns, grace redeems. I still hate religion, but I sure love the One who showed me grace, and I pray that my response in this situation will draw people to Him, rather than cause them pain.

 

 

 

[1] The law does allow children under the age of 8 to accompany a parent of the opposite sex, but 8 and above are not allowed, and there are no exceptions for parents of special needs children. There could be many situations when taking older kids would be the safer option.