When LGBTQIA+ Folks Mess With Your Jesus
You Might Be Smelling Your Own Sheep Dung
Until he discovered that I’m a trans woman.
“Thou shalt not” Means “It’s being done, and I can’t stand it!”
Religious exclusion and discrimination are, by nature, reactive. Any time a religious text says something like “Thou shalt not …” you can bet that it was being done with impunity before the religious tribe stamped it out in their sheepfold.
Creeds and catechisms narrow the observed to what is allowed.
The Vocabulary of Exclusion
Thou-Shalt-Notters develop their own exclusionary vocabulary and rules. Witness my priest friend‘s final words to me:
Rather than getting into all the physiology and biochemistry … I believe in a natural order or natural law observable in nature. So, it’s not just a personal belief of mine but rather an objective fact of reality …
What I’ve boldfaced in his statements isn’t descriptive but proscriptive—his words don’t describe me or LGBTQIA+ persons. Rather, this priest is wants to keep himself and his sheep in the fold. That’s what sheep dogs are trained to do—to herd sheep, which the movie, Babe, brilliantly shows.
Science Is As Science Does
My priest friend’s “clearly observable” natural law/order is what he has chosen to observe. Creeds and catechisms narrow the observed to what is allowed. In dismissing physiology and biochemistry, this priest (and his church hierarchy) don’t totally deny science. He picks and chooses it to bolster tribal identity:
Having one’s penis removed or breasts removed when they are otherwise functioning perfectly normal[ly] is … not based on “fixing” anything that is observable by nature, but rather trying to physically fix something that is not broken but only “feels” that way.
You Can’t Argue Them Down
Conservative Catholics, Evangelicals, and other fundamentalists can’t be rebutted because, for them, it’s not a debate. The rules that grant tribe members security and identity ARE objective reality. Science, logic, or any other evidence to the contrary is a wolf snarling outside the sheepfold.
You’re Not One of Us
My priest friend wouldn’t say he’s exclusionary. To him, I’ve excluded myself.
the Catholic Church was established by Jesus Christ … It is unchanging reality … Homosexuality will always be wrong, a man is a man and a woman is a woman. This is reality. The Church does not condemn anyone who has any of the aforementioned conditions. But we have to call them what they are: conditions that are not normal. Just like Down’s Syndrome is not normal nor is cerebral palsy, gender dysphoria and homosexual orientation are not normal. I love a person who has a homosexual orientation or a person with gender dysphoria as much as I love a person who has Down’s Syndrome. But just as Down’s Syndrome is not normal, neither is homosexuality or gender dysphoria. All persons are good and created in God’s image, but all humans are broken in some way, and these conditions are just other manifestations of our brokenness.
We are all created good. We are all broken. Some, not all, broken “conditions” help the tribe spot who’s “in” and who’s “out.”
Claiming LGBTQIA+ identity involves “coming out”—presenting ourselves in a way that our former tribes deem as out-of-the-tribe. My priest friend tells me I’m a horror to him:
I say this with humility and charity: it is hard for me to look at you and speak with you as the man I once knew. I believe you have elevated this false identity over your true identity and it makes me feel uncomfortable. Honestly, it was hard for me to look at you. This is not who you are. I felt heartbroken when you described the procedure of mutilation … I can’t be dishonest with myself. I will never not love you as a brother. I will show you real compassion by speaking the truth to you unlike those who show false compassion by affirming you as a woman — I believe them to be enablers who, out of cowardice, do not tell you the truth. You are an incredibly gifted and intelligent man and my only hope is that you will one day reject this ideology. I know this might sound mean, but I don’t mean for it to.
He’s not trying to bring me back in the fold. Rather, he’s saying I’m not what he needs me to be. He screams, “Thou shalt not!” not to get me to stop but to make himself feel better about himself.
Claiming LGBTQIA+ identity involves “coming out” — presenting ourselves in a way that our former tribes deem as out-of-the-tribe.
How To Witness To Those In the Sheepfold
Basing his own identity and integrity on whether I fulfill his tribal code isn’t healthy for him. But I won’t argue that with him.
Lived experience is the only way to transform tribe-insulating doctrine. I will keep living authentically, living as a thriving witness that his sheepfold doesn’t circle the world. That was the kind of witness that drew me out of that fold to where I am today.
Minister to your local minister, and be Christ to your local Christian—which includes calling bullshit on their attempts to legislate their sheep-pen rules on those outside the tribe. Live to show how much sheep dung their “observable reality” is.
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