|photo from Holden Village, 2006|
Republican lawmakers in North Carolina on Wednesday pushed through a broad sweeping anti-LGBT bill, removing local ordinances for equal rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and mandating that government controlled multi-user bathrooms be restricted to a single sex based on the gender assigned at birth.
It is distressing to have people debate my genitalia and my worth, when all I have to do is pee. More importantly, this law makes the trans community, trans women in particular, even more vulnerable to violence and harassment.
Lawmakers rushed the bill through during Holy Week, when we prepare for Easter Sunday. In multiple states and cities around the country, people are rushing to deny rights to the LGBTQ community, while waving the flag of Christianity.
It makes me sick, and it is not my religion.
On Good Friday, I remembered Jesus, the Son of God, who came to share a message of good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, freedom for those oppressed, and the year of the Lord’s favor. This is how he kicked off his ministry in the gospel of Luke (4:14-21). He spoke against those in power who had set up laws based on ritual purity. Those laws drove people into isolation and onto the margins. Jesus spoke against those laws, and brought people back in who had been made outsiders. He restored relationships by healing individuals and communities.
On Good Friday, Jesus was crucified by those in power because of the threat he presented with his ministry.
On Easter Sunday, we celebrated that death and hate did not have the final word.
On Easter Sunday, we remembered that Jesus preached a message of love, and care for one another, especially for those who are most vulnerable.
Many of us in the LGBTQ community have personally experienced abuse and cruelty at the hands of the church, or Christian family members and friends. Many of us have seen the hate and vitriol come out of our political system in the name of Christian values. Countless members of the LGBT community and our allies have left the church, because it was healthier and safer to leave.
Why would I expect anyone to be a Christian? Why would I even want to admit I am a Christian?
On Easter Sunday, we celebrate that death and hate will not have the final word.
The opponents of Jesus’ message of love, inclusion, and freedom for the oppressed, thought they had won when they nailed him to the cross.
They did not count on the expansiveness of God’s love.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
The resurrection of Jesus is a way for us to celebrate this truth. Not even death can separate us from the love of God. Not even a rash of discriminatory legislation. Not even an abusive church, or having left church altogether, will make God stop loving us.
So what does this have to do with North Carolina?
The lawmakers who are governing out of fear and ignorance will not have the last word. Jesus stands in solidarity with the oppressed. Jesus would stand with a sign at the governor’s residence proclaiming, “God loves all LGBTQ peeps.” Jesus would wear a button that says, #Illgowithyou and make sure that trans people have an ally to go to the bathroom in safety. God’s Spirit is active in igniting our hearts to stand with those who face violence, discrimination, and rejection.
We will not let hate win, because God has said “No!” to hate.
This is what I celebrate on Easter Sunday.
Wishing you all a Blessed spring, with a resounding Alleluia that God says “Yes!” to love.
I’m praying you may know love, safety, and the confidence that you are a wonderful child of God.
I’m praying for the freedom to pee, and an end to anti-LGBTQ legislation.
I’m praying for an end to violence against our LGBTQ community, particularly against trans women and people of color.
I’m praying for all who have been kicked out of church, and out of their homes.
I’m praying for all who are oppressed in any way.
With love for you this Easter season,