Claiming My Religious Right

In the days of my youth, I knew little of the meanings of terms such as the "religious right" and the "liberal left." I was taught to believe in a loving God, and I have begun to understand that this is the greatest fortune of my birth.

I was raised by parents who believed in a loving God. The religious right that is the subject of this blog is not the religious right that comes to mind to classify a particular brand of faith—what I am speaking of is my right to believe in a loving God.

It is a right that was stolen from me, but it is a right I have claimed once again.

I don't believe that is in my prerogative to force my religious beliefs on another, nor is it a requirement for anyone to embrace the spiritual nature of the universe. I also do not believe that the Creator of the universe would require someone to believe before they are worthy of unconditional love—adding the requirement of believing in God in order to qualify for unconditional love kind of negates the unconditional part. It is my right to believe in unconditional love.

Yet why is it that we are so eager to put conditions on God's unconditional love? You have to be straight. You can't be transgender. You have to be Christian. You have to believe. No, none of these things.

All that is required to receive God's love is to be, and if God loves you as you are, so should I.

During the first 30 years of my adult life, I came to believe in a God with whom I found no favor because I was transgender. "Just don't be that way"—this is the message of a dark religiousness, as though that idea never occurred to me. There is the reality of the tens of thousands of prayers I sent to God, asking to be fixed. Begging to be made right. Praying to be made whole.

If God created any of us, then God created me too. If God created me as a transgender human being, who is anyone to tell me that God didn’t do that? The question of dark religiousness is “Do you think God made a mistake?” My response is, "No, I don’t. Do you?"

There is this idea that in order to be religious, you have to be socially conservative.

There are various applications of this man-made reality. The religious side and the LGBT side. The religious side and the poor side. The religious side and the immigrant side. We like to pretend it isn’t so, but these realities also connect to the religious side and the non-white side. The religious side and the disabled side. The religious side and the female side. The religious side and the non-Christian side.

Somehow, we lose sight of the fact that the only people who are benefiting from this "truly religious equals socially conservative" mindset are the people who have a lot of money and power.

In the meantime, LGBT youth continue to be cast from their homes by parents who do so in the name of religion.

Nearly half of all transgender teenagers attempt suicide. And then, many people who consider themselves to be religious have the audacity to claim that they are the victims of bullying—that their rights are being trampled.

The result of all this delusion is that more and more people are turning away from religion. But here is the deal—I don’t want to turn away from religion. I have just as much right to religion as those who see me as a lesser human being.

No person gets to tell me that I can't have religion because I don't fit into their delusion. Not anymore, not today. I am claiming my religious right, and there isn’t anything anyone can say that could possibly convince me that God has a problem with that.

Previously published on April 10, 2014; Originally posted on lgbtSr; Image via flickr user Waiting For The Word

Comments (6)

I am a straight Christian male. I am politically a "one issue" voter even though I am "not liberal". My one issue is that I want my friends treated the same way that I want to be treated. One of the people I trust enough to go to for prayer happens to be a Lesbian. It doesn't matter. What does matter is that Z will go to God for me when I need help. I believe that God listens to her because he made her the way she is. Who am I to presume to judge God's creations as anything less than the way He intended them to be?

Welcome home. God has always loved you.

Throughout my tween, term and early 20s I was convinced that God wanted me to be a woman and no matter who I knew myself to be, I was wrong. I was wrong to wear jeans and go hinting with my dad. I believed that I was wrong to not assume the role that God had set out for me. So, I tried and tried and fought myself to do what was "right." I was miserable and it caused me to pull away from God. It took a few years but after I claimed myself and became the MAN of God I had always been I was freed and at peace with the God who created me. It took a lot of undoing to let go of the misinformation I had been taught in my conservative Baptist church. Many that I knew from that Baptist church think that I have fallen away from God because of my transition. I love to tell them the truth: that I am the man God created me to be and I have never felt more grace, peace or love.

Amen! Jesus died for ALL of us...believers AND non-believers!

I can't say that I truly understand the trials those who are transgender go through as I myself have never gone through them. What I can (and do) say is that I will welcome you into my church, my home, my heart. Because we are all God's children and God calls us to love one another, even if we don't fully understand one another.

I love this statement: "I also do not believe that the Creator of the universe would require someone to believe before they are worthy of unconditional love—adding the requirement of believing in God in order to qualify for unconditional love kind of negates the unconditional part. " I so agree with you! God created us all and loves us all. As a Christian myself, I believe Jesus died on the Cross for all of us, believers and non-believers alike. We are all loved by the Perfect Being!

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