I am a transgender Christian woman. This is the line I often use to begin one of my presentations about being a transgender woman of faith. Then I often follow that line with these: I like to start with that because you don't often hear the words transgender and Christian in the same sentence. I like to start with that because people often tell me I can't live authentically and be a Christian. And I like to start with that because for many years of my life, I believed them.
Therein lies the war on Christianity.
Telling someone they can't be Christian because of their sexual orientation or gender identity is clearly one of the least Christian things anyone can do. The clarity comes into focus when you consider the fact that using Christianity as a weapon against people who are LGBT drives people away from Christianity.
How, in the name of Jesus, is driving people away from Christianity a Christian thing to do? Which ones of the words of Jesus tell us to push people away? Why are young people leaving the church in droves? What parts of Christianity should people follow if they are truly Christian? Who is truly attacking Christianity?
In my opinion—the parts that matter are the love your neighbor parts. The feed the hungry parts. The welcome the stranger parts. The love your enemy parts. The do not judge parts. The blessed are the peacemakers parts.
This is what fundamental Christianity is about. This is the definition of evangelical.
Yes, Christianity is under attack. There seems to be some confusion about who is conducting the war.
Like a corrupt used-car salesperson who wants you to look at the new tires, but doesn't want you to look under the hood; these are people who attack Christianity—at its very core.
The tires are the cherry-picked, out-of-context, intentionally-misdirected verses that are used to attack people who are LGBT. Under the hood is where the power of Christianity exists. In describing The Last Supper, John 13:34-35 quotes Jesus as saying, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another."
"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
And there are those who say they are expressing their love for people who are LGBT by trying to save us. Repent, they say, and be saved.
In response I am saying to those who say this thing, I am expressing my love for you by trying to save you. For it is you who are in need of saving, not I. You are bringing pain and suffering upon children of God. Repent, I say, and be saved.
The people who attack Christianity are like people who have stolen your most prized possession. Then they help you look for whomever might have stolen it. They want you to think they are your friends, they have your best interests at heart and they are to be trusted. They are not worthy of your trust. They do not have your best interests at heart. And they are not your friends.
People who are LGBT are not the cause of the war of Christianity.
We are also not the targets of the war on Christianity. More like collateral damage, as it were. We are the ones you are asked to look at when the magician says, Nothing in this hand. And all the while their other hand has reached into your pockets, sold your jobs to the highest bidder and punched your ballots in the next election.
Meanwhile, people who have been completely fooled by the intentional slight-of-hand believe that, somehow, gender and sexual minorities are at fault. And the rich get richer. And the poor get poorer. And the American dream is destroyed before our very eyes.
In the midst of the smoke and mirrors, the American values of liberty and justice for all have been replaced with an injust, unequal society in which no one is truly free.
For many years of my life, I believed I could not live authentically and be Christian.
Today, my faith doesn't tell me who I have to be in relation to my gender identity. It tells me I should be the person who is best able to feed the hungry and welcome the stranger. It tells me I should try to be a peacemaker and try to love my enemies. And it tells me when I am in doubt, I should look under the hood.