For the previous articles in this series please click on the links below.
Chapter one: Transgender: Hell bound or Holy?
Chapter two: Gender Optional?
Chapter four: The Straight Poop on “The Bathroom Wars”
Chapter five: Self-Identified: Gender, Sex, and Pride
The LGBTQ movement would like to claim the mantel of the civil rights movement of the sixties and seventies. This raises three questions? Are they the natural inheritors of the momentum of that crusade? Is there any momentum left? First, though, what are “civil rights”?
Civil rights are the rights that are common to all ordinary citizens; rights are principles that describe actions that are allowed in all cases or nearly all cases regardless of the consequences to the individual exercising the right or the society as a whole. In the past, rights were understood to be defined by the ruling authority, king or church, but in The Enlightenment the idea gained prominence that rights are God given or naturally occurring. This is the beginning of civil rights as a concept.
This is where the LGBTQ movement finds itself at cross-purposes. The civil rights movement of the sixties and seventies was largely and prominently led by men and women of faith, so an appeal to have rights recognized that already exist and are possessed by the group is altogether logical. An objective observer would have to say that the eventual success of that enterprise was inevitable. The LGBTQ movement is seeking to have rights given to it by the government, because it is largely humanistically/ atheistically driven. It can not claim, with consistency, to already possess naturally occurring rights and wouldn’t claim God given rights. Their appeal is for new rights created by the highest authority they recognize other than themselves, the government.
From a philosophical perspective this ought to doom their endeavor. In fact, the position that many on “my side” of the argument take is that their position’s illogical nature invalidates it and ends the argument. This, however, leaves some facts unacknowledged and unexamined. Just because they don’t recognize what rights really are and where they really come from doesn’t mean they don’t have rights, right? Honest contenders and Godly servants would not stop at understanding and explaining the wrong-headed elements of the argument, they would acknowledge the right of it and seek to advance the right as well.
The right of the LGBTQ movement’s argument is that they do have certain rights that have been denied or suppressed for too long. It seems as though the movement came into existence five minutes ago to many of us, but there have been men and women who struggled with gender and sexual identity for seemingly as long as man has walked the earth. And as long as man has walked the earth in sufficient numbers we have sought to accumulate power and influence and to divide based on our differences. If we could use or invent a moral justification for the division all the better. Galatians 3: 26-29 says,
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
This reveals to us that we are not to divide ourselves based on our differences even within the body of Christ. But let’s be bold enough to ask ourselves this question, If we’re not to divide based on our differences within the church, why divide on those terms against those outside? You know who I’m talking about, right? I’m talking about the ones we all hope to bring into fellowship eventually.
Isn’t it interesting that the scripture that I referenced tells us that in Christ there is no male or female? I don’t intend, nor do I think Paul intends, to express that gender disappears within the context of Christian life or that God doesn’t care about or have a purpose for gender. What is intended is that, in Christ, gender is not an excuse to divide. I think we can safely extend that sentiment to transgender. There’s no question that it is a moral issue, and therefore most properly and basically dealt with between the individual and God. Certainly there needs to be discussion within the context of the evangelist and transgender person being evangelised to about how transgender expression impacts christian living. The moral component can not be ignored.
The problem is, having singled out LGBTQ individuals as specifically and especially deserving of God’s wrath we have created entire groups of people that we are handicapped to reach. It would almost be better if we didn’t discuss the topic directly with those groups when we evangelise to them and wait for them to question us. The love they feel from us has to overwhelm the hate they believe we hold. If there is any legitimate cause for division among us hate is it, the trouble is it would divide us asunder.
We are called to work in this world, not necessarily on this world. If we follow God’s word and His commands the world will be better for it, but this world is already slated for replacement. Our call is to work with people so that He can work in people. Whatever divides us prevents us from being involved in that work.
I always start out to set issues straight in the minds of you, my readers, to tell you how it is from a deeply thoughtful and reasoned position. I seem to always end up preaching against or admonishing The Church as I know it. I do not fear that God has a plan for us in times such as these, and I am not concerned that in apathy, thoughtlessness, or lack of dedication we might thwart His purposes. I do, however, fear for you and me and the blessings we miss out on and the blessings we miss out on BEING if we do not think deeply and act decisively on our faith. We are called to make disciples of all men, but we must first be disciples. A disciple is first and foremost a learner. We learn about what we believe by reading, studying, and living in community with our fellow believers. We only learn about what opposes what we believe by listening intently and compassionately to those who hold opposing beliefs.
It is important to know and do rightly (seek justice) but it is equally important to live benevolently and charitably (love mercy) in the understanding that God Himself has done the same with us (walk humbly with your God).