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Op-ed: Supporting ministries that resist hard-right stances against LGBTQIA+ people

I have come to a decision about the kinds of ministries I am going to support.

I’m a Catholic pediatric specialty therapist by profession, but I also serve in an underground recovery ministry as LBGTQIA+ youth come out in their conservative Christian homes and churches in a state of trauma many times.  I help families come to recover from rejection, which frequently turns deadly as suicide. As a Catholic serving where I do, I struggle daily with the clashes of science and faith.  However, my Catholic conscience tells me that the sanctity of life, human dignity, and unconditional love rise above any other theological clashes, especially when we look at the first and second greatest commandments to love God and love our neighbor.

As I was sipping on my Sunday morning coffee, I received a message from one of my LBGTQIA+ young adults and watched this video she asked me to watch.  Please watch and digest it for a moment.  (Note that this may be a trauma trigger for some, so please heed this warning before watching.)

 

Massive trigger warning…..?
I heard messages preached like this? on many in occasion growing up within the IFB it was preached even at Hephzibah House but as pressure began to get put on them they started to soften up on how they taught on the subject. How is this OK! This is an abuse of freedom of religion this is a call to murder?.
We must wake up in our society and understand that this evil must stop?.
In my opinion this man should be locked up.?
This is Pastor Jonathan Shelley
Steadfast Baptist Church

Posted by Path To Freedom on Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Video

This video is part of an effort by a hard-right political collective that is increasing the rate of violence and hate crimes towards LBGTQIA+ youth, adults, and their families, and increasing suicides.   This is not, cannot be, and will never be the teachings of Jesus Christ and His Gospels.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of anti-LGBTQ hate groups increased 43 percent last year.  The report states that LGBTQ hate groups are the fastest-growing sector among hate groups.

In my personal observations, I’ve seen that anti-LGBTQ groups have become intertwined with Trump, the right-wing of the Republican party, and religious fascists.   After years of civil rights progress, anti-LGBTQ attitudes are still increasing within right-ringed religious groups melded with the right-wing of the Republican party.

Although Trump promised during his campaign to be a ‘real friend’ to the LGBTQ community, he has fully embraced anti-LGBTQ hate groups and their agenda of disintegrating federal protections and resources for LGBTQ people.  These rights are the right to live in safety, the right to be part of a family, the right to work, live, raise a family, and worship – yes worship – in peace.

Many times, I am asked to answer about Biblical or Catholic doctrines about sexuality since I work with disabled and now LBGTQ people and their families.

As a Catholic, I have taken an approach of prioritizing the sanctity of life, human dignity, and unconditional love to keep a viable faith. These have nothing to do with doctrines of sexuality.  If Christian teaching about things like sexuality places someone’s life and/or humanity in danger — especially if it’s intentional – it is the exact opposite of the second greatest commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself. That’s one of the principles Jesus said all the laws and commandments hang upon.

Years of medical research have shown that being non-affirming – being ugly, exclusive, or treating LBGTQ people as less than – places LGBTQIA lives and humanity in danger because these actions lead to higher suicide rates and more mental illness according to all mainstream research.

I have decided that I will not give my time, energy, or money to a Christian institution that does not have a designated affirming LGBTQIA pastoral ministry or does not fully-include LBGTQIA people and their families in all activities.

The Catholic Church has the funding and does provide some excellent affirming pastoral ministry while the Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ are much better about inclusion. Either way, I will only support these types of ministries now because they affirm life and humanity rather than more mental illness and death. The debate on whether homosexuality is a sin will be here until Jesus returns, but denying life, human dignity, and wishing someone dead is not even debatable for the Christian. This has nothing to do with sexual activity but the sanctity of life. If someone is incapable of a life of celibacy, then that person has no right to judge the LBGTQIA person’s sex life.  All LBGTQIA families want are basic human decency, the right to live in safety, the right to be part of a family, the right to work, the right to be treated with equality, the right to have a stable life with a legal life spouse, the right to form a family, and the right to worship God in peace (yes, the right to worship God).

To my dismay, I many times explain these things to non-affirming right-winged conservative Christians, there seems to be zero regard for the life and dignity of the LBGTQ person, which repeatedly shows me that this type doesn’t care whether LBGTQIA people live or die, even if they are LBGTQIA children.

And that, my friends, goes against everything Jesus, the Church, and the Gospels stand for, the antithesis of who Jesus Christ was, is, and will forever be.

Photo by Katie Rainbow ???? on Unsplash

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