February 21st, 2012
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“(A)nd there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I do choose. Be made clean!”" Matthew 8:2-3
Call me a flaming liberal, but I believe fear, hysteria, and stereotypes are a really bad basis for public policy. I take my cue from Jesus.
Public policy in Jesus’ day required lepers, the demon-possessed (aka epileptics, and those with various mental illnesses) to be isolated from “regular” people, “whole” people, “normal” people. It was against the law to touch lepers. It was against the law to touch all kinds of things—dead bodies, mildew, women if you were male. Yet Jesus touched such people (I admit, there’s nothing in the Bible to suggest Jesus ever touched mildew). He crossed the boundaries that kept “abnormal” people, foreign people, and other undesirables away from “good” people.
He did so in order to heal, to set right what was wrong. The result of that healing was more than personal. It was social, religious, and political. It allowed the excluded to rejoin their families, their villages, their synagogues… their lives.
Why? Because he understood the prime directives from God were mercy and justice. Not either one or the other. Both.
So I am dismayed at the fear and hysteria that have popped up around the anti-discrimination policy that would protect transgendered people in public—even in bathrooms. If you need an overview, the Baltimore Sun ran an article on February 21 (http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-02-19/news/bs-md-co-transgender-discrimination-20120219_1_chrissy-lee-polis-transgender-people-transgender-woman) summarizing the issue.
It is simply silly, if not delusional, to imagine that protecting peoples’ rights to fair treatment will somehow result in targeted violence against women and rampant moral turpitude. If you want moral decay, turn on your TV.
Now if you want someone to explain how someone becomes transgendered, you’ll have to ask one. I don’t begin to get it. The fact is I don’t understand how I knew I’m heterosexual. I just knew.
More than that, I can’t really explain how I know God loves me. I just know. Come to think of it, there’s no rational reason God would want anything to do with any of us. And yet…
“And yet.…” There it is—the harbinger of grace. And yet… God does love me… and you… and every person on the planet. As we are, and as we can become. Jesus came to make that clear. Indeed he died to try to show us the folly of hate and fear. He knew we can do better.
Surely he is right.
Grace and peace, Jamie