There was a march in Washington, D.C. on Saturday to celebrate “freedom from homosexuality and transgenderism.” Well, for starters, “transgenderism” is not a word. It is a made up noun. But it’s easier to invent a word than it is to say “transgender people” because, darn it, if you do that then you have to acknowledge they are people.
Of course, it is not nouns from which these people want to be free. It is people, people who are gay or transgender. So let me ask, how is that different from wanting to be free from people who are not of European ancestry? Yeah, I thought so.
Julie Rogers wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times about the rally. Turns out it might not have been necessary. Posted pictures didn’t show hundreds of thousands, or thousands, or even hundreds of attendees. There were a few tens of attendees. Yep, that’s it. The low attendance might have been because the march was poorly promoted, but I wonder if something else isn’t going on.
Younger Evangelicals are coming to understand what the rest of the world has known for quite a while. The church has done a terrible job teaching about human sexuality and gender. The evangelical purity culture ruined an entire generation of teens when they made it difficult for them, even in marriage, to find sexual pleasure. They could only see sex negatively.
The same is true when it comes to how the church has handled gender. To keep the patriarchy alive, for centuries the church has disparaged an entire gender! To this very day evangelicalism and Roman Catholicism are still at it.
The march was a flop because Millennials and Generation X don’t much respect the church on issues of sexuality and gender. They have moved on, while the Boomers who still hold to their hard and fast categories have too many knee problems to march.
Even many of those evangelical leaders who still occasionally speak up against LGBTQ issues are less than enthusiastic. They are not about to show up at a march. As one megachurch pastor told me, “Most of our people have moved on, but our money hasn’t.” These guys (and they are all guys) are just biding their time.
Don’t get me wrong. The war is not over. There are still a lot of dangerous people out there who want “freedom from homosexuality and transgenderism.” But when you look at their dwindling numbers, their threats look pretty weak. They still want to kill the messengers who remind them of the church’s failure on these subjects, but their arsenal has been reduced to a few pebbles lobbed in our general direction by people with weak throwing arms.
At Left Hand Church, all three of our pastors are the messengers. Aaron Bailey is gay. I am transgender, and Jen Jepsen might be the worst offender of all. She is a straight female who dares to stand in the face of the patriarchal system and say, “Not on my watch.”
There may have been a tiny celebration in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, but there was a far more life-giving celebration in Longmont, Colorado. At Left Hand Church Jen preached a wonderful sermon about Jesus affirming us as we are. Then Justin Bullis sang a Billy Joel song (you know which one) and Kate Gaddis brought us to tears with a beautiful communion meditation about the thin places where the lines between heaven and earth come together. The entire service was a beautiful celebration of true love.
There will still be large rallies attended by thousands who want to deny the rights of gay and transgender citizens. But Saturday’s march in D.C. is a more reliable sign of what’s to come. Their days are numbered.
On the other hand, Saturday’s celebration at Left Hand Church is also a sign of what’s to come. Love is rising, my friends. Love is rising.