As I sat and watched the Waterloo City Council meeting from Monday night, I worked on various articles highlighting different speakers who I thought made valid points.
I was working on an article about a speaker who identified as transgender and was extremely critical of God and those who believe in God.
“It’d be nice if you treated LGBTQ people like people, but I get that we’re devolving into fascism and that it’s easier to side with the Christo fascists who will tell you that God is everything and God is the law. But we live in America and that’s not the case. God is not the law. God is not in charge of my life. God is stupid, and He doesn’t matter. And if you think He does, then you’re stupid.”
The individual apologized and noted it was rude, but said the individual was obviously very upset.
As I nearly finished that article, I instead highlighted the entire thing and hit backspace.
I deleted it.
A little later in the meeting, another transgender individual spoke. The individual spoke about growing up as a transgender person and quickly discussed the path the individual took from kindergarten to adulthood.
“When you look at a child, if they tell you that the sky is pink, that doesn’t mean you get to hit ’em,” the individual said. “You just go, ‘Oh, OK. Maybe they’ll change their mind.’ Some people think the earth is flat. We’re not telling them what to do. We’re letting them live and let live. It’s the pursuit of happiness. That’s what we’re asking.”
So, there are a few things I wanted to address.
I do not doubt that these individuals in the LGBTQ community have been hurt by those who disagree with their lifestyle. I do not doubt that there has been pain inflicted by people who disagree with their lifestyle.
But as for the child who says the sky is pink, if the sky isn’t pink, the child is (or should be) corrected. Not physically abused, but an adult would gently tell them the sky is indeed, not pink. Because, if the sky isn’t pink, then the statement that the sky is pink isn’t true. And what is true should matter.
And as for the idea of “live and let live,” the same could be said of those trying to ban counseling for kids confused as it relates to their sexual orientation or gender identity. If a parent wants their child to talk with a licensed healthcare provider about such confusion, shouldn’t that family also be allowed to “live and let live?”
Why does only one side of this issue get to “live and let live” and the other side gets to oppress the other?
The other transgender person, who said what they said about God, obviously has a lot of anger and frustration toward Christians — and God Himself. Perhaps that individual has such emotions for good reason.
I’ll be the first to admit that some on “our side” can be hurtful in their words and discourse as it relates to LGBTQ issues. I know many times I’ve written an article or some form of a “mass communication” in such a way I’d likely never say in a one-on-one conversation with an individual in the LGBTQ community.
It is easy to speak the truth for us, but more difficult to do it in love. To be clear, speaking the truth in love doesn’t mean not speaking the truth because it may hurt someone’s feelings, but it does mean resisting the urge to use the truth to make someone feel like crap.
All while understanding that, sometimes, the truth will make someone feel like crap anyway.
There was an elderly woman who spoke against the counseling ban and cited her Christian faith. She said the ban prevents LGBTQ individuals from receiving the truth about salvation.
“Yes, all of us have sinned and so all of us need a Savior,” she said. “So, whether you call yourself a heterosexual or a homosexual, you and I need a Savior. When you ban conversion therapy, you are telling the LGBTQ you don’t have the right to know that God loves you. That they don’t have the right to know that He died on the cross to forgive their sin. You’re not telling the LGBTQ all they have to do is confess and forsake their sin and accept Christ as their Savior. By doing this, they’re entitled to go to heaven as much as any other believer.”
This is true. It’s 100 percent true. We have all fallen short. We all need a Savior. And for the Christian, it isn’t optional to keep such a fact secret. And for the human, well, we don’t always like to hear it said so plainly.
Again, we’re all sinners. None of us like being told we’re wrong.
Here are two facts I took away from the public comments.
First, those members of the LGBTQ community are genuinely hurting. They’ve been convinced by society that their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity defines their true identity. And because that is who they are, and many people believe that lifestyle is wrong, it instead needs to be celebrated.
Second, those who oppose the counseling ban (and therefore are assumed to oppose the LGBTQ community) are also hurting for the LGBTQ community. I do not believe for a second a single person who spoke against the ban has a desire for anyone — gay, straight, bi, transgender, cisgender, black, yellow, brown, male, female, etc. — to go to hell.
It is a clash of worldviews. It’s the battle from the beginning of time.
It may be hard, if not impossible, for some in the LGBTQ community to understand, but “we” don’t “oppose” the LGBTQ movement because we hate LGBTQ people — we do it because we love them. And we care about them. We care about them enough to tell them the truth.
As believers, we should also remember that the hurt, pain and confusion those in the LGBTQ community feel and have experienced are very real. And it may be the most well-intentioned Christian who simply said something in such a way that came across as hateful and judgmental.
I don’t think we want our speech to be hateful and judgmental, though we cannot always control how one interprets what we say or how we say it.
However, believers cannot budge on the truth. This doesn’t mean we’re perfect — far from it. Way, way, way, way far from it.
We will make mistakes, but we shouldn’t advocate for “wrong” to be viewed as right by society.
Both sides would stand to benefit to recognize where each other is coming from. Maybe that isn’t possible. But it should at least be a goal.
With all the debate on LGBTQ issues that has taken place this year, and with this council meeting as well, I have realized people on both sides are indeed hurting. And I hope that somehow, some way those of us in the “arena” recognize those so often labeled as our “opponents” are indeed hurting.
And I hope we don’t desire them to hurt, but instead hope they find healing.
Banning so-called “conversion therapy” is indeed banning the truth. We cannot allow it to happen.
More important than preserving counseling for confused kids as it relates to their sexual orientation or gender identity, though, is saving souls. It’s important that remains our ultimate focus in these debates as nothing is more important.
None of that is — or should be — done out of “hatred.” It is done out of love, sympathy and genuine care.