Stop hiding.

Earlier I read a report from Buzzfeed News about a teacher who was fired from his job because he repeatedly and intentionally mis-gendered a student. He hid behind the claim that his “religious beliefs” prevented him from lying, and by calling a student (who had transitioned from female to male) by the male pronouns that he identifies with would be a lie because in his head, that student is still a female.

Here’s the thing: if having “religious beliefs” means that those “beliefs” tell you to disrespect another human being, another creation of God, then your beliefs aren’t religiously held. You’re just a grade-A jerk who is using the mask of believing in whatever faith helps you sleep at night to hide behind.

As a totally imperfect-Christian and general human being who struggles daily to live into the person God calls me to be, I’m calling all of you out who use the God of Abraham, Issac, Moses, Paul (even though that man is problematic as heck), God the Parent of Jesus Christ, to embolden and justify your fear of those who aren’t like you and might threaten whatever place of privilege you hold in your mind.

I’m calling on you to get it together and stop justifying your hate with the all-encompassing love of God. Because God’s love doesn’t come in a box with restrictions, and neither should any of us. Whenever you put on that article of clothing that says, “I believe in JC,” or whenever you take up the mantle of the title “Christian” it should be in complete love that is an honest-to-God struggle for most of us, but not for God.

I’m calling on all of us to stop and remember that if we claim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, that he didn’t come to just save the straight, cis-gendered, white males, but that he came for the whole freaking the world, the all-inclusive κόσμος, then we are called to love each other as Christ loved other and loves us. Fully and without restrictions. A whole world that includes women, LGBTQIA+ people, people who are differently-abled, people whose skin color isn’t white, people who don’t go to church or even believe, people who do bad things in the world, etc. Jesus came for all of us.

Nowhere did Jesus say that he wouldn’t love someone. In fact, Jesus spent his entire ministry working for those who were oppressed by people in places of power. So please, stop disrespecting the work and ministry that Jesus practiced on our behalf by hiding behind a perverted gospel message in order to serve your own hatred.

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