Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Not All Cut From The Same Mold

First it was the “Nashville Statement” and then it was the U.S. Catholic Bishop’s letter condemning us but out of Rhode Island comes support for us.
My Turn: Chontell Nelson Washington: Listen to those who are transgender
Providence Journal
By Chontell Nelson Washington
Posted Jan 8, 2018

The Rhode Island State Council of Churches is deeply troubled by the letter released on Dec. 15 and signed by a variety of leaders in the Christian tradition as well as other faith traditions (published as the Dec. 27 Commentary piece, “God created each person male or female”). That letter was a response to the newly raised consciousness in our society, far too long in coming, of those who are transgender. It dangerously labels the transgender experience as a “false idea.”
We are deeply concerned with the negative spiritual, emotional and physical impact that this letter may have because it dismisses the lived experiences of our church members, friends and family who are transgender. There is the very real danger that suggesting that parents should not allow children to explore their true gender identity will result in more deaths.

The statement refers to Holy Scripture as a foundation for the disregard of people who are transgender, quoting Genesis 1:27 (“male and female he created” humans). We are concerned that only one verse from the Bible is used for such wholesale rejection and would encourage people of faith to examine all of scripture for guidance in this matter.

We would point out the many stories in which God offers loving acceptance to those who are despised and rejected by their family or society. For example, we would point to God’s rescue of abandoned Ishmael, God’s providential care of Ruth, God’s rescue of the widow of Zarephath through the prophet Elijah, and Jesus’ own ministry among lepers and Samaritans.
As I have said in the past, don’t paint religions with a broad brush.

There are many religions that support us and have stood up by our side in the fight for justice. I know a number of trans people who are religious leaders and some are even priests and ministers.

I don’t believe in organized religions, it seems to me that all of these religions say that only they are the “True” religion. For me it seems more important in how you live your life. I see all the major religion have a message of peace and love your brother, but I see many fringe religious sects have corrupted the message of  love and tolerance to a message hate and demonizing.

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