The Nashville Statement and the Moral Bankruptcy of Evangelicalism

I’m not going to dignify the CBMW’s Nashville Statement with any kind of point by point response, the whole thing is a tiresome rehash of what evangelicals have been saying about LGBT people for years. I already did a point by point breakdown of the SBC’s anti-trans resolution a few years ago, it basically covers the same things I would say here, so consider that my response to the statement itself. What I’d rather talk about is what evangelicals aren’t issuing joint statements condemning, namely, white nationalism. Their silence in the face of the rising tide of fascism and white supremacy in this country is deafening.

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You really should be paying attention to hip hop

If you’re not paying attention to hip hop right now you’re missing kind of an important cultural moment. The Tyler, The Creator album, Flower Boy, that just debuted at #2, barely behind Lana Del Ray’s new album? It’s basically a coming out album, where he stopped with the fictional narratives and vulgar alter egos of his earlier albums and put the real, vulnerable side of himself out there. People have picked apart specific lines and verses from the album ad nauseam, but it suffices to say that one of the big, overarching themes of Flower Boy is the loneliness and isolation of the closet, and it’s got the best début of any hip hop album that dropped last week.

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Sarasota County School Board has police usher trans alumnus out of school board meeting

As background to this, Nate Quinn is a Sarasota County public school graduate who has fought for trans rights in Sarasota public schools since he came out as trans in high school. Sarasota’s current policy is to deal with trans students on an individual case-by-case basis, with school principals and administrators deciding whether or not to let each individual trans student use the correct facilities and have their names and pronouns respected.

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On public mourning when Evangelical culture kept you in the dark

My Twitter feed is full of remembrances from queer people tweeting about how much George Michael meant to them as kids, watching his videos and recognizing something of themselves in him. They all have these memories of his music as the soundtrack of their youth, while meanwhile the soundtrack of my teen years was Steve Taylor singing about how much God hates me. 

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Killing Us Slowly

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, while listening to the slow motion horror unfolding on the Orlando fire rescue scanner, I sent out a tweet saying that I didn’t want conservative tears because they want us dead, this guy just followed through. I don’t want to see conservative tears over what happened in Orlando. You want us dead, this guy just followed through. — Kathryn Brightbill (@kebrightbill) June 12, 2016 I could wrap this piece in flowery language, beat around the bush and put things gently to carefully convey my emotions about what happened at Pulse, but instead I want to take the façade off and focus on that single concentrated expression of pain that came from my heart as my heart was breaking. You’re killing us. Just as surely as the shooter whose name I will not utter, you’re taking our lives. You haven’t loaded up an AR-15 and started mowing people down, you didn’t have to. The hatred in your hearts—and make no mistake. Jesus said that if you hate someone it is as if you murdered them in your heart—that hatred is killing us slowly. To the PCA pastor who told me that he was still going to keep preaching that our lives and our loves are a sin, even knowing that it was a message that drove kids to suicide, because to do otherwise would compromise the gospel, you’re killing us. To the PCA elder and now retired county attorney for a Florida county that shall remain unnamed, when you declared that it would be more merciful if God would just call gay people home because then they couldn’t keep sinning, you’re killing us. Under the logic of that brand of theology, the shooter at Pulse was an agent of God’s mercy, snuffing out lives[…]

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It was never about bathrooms, Exhibit A

I’m going to take a temporary hiatus from my personal rule of ignoring bigots in blog comments so they don’t get the attention they crave because there’s a comment on my “Get your own house in order” post that proves my point. No matter how much they may claim that it’s really about a fear of cis straight male predators, that’s pretty clearly not true. See, mamazee, my erstwhile commenter, left the following comment, completely ignoring my entire argument and insisting that yes, it is fear of predators taking advantage of non-discrimination laws to sneak in. And well, you can read it for yourself. All the trigger warnings after the cut, because your brain just might boil.   I am completely with you on the church having a problem with sexual abuse and how to deal with it – Boz Tchividian is doing God’s work on this issue, and i think people need to realize that some people are drawn to churches not because they love God but because they know guards are down among “brothers and sisters”. On the other hand, transgender people are not the issue about the bathroom issue. Like you’ve said, a lot of transgender people have probably already used the bathrooms with us. We are not concerned about transgendered [sic] per se. We are concerned about perverts, using the lowered guards (now that any objection is being hammered into the ground) and the hesitation of anyone to *say anything* when they see a grown man follow a child into a bathroom. Not a transgendered [sic] man, just any grown man. I am worried that it will be politically incorrect to be alarmed – that people will let abuse happen for basically the same reasons that our parents overlooked dangerous offender behaviour in grown men in our[…]

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Get your own house in order

When I was in high school, my sister and I once invented, on the spot, a rule against riding in cars with men we weren’t related to, in order to avoid being driven home from babysitting by a Growing Kids God’s Way dad who creeped us out. That was the last time we babysat for that family, we made up an excuse about being too busy with school work but the truth was that we didn’t feel safe. When we ran into the family years later as adults, he remembered how old we were during that short time we sat for them, something neither of us could recall, but that made me uncomfortable for my teenage self all over again. I tell this story because while everyone is running around screaming about how we need to ban trans people from bathrooms because a few predatory cis straight men might take advantage, I can’t stop thinking of all the times my creep-dar kicked into high gear. None of them were in bathrooms. None of them were around trans people. No, all the times I felt unsafe or uncomfortable growing up, the times when every fiber of my being were screaming, “run away, stay away, keep your distance and don’t ever be alone with this man,” were all around “good Christian family men.” I remember the man at my church who I felt strangely sexualized around, although I was too young to understand it, just that I felt very much aware that I had a body. He moved his family away, became quiverfull homeschoolers, his wife and daughters started wearing long dresses and head coverings. Some time later we got word that his wife was leaving him because she’d discovered he’d been molesting her oldest daughter, his stepdaughter, for years. Nobody reported the[…]

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A few thoughts on Pride

I’ve been thinking about pride parades and what they represent, and how I responded as a kid seeing clips of pride parades on TV, or when religious right figures railed against the imagined debauchery of it all. As a good child raised to be a foot soldier of the religious right, I was supposed to look at those pictures and video and see it as people parading their sins through the street as in Sodom. But at the same time, because I was raised to be a foot soldier for the religious right, I may not have understood the political or philosophical arguments, but I did understand activism. And so I instinctively understood the message of defiance–and back in the ‘80s and ’90s it was definitely a message of defiance, that you may hate us but we won’t be ashamed. It may have taken years after that for me to challenge what I’d been taught about the sinfulness of it all, and still longer to figure out that I myself was queer, but that image of defiance was still there with me as a counterpoint to what I was being taught. A counterpoint that I could understand and relate to, when arguments that the interpretation of scripture I was learning was wrong wouldn’t have stuck because I was too young and too dogmatic to see another side’s logical arguments. The logic looked to me as excuses but the defiance of marching in the streets, that found its way past my defenses precisely because I spoke the language of activism so well. When I look at pride parades, I don’t see them as just an event for the community together, I see them as a message for the kids who aren’t there as well. That people may beat us down and[…]

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This Week in Imaginary Persecution: Chris Pratt and Women’s World Cup edition

Did you hear about how Chris Pratt is totes persecuted for being a Christian and liberals are literally blackballing him for talking about his faith? We know it’s true because Facebook told us so and random clickbait from rightwing websites never lies. I mean, he’s so persecuted that his blockbuster summer popcorn franchise only made half a billion dollars opening weekend. And in the unfairness of it all, he just signed on to costar with Jennifer Lawrence in a big budget sci-fi space opera, because what choice of films does he have, being blackballed by Hollywood and everything? Without this dreadful persecution, he’d be the biggest, most beloved action-star-of-the-moment on both Earth and Mars, but because everyone hates Christians he’s going to have to settle for being loved by just earthlings. The tragedy of it all. Plus, I thought we were supposed to hate Jurassic Park because EVILution! Also taking a bold stand for their faith in the face of risking persecution from the homogheys are the professing Christians on the USWNT at the World Cup. Or at least that’s what WORLD Magazine would like us to infer: At least four professing Christians join hands on the current team, including Amy Rodriguez and Heather O’Reilly, as the U.S. team tries to get back to the World Cup Final July 5, where the United States women lost to Japan in 2011. In World Cup defeat or gold medal glory, “when I walk away my identity is still the same,” Holiday told Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “I’m still a follower of Jesus Christ.” In contrast, team leaders Megan Rapinoe and Abby Wambach and coach Jill Ellis all identify as lesbians. A national team, of necessity, creates a functional pluralism with mutual respect and practical sacrificial love as teammates work toward a common[…]

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3 Things about Caitlyn Jenner that need to stop showing up in my Facebook newsfeed

These themes keep showing up in my Facebook newsfeed, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who is getting more than a little tired of it.  1) Any variation of over-spiritualized “love the sinner” rhetoric.  Apart from the fact that you’ve declared someone who is a professing Christian is a hell-bound sinner, something that is not your place to decide, your patronization is only marginally less offensive than if you were throwing slurs Jenner’s way. You’ve essentially declared someone a lesser being worthy of your pity as if they’re a sick animal, rather than an equal created in God’s image just like you are.  Furthermore, you’ve demonstrated that you don’t understand either hermeneutics or the history and culture of the ancient near east. Born eunuchs. Educate yourself on what Jesus was talking about.  Also, congratulations, you’ve managed to prove yourself significantly less informed on gender identity than the government of Iran, hardly the measuring stick on human rights. 2) Any variation of “Person X is the real hero.“  Heroics is not a zero sum game. More than one person can be a hero and there are any number of areas where someone can be heroic. So Caitlyn Jenner isn’t particularly inspiring to you, who cares? Last I checked there isn’t a single arbiter of who is or isn’t a hero and if there was, I’m pretty sure you aren’t it. 3) Any comparison to Josh Duggar or the Duggar tragedy.  Josh Duggar is a child molester. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar committed felonies by covering up Josh’s crimes. Caitlyn Jenner is an Olympic athlete whose body didn’t match her gender identity. See the difference? If you group them together as "people I feel sympathy for,” or “people I want to extend grace towards,” you’re implying that Caitlyn Jenner[…]

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