Maintaining some “right” to bully and oppress people who are different than your idea of how they should be is not religious freedom. It is the total opposite. It is religious oppression. The right to marry a person of the same sex will soon be ruled as a right that is protected by the United States Constitution. Everyone has the right to equal protection under the law. The efforts of people who are suggesting that their religious freedom is burdened by this fact are placing their own personal religious views above the core of American value.
It doesn’t stop there. These people are also trying to place their own personal religious views above those of other Americans. They are trying to take away the constitutionally guaranteed right for each of us to practice our beliefs without interference from the government. Trying to force everyone to practice their beliefs. My deeply-held religious convictions are very clear. Love equals love. And I am in conflict with my understanding of God if I do not embrace authenticity.
Some of the people who lay claim to the knowledge of God’s will for all people should be secretly hoping that the God they lay claim to doesn’t exist. If this God does exist, there might well be hell to pay, for they have chosen to ignore the second of the two greatest commandments – love your neighbor. If you do not love all of God’s creation, you can not truly lay claim to the idea that you love God.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but before you can truly be persecuted for being Christian, you would need to actually behave in a manner that at least somewhat resembles Christ. You are not being persecuted for being Christian. You are not actually being persecuted at all. What is actually happening? There is a fast-growing number of people, who are becoming more and more vocal, and who think you should stop discriminating against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity. I am proud to say that I am one of them.
In the array of informed and uninformed opinions regarding legislation on religious freedom, some facts seem to get overshadowed. Young LGBT Americans are still taking their own lives as a direct result of religious oppression. LGBT human beings are still being fired from their jobs for being who they are and loving who they love. At least ten transgender women, mostly women of color, have been murdered already this year in the United States. Let us not lose sight of who is truly being oppressed and who are truly the oppressors.
In the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, the shepherd boy kept claiming that there was a wolf that didn’t exist. So it is when people claim that equality is a threat to the religious freedom. But there really is a threat to religious freedom. It is the threat that one extreme version of religion will be used as the basis for civil law in our country.
There is a threat to these people who would choose to have all of us be subjected to their interpretations of God’s will. It is their choice to continuously cry wolf. It is the immoral act of denying dignity to people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. It is the hypocrisy of claiming to do so in the name of Jesus.
Be very careful, those who cry wolf and point fingers at equality for LGBT people. One day you will find that as you continue to cry wolf, no one will come.
Stephanie Mott is a transsexual woman from Topeka, Kansas and a nationally known speaker on transgender issues. In addition, Stephanie is the executive director of Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project and a commissioner on the City of Topeka Human Relations Commission. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org