The election results of 2016 reflect the emergence of one of the most powerful conservative political movements that our nation has seen in decades. It is not just that Republicans control the Presidency, the House of Representatives and the Senate. It is that our new president will be in position to appoint up to 3 Supreme Court Justices. This could establish a conservative court for the next 25 years or more.
No, Lead Them Home is not getting into politics! The purpose is simply to explain why many LGBT+ people (among many others) are so nervous.
Our nation and social media showcase liberal principles to such a degree that this election result was unthinkable to many. When you combine the result with the rhetoric over the past several months, it is not hard to fathom why many are living in fear.
There are reports coming to Lead Them Home from around the country:
- Two transgender teens committed suicide soon after media called the election.
- Trevor Hotline has experienced a skyrocketing volume of LGBT+ crisis calls.
- A gay couple woke up to find a note reading: “Get out of our neighborhood, faggots!”
- Gay couples are fearing having their marriage licenses revoked.
- Gay families are fearing losing their adoption or foster care guardian rights.
- LGBT+ folks have witnessed an onslaught of vitriolic Facebook status updates from family.
If we only call our congregation to unity, we fail. If we only ask winners to be humble, we fail. If we only encourage those whose candidate(s) lost to have hope, we fail. If we only say that the Kingdom of God is not our nation’s political world, we fail. If we only call for love, we fail. If we are only humble and kind, we fail. Why, you ask?
On the most strategic Sunday in decades, how can we win hearts?
Years ago, our faith community, seeking to honor God’s holiness, targeted a culture war against LGBT+ people — to deny their basic civil rights. We fought to limit their access to employment, healthcare or a dying partner’s bedside. Blind spots and majority power covered our eyes from seeing the hypocrisy, judgment and cruelty.
Sadly, we fought against our own children, family and friends.
If any of us today were church leaders at that time, we could have made similar mistakes. Every generation seeks to honor God, but every generation will also make mistakes. This is NOT about blaming past church leaders. By God’s grace, churches today are learning to love. Yet we will make mistakes too. We need not blame.
Instead, we must understand why LGBT+ people fear conservative religious and political power. It has historically and repeatedly rejected, mocked, minimized, overlooked, excluded, disowned, condemned, bullied, prosecuted, castrated, incarcerated and at times murdered LGBT+ people. These atrocities still happen in our world today.
We are only months away from the Pulse terror attack in Orlando, which claimed the lives of 49 people and injured 53 others. Many LGBT+ teens have taken their lives after being ruthlessly bullied over their sexual orientation or gender identity. Many are considering taking their lives right now as they fear that ruthless religious power will attack them – yet again.
This Sunday, may our pulpits call Christians to love our LGBT+ family and friends. Yet something much deeper is needed.
We must promise to not allow the emergence of conservative political power to tempt us back into culture war.
We need to say in the name of our churches that we will protect LGBT+ family and friends because they are part of us.
We must say to LGBT+ people:
We will NOT be part of culture war against you. We will protect you. We love you, because you are our family and friends. You need not be afraid of us. We will protect you, include you, care for you and comfort you. We are hear to listen when you are hurting. We surround you with prayer and invite you into deeper community in the church during this time of uncertainty and fear. We are here for you.
Our biblical beliefs need not change in order to radically love and promise to protect LGBT+ family and friends.
In fact, our beliefs should not change. It is right for all of us — especially church leaders — to be concerned about God’s holiness.
However, holiness is fulfilled only when we turn our eyes from judging others to really see our own need for personal repentance.
We cannot achieve righteousness by judging or mocking others. We only experience it when we fall wholly into the arms of a Savior.
In a time of exuberance for some and fear for others, may we use this post-election Sunday to let our pulpits ring out unconditional love, a promise not to re-engage culture war, and a promise to protect LGBT+ loved ones and friends when political forces rise against them.
Most importantly, may our pulpits take on full abidance in Christ to offer an anointed message extended from His hands, feet and voice: “Come to Me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
To the glory of God our Father, amen.