Advocating for LGBT Persons
As many of you might have heard, recently President Trump has repealed Obama’s federal non-discrimination act which protected transgender and gender non-conforming students in schools across the country from bullying and other practices. Schools across the nation are now relying on their states for non-discrimination policies. Much of the government discussion over the discrimination policies of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender or gender non-conforming persons stems from what several senators claim are religious perspectives.
Christian denominations might not all agree on the extent of inclusion of transgender persons, or of lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons. However, when looking at the scripture the commandment Jesus gives seems loud and clear: love above all else.
As is stated in Matthew: 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
The New Testament continues to expound on the two greatest commandments of love over and over again:
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law — Romans 13:8-10
Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you — Colossians 3:11-13
Church Women United have followed these commandments of love in our past social policies and actions. In a statement of inclusion, Church Women United has made the case of following the missions of God’s love above all else.
In 1989, Church Women United made a statement “Against Discrimination toward Lesbian and Gay Persons”. It reads:
“We are now faced with another area of concern to which we need to apply CWU’s commitment against all forms of discrimination – the discrimination suffered by lesbians and gay persons in church and society at large based on fear, misconceptions, and the biblical interpretation of some religious groups.
As Christian women we believe that lesbian and gay people share with us the worth that comes from being unique human beings. Lesbian and gay persons are members of our churches: we, therefore, believe that through baptism they are, indeed, our sisters and brothers in Christ. Furthermore, we understand that as Christians we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves without exception (Matt. 22:37-39).
Therefore, CWU calls upon its constituents
To recognize that in order to overcome fear, misconceptions, and prejudice against lesbian and gay persons in church and society we need to be committed to not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation;
To denounce prejudice and violence against lesbian and gays persons;
To address needs and advocate concerns of lesbian and gay persons;
To welcome lesbian and gay persons in the same spirit as we accept and welcome all persons;
To actively promote awareness, education, and dialogue on the issue of discrimination against lesbian and gay persons.
Furthermore, CWU affirm its policy of non-discrimination in the case of lesbian and gay people and calls for the application of such a policy not only in employment practices but also in regards to the participation and service of volunteers in Church Women United.”
This policy is quite a radical one for 1989. Yet it is important to note that since 1989, CWU has not made any other social policies on LGBT inclusion. In the past 27 years, CWU has remained silent on LGBT issues, including any regard to transgender or gender non-conforming discrimination, rates of LGBTQ suicide, marriage equality, or LGBTQ housing discrimination.We would encourage future discussion of CWU members to consider expanding or extending future social policies to include transgender persons and other LGBT issues. These issues are a part of our current lives, and they effect church women within and outside of our CWU communities, who are Christian and serving in the love of God.
Jesus made it pretty clear: Every child of God deserves the same kind of Christian welcome. May we see a future, where whatever gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, or other quality a person may be, they are seen as a child of God and another neighbor we should love as we love ourselves.