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Stop Using My Religion To Discriminate Against Me

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Twenty20 / @oliviarbarker

As you may have heard, the White House is aiming to announce their new “Religious Liberty” executive order on Thursday. While at this point the contents of said executive order are still speculative, a leaked draft from last February indicate that this administration seeks to give unprecedented power of discrimination to anyone who goes to a church and pretends to know Jesus.

I find it very odd that “religious liberty” has essentially become code for “anti-gay.”

When was it decided that a core tenant of my faith involved discrimination against me?

See, I am a gay Christian. I believe in God, but I am also attracted to the same-sex. I get through tough days with prayer, but also by texting my boyfriend. I try to crack open my Bible every few days, but sometimes I’d rather just pass out next to my man.

And never, not once, have I found these two parts of me to be in conflict. Actually, I’ve found them in perfectly harmony. I once prayed for God to let me be happy, and he gave me the courage to come out of the closet and love for myself for who I am.

So it perplexes me how giant swaths of people have been convinced that “religious liberty” requires government-endorsed discrimination of gay people. It perplexes me how people have been convinced that this is even permitted under Christian theology.

Jesus made it impeccably clear in His ministry that the Kingdom of God had absolutely nothing to do with government. His followers wanted nothing more than for Jesus to summon an army and anoint Himself the new political king. After feeding the five thousand, Jesus literally peaced the fuck out to avoid being the leader of a political rebellion (John 6).

Jesus is later forced to make his position even more clear, when asked if his followers should pay taxes to the Emperor of Rome: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:15-22)

The brutal truth is, there is absolutely no way that Jesus would tolerate government-sanctioned discrimination against anyone.

Even if being gay were a sin, which I think is a very hard case to make if you’ve actually read the Bible, Jesus would overturn all the tables in any temple that tried to use his name for hate.

This isn’t anything new. Jesus wasn’t really killed by the Romans, he was killed by his fellow religious leaders. The same pharisees and charlatans who couldn’t stand Jesus’ message of love and compassion are the ones today trying to convince us that we should focus more on hating people for their sexual orientation than loving people for being children of God.

I am for religious liberty. I pray in public with my family. I read my Bible with a cup of coffee at cafes. I discuss my religion openly and freely with people who agree and disagree with me. I am for that. If those things were under threat, I would fight like hell. None of those things, absolutely none, are under siege because I want to hold my boyfriend’s hand afterwards — or god forbid — maybe someday buy a wedding cake.

So stop using my religion to discriminate against me. Stop telling me that “religious liberty” means you should never have to interact with any gay person, ever. It’s literally the opposite of the Gospel, it’s not theologically supported, it makes you look more like those who hated Jesus than those who followed him. TC mark

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