Trans girl uses girls’ bathroom. Sky falls.

  OMG! Does the Bible really say THAT?

OMG! Does the Bible really say THAT?

[Conversation in a coffee shop]

  • Christine: So, did I tell you we have new neighbors?
  • Me: Do you like them?
  • Christine: Oh, they’re wonderful! A sweet young couple. He sells insurance, and she teaches third grade. And, of course, they’ve started coming to our church.
  • Me: Well, that’s the acid test, isn’t it? So, young, you say? How young are they?
  • Christine: I’d say mid-twenties, I guess.
  • Me: So they haven’t been married very long. I imagine your church will support them—
  • Christine [quietly]: Oh, they aren’t married yet. Next month. [Brightening] They’ve invited us to their wedding!

[What I don’t say to Christine, because she wouldn't listen]

Are you aware the there are over 25 passages in the New Testament denouncing illicit sexual intercourse? Do you remember that Jesus called sexual sin evil?[1] Or that Paul says sexual immorality can be avoided by marrying?[2] Have you conveniently forgotten that St. Paul wrote several times about avoiding sexual immorality, about fleeing it, and about putting it to death?[3] You shouldn’t be going to these kids’ wedding. You should be stoning them to death. [Okay, stoning to death is more of an Old Testament thing, but without the Old Testament, where the Messiah is predicted, there would be no Christ.]

Christine has something in common with the person who attacked a twelve-year-old trans girl on Facebook: “…the Bible says God created man, and woman, not any transgender bs.” They both belong to the group of CINOs (Christians In Name Only) who cherry-pick scripture that supports what they already feel and/or believe. Too many CINOs try to use the Bible as a weapon.

The FB post I quoted came on the heels of an incident in which a middle school trans girl in Achille, OK had the nerve to use the girls’ bathroom when she couldn’t find the staff bathroom she had been told to use. That post was not the only one, and many other ugly and even violent things were posted. I want to focus on the one that’s not only ignorant, but also irrational. Biblically irrational, that is.

CINOs don't know their own Bible.

The posting refers to God creating man and woman. Genesis agrees; in two of the creation stories it says God created male and female. Genesis 5:2* goes further: “He created them male and female, and blessed them, and called their name Adam.” 

Hmmm… so, who was Eve? 

But wait. We all know Eve was the woman, right? So why doesn’t the Bible say so?

But wait, again. It does. Just not in all three creation stories.

Genesis Chapter 5 is the third—count them: THREE—the third of three very different stories, beginning in Chapter 1 and continuing into the beginning of Chapter 5, about how Earth and Man were created. Here are just a few of the differences:

  • In Story #1, no one has a name. There is no garden, no tree of life, no tree of knowledge, no serpent, no disobedience, no punishment, no banishment. There is lots and lots of diversity, and every time God makes more of it he calls it “good.” He tells man to multiply.
  • In Story #2, God creates and names Adam, then creates woman (Adam names her Eve, not God). There is a garden, a tree of life, a tree of knowledge, and a serpent. There is disobedience, punishment, banishment, toil, and pain. There is no sex until banishment, and even without any commandment to multiply we have Cain and Abel. 
  • In Story #3, we’re back to calling both male and female “Adam.” No Eve is named. There is no garden, or tree, or serpent, or commandment to avoid anything. There is no disobedience, or punishment, or banishment. No one is threatened with toil or pain or suffering. There must be sex, for there are lots and lots and lots of offspring, but there is no commandment to multiply. And there is no one named Cain or Abel. This is the only story of the three that says anything about man being made in God’s likeness.
Bible - dark - pages ruffling.jpg

What are we to make of this? I can tell you what CINOs do—or, what they don’t do, what they must not be doing. They must not be reading their own Bible. If they did, they would see that in the very start of the most important text ever written, God has given them three wildly conflicting stories, one right after the other, about The Beginning. And they should wonder what that means.

Here’s what I say it means. In the beginning, God said: “Guys, don’t take this stuff literally.”

Literal? Or just convenient?

In his book Myths to Live By: The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell, Campbell makes the point that when a believer takes scripture (e.g., the Bible) literally, then (paraphrasing) even one crack of doubt, one hint of error will throw the entire work into the dustbin. This is a problem for absolutists and fundamentalists. 

The problem for your average CINO is different. They just need to figure out which verses actively conflict with their personal belief system, and what’s left is all true—even if something in that remainder conflicts with my personal belief system, or with that of a transgender girl. And when one of the CINO's verses aligns powerfully with one of their phobias, and someone goes against it, all hell breaks loose and—well, the sky falls.

It falls in the form of Facebook postings from people willing to castigate and torture, emotionally and physically, a young girl. Here are just a few the postings:

  • “Why are parents letting their kids be transgender? Parents and Churches need to shut this down, the Bible says God created man, and woman . . . not any transgender bs. Hell with new laws and new rules, this is what our future is if WE don’t stop it.”
  • “If he wants to be a female make him a female. A good sharp knife will do the job really quick.”
  • “Just tell the kids to kick a– in the bathroom and it won’t want to come back!!”
Child falling down rock.jpg

This time the sky fell on a 12-year-old girl. It fell on a girl who has already been through her own corner of hell on her journey to figure out who she was and then to understand why people wanted her to be other than who she was. Now she has to figure out why people hate her for who she is. She has to face people who would mutilate her, who call her “he,” who call her “it,” who refer to who she is as “bs.” She’s twelve years old.

In a time when Donald Trump (I will not use the title “president” in reference to him) and his cronies are encouraging divisiveness and hatred and fear of the “other,” the administration is removing existing federal guidelines protecting transgender students, including around bathroom use. And as for trans students battling for basic bathroom rights? The Education Department, which used to investigate incidents, is now ignoring them

CINOs fail their own religion—and their own savior.

Not all the blame for this sub-human behavior can be laid at the feet of CINOs. But lots of it can. Because CINOs are failing their own religion on two counts.

1. Jesus, the very prophet the CINOs claim to follow, would have offered comfort rather than castigation to this girl. He would have assured her that God loves her, that he loves her, that the most important things she can do are to know herself and love God with all of it (yes, even the trans part), and then she should love herself and love everyone else as much (Matthew 22:36-40).

2. Jesus would have stood up for her against those who would hurt her in any way. If he loved an accused adulteress enough to make a crowd stop throwing rocks at her (John 8:3-7), would he protect this girl any less? What would he have said to sub-humans who terrorize a helpless child?

The CINOs are doing neither of these things that their prophet has commanded them to do. Hence: Christians In Name Only. Wait until they see how much sky is going to fall on them.

Sky falls on CINOs.jpg

  1. Mark 7:21-23
  2. 1 Corinthians 7:1-5
  3. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20; Colossians 3:5

* All Bible references come from the World English Bible (WEB).

Every life is a story. What's yours?

Each of us lives within a story: our families and other loved ones; our experiences; our successes and failures; our hopes and dreams. And all of that affects, and is affected by, who we are at our core.

Joe Biden wants to hear your stories. Do you want to share them with him?

SCOTUS to Gays: No cake, but you can eat some more s**t.

In the June 4, 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling (Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission), baker Jack Phillips has been exonerated for refusing to offer his professional services to all citizens equally. He now has permission to discriminate against gays. What else is new?

School kids ask: Am I the next to die?

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness... inalienable… This founding document for the rights of U.S. citizens tells us that the right to life is something that cannot be taken away.

And yet, in mass shooting after mass shooting, from Columbine to Sandy Hook to Orlando to Parkland and in far too many places in between, people claiming their right to bear arms are rendering the right to life moot.

The Smoking Gun

It took the U.S. a long time to force the tobacco industry to admit that their products were killing people and even longer to convince people that they would die from using tobacco. Some people still aren't convinced.

Guns in the wrong hands are more dangerous than cancer, so is it now the gun industry that has some 'splainin' to do? Well, it would do no good to put danger labels on guns. So we need to neutralize the virtual weapons the industry is using. And the primary weapon, wielded through the industry's proxy (the National Rifle Association), is money.

Denying Gay Couples Art

Cathy Miller of Tastries bakery in Bakersfield, CA can refuse to sell to anyone who displeases her, according to the California Superior Court, because it's "art," and that makes it free speech. According to this Feb. 7 Washington Post article, Judge David R. Lampe opined that “Miller is a practicing Christian and considers herself a woman of deep faith.”

Miller evidently claims to have faith in her God. But if that faith doesn't outweigh this commercial transaction in her own heart, it is paltry indeed. And she shouldn't look to the courts to strengthen it; she should look to her God.

Are you out of your mind? It's all about love!

There is a delightful podcast called WROTE, hosted by two great guys who write—and support writers of—LGBTQ literature. And they interviewed me!

The episode, "Are you out of your mind? It's all about love," was great fun to record. I just hope I don't sound as cray-cray to everyone else as I sound to myself. In my defense, Vance Bastian and S.A. Collins are very good at getting people to reveal their inner truths.

A.C.L.U. vs. the Spirit of the Law

The ACLU needs to get better at understanding law—not just the letter. It needs to understand the spirit.

As ex-ACLU board member Waldo Jaquith puts it: What’s legal and what’s right are sometimes different. 

Facebook Says: No Christian Cross Emoji

On June 9, in honor of Pride Month and not long after the death of the man who created the original LGBTQ Rainbow Flag (Gilbert Baker), Facebook introduced a rainbow flag emoji, available alongside the usual icons that appear for responses to posts and messages. I used it many times, myself. Before the month was out, a Facebook user began a movement to add another emoji to the list: a Christian cross.

Throwing Shade on the Women's Marches?

Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, likes to teach dog owners that preventing their dogs from focusing on trouble (a letter carrier, another dog, a trash truck) is to give her a sudden, physical distraction as soon as that focus seems likely. This might be a gentle push on her backside, or it might be a sharp tug-and-release on her leash.

After reading the January 24 New York Times article by Jenna Wortham, I think what I got was a less-than-gentle push on my backside. For sure, the tone of this article distracted me from the enthusiasm I have felt since leaving the Boston Women’s March.

This is war.

For over a decade, I've written novels about gay teens. I'm a cisgender, straight advocate, and I write these stories because I hate injustice, I hate fear-driven paranoia, and I'm distressed at the vulnerability of LGBTQ teens.

When I began writing, I was certain that I would not see marriage equality in my lifetime. I knew very little of the hell that trans individuals go through. I knew nothing at all about what intersex means.

And since I began writing, I have celebrated win after win after win for LGBTQ people.

Then came Trump.

Electoral College Needs an Appendectomy

Every day since the November 8, 2016 election, we’ve seen the number of citizens who cast their presidential vote for Hillary Clinton rather than Donald Trump increase. That lead is now roughly TWO AND A HALF MILLION VOTES.

Dear Governor McCrory...

I know you're suffering. And I have some information that I hope will help you and your family out of your current troubles.

As an advocate for personal truth, and in particular an advocate for the rights of LGBTQ citizens, I have read with interest a number of articles about you. In them, you describe the difficulties you and your wife have had to face as a result of North Carolina's HB2, the law you signed that requires people to use public facilities according to the gender on their birth certificates and limits the civil rights of LGBTQ people in general.

Black and White

It’s the end of a week full of horrible events.

The shooting death of African American Alton Sterling by police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana… The shooting death of African American Philando Castile by police officers in Falcon Heights, Minnesota… The shooting deaths of five white police officers by a single African American in Dallas, Texas, apparently as retribution for the week’s two previous events and for so many other shootings of African American men by police….

Orlando: Phoenix Rising

From the ashes of destruction, so the legend goes, rises the Phoenix, renewed and reborn. The horrible, burning agony—physical and emotional—of the tragedy in Orlando will give rise to a glorious spirit. We can see it appearing already.

Since the Stonewall riots of 1969, the spirit within LGBTQ people has been glowing brighter and stronger every year. The last few years have been the most remarkable yet, because the spirit has been spreading to people who are becoming advocates.