Wednesday, October 28, 2015

#HERO: Changing the Narrative

(Another post directed primarily at the Houston religious community.)

There are several reason this HERO campaign, or rather, the anti-HERO campaign, gets me worked up, but one that particularly rankles is the fact that the anti-HERO campaigners paint themselves as the righteous, that this is some sort of holy campaign to keep the scary and dangerous trans people out of restrooms. They use the name of Christ to spread their fear and misinformation.

The media is getting a smidgen better at this, but the media are also not interested in the nuanced story. Simple lines in the sand are easier to sell to advertisers and so when the loudest opponents of HERO paint themselves as Christian, it's less time consuming and easier to just tell the story as "Christians vs the gays."

This is why people of faith, Christian and otherwise, need to speak up if they are in favor of HERO and they need to put their support in terms of their faith. We need to change this narrative.

It's changing, it really is. There are now mainline denominations with gay and lesbian bishops. There is now, at least within most major cities, a menu of worship styles and theological perspectives for LGBT people to choose from if they choose to be churchgoers. (What's going on in rural situations is much more iffy, but not without signs of hope here and there, too.)

Has it changed enough to secure HERO's passing next Tuesday? I live in hope, but I also recognize the possibility of living in wishful thinking. But that will all resolve itself in less than a week.

As important as it is to express our support for HERO in religious terms, we have to keep expressing this support after election day. Let's be clear---whatever happens with HERO on Tuesday, that will not be the end of the story. If HERO passes, there will still be angry anti-LGBT folk out there, spewing their anger with a publicly Christian face. If HERO fails, well, it's not as if we're going to just go away. We'll continue the fight for equal protection under the civil law. And we will have to redouble our efforts to do so with a a faith based face---in my case, a Christian face.

Facts and figures don't matter if you think you're doing something for God or because of a faith in God. We who want protections for our Muslim neighbors as much as for ourselves have to learn to use the love, the justice, the welcoming languages of the Bible, as that's the language that will turn certain hearts and minds.

And it will give to the non-Christian a clearer understanding that at the end of the day, this public argument isn't between Christians and the LGBT community and their supporters. It's between people who do believe in equality for all and those who do not believe in equality for all.

When we are able to change the narrative in this way, we have a chance of influencing fair minded people who perhaps want to do the Christian thing, but aren't sure they want to align themselves with the people who appear so angry and mean.

And because I do actually believe in the invitation to Christ, that there is something of value, of hope, of salvation in the Christian faith, it may actually give those burned by the angry and mean faces of Christianity a way into a Beloved Community (as some would call church communities).

Houstonians, vote Yes on One. Tell others you are doing so. If you have a reason for it that actively counters the religious reasons with your own religious reasons, please do so. You could be the key to someone's salvation.

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