I’m just a bill…

I think my feet must have magnets in them.  I can’t tell you how many times my family have stepped on the back of my feet…usually when I’m in flip-flops.  My husband and both of my kids are guilty.  It is extremely jarring when you are walking along and someone steps on your shoe and you keep going, but your foot doesn’t.  And when it comes to my toes…my dog Lucy is famous for stepping on them.  She may be little, but owie does it hurt!  Well today I’m going to do a different kind of toe stepping.

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image_b1cc3b4bI love this little guy.  I really do.  He brings up such fun memories from my childhood.  Good ole’ School House Rock (SHR).  Saturday morning cartoon time (yes that was the only time cartoons were on back in the day) was not complete without the songs from SHR.  I passed many a test while singing those informative songs in my head.

I’m just a bill.
Yes, I’m only a bill.
And I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill.
Well, it’s a long, long journey
To the capital city.
It’s a long, long wait
While I’m sitting in committee…

Well if you have been paying attention to the news lately, you know that there was a bill that was passed in North Carolina that didn’t have a long, long journey.  It was passed in 12 hours.  The media have been referring to it as the “religious freedom” bill and often call it the “anti-LGBT” bill.  Yes it does have some things in there that discriminate against the LGBT community…especially transgender individuals and bathrooms, but did you know it also has these items:

Section 143-422.3 eliminates wrongful termination on the basis of an employee’s skin color. Section 143-422.2 eliminates the existing law remedy that now protects – but will no longer – a Christian who has been terminated on the basis of religion. It also eliminates any state law claim for discrimination in the workplace on the basis of national origin or ethnicity.

I think people hear “religious freedom” and they jump on the bandwagon not even knowing what’s in the bill.  Especially since it is really talked about as an anti-LGBT bill.

Mississippi also recently passed a bill with a lot of the same language.  This new law states that it protects “sincerely held beliefs or moral convictions.”  This bill, however, has something in it that people may not realize it has until they go out to dinner.

Mississippi is one of the states that has a high rate of obesity so they added something to this bill to try to take care of the problem.  I guess you could say it’s the anti-gluttony bill.  Restaurants have the right to deny people service who are overweight. There are some restaurants that have gone as far as hiring extra hostesses (bouncers) that stop people from even entering the restaurant.  And if you happen to be on the cusp of what someone thinks is overweight, you are allowed in the restaurant, but you can order only from a special menu that they feel will help you with your weight loss.  Some restaurants have even gone as far as putting “no fat people allowed” in their windows.  And if you are overweight because of medical condition, be prepared to have medical records to prove it to be allowed into the restaurant.

Pastors who have supported this bill have been asked how they can be behind such a blatantly discriminatory bill.  They have answered with statements like, “Well we aren’t asking people to put a knife to their throat.  The Bible clearly states in Proverbs 23:2 that is what should be done when given to gluttony.”  And, “Gluttony is making your stomach a god as stated in Philippians 3:19  and that can be considered idolatry.  Your body is a holy temple and should be treated as such.” So far 40% of the restaurants in Mississippi have embraced this new bill and the governor is hoping for 100% by the end of the year.  When a Christian restaurant owner was asked why he supported the bill, he commented that he wanted to follow the truth of scripture and serving food to these people would be helping them give in to their evil desires.  “Clearly you can’t know what is in the Bible and be overweight AND Christian.”

So, who wants to take a trip to Mississippi with me?  How’s your blood pressure doing?  Are you thinking, “What the heck is wrong with people??”

Luckily this part of the Mississippi bill is not true.  I made it up.  It does discriminate against the LGBT community, but not overweight people.  Look at it as a parable if you will.  You might be thinking that this is comparing apples to oranges.  I respectfully disagree.  This is discrimination.  Period.  It doesn’t feel good and it’s ugly.

My son can be denied a job, housing, services, etc. because he is gay.
There are signs in stores across the country in store window fronts that say, “no gays allowed.”
I know of a boy whose pediatrician refused to continue seeing him when he told him he was gay.
I also know of someone who was beaten to the point of seizures in a bar and the police refused to file a police report.  The person was told to leave or they would be arrested.
I know of a transgender woman whose ID was checked by a police officer when coming out of a rest room in North Carolina.
And many times people have said to me that it’s impossible to be gay AND Christian.

I’ve heard people say, “Why can’t gay people just get over it already?”  If you lived in the conditions stated above, would you be able to just “get over it?”  People’s rights are being stripped away and it is wrong.  I just wonder how you would respond if you faced the same discrimination.  And by the way, these bills discriminate against just about everyone so the scenario in Mississippi isn’t too far fetched.

I felt really mean writing this post.  I don’t want anyone to think that I am judging them.  I think maybe God placed it on my heart in this way because He is just tired of His babies jumping off of overpasses into oncoming traffic, stepping in front of tractor trailers, shooting themselves in the head, overdosing on drugs…because society doesn’t understand what they are doing to them.  And quite frankly I’m sick of it too.

Was Jesus all about religious freedom?  Were his disciples?

I know one thing…Jesus was all about love…because love matters.

 

 

You are not a mistake…

I am the oldest granddaughter on my mom’s side of the family.  This was a bonus for my aunts and uncles as they had a built-in babysitter right in the family.  AND we all lived in the same neighborhood so they didn’t even have to come and get me…I could walk to their houses.  One aunt in particular really had it made because there were times I would spend the night and get up with my cousins the next morning and fix them breakfast.  It wasn’t until I became a parent that I realized that they had struck gold with me (smile).

One of the funny things about kids is how they think about time and growing up.  My sister would always tell me what she would do when she was the older sister and I was the younger one.  When my younger cousins would misbehave and I would take a toy away from them or reprimand them in some way, they would remind me that one day when they were big and I was little that they would do the same to me.  Their little minds didn’t understand that the roles would not be reversed.  They just thought that since I was bigger and they were little…one day they would be the bigger one…that’s only fair…right?

Kids definitely process information differently than we do.  So if your child comes to you and says, “Mommy, when will I be a girl?” and they are a boy…what do you do?  Yesterday was Transgender Day of Visibility and there was a lot of buzz on social media about it.  Some good and some not so good.  Now I am not an expert on this topic, but I do know some transgender people now, and I know several moms of transgender children.  It is not an easy road to put it mildly.  How do you know if it’s a phase that your child is going through…or just one of those crazy ideas that kids get like when they think that one day you will be the child and they will be the parent?

The simple answer to that question is that they don’t give up.  They keep insisting that they are supposed to be the opposite sex of what their bodies represent.  It’s more than a phase.  Children from families of faith report to their parents that they ask God every night to make them the opposite sex.  They are so disappointed when they wake up the next day and nothing has changed.  I’ve even come across stories of children that wanted to cut off parts of their bodies that cause them distress.  It can be dangerous.  So since there was such a flurry of social media activity yesterday, I thought I would share some common questions/comments that I hear:

*Shouldn’t parents just leave well enough alone?  Maybe their child will grow out of it. – I haven’t met one transgender person or parent who went into this lightly.  You are talking about the symbolic death of one child and the rebirth of another. It’s not easy.  There is A LOT of counseling that takes place, medical doctor visits, etc. before any kind of transition takes place.

*Shouldn’t you wait until the child is an adult to decide anything? – Again, lots of medical advice goes into any decisions that are made.  Sometimes these changes are a matter of life and death as the child doesn’t want to live in the wrong body any longer.  41% of trans people have attempted suicide.

*What’s the big deal about the bathroom situation any way?  Can’t they just use the one they were born to use? – If you are a female, how would you like to share the restroom with these guys?

Or if you are a male, what would you think if these ladies walked into the men’s room?

These are all transgender individuals.  The men were born women and the women were born men.  It would be humiliating to them if they had to use the restroom that the law in many states says that they have to use.  They don’t look like the sex that is listed on their birth certificates.  And I think the people in the restrooms might be a little uncomfortable as well.  It can also be very dangerous for the transgender women.  I believe this is one of the dangers of the bills that are being passed that discriminate against LGBT individuals.  When people begin to think it’s ok that they don’t have rights, they tend to think of them as less than human beings and violence becomes common.

*Aren’t they just doing this for attention? – I have a hard time not responding, “Are you kidding me?” to this question.   I can’t even begin to describe how much they go through and how much their families go through.  No one would do this lightly. No one would make it up.  And for many it’s very dangerous.  Do you know that the life expectancy for African-American transgender women is 35 years old.  35!  Why?  Because they are murdered at an alarming rate…so no…no one is doing this for attention.

And the most common question/comment:

*Aren’t these people saying that God made a mistake when He made them by trying to change themselves? – I have an auto immune disease…did God make a mistake when He made me?  Some people are born with an extra chromosome…did God make a mistake when He made them?  Nick Vujicic was born without arms and legs…did God make a mistake when He made him?  Can we just agree that sometimes people are born with things that we don’t understand?  I don’t see any of these people as a mistake and neither does God.

I’m glad people are asking questions.  I don’t have all the answers…I’m just trying to shed a little bit of light on a difficult topic.  I went to a conference this week on how to help people through trauma.  They talked about how to help the person who experienced the trauma, and how to help yourself after helping the person (self-care).  A common thread through the day was love.  Loving others and loving yourself…and how damaging it can be if people don’t receive love.  So, don’t fear what you don’t understand.  Educate yourself so that you can be loving to ALL people.

Because love matters…

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