“God is nonbinary”: UMD panel explores intersection of faith and sexual identity

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The transgender debate is becoming all-encompassing. Issues such as education, law, government, entertainment all fall in the crosshairs of the transgender debate, and our culture moves with such speed that working out how to respond seems overwhelming, if not impossible.

So here are five essential things for Christians to keep in mind as we think about and speak about transgenderism.

Disagreeing with transgenderism does not mean denying the pain of gender dysphoria.

There’s an enormous difference between the political aspects of the culture war surrounding transgenderism and the reality that there are precious persons who have genuine struggles with gender dysphoria — a condition where a person senses that their gender identity (how they feel about being male or female) may not align with their biological sex and experiences emotional distress as a result.

While we resist the attempt being made at a cultural and legal level to view gender as a matter of choice, we must also recognize that caught up in all this are deeply hurting people. Those who experience gender dysphoria are not necessarily trying to win a culture war. They need to know that (even while we may not agree with them) Christians love them, are there for them, are ready to listen to them and seek to understand the pain they are facing, and deeply desire what is best for them. Compassion and dignity for dysphoric individuals is not in tension with disagreeing with transgenderism as a social movement.

The point of the parable cannot be overstated. The Samaritan had every reason to think the Jewish man hated him, yet he showed love, and Jesus explicitly said that we are to “go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37). Mere charity is not the point; it is charity even to those with whom we disagree. Jesus’ message in the parable of the Good Samaritan is that, when someone is hurting, our responsibility as followers of Christ is to pour out love, compassion, healing, relief, and resources to aid him. When members of the LGBTQ community are hurting, our responsibility is to give help and comfort. Agreement or disagreement in religion, morals, or opinions is quite irrelevant in the time of need.

Whether or not sin is involved is likewise immaterial. Jesus rescued an adulterous woman from the persecution of a mob without condoning her sin (John 8:10–11). To show compassion is not the same as endorsing a person’s lifestyle. Compassion does not require agreement or approval. Our response to persecution against the LGBTQ community should involve prayer, a rebuke of the persecutors, and charitable action. We are to love and overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

When the LGBTQ community is the victim of persecution, violence, or other harms, Christians have a clear mandate from our Lord. Just as the Good Samaritan bound the wounds of a social and religious antagonist, we are to love our neighbors, whoever they are. For the Christian, there is only one proper response when those in the LGBTQ community are suffering persecution. We should come along beside them, show them mercy, and demonstrate the love of Christ.

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The five panelists from the “Queerly Blessed” panel discussion on the intersection of faith and sexual identity on April 16, 2019. From left, Shige Sakurai, director of leadership initiatives, and
associate director of this university’s LGBT Equity Center; Wesley Isberner, program and administrative assistant at this university’s Lutheran Campus Ministry: Avi Alpert, the president of Hamsa, a gay-straight alliance club at this university; Darren Freeman-Coppadge, a staff psychologist and counselor at this university; and Clarissa Corey-Bey community organizing student intern at MICA. (Riin Aljas/For The Diamondback)

By Riin Aljas
For The Diamondback

The first time Avi Alpert wondered what his wedding day would look like, he was in Washington, D.C. He saw a married queer Jewish couple, a sight that was inconsistent with the beliefs and traditions of his Orthodox Judaism.

“I saw them and thought, ‘Wow, this could someday be me,’” said Alpert, the president of Hamsa, a gay-straight alliance club at this university.

Alpert was one of five panelists at “Queerly Blessed,” an event organized for Pride Month by this university’s Office of Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy. He shared his story of trying to fit his queerness into his religion.

“Wearing a kippah in a D.C. gay bar is just weird,” the junior computer science major said to the 30 or so attendees in Stamp Student Union.

[Read more: New UMD club aims to promote LGBT inclusivity, offer safe space to queer students]

Other panelists shared similar experiences.

Queerness and religion are not oxymorons, said Shige Sakurai, associate director of this university’s LGBT Equity Center. They’re important coexisting identities for people in the LGBTQ community.

“Someone told me that, ‘I consulted the “Good Book,” and God created man and woman, and I don’t know about this nonbinary thing,’” Sakurai said. “God is nonbinary! I think we’ve read a different ‘Good Book.’”

Collin Vernay, graduate coordinator for MICA’s LGBTQ student involvement and advocacy, said the conversation around sexuality and religion has changed a great deal since he was young, with the rejection of pseudoscientific practices such as conversion therapy.

“The conversation has since evolved,” Vernay said. “And people now recognize the problematic history — but also the benefit — of practicing religion and finding faith in and through queer identities.”

[Read more: A UMD student group for lesbians is struggling to gain official recognition]

Vernay said the event grew out of increased awareness of religious identity among the LGBTQ community and feedback from students at this university.

The importance of finding community among people who struggle with similar questions on the topic is something all five panelists emphasized when sharing their experiences. But when asked to give advice to others in the LGBTQ community still struggling with their identities, the otherwise chatty panel fell silent for almost a minute.

Darren Freeman-Coppadge, a staff psychologist at this university, who sees clients struggling with identity conflicts daily. He said it takes time to overcome these struggles.

“It’s an almost impossible question to answer,” he said. “The question is very individual and different to everybody, but the most important thing is not to be alone while trying to figure things out.”

Clarissa Corey-Bey, who was raised religious — and still is — described their experience with conversion therapy.

“It was only five years ago … I was still in conversion therapy and believed being queer is something I can change,” said Corey-Bey, a senior English major. “Although I have some strange feelings, I can fix them, and we’ll be cool.”

Liana Gonzalez, a senior African-American studies major, said she has been thinking about organizing a similar event for black queer students, as the need for discussion about queer and religious identity is important both for herself and the students she talks to.

Gonzalez said she still sees a lot of churches that don’t accept LGBTQ people in their community, but that’s starting to change.

“There is one particular church in D.C. where the pastor made very clear that everyone is welcome,” she said. “At the same time, although churches grow more progressive each year, there continues to be places where people go to church for 20 years introducing their partner as a friend, but they still go, because church is an essential part of their identity.”

One day, that will hopefully change, Corey-Bey said.

“Externally, my hope is to show up at my church, in my suit with my partner [on] my arm,” they said. “Internally, I just hope to sing the songs I’ve grown up with and take comfort in what I grew up with and be happy about it.”

“Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:35–36).

King Lucifer, the master of deceit and destruction, is called in the Bible the god of this age. His false powers have deceived a multitude. Much of the world is subject to him because he offers them the right to serve themselves and to do what they please. Lust, sex, pleasure, money, and every vice known to man and woman is his carrot that he holds in front of man. One thing Satan does not announce is when you serve yourself, you are actually serving him. He is the creator of the idea of selfishness. This idea was born when Satan stood up to the eternal God and said, “I will” do what I want to do. He wanted to be like God and he led angels and men to follow in that same idea.

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StevieRay Hansen
Editor, HNewsWire.com

MY MISSION IS NOT TO CONVINCE YOU, ONLY TO INFORM…

It is impossible to find anyone in the Bible who was a power for God who did not have enemies and was not hated.

“It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error. It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals, than falsehood that comforts and then kills. Let me tell you something, friend, it is not love and it is not friendship if we fail to declare the whole counsel of God. It is better to be hated for telling the truth, than to be loved for telling a lie. It is impossible to find anyone in the Bible who was a power for God who did not have enemies and was not hated. It’s better to stand alone with the truth, then to be wrong with a multitude. It is better to ultimately succeed with the truth than to temporarily succeed with a lie. There is only one Gospel and Paul said, ‘If any man preaches any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”

Preach the gospel with BOLDNESS AND STRENGTH! It’s better to follow God and be judged by the world, than to follow the world and be judged by God!
Jack H. Kirkland

Jesus come quick, there is nothing left in society that’s sacred….

#faith #fear #GOD #lambs #church #bible #morals #pagans #falsechurch #satan #Biblicaltruth

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6 Comments

  1. Alexandet on April 18, 2019 at 8:11 am

    Queerly blessed!? God doesn’t bless sinnersl He blesses THOSE who turn from theit sins to Chris. t the LGBT makes it all about their sexuality and their flesh when God would have clearly teaches that we are not to be people of the flesh but people of the spirit we’ve been born again through repentance from sin and turning to Jesus Christ. do you not understand what these people are doing they have an agenda from the Devil himself transgenderism is of the devil the father of lies who seeks to lead people to embrace opposite to God which is why they’re so hostile to people rejecting and not accepting their lie their desire to live a lie to stand for Jesus Christ in these last days is going to get harder in America like it’s never been because the church has been sold catering to the world and its desires rather than serving the living God with all your heart mind and soul.

    Transgenderism is satanism. the spirit that is saying they feel pain in the body God gave to them that’s not of God spirit this is why Jesus Christ said one must be born again and stop catering to the father of lies and listen to Fther God who said Jesus Christ.

    • StevieRay Hansen on April 18, 2019 at 8:47 am

      What planet are you from? Clearly hnewswire promotes God’s solemn word, having said that Sir- what journalists do is point out what is going on in the world. That article was to point out what trans-people homosexual crowd is promoting. You want to argue, the facts are at the bottom of the article I denounced homosexuality, I denounced’s all sins . You’re starting to irritate me Alex, you’re so wound up in your hatred you cannot see the truth and how a real article is structured, take a breath, read your Bible, do something useful besides argue with someone that has always promoted the infallible word of God, you bark you make a lot of noise use that energy to help change the world instead of blow Harding about an article that it’s apparent you don’t understand…. The conversations done. SRH

    • StevieRay Hansen on April 18, 2019 at 8:50 am

      By the way show your face, you’re such a big fighter, you must be afraid of the other side. Your soft Christian, you’re a keyboard warrior, always got something to say but nobody wants to listen, you know why- because you’re so shortsighted you can’t distinguish between fiction and truth…

  2. Alexandet on April 18, 2019 at 8:06 am

    Queerly blessed!? God doesn’t bless sinners man consider someone who turns from the Santa Jesus Christ the LGBT makes it all about their sexuality and their flesh when God would have clearly teaches that we are not to be people of the flesh but people of the spirit we’ve been born again through repentance from sin and turning to Jesus Christ. do you not understand what these people are doing they have an agenda from the Devil himself transgenderism is of the devil the father of lies who seeks to lead people to embrace opposite to God which is why they’re so hostile to people rejecting and not accepting their lie their desire to live a lie to stand for Jesus Christ in these last days is going to get harder in America like it’s never been because the church has been sold catering to the world and its desires rather than serving the living God with all your heart mind and soul.

    Transgenderism is satanism. the spirit that is saying they feel pain in the body God gave to them that’s not of God spirit this is why Jesus Christ said one must be born again and stop catering to the father of lies and listen to Fther God who said Jesus Christ.

  3. Paul van Velzer on April 18, 2019 at 6:59 am

    You missed the point of Jesus and the adulterous woman. Yes he showed love and compassion, but the last word is “go and sin no more”. Instead you are giving approval by hosting “queerly blessed”. May God forgive you.

    • StevieRay Hansen on April 18, 2019 at 7:21 am

      Read the entire article, at the bottom it reads:
      King Lucifer, the master of deceit and destruction, is called in the Bible the god of this age. His false powers have deceived a multitude. Much of the world is subject to him because he offers them the right to serve themselves and to do what they please. Lust, sex, pleasure, money, and every vice known to man and woman is his carrot that he holds in front of man. One thing Satan does not announce is when you serve yourself, you are actually serving him. He is the creator of the idea of selfishness. This idea was born when Satan stood up to the eternal God and said, “I will” do what I want to do. He wanted to be like God and he led angels and men to follow in that same idea.

      Please have your facts together before you jump to conclusions SRH………

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