As a journalist, when it comes to debates like the controversy surrounding Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner), I try to stay out of it. However, when someone asks me to write an op-ed piece about these issues, as a Christian, I can’t say no. So let’s talk about it.
This is a topic I have mixed feelings about. For some perspective, I happen to have a friend I was close to in college who is now trans but still has my full respect as a human being.
Jenner’s rise to (even more) fame
The somewhat risqué Vanity Fair cover which sparked the debate features the prominent headline: “Call Me Caitlyn” and a photo of former Olympian Bruce Jenner, now known as Caitlyn Jenner, following facial feminization surgery.
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Jenner quickly rose in popularity on Twitter, surpassing 2 million followers and setting a new record of reaching 1 million followers in only four hours.
Another Jenner world record, and at 65? Who’da thought! Humbled & honored to have reached 1M followers in 4 hrs. Thank you for your support.
— Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) June 1, 2015
So what do we make of this?
Two extremes in the trans debate
Unfortunately many churches err on one of two extremes. Some turn their backs on the trans and homosexual community entirely, cutting off contact with them and in some cases even expressing all-out hatred toward members of the community (I refer to Westboro Baptist Church, which by the way, does not represent true Christian beliefs through its actions). Others do not speak the truth at all but simply go for what is popular rather than what the Bible, which they claim to believe in, says on these issues.
But Christians are called to “speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).” Does this mean that we should be at either of these two extremes? I would argue not.
All of us mess up
In the Biblical view of the trans debate (and of some other religions as well), it is a sin. But we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).” Or to put it in non-religious terms, we all have messed up and will continue to mess up from time to time (whether or not you believe opting to go trans is wrong). God sees no sin or mistake as being worse than another, so for churches to shun the trans / homosexual community is just wrong. Speaking hatred against members of the community is also wrong and contrary to Biblical teaching.
But does this mean that Christians shouldn’t repeat what the Bible says if they truly believe everything it says? No, because we are called to share the Gospel, but there are ways to speak of beliefs without being hateful and combative.
All of us make mistakes
When Jesus walked the earth, he spent time with what people of the day called “sinners.” Any person on the planet would fall into this category. He did not speak hatred to them or shun them. Christians are told to follow His example.
(And for those who think Jesus was just a good man or good teacher, consider how this can’t be possible. He healed the sick and spoke love, so He certainly seems “good” by the world’s standards. But if someone claims to be the Son of God and God incarnate (the “God-man”) but isn’t, they’re either a total lunatic or a horrific liar. How can either of these other two choices mean He is “good”?)
For those who believe there is no way to disagree with the trans community in love, consider this. It’s easy to call Christians “bigots” just because they believe differently than you. However, it’s nearly impossible to call someone a bigot without yourself being a bigot.
Those who accuse people who politely disagree with them of discrimination (although I would argue rightfully so in the case of those who speak hatred against others) themselves are guilty of discrimination against religious beliefs.
This is an op-ed piece and does not necessarily reflect the overall views of ValueWalk.