I was wrong about LGBTQ grooming.
I grew up hearing a constant refrain about LGB folks (it was before “TQIA+” was added). That refrain was “GROOMING!”
I was taught to believe that gays wanted to create more gays, that their master plan and agenda was to convert children especially into gays. I continue to hear that idea that trans folks are trying to convert others, that they’re trying to get their agenda into schools so more kids will be trans.
I just don’t buy it any more.
With all the abuse that LGBTQ folks suffer from conservatives in general, the utter abuse and outright hatred that they receive from Christians in particular, the mental anguish of living in a body that doesn’t conform to its mind, the difficulty getting quality medical care, having to hide every aspect of their true selves from family and friends and employers, and the small pool of potential partners who will accept them, tell me who in all honest and thoughtful consideration would actually believe that they’d be trying to bring others into such a painful world?
More to the point, because I used to believe the “grooming” idea was true, I did my best to avoid being “polluted” by socializing with anyone other than cis/hetero people. So I really had zero actual opportunity to hear from someone different than me, about what they really wanted and cared about.
And quite importantly, I had zero opportunity to actually share the love of God with someone who I hated.
Well, that’s changed. I’ve had the opportunity to actually discuss these things a few times now with non-cis/hetero people, and I’ve begun to actually listen, instead of imposing my ideas on other people without any evidence to stand on.
I hear it differently as a result. What I hear now, having rejected that “grooming” refrain, is an appeal just to not be persecuted, not be ignored or hidden – just to be treated like humans for the first time in their lifetimes.
If they are in any way trying to recruit others, it’s merely to get to some safety in numbers. They don’t want to convert anyone – they just want allies who will defend them.
Regardless of my personal sense of morality about LGBTQ lifestyles, my Bible spends a stunningly large fraction of its wording on how to treat people who are marginalized by society. I can already hear the responses about protecting America’s culture and Christian morals, but I personally believe we’re doing far more harm to Christian morals by treating people like subhumans. It fully violates any attempt we might otherwise make to represent the character and nature of the Heavenly Father and His Son to the world that is looking on.
Jesus didn’t respond to sinners by calling for their execution or removal from society. He went into their houses. He interrupted their stoning. He touched unclean people to heal them. He healed on holy days. He violated pretty much every conservative religious legalism of His time, constantly interacting with the poor and unclean and unrighteous and hated and feared.
Yes, He called sinners to repent. But He didn’t do it after telling them they were only fit to be stoned. He did it after showing them compassion and love.
So, look, if we want to talk about grooming, let’s talk about the Christians who are grooming their children into lifestyles of hatred. Let’s talk about grooming children into the idea that the America that they grew up with must be at all costs preserved against people who aren’t the same as them. Let’s talk about grooming children to see black people as inferior – or to treat them that way even if they believe they’re equal. Let’s talk about grooming children into the idea that one political party is equivalent to godliness, and the other is literally satanic.
That’s the kind of discussion of grooming that might actually make a difference in our culture.
But what I see happening instead is that the world is finally beginning to see clearly what most Christians are actually doing. And it disgusts them. Quite rightly, the world wants nothing at all to do with a religion that treats any humans like defective animals that are good for nothing but slaughter. The church’s salt has lost its savor, and is truly fit for nothing but to be thrown out. (Matthew 5:13)
And I want nothing to do with that kind of Christianity, either.
So that’s my thoughts for Pride Month. I’m not proud of any particular sexuality or gender issue. I’m not defending any particular lifestyle. But I’m deeply proud of my Savior who loved the unlovely, the outcast, and yes, the oppressed. I’m not afraid of that word, and no, it isn’t Marxist. It’s Biblical.