Love Your Neighbor

My daughter came out of the closet yesterday, via text. She is an eleven-year-old pansexual. My immediate reaction was no real reaction at all, and then I realized that this was a big deal for her, so I asked questions and expressed my love and support. I’ve never had any determination that my kid would be straight or anything in particular – I figured she’d figure it out and let me know. “Pansexual” is like what we used to call “bisexual”, but without the binary implication of “bisexual” which starts with “bi”. Pansexuals are bisexuals who acknowledge the existence of trans people – which I always assumed was the case, but now there’s a word for it. There have always been people who were attracted to their own gender, as far back as we can claim to know such a thing, and there have been people going to some trouble to prevent that for about the same period – in the culture that is dominant in USA, at least. From that, I infer that same-sex attraction is a normal thing for homo sapiens sapiens, and that some people are bothered by that fact. Homophobia, to my mind, falls into the same category of stupid bigotry as racism and misogyny – it’s just stupid bigotry.

It’s also mentioned in the Bible, in a pretty clearly disapproving way. It’s in Leviticus, you can google it if you care. Leviticus is one of the books of the Law, which were given to the House of Israel by Moses, at a specific moment in history, in a specific location. The prohibition against same-sex activity is one of 613 mitzvot, the rules God gave to the Israelites. They were not given to Gentiles, of which I am one. My line descends from the Germanic tribes in Europe – it’s possible that there is not one single Jew in my lineage. The Torah, Law, does not therefore apply to me, nor my offspring. Add to that the basic premise of Christianity which is that we are justified before God by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, not by the Law of Moses, and it becomes pretty clear that I do not feel bound by the mitzvot.

Some might point out that Paul, in Romans, repeats the prohibition against same-sex activity. It’s true, he does. It’s also true that Paul goes on and on about how the Law does not apply to Christians. That’s Paul’s main theme. The only time Paul appears to adhere to the Law is in regard to same-sex stuff, which makes me think that Paul had a bit of a personal prejudice about it which caused him to contradict himself – or that somebody else wrote that part in later, which is pretty much known about some other stuff that appears in Paul’s letters. Beyond that, if you find a Christian who touts Leviticus as a justification for their homophobia, you will have also found a Christian who eats bacon, cuts the hair on the sides of their head and so on, in joyful disregard of every single one of the mitzvot except for that one which they are determined to hold onto because it seems to support their prejudice.

I say “pooh” to that noise. Nothing in the Bible is there to support my prejudices. I’ll go a step further – everything in the Bible is there to challenge me to examine my prejudices and other sins, to push me to do all that is in me to be willing to let go of any notions that prevent me from hearing God’s voice telling me to love my neighbor as myself.

I have not mentioned my own transbian nature. That identity does not necessarily cause sin. I could, without upsetting the most prudish applecart, engage in a romantic/sexual relationship with someone I am attracted to. Also, my daughter does not know that part of me yet. It never seemed appropriate before. She also doesn’t know that I’m a recovering alcoholic or that I have a mental illness. I just didn’t think there was any reason to tell her those things. Now that she’s eleven and beginning to think about more grown-up stuff, we’ll have those conversations.

This post is not supposed to be about same-sex stuff or transbianism. It’s about loving one’s neighbor. Because that’s what Christianity is about.

There’s a global pandemic going on. People are dying and losing their jobs and running out of money for food. All of those things are happening all the time, but the pandemic has increased the hardships and caused them to affect people who were pretty comfortable before, so now people are noticing. Loving one’s neighbor is more wonted now than ever before in my lifetime. If the bulk of humanity starts actually doing that, we will be living in a world better than we ever dreamed possible. Wouldn’t that be cool?

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