Recent events in our nation have led me to question what more I can be doing as a human and as a parent growing humans. I’m working to balance processing it all myself and helping my kids process it at age appropriate levels along the way. For me, it’s been less of a rollercoaster of emotions and more like the spiny thing at carnivals that makes you nauseous for about 8 times longer than the actual ride was. That’s been fun.
The division in our nation has caused each perceived wave of progress to feel as if it’s been pulled back by a permanently low tide. Two steps forward and one step back? More like two steps forward and then you fall on your ass. It can only get better, right?
So here I am, working for a company that promotes inclusivity, rolling through some seriously volatile emotions following the Roe v Wade politicking and the white supremacist terrorist attack in Buffalo* when we finally get some uplifting news. We are going to have a booth at the upcoming Pride Festival on June 18th! 🌈🎉 It will be a welcomed break from the consistent mental and emotional mulling of recent events.
What Would Jesus Actually Do?
Then bam. Hit with another🧱, and this one is closer to home. My sister sends me a news article addressing the JP Davis Tweet that exposed an exercise used to shame LGBTQ+ students at Christian Academy of Louisville (CAL). If you’re not familiar with the events above, start clicking some links, and come back to me or read this quick rundown:
[CAL teacher assigns middle school students to write a letter to a peer that is “struggling with homosexuality” to persuade them that “God’s design for them is good,” that “homosexuality will not bring them satisfaction,” and that “you love them even though you don’t approve of their lifestyle.”]
Now we have CAL parents taking to social media calling for other “Christians” to “back up” this teacher in this shaming exercise. But I’ve got questions. 🤔
Your bracelets used to ask it. (I don’t see them much anymore so maybe you aren’t concerned with the answer now?)
I’m going out on a limb to say Jesus would NOT promote shaming a child for being the way they - as “God’s child” - were designed. Teaching children to humiliate and manipulate their peers at a young age leads to bullying and turmoil for these young individuals at a time in their lives when they need the very most support, understanding, and acceptance. I’m not sure this is what Jesus had in mind in John 13:34.
Do We Value Mental Health for Our Children?
Oh, but you say the students were instructed to use love and compassion when degrading and demeaning their hypothetical “friend”? This is what we call Trauma Bonding, and it is a primary component of Toxic Theology and can lead to Religious Trauma Syndrome. Spoiler Alert: This is NOT Mentally Healthy for ANYONE.
This “assignment” is nothing more than a calculated attempt to utilize Conversion Therapy tactics in a Middle School. Make no mistake, assignments like this WILL contribute to suicide for some young people struggling with understanding their natural sexuality or gender identity.** That is NOT what the Jesus I grew up with would do.
One of the CAL moms even proudly proclaimed that she “won’t apologize for being Christian.” You need not carry that cross, sister; there is no need to apologize for being Christian. There is, however, a need to apologize for using Jesus as a shield and sword to advance a religious agenda based in fear, a lack of awareness/understanding, and exclusion when this was the antithesis of what Jesus taught through his actions. That apology is long overdue at this point.
Walk the Walk. Don't Just Talk the Talk.
Here is the deal. If you want more people to follow in the footsteps of Christ, walk in them yourself. Be approachable. Be loving. Be kind. Be accepting. Love your child the way they are. And if you don’t get it, don’t fight who they are, fight to understand who they are. Wear your Ally badge as proudly as you wear that cross because nothing says “Jesus” more than “Ally.”
So, to all the CAL parents who are afraid and unwilling to work at understanding their children in Christ, I’m praying for you. I’m also praying for all of the young people affected by inappropriate and detrimental teachings/assignments like this -- because they really need it right now. 🙏🏽
*This is a whole separate topic that I will write more about soon when I’ve been able to process it with my kids.
**The Trevor Project survey found that LGBTQ youth who experienced anti-LGBTQ victimization, including physical threats or harm, discrimination, or conversion therapy, reported more than twice the rate of attempting suicide in the past year.
WEAR THE MESSAGE. FUND THE CHANGE.
To find out more about how you can advocate for the rights of ALL humans, head here.