This morning, a friend and I were discussing yesterday's conversation about transgender youth. We talked about the fact that most of the commentary around this issue, at least in our area, centered around this question: "Why should I (or my child) have to accommodate someone else if it makes me uncomfortable?"
It seems like that is the same question we ask generation after generation... Catholics and Protestants, Immigrants, Blacks, Women, Gays, Muslims, Transgender, Mentally Ill, Drug-Addicted, Poor... our country repeats itself over and over. "Why should I have to accommodate YOU when I have been taught that you are less than?" It also seems like the people who hold this sentiment the most seem to do so in the name of God.
WHY? Jesus loved the outcast, the minority, the one percent. He loved them most especially so in the face of the self-righteous. He regularly broke religious laws of the time to make a point that legalistic religion was no match for God's love. He didn't waste time trying to figure out "why" they were outcasts or if this was some sort of punishment from above. He loved them where they were. He had no problem correcting Old Testament teachings that were out of line with a new way of thinking. Over and over he said some version of "It has been said that... BUT I SAY THIS...". He was an outcast and crucified as such by people who were so certain that they were acting righteously.
That's the reason that Catholicism, for me, has been a good fit. It is CERTAINLY not without its share of controversy. But what it IS, is dirty, messy, boots on the ground Christianity to the disenfranchised. I love the stories of nuns and priests choosing to boldly go where none would follow to minister to people living in unimaginable poverty and degradation. That is a far cry from the evangelical teachings of my youth that we should guard our hearts above all else and keep away from a world bent on our destruction. Jesus taught by example that we were here to do precisely that... love the outcasts, serve the poor.
One woman from yesterday's conversation said she felt like surely she must be living in... California?? Snort. Another declared righteously that this was JUST like the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. I'd said she was dead right...
Ezekiel 16:49-50 (ESV)
Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.