According to many fundamentalists and dogmatists, the world is going to hell in a handbasket. No evidence is more compelling to some of these people than the proliferation in America of gays, lesbians and transgender persons.
Pastor Steven L. Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona has a lot to say about the subject... and so do I. My comments are in blue.
"My sermon today is about 'Gender Identity'. We are living in a day and age when the line between gender is being blurred, where the line between a man and a woman is being slowly erased. In this strange, wicked society that we are living in now in America, where you have the gays and lesbians and the 'transgender', unbelievable things are going on. And so therefore I say, as a preacher of God's word, that this message needs to be preached more than ever before."
Pastor Steve (may I call you that?), you have barely started and you are already completely wrong. This doesn't bode well for your credibility. America is far less wicked today than ever before. Less "Christian", yes, but also less wicked. We don't enslave people any more. We don't overtly discriminate against Native Americans. The "witch" hunting craze of you Puritans is a memory of long ago. Women, racial minorities, children, workers all have far more liberty and equality than ever. Yes, it's true that backward people like you fought hard against all of these advances, including the abolition of slavery and emancipation of women, but you lost, badly, and you will lose the current struggle for equal rights for gays, lesbians and transgender people. What you don't understand is that the line between the genders has been blurry for as long as there have been genders. We stand ready to educate you on a subject you really know absolutely nothing about.
"Today perversion abounds. Children are being brainwashed, starting at five years old when they enter school, that homosexuality, sodomy, perversion is an alternative lifestyle. They are taught that men and women are the same. No they're not the same. They are different. They are not identical. They have separate identities. And we're not saying that men are better than women, or women are better than men. Though by the way, men have authority; women do not. Now that's just the way the Bible preaches it. And so that's what God is saying. He wants there to be a difference. He wants there to be short hair and long hair. And in-between, in the gray area, nobody needs to occupy that unisex gray area in the middle. Now, does that make sense?"
Frankly Steve, no it doesn't make sense. Not a bit. Your "thinking" is just a mashup of confusion without any basis in reality. No one in the gay, lesbian and transgender communities is saying that men and women are the same or "identical". That's a complete fabrication, Steve. Better refresh your memory about bearing false witness. We do maintain that everyone is equal, regardless of gender indentity or sexual orientation, and that no gender should have authority over another. In this belief we are in perfect accord with American values and the teachings of Jesus. But Steve, you are in severe discord with both core American and Christian beliefs. Now in this matter between short and long hair, you have climbed way out on a rotten limb. But let's allow you to crawl even further out there:
"And however you men want to get your hair cut, that's up to you; however you want to grow it is up to you, but it oughta be short. Now you say, 'wait a minute. Didn't Jesus have long hair?' Just because you saw a painting of Jesus with flowing, long hair and he looks kind of like a girl. The man who painted Jesus painted him to look like a queer because he was a queer himself. People make Jesus look like they want him to look. In an Hispanic church, he looks Hispanic. Then in a Catholic church he's a white Jesus with blonde hair and blue eyes."
Wow, Steve. What a load of hooey! Do you really have followers ignorant enough to believe this? The "Hispanic" church has an "Hispanic" Jesus, and the Catholic Church has a white Jesus? Uh, Steve, the "Hispanic" church is the Catholic Church. And, really, you believe that all of the images of Jesus... all of them, throughout history, depicting not only Jesus, but Moses and Abraham, Joseph, even Adam with long hair, are all totally wrong, because they were drawn by "queers?" Actually, if it were so, that would be cool. But who can buy it, I mean, outside of your clueless congregation? Pray tell, Steve, where do you get this information that Jesus wore a crew cut? There is simply no tradition and zero evidence for such an wacky idea. But wait, perhaps you have hit upon a a novel new theory: Jesus was Pontius Pilate! After all, it was the Romans of that time period who had short hair; the Hebrews traditionally had long hair.
"The Jesus of the Bible was manly. He wasn't a soft, feminine man. He was a manly man, and that's why the Bible teaches a man should be manly, have a manly hair style; women should be feminine and have a feminine hair style; there ought to be a difference between men and women."
Earth to Steve. It's clear you truly don't understand the essence of Jesus. Like the Jews expecting a messiah that would kick ass, you long for qualities in Jesus that are emphatically not represented in the Gospels. Jesus was human, not manly. Jesus was supposedly God, who has no gender, or is all possible genders. You want a raging lion; Jesus was the lamb of peace. You want a warrior, but Jesus was meek, quiet, loving, caring, gentle, nurturing, forgiving, non-judgemental, all characteristics you, yourself, describe as feminine! If you want mighty warriors, there are plenty in the Bible. But not Jesus. He taught love. Sadly, you don't get the message. You stand for division, judgement, bigotry, ignorance and hate.
"God says that men should not wear women's clothing, and that women should not wear men's clothing. Deuteronomy. It's simple. It's clear. It's not talking about colors. Where in the Bible does it mention colors? It's never mentioned is it? Now, do I think men should wear pink shirts? I think you're being a little bit girly there brother. Pink shirt or lavender, you know what I mean? Stick with some stronger colors, right?"
Steve, you are just making it up as you go along, aren't you? You admit there is no mention of restricted colors in the Bible, but you are ready to enforce restrictions based upon... well, nothing. And do you really want to call out Deuteronomy 22? You really want to go there? OK. Let's go. We're not afraid of it. We simply reject it as hopelessly antiquated. Clueless congregation, Steve's cherry-picking here. He's gone into Deuteronomy 22 and plucked out one verse, and has conveniently ignored the entire rest of the chapter. Did you know he pulled that trick on you? He's kind of like a sideshow magician, pulling cards out of his sleeve, hoping to dupe you. Deuteronomy is the place in the Bible where it says that wearing the clothing of the opposite gender is an abomination. But... Deuteronomy also says that your house must have a parapet. Does Steve's house have a parapet? I'm guessing not. Oops... abomination! You also have to wear tassels on the corner of your clothing. Steve, where are your tassels? Not there? Steve, you are an abomination! A double-abomination! Uh-oh, we've opened the can of Deuteronomy worms, haven't we? What about mixed fibers in your clothing? Blasphemous according to Deuteronomy! Someone check Steve's wardrobe... any cotton/polyster blend underwear in there? Steeeeeeeeeeve! A triple-abomination!!! Oh, and Deuteronomy is just getting warmed up. This chapter also mandates some colorful rules pertaining to women, for instance, requiring that brides be virgins, or, well, they should be stoned to death... in front of their father. If a man rapes a virgin he must marry her and they may never divorce. Oh, and adulterers must die. All together Deuteronomy 22 is one of the very best reasons humanity needed the loving, non-judgmental and forgiving message of Jesus. So Steve, repent of your multi-abominations, and cease judging anyone else.
"Is there any question whether Pastor Steven is Steven or Stephanie right now? I'm not going to wear pants or shirts that look girly. I want to be as masculine as possible. And I think that girls should try to be as feminine as possible. And yet today how many times have you sat and stared at the airport: is that a man or a woman? You say, well 'it' has short hair. 'It's' wearing a pair of pants. You don't know. But in God's world, you know. God does not want confusion. There's supposed to be a big, big, big difference between a man and a woman. The man is characterized by strength, by boldness, power. The woman is supposed to be a meek and quiet spirit, gentle, loving, caring. There are just different attributes to a man and a woman."
Steve, thou doth protest too much it seems. You're judging, demonizing people you don't even know. That's not Christian in the least. You're really struggling, aren't you? You're so angry. Are you hiding something? Are you hiding.... Stephanie? It's OK, Steve-Stephanie. We're here for you. This is God's world. It's the way He makes it. He is not confused, and doesn't give a damn what kind of clothes we wear. He sees our hearts. God created sexual orientation and gender identity diversity. It's everywhere in nature. It's prevalent at every level of life, from single-celled organisms to worms to fish to amphibians to reptiles to mammals to humans, as you have duly noted. Why do you fight so hard against what is natural? That's a game you will never win. Natural science has humbled the mighty Catholic Church; little podunk preachers like you are but grist in its inexorable arc toward progress.
So, as a Christian, you are very confused. You know, Steve, in Biblical times those persons that we would today call "transgender" were called "eunuchs." Look it up, Steve. The Bible has no problem with eunuchs. Jesus talks specifically about eunuchs and welcomes them into the kingdom of heaven. The apostle Philip baptizes a eunuch. So you are completely wrong in your orientation toward people of non-normative gender presentation. Far worse, you have veered away from the primary Christian precepts of love for one another, forgiveness and non-judgmental demeanor. Steve, Philip's eunuch friend was far more Christian then you are.
But Steve, you are also un-American. You don't really believe in freedom, do you Steve? You don't really believe in equality! You don't really believe in justice! In your diatribe you've insulted all of those long-haired, knicker and ruffle-wearing patriots of the American Revolution, you know guys like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and John Paul Jones, not to mention great later heroes like Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. You've also labeled every single one of the brave warriors of the Indian nations a sissy! You don't know a thing about history do you, Steve? How can you be a preacher and forget that the strongest man in the Bible, Samson, had long hair and lost his power when it was shorn? It seems that you are ignorant that the bravest military unit of history, Leonidas and his Spartans at Thermopylae had long hair (and obeyed their women). How about the greatest general in history, Alexander, with his tousled locks? Long hair adorned the uber-manly Germanic tribes, the Vikings and the Celts, whose blood probably flows in your veins, you little ingrate. Steve, you'd cower in the presence of Genghis Khan's ponytail, and there's no way you have the chutzpah to tell St. Joan to stop wearing pants! And pray tell us Steve, do you presume to possess such wisdom to know God's truth better than Leonardo da Vinci, Copernicus, Newton, Bach, long-haired men of truly sublime genius?
No, Steve, you're just a very, very confused puppy. You truly don't know what the hell you are talking about. You're just talking. Pumping yourself up. Trying to get a rise out of people. A virtuous man or woman, or anyone in that "gray area" in between, would shun such pride and prejudice. We've already established that you don't understand love, peace or forgiveness. What it all boils down to here, Steve, is that you believe in one thing only: conformity. To you, conformity is God. You want your congregration, and the world, to conform to your black-and-white concept of gender and morality. You want to dictate how everyone should look and behave and think. That's mind-control. That's tyranny. That's slavery. And that, Steve, appears to be your religion. We can only hope that your clueless congregation will some day wake up and oppose you... rebuke you... because you are truly lost, and truly harmful and hateful.
Men of Steve's clueless congregation, is Pastor Steven Anderson the best among you? Are you going to sit there impotent while this ignorant hater sneers at the primary precept of Jesus, to love your neighbor, and rants at you and your women and children? Really? Sad. Sad. Women of Steve's clueless congregation, don't let your pastor call you an abomination for just being comfortable in your jeans. Don't let Steve regiment, brainwash and crush the spirit of individuality of your sweet and gentle children. Are you real Americans? Then declare your independence from idiots like Steve; in America you are free to do whatever you damn well please, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. Proclaim your Gender Liberty! Wear your pants into church this Sunday and teach Steve some humility. Pastor Steve is a pitiful man. He'd probably be a much better person if he would get in touch with his inner Stephanie.
More crazy Pastor Steve here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZQLcDC_1GA&feature=related