-As promised, this is a rough transcript of my podcast episode. I will be following along this as my script, minor changes may occur as I speak and stumble over words. If you would prefer to listen, please subscribe on Spotify, or iTunes! –
My name is Sharon, and thank you so much for joining me today with episode 5 of UNASHAMED (to be Asian). As I mentioned in the previous episode, I have been struggling a bit with my health, and that’s hindered me from posting the past few weeks. Though my voice is still not fully recovered, it is doing a lot better, and I think it’s important for me to address this topic for Pride Month. I have so many friends who are part of the LGBTQiA+ community, and when I first became a Christian, many of these friends were fearful to approach me. I know that sometimes media exaggerates by focusing largely on extra-offensive individuals, but there is so much history regarding the persecution of the LGBTQiA+ community by the Church! Much like the Black Lives Matter movement, this has been a consistent struggle, and while Pride Month is just one month out of the year, their struggles and cry for equality is one that is ongoing. As a Christian, I believe it’s important for me to reach out to the LGBTQiA+ community, especially during this time. I know this Pride Month has been kind of a wonky one, with the pandemic and social injustices that have been going on, it’s been kind of pushed to the side.
My purpose for this post is not to make exegesis on whether or not being part of the LGBTQiA+ community is allowed in the Bible, because ultimately, that takes away from the Gospel message that in His love, Christ died for our sins, and commissioned Christians to follow Him. In His ministry, He has continually rebuked actions of hatred, prejudice, persecution, and superstition. To the Pharisees who held dearly to the Law and judged others with their humanly understanding of God, Jesus criticized their hearts and intentions for seeking to satisfy their own needs of feeling justified, rather than glorifying God. On the other hand, He stood up for a woman guilty of adultery, asking those who had convicted her and were to execute via stoning if they themselves were sinless.
To the members of LGBTQiA+, I’m sorry that the Church has ever made you feel unwanted, fearful, and inhuman. There’s no excuse for our prejudice and persecution of you; as followers of Christ, we should know more than anyone that love can conquer all. It should never be our right as a Christian to judge you for whom you are or whom you love, it is our calling to extend to you our love from Christ. It is our duty to share with you about a “God who so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Christianity is an individual relationship with God, a collective relationship with one another, as well as a collective relationship with God. It’s so multifaceted and complex, and yet so simple: we are called to love God, and love one another through God, and encourage each other with love to seek God… in short, we are called to love you.
Fellow Christians, in His years of ministry, Christ does not rebuke a non-believer; He calls out the Pharisees and Sadducee who believed they were loyal to God, and His own disciples. How can we hold someone who does not believe to the same standards as a believer? How does screaming obscenities and striking against the rights of LGBTQiA+ members share what the Gospel message is about? Speaking from an American standpoint, though we were founded with the motto that “in God we trust”, we must also submit to the fact that we do not live in a theocratic nation. In fact, Paul reminds us of this fact: “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God will judge those outside.” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13)
To be honest, I get so frustrated when I hear members of the church say we are being persecuted for the criticism we receive in our lack of love for the LGBTQiA+ community. We cannot claim ourselves to be persecuted because the persecution of those with varying beliefs and lifestyles than us is not allowed. The right of a church to decline officiating a marriage between LGBTQiA+ individuals without being sued is protected on defense of contradiction to religious belief, so how are we being persecuted? On the other hand, the Church has continuously persecuted the LGBTQiA+ community; we are the reason why there has to be a Pride month! Fun fact: Webster’s dictionary uses words that were modifications of Biblical characters and terms for universally understood negative connotations towards anything LGBT related. This persecution is still evident today – it wasn’t so long ago that same sex marriage was finally legalized. Many Christians are against this, because marriage is seen as religious and should be between man, woman, and God. However, it’s not logical: if Christians don’t protest the marriage between unbelievers who don’t believe God is part of their union, then why do we protest the legality of marriage in the context of LGBTQiA+? Domestic partnerships don’t have the same legal benefits of a married couple. By protesting against their right to be married, we are protesting against their rights for equal opportunities. That’s persecution. Also, it wasn’t until 2015 that common law marriages were also applicable to same-sex couples. This isn’t just about the fear of persecution and the consecration of what marriage is – this is an active movement to oppress whom we see as “other”. We are called to be set apart, not set others aside. We are the “others”, who should love even when we are not loved back. We aren’t called to give hate.
I want to end this episode with just another sincere apology as a Christian to my LGBTQiA+ friends. I don’t know if there’s anything I can personally say or do that can ease the hurt that the Church has done in the community. I know that many of you may be pushed away from the Church and fearful of even having conversations regarding faith. I want to share with you the love that I have received through Christ in beginning this relationship with Him, but I don’t know where to begin when the Christ you may have heard of only hates you for who you are. I pray that these lies can eventually fade away, and be replaced by the truth that Christ loves you so much, that He died on the cross for you, that you only need to believe to enter Heaven’s gates. This is your invitation – that though there are struggles here on earth, we can look towards our time in Heaven, where we will all be made new, where there will be no sin, no persecution, no shame, no guilt. Our identity would no longer be rooted in the things of this world, but in the perfect image of God.
I know that this post hasn’t spoken much on Asians and Asian-X communities, but I will be posting up a reflection on the blog at unashamed.space/blog tomorrow, so please check it out! Also, if you haven’t heard, we now have an Instagram @unashamed.space, please give it a follow so you will always be updated. And as usual, thank you so much for joining me for this episode! Donations are never required, but always much appreciated and helpful as I transition to self employment. Donations can be made through PayPal at PayPal.me/sharonsewan . Have a great week, everyone!