It is hard to be a Christian these days. I’m going to let you marinate on that, and I’m going to say that again: it is hard to be a Christian these days.
I’d like to tell you a story that gives you a bit of color behind what I’m trying to say. My name is Erika. I live in Charlotte, North Carolina. On Feb. 22, there was a hearing at the Government Center where the City Council passed an historic non-discrimination ordinance which expanded to include the LGBT population. In Charlotte, it is now illegal to deny service in a restaurant to a member of the LGBT community. Also, in a taxicab, and a hotel. A transgender person can now use the restroom of their gender identity without the threat of violence.
Now, one would think, why would such a law need to be passed? But there is research to show that this discrimination was occurring, and without such a law in place, it was not required for this discrimination to be recorded when reported because it was not considered technically against the law. Last year, this ordinance was proposed and it was voted down. And the meeting was aggressively hostile. This year, each speaker was limited to one minute. There were 140 speakers signed up to speak. I was not one of them. And I’ll tell you honestly why.
I was afraid.
There is so much hatred and evil spewed out of the mouths of so many people these days. It is so sad. What makes it abhorrent to me is that when it is spewed in the name of God. People who speak any words of hatred in God’s name, here is a disclaimer: you got a bad copy of the Bible. Take it back to the store and get a refund. When you get your new copy, look up John, Chapter 4, verse 16. If it roughly translates to “God Is Love” you are good. Go home and start reading. I recommend you start from the “God is Love” part. Take it to heart people.
I’m not here to quote a lot of Bible verses at people or try to convert them, I’m here to talk about why I am afraid. And why I am sad. I was afraid to speak my truth, and afraid to tell my story. You see, I am a married woman with a child. And, I am a member of the LGBT community. And we are judged, and condemned and violence is acted upon us. All in the name of my beloved God. And, honestly, I was afraid that I would go home injured to my son. And that I would not be able to explain that to him. So I stayed quiet, and I didn’t tell my story. But it is time.
When I was younger, I was in a relationship, and I was forced from my home by my landlord, and my rent money was not returned to me. I was homeless, and I was forced to live in my car, because I am bisexual. Because I am an abomination. Because someone was scared of me. But people see me and my husband and my kid and don’t consider me a threat, or on the other side, someone who would have an interesting story to consider. So I sit quietly and blend in the shadows. And I feel very disappointed in myself for not telling these amazing people that they are being lied to.
These wonderful people, that feed the hungry, that care for the sick, the homeless, those less fortunate than them. Those that are beaten, spit on, called abominations and sinners. Those whom I have read when they have written, “Why does God Hate Me?” and, “Christians hate us,” and even worse, “We would never be welcome in church.”
And I sit here, so disgusted with myself, because I did not, as a Christian, say, “Don’t believe these liars! They bear false witness! You are good people! God does not make mistakes! God is Love! God Loves You! And you are welcome in his house!”
Please forgive me, for not speaking up. For not defending you. Because it is really hard to be a Christian these days.