America. Land of the free—free to be who we know ourselves to be, even if some disagree with us.
Home of the brave—brave people who stand up to abuse of the powerless because that’s the right thing to do.
Well, not really.
There have always been brave people, but this has never really been the land of the free, not for queer people and not for a lot of other people.
Many lands already aren’t free—their people are rounded up and tortured for being who they are, even if they don’t speak of who they are, even if they don’t act on who they are.
Many leaders aren’t brave—they barbarically torture, abuse and murder people for who they are and lie about it.
When we see these things happen in other lands—to people not free, by leaders not brave—what will we do about it?
With the recent wave of deadly, dangerous anti-transgender legislation being proposed and passed in many states – legislation that strips basic human rights from transgender people in our communities; with proposals to ban books that convey even a hint of an LGBTQ+ message, real or imagined; with pure hateful rhetoric, ideas and actions being normalized and accepted; what is next?
Making healthcare unavailable and doing things like separating trans kids from their parents are forms of eradication. Through forced detransitioning, through medical harm, and through suicide.
Denying human rights? Banning books? Hate speech? All of these would have been at least generally unacceptable and intolerable just a short time ago, even though they have existed forever. Now, we are electing people to office who celebrate and overtly campaign on these principles.
Could an actual gay and transgender purge be next? Is it already happening step-by-step, blow-by-blow, bill-by-bill, election-by-election?
There is a question we all must ask ourselves: Will we be free and brave by standing up and speaking up about it?
If you do not use your own freedom to help others, then how free are you?
If you think all of this is okay, or you just turn away and forget about it, then how brave are you?
If you claim the name of Christian, if you claim to follow Jesus, but you do not speak up for those who are being persecuted and harmed – you know, “the least of these” – then please don’t use the name of Christ. At least just be honest about it. No one is fooled.
Because really, you are only using freedom for yourself, not for others. And that is just about the most unChristlike thing you can do.
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