First Published at Ten Speaks I am unashamedly black and unapologetically Christian. I love my black skin and I love Jesus Christ. Together with being a woman, those two identities are the absolute core of who I am and inform my thoughts and perspectives. But being a black, female Christian is a hard space to live in today. I am constantly examining and re-examining the intersection of these parts of me. Because I’m black, I understand all too well the sting and devastation of oppression. Because I’m black, I understand how systemic racism plays out every day in the lives of black folks in a million subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Because I’m black, I understand the ugliness of white supremacy, the arrogance of unchecked, unacknowledged white privilege and the anger and exhaustion of constantly having to fight for your humanity. Because I’m black, I understand how insulting “All Lives Matter” is as a response to our fight to demand that “Black Lives Matter”. Because I’m black, I know what it feels like to be marginalized and oppressed. In fact, Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to love God with all of our heart, soul and mind, and the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourself. Everything hangs on those two commandments. I see no exceptions.
I see you Kim Davis, standing on righteousness, all while you’re on your 4th husband and “they” say one of your baby daddies fathered your child while you were married to another man. In other words, the rumor is that you had an affair, and the man that you had sex with outside of your marriage is the father of one of your children.
I’m not pointing that out to judge you Ms. Davis. I’m pointing it out to show you that when we start deeming some people’s “sins” as “unpardonable”, we are treading on very thin ice, as our own sins are likely to come crashing down on us ahead of the ones we sit in judgment of. When we start judging people to the point of refusing to do the job we are paid (and in your case, elected), to do, because they don’t sin like we sin, we are on a slippery slope of pride, which, as Christians should know, goes before the fall.
I’m unashamedly black. Therefore, I am very uncomfortable with the oppression of a group of people. And I’m Christian. Therefore, I am very uncomfortable with singling out an entire group of people for discrimination, determining their sins, and then judging them because they sin (perhaps) differently than I do.
I’m going to try to do what God has called me to do. Spread the gospel, live a Christ-honoring life, forgive others their trespasses against me and love my neighbors, including my gay neighbors, and I’m going to fight against oppression and marginalization by arrogant, hypocritical people.
I don’t pretend to have it all worked out. I’m “working out my salvation” (that blessed assurance) as I go, and trying to hear from God for direction.
In the meantime, I’m trying to love people. That includes gays. And it includes others like me, whose righteousness is like filthy rags before God.
But this is my truth. I’ll be judged for it. And I’m ok with that. As long as God does the judging. All you perfect Christian folks please leave me (and my gay friends and family) alone.
Traci Ellis is a R3 contributor