Faith Writings

Suffer Little Children

Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:14, KJV). My desire to continue to be identified as a Christian woman is threatened by an extreme interpretation of the Bible, not by some non-existent LGBT agenda. It is threatened by the changed meaning of suffer little children and ever-more present lack of compassion that is undeniably displayed by far too many people who likewise display a Christian nametag.

Christianity is not under threat of gay rights or illegal immigration. Christianity is under siege by people who call themselves Christian, then claim some right to choose who is, and who is not, worthy of God’s love. We sometimes refer to these people as fundamentalists, but fundamental Christianity is about love. Unconditional love. There is nothing fundamental about denying love to anyone.

The harm done to children by denying equal space to LGBT parents (who often have children) and to LGBT youth is immeasurable and irreparable. Undoubtedly, one of the most horrible harms is the loss of hope; the belief that there will be no end to the pain.

It is a frightening fact that nearly half of transgender teens will attempt suicide. It is a disgusting truth that while LGBT persons make up 3-5% of the general population, LGBT youth make up 40% of the homeless youth population. It is a sad realization that children who are equally loved by same-sex parents will face more difficult futures, not because of the relationship of their parents, but because of the denial of equal protection under the law.

If you are giving up hope, come, spend an hour with me. I have enough for both of us. Hope is not the absence of fear. Hope is not separated from sadness. Hope is the understanding that there is a possibility for change. Hope is the gift of action. When I move my feet, my brain begins to believe that maybe it might could happen. Hope walks hand in hand with love; side by side with gratitude; on the very same path as helpfulness to others.

For however long it has been given to me, the gift of love resides in my heart and the desire to be kind has been tethered to my soul. I have been told that the best way to keep this gift is to give it away. It is indescribably important to give it way, especially under some extremely difficult and inconceivable circumstances.

When I hear someone talk about their opposition to marriage equality because of the harm done to the children, I think about that verse - suffer little children - and I know in my heart that the children will suffer not from the recognition of love, but because of opposition to the recognition of love. Why on earth is anyone opposed to love?

More and more people are choosing not to be identified as Christian. Does anyone really wonder why? Christians ARE being persecuted. There is no doubt about that. The confusion comes from the belief that this persecution is somehow coming from the inevitable end to the denial of human rights to LGBT people. It is not.

The persecution is coming from the very people who are claiming to be the victims. They have attacked Christianity at its very core. They have turned following the example and teachings of Jesus away from love, away from compassion, and away from inclusion.

Suffer little children, I will have no gay child living in my house. Suffer little children, your parents’ love is not valid. Suffer little children, you can not embrace your authentic identity.

It is a far cry from suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

© August 11, 2014, Stephanie Mott

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