A church in northern California wants you to know that “God is good” and that “Bruce Jenner is still a man.”
The sign outside Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church makes a controversial claim in order to provoke outrage from the public: “Bruce Jenner is still a man. Homosexuality is still sin. The culture may change. The Bible does not.”
Thankfully, some local activists have been consistently protesting the hateful sign ever since it went up, according to the Sacramento Bee:
On Sunday [Jan. 6], people from across Siskiyou County gathered at the church to protest the sign, viewing it as hateful and exclusionary.
“As a community I hope that we can come together to show our love and support for the LBGTQ community in protest to the hate and slander that is being thrown at them,” organizers of the “Shastina Love Rally” at the church wrote in a Facebook event planning the Jan. 6 protest.
Another protest is planned for this Sunday, KDRV reports — and now protesters will be raising money to repair the sign, which was broken in what the church’s pastor characterizes as an act of vandalism against his congregation. The protest will also raise funds for an LGBTQ cause, an organizer wrote on Facebook.
“They broke not only the plexiglas and stole some of the Letters, they also busted the power box,” Pastor Justin Hoke wrote on Facebook on Wednesday. “I have not seen it up close yet as this picture was sent to me by a member of our congregation.”
The attention-craving pastor put the sign back up with essentially the same message — “a man” was replaced with “male” — and blamed protesters. Those who organized the peaceful rally, however, deny any involvement.
“While we all objected strongly to the message that they displayed publicly, we condemn the use of violence and destruction of property that this person responsible has chosen,” said rally organizer Amelia Mallory said, according to KDRV. “To our knowledge, nobody affiliated with our peaceful rally was involved, and if we do become aware of the culprit we will be informing the local authorities.”
Hoke said his congregants support the message, which the church posted in early January to spur reflection on the modern world, SFGate reports.
Let’s start from the beginning. As someone who has been critical of Caitlyn Jenner for her naïve support of Donald Trump, I can tell you she’s many things. She is a sellout, an elitist, and a conservative darling. What she isn’t is a man. To argue otherwise implies a misunderstanding of transgender people, intentional or otherwise.
Secondly, homosexuality is only a “sin” for Christians — and only for certain Christians. The statement implies that gay people should feel really bad about who they are, an argument churches have tried and failed to make for decades. Their threat of sin, with all its implications, hasn’t stopped gay people from existing and living happy lives. Thank goodness.
Finally, a statement I agree with: “The culture may change. The Bible does not.” Culture does change, and holy books, for the most part, do not. And that’s part of the problem. When you etch your moral code in stone, you leave open the possibility that, as our ethical views evolve, that ancient code becomes less relevant. It’s telling that this church focuses on Caitlin Jenner and not, say, the sins of murder and slavery.
The sign may still be there, but the protesters aren’t going anywhere either. It’s a reminder that Christian hate isn’t going to win just because there’s emphasis on God. When faith is no longer considered a virtue, faith-based bigotry is much easier to push back against.
(Image via Shastina Love Rally)