No, not every Christian is lining up to enlist in the boycott of the popular, big-box store, Target. In fact, there are significant amounts of faith-embracing people who are flat out appalled at the notion and embarrassed by this latest temper tantrum waged from within our Christian community. Yet, there is no denying the growing, aggressive movement among large numbers of conservative Christians licking their chops in hopes of making Target pay deeply for their inclusive, store-wide stance that allows the transgender community to use the restrooms of their choice. From vehement, media pleas to war-crying online petitions, once again, it’s game on for conservative, Evangelical, American Christianity.
Yet, make no mistake, this is far beyond a mere game. The civil war of the twenty-first century is here, waged by Evangelical, conservative Christianity upon the LGBT community and their supporters—the periscoping of Target, just another battle of many on the horizon. Sadly, the sounding of these trumpets from atop the walls of Christianity to summon its adherents to boycott the enemy is indicative of a much deeper cancer widely spread within the gates of much of American Christianity.
The truth is, anyone can hoist the most eye-pleasing, Jesus-intentioned flags for all to see, but one’s true colors are no greater revealed than in the facing of a perceived enemy. How we handle our adversaries is truly who we are at our core. For much of American Christianity, the satellite imagery has been rendered, the toxicology reports are in, and once again, what the latest boycott of Target says about the true state of American Christianity— it’s not pretty.
We Are Still Blind To Our Privilge And Arrogance- At the end of the day, nothing says “pompous jackasses” like a religiously driven boycott. Sadly, our faith is filled with convenient presumptions we joyfully hold over people as fact, taking Jesus, His Gospel, and inspired words about Him, and morphing it all into a god of our own image—privileged, elitist, temperamental, and arrogant. This is the pride-lifted throne from which all boycotts are decreed.
Through the narcissism with which we have shaped the ethos of our Christian culture and message, it’s as if Jesus was literally born and raised in America and our nation is exclusively favored and set apart by God Himself, founded on the Bible and all that is holy—and we, the special, gold-dusted Christians who have been given the one-of-a-kind, inside scoop into all that is Jesus and His desires for the world.
Drunken by the poison of our spiritual arrogance, we posture ourselves as the sole authors of genuine family values, true interpreters of scripture, exclusive discerners and dictators of moral purity, and the only possessors of what’s best for our country and world. This is our nation, we are God’s favored, and it’s our God-given mandate and responsibility to see to it that you become one of us and enlist in our spiritual empire. Don’t be fooled by our over 30,000 different denominations of self-declared faithful who read the same bible and arrive at completely, diametrically-different conclusions—look away, there’s nothing to see here, trust us, we’re still the experts on discerning all that is spiritual and true. Because one thing we know for sure, our Jesus loves you so much that if you don’t respond to His love with careful precision, He will drop-kick you into a hell of eternal torment—and that’s what we call, good news.
So, like a slick used car salesperson, we strut around our cultural parking lot, many of us completely ignorant to the crap we are selling, some of us hoping nobody looks under the hood and kicks the tires enough to reveal what we refuse to see, just how truly delusional we have become. So much, that with no pause in our steps, little consideration for reexamination, and no check in our spirit that perhaps we are wrong and have much to learn, we steamroll ahead having raped the Jesus of the Gospels into a white, gun owning, bible-thumping, Republican male who drives a Ford pickup truck, bumper-stickered with Jesus statements purposed on convicting the world. He lives in a two story house with a white picket fence, a dog named Spot, and cable TV in every room. On Sundays, with His leather-bound, name-engraved Bible in hand, He adorns the most popular, program scheduled, state-of-the-art church in town where the worship leader is often found requiring the jaws of life to get out of their culturally relevant, skinny jeans after the stage smoke clears. Beyond that, His primary calling is to meet with like-minded, like-colored, like-believing, like-living people, get into a good sin-management program, and morally police the world.
Problem is, this monster that we have made of Jesus is nothing like Jesus, and who we have become is nothing like who He is—nothing makes this clearer than our arrogant, elitist, privileged response to transgender human beings simply desiring to use the bathroom of their choice based on their true gender identity.
Do we seek to listen? Do we consider new revelation in light of new information? Do we humble ourselves under the person of Jesus, the only Word of God? Hell no. Once again, we just can’t wait to belly up to the bar of our spiritual addictions, drink down the belly shots of our self-righteousness, and drunkenly declare to all who would oppose us, “we are right, you are wrong, we know what’s best, and everyone who disagrees are simply deviant peasants who deserve a good flogging”—all sending the clear, central message of our twisted faith understanding, “be discipled or be drop-kicked, assimilated or shunned, the choice is yours.”
The World Still Knows The Heart Of Jesus Better Than We- Have you noticed? The “world” isn’t, in fact, the prowling boycott-bully pacing back and forth on the block—no, we are. That’s why there’s a deep awakening of people in our country to the tragic reality of our day that if you want to truly experience Jesus, the last steps your feet should take is to shadow the doorsteps of a church or adopt the American distortion of Christianity into your life—nothing will set your soul on a trajectory spinning it further away from the heart of Jesus.
Yet truthfully, it’s been that way from the beginning. The people closest to Jesus who should have known Him best are the ones who are, in fact, revealed to know Him the least, and the ones who are declared the sin-bathed outsiders on the fringe, worthy of the deepest wounds condemnation can cut, are in fact, the ones who resonate with His heart, most.
With every boycott, with every legislation of discrimination, with every weaponized chorus of “Jesus Loves Me” purposed on snuffing out the voice and dignity of the transgender community, we declare to the world from the stench within our hearts, “If you’re looking for Jesus, if you’re looking for compassion, if you’re looking for equality, dignity, justice, and basic goodness, you’ll not find Him nor these attributes among us—we worship a different god of our imagineering”
Until love becomes our core and Jesus our center, the world will increasingly discover the truth—to become one of us and live more like us is a drastic downgrade of Jesus-distancing proportions, and to be of the world—far more spiritual and in tune with the heart of God.
Oh, the irony of it all.
Our Best Ideas Are Still To Boycott- Because boycotting is what desperate, shallow Christians do who, in the caverns of their true convictions, have turned their faith into a Jesus-insulting, offensive pillaging of the cross and the Gospel it reveals.
For Jesus did not and would not ever boycott. Rather, He served as a cosmos-vibrating megaphone of heaven declaring that from the bottomless well of love, faith, and the exampled ways of the Master, there are always better options from which to draw no matter the day, hour, or circumstance. In an age where we have more revelation, information, and examination than ever before of all that Jesus was, is, and inspires, the reality that boycotting is still on the list of our best ideas speaks to the mal-transformation our dysfunctional Gospel has rendered to our hearts.
We have become the barbarians of the world, and it’s high time we see it—a people who can’t help ourselves from punching something different and calling it faithfulness.
Nothing reveals the alarming level of our school-bully ignorance and militant faith than our boycotting of a perceived enemy.
If ours is a love at all, it is a deeply distorted, diabolical, and diseased one.
We Are Still Selfish, Whining People Who Refuse to Serve- Nothing unveils the true motto behind the bulk of American Christianity like a good boycott. As much effort as we muscle into our full-court press to convince ourselves and the world around us that “it’s all about Jesus,” the truth is, “it’s all about us.” Why can’t we simply be honest enough to align our verbiage with our actions? Most everything we do says, “me, me, me.” It would all be completely excusable and even understandable if we were five year olds. Yet, we’re supposed to be the light of the world, not the spiritual toddlers of it.
It’s so predictable. We don’t get our political way—here comes a temper tantrum. Someone or something stands in question or opposition to our agenda—we kick and scream. Transgender people want to use the bathroom of their choice—up come the marbles as we huff and puff our way home, conspiring in our “conservatives only” tree houses with crosses on top, plotting our pubescent path to revenge.
We are spoiled, whiny, spiritual brats who think the mission of Jesus is to preserve and expand our American, Christian empire of morality dictation and ideology assimilation. All, while Jesus washes feet, embraces the outcast, and affirms the condemned—but let’s not let Him get in the way of our crap-slinging crusades.
Why can’t we just love for the sake of loving, serve for the sake of serving, and trust the One who holds all the stars in hand with the rest? Even if your conclusion is that the transgender community is in error, the way of Jesus is to serve all the more, not all the less—even to the sacrifice of our perceived safety and convenience. This is the Jesus of cross, but sadly not the Jesus of conservatism.
While Jesus brings the Kingdom of God through unconditional serving, we bring the Kingdom of hell through our unconditional self-centeredness—for we have proven beyond a shadow of doubt that there is no instance in which we won’t believe and act upon what we deem to serve our best, ideological, self-serving interests, in blatant defilement of the Gospel we claim to hold so dear.
We Are Still Satisfied With Any Ignorance That Supports Our Intolerance- Boycotts don’t materialize out of thin air. Nobody rallies against a company like Target over transgender-friendly bathrooms who first hasn’t been trained in an American Christian, spiritual concealed-weapons discipleship class that teaches a strategy of when engaging the enemy, “shoot first and learn last.”
We say we start from the Bible, but we really start from our bigotry and the assumption we know better. The truth is, when your righteousness is derived apart from Grace, you have to contrive ways to justify yourself—putting people down in the name of Jesus to affirm oneself has become our goto drug of choice. Somehow we have swallowed the lie that to be “set apart” means to be “better” and “above,” when in fact, it merely means to be “different,” yet still thoroughly “equal” under Grace. Yet violence, discrimination, condemnation, and boycotts gain no fuel in a Kingdom of equality—rendering us with nothing left to do and believe in a land where all is Grace. To be sure, one can disagree with another without being accurately labeled a “hater,” but you can’t refuse to listen, learn, and stand beside a fellow human and not be considered one.
The world is truly asking, “Is there a caboose to this train? Because we’ve seen this all before.” Any smell that fits within your flatulence somehow is deemed appealing and true, and the rest we are supposed to believe, somehow is automatic crap—science, facts, truth, experience, information, revelation.
We aren’t learners (disciples), we are ignorers—so insecure in our faith that our skeletal creeds shake at the thought of considering new information and new revelation.
When was the last time you built a relationship with a transgender person? When was the last time you listened to their story? When was the last time you researched the transgender topic, purposely desiring to open your mind to various viewpoints and schools of thought?
Chances are, the last time was never. Why? Because to learn would be to expose the ugly face of our flesh contrived, Christian faith hidden under the make-up of our own chosen ignorance. We’d have to look into the mirror and be real about what we see and believe—and that’s a series of falling dominoes we’re just not willing to push.
So let’s just admit it, we’re blind and we like it that way.
Our Faith Is Still Fear Driven- With every boycott, legislation, and Youtube rant we declare to all that has life and breath that our God is small and our doubts in Him, great. For what kind of God do we believe in with such fear in our hearts? Lions, tigers, and transgenders, oh my! The world is collapsing, our country is falling apart, our women and children are in grave danger—all because transgender people simply want to pee in peace. Seriously?
You say it’s not about transgender people, but rather the ones who will “fake it” in order to “make it” with women and children in a restroom stall near you. All, while there is a statistically far greater chance to be molested or sexually assaulted by conservative politicians in the very same, said locations. But let’s not let the facts stymy the fears we so desperately need alive for our Christian brand to survive.
The very anxiety we drink deep down into our faith is the very horror we disperse ever so widely. Sleeping with one eye open, we hope the world will join us in our misery. We are not a free people, we are a “fear” people. Nothing is jockeying for more human companionship than fear, and we have become its “hoe.”
Yet, the perfect love from God that casts out all fear is the very love we insist on conditionalizing to ourselves, and thus, the very love we cannot give unconditionally to another. Fear has become our master, and boycott-like behavior, our sacrifice of praise.
No wonder so many detest the idea of believing as we believe, because it’s not belief we have, it’s fear—boycotts that confess that God is surely dead, and so is our faith,
Love Is Still An Inconvenient Accessory- Far beyond the boycotting of Target, it’s become all too clear that virtually everything we say, do, and believe reveals the disturbing reality that, for most of us, this “unconditional love” thing has become a sharp edge in our stool. To love without condition, restraint, or reservation is so painful for us, the tension and displeasure in our bloodshot eyes says it all. Like a hard poop, we push it out because we basically have to—it’s the “Christian” thing to do. For to us, truly “unconditional love” is the foolishness of misguided progressives, the waywardness of a world seduced by the darkness, and the hallmark of Christians who are water-downed.
If we could just somehow usurp this “unconditional love” thing, our faith would be so much easier—boycotts as far as the eyes can see, unlimited enemy condemnations to fill up our joy—political ploys here, marginalizations there. Oh, what a wonderful Christianity this would be.
Looking like a breakdancer on crack, we try to dance our way around it by “hating the sin and loving the sinner” while demanding that “love” is an attribute of God, but not the sum of His nature. Yet, confronted with buzz saw of Jesus’ pure-love example, our duplicity and schizophrenic love is found out and confronted to its abominable core.
The world knows true love far better than we do—understanding that anything that is not unconditional love is not love at all.
Is God utilizing the boycott of Target? Damn straight He is—to further reveal the entrenched evils of American Christianity and pave the way for a worldwide awakening to Grace, justice, and equality.
The greater question for me regarding modern Christianity tends to be, “Why call yourself a Christian if everything Christianity represents is poisoned?” I am sorry but as a Neo-Pagan it is hard to feel sorry for even liberal Christians because of complacency. Too many liberal Christians were complacent when they had every option to stand in the way of their toxic brethren. Now as they sit there wondering, “What the hell happened?” They only have themselves to blame.
The truth is Christianity cannot exist without someone to victimize. The elitism that is inherent in the “one way to heaven” mentality is part of the spiritual arrogance of the very religion itself. Those extremist didn’t come from a vacuum they came from a niche already within the Christian religion. No matter the denomination the seeds were sown a long time ago and now your religion will have to harvest. So don’t be shocked that people are behaving like crusaders in a modern era. Because deep down that is what Christianity thrives on. There was possibly only one true Christian and he died on a cross a long time ago. Everything else has been a very malignant and poor imitation.
Great reflections Daniel, thanks for your comments!
Such an amazing comment. Well said. Thank you.
Bravo! Well said and intentioned! Being a retired RN, I know the biology of one’s gender ID lays in a structure of the brain. I know organs can get formed in early weeks of pregnancy, and problems arise. All this Christian hate for persons who are biologically BORN trans, and SUFFER; no, all I read is mockery and glee at their jokes. I was raised Christian- when it meant to be humble, pray in private, help your neighbor, the sick, the poor, the widowed. This awful contempt openly brayed about LGBT which science has PROVEN since 2004 to be biologic- in fact, if I may, uniquely created by a God of Jesus. I had to “divorce” myself from Christianity after calling church after church, telling me with revulsion they would never accept a gay person as elder, as holding any role of importance. I’ve been sad ever since. I look back at history, burning epileptics at the stake (as now different diagnosis), holding Bibles aloft while condemning abolition of slavery, women’s equal rights, acceptance of disability, equal rights for African Americans: I think, how can I EVER be part of this trite joking condemnation of human beings? Thank you for speaking out. We humans are biologic, not perfect. Those who believe they can control their and other’s lives know not the suffering they impose.
Thank you Janet for your readership and thoughtful comments! I am honored to be able to write and hopefully encourage change.
I understand the target of your comments, and I don’t agree with the purveyors of the ‘bathroom bills’ or of ‘pro-discrimination laws’. They are in opposition to the Gospel of Jesus.
However, I must take issue with your sweeping condemnation of all boycotts. I was one of many who boycotted South African products during the apartheid era of the 1980s. This was a faith based decision, encouraged by leaders no less than Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Many credit the resulting pressure on the white – only government with bringing down the apartheid government and bringing in a non-racial South Africa.
Does your sweeping condemnation include this? If so, I ask you to reconsider your position.
Let me add my thoughts if you don’t mind. I agree with your premise that many in American Christianity live their lives in fear. Fear of the unknown and known. In all actuality all of us live that way.
What I must admit is that much of what you wrote would apply to me. I am conservative in my Christianity, politics and cultural views. That changed when my 13 year old son told us he is gay. It has been over 2 years and I see things so differently. My wife and I love and accept our son and we realize that a gay person is no real different then a straight person.
As for the boycott. I have to admit that I do get tired of the constant name calling and yelling from both sides. We do shop at Target and I don’t care about this.
I care more so to impart Godly wisdom and guidance to all of my children. I would suggest that especially if a parent, Christian or not, who have a gay teen should focus on being an involved and loving adult in their teens lives and less on a bathroom policy.
You know, it’s funny how so many conservative Christians have remarked to me how they have seen Jesus in me and in the “good fruit” that I bear, only to have them declare me to be a counterfeit, perverted and especially evil when they learn that I am a woman of transgender experience. I have been excommunicated from three congregations because I am transgender, considered *especially dangerous* because I am a winsome person…
…I have reached the point where when I am denounced, I declare to such people:
“I am neither afraid of your god’s hell, nor greedy for your god’s heaven. I belong to Jesus, and He calls me ‘Beloved’.”
My positive and negative experiences here as a trans woman connecting with other believers might be an interesting follow-on to this article:
“Other” in the Spirit
Blessings & Joy!!
Some vignettes. Starting with Oliver Cromwell’s remonstrance to the Kirk of Scotland.
” I am persuaded that divers of you, who lead the People, have laboured to build yourselves in these things; wherein you have censured others, and established yourselves “upon the Word of God.” Is it therefore infallibly agreeable to the Word of God, all that you say? I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken. Precept may be upon precept, line may be upon line, and yet the Word of the Lord may be to some a Word of Judgment; that they may fall backward, and be broken and be snared and be taken! There may be a spiritual fulness, which the World may call drunkenness; as in the second Chapter of the Acts. There may be, as well, a carnal confidence upon misunderstood and misapplied precepts, which may be called spiritual drunkenness. There may be a Covenant made with Death and Hell! I will not say yours was so. But judge if such things have a politic aim: To avoid the overflowing scourge; or, To accomplish worldly interests? ”
I’m Intersex. My personal experience closely follows this girl’s narrative:
“Living in the deep south, the environment is very religious and conservative. Once, in my college sociology class, we were talking about gender across cultures and, being that I was finally open about being intersex, I decided to voice my personal experience. It seemed to go over well until a few girls came up to me after class to tell me that intersex people are just a byproduct of the fall of man and that I am tainted by Satan and bound for hell. It wasn’t so much the statement that affected me, because I don’t believe that, but their vehemence and hatred was so palpable. I found it hard to believe that people I have never interacted with in any way other than sharing a class would form such a strong opinion of my worth as a person based on my chromosomes.”
I feel compassion and sympathy for my many Christian friends. They are entirely unlike the Political Christians who now dominate Christianity in the US, making those like yourself more and more marginalised. The brand is now toxic, the kind recoilling in horror, the malicious joining in ever growing numbers.
I don’t know what you should do. But you’re losing, the sane denominations are shrinking, leaving the ever more hateful zealots in charge.
Everytime i hear about this it makes me sick and yet makes me laugh and i will tell you why. this shows why evangelical christianity and other types of Christianity would Hate Jesus if he came down to earth again in the Flesh right now. because i know Jesus would be standing with Target not against them. and because of that people would Hate him Mock him Kill him just like we did 2000 years ago it would be the same today. Church would not even Allow Jesus to speak or even walk through there front doors. sad but that is the way it is. Jesus broke rules of the bible from the Old Testament. everytime he healed a sick person he was breaking the rules of those around him in power the very people who thought they knew it all who loved to say they knew the Old Testament up and down and anyone else who did not stand with them such as Jesus was a outcast hated mocked and everything else. yes i am talking about the Pharisees and this Target thing shows just how alive and well the Pharisees spirt is in Christians today. Jesus Condemns the Pharisees because they just knew in there mind they was better then everyone else they had it all right everyone else was dirt and such is the way of thinking of Christians today. with how alive the Pharisees is today if Jesus came down today in the Flesh i fear he would be even more Hated Mocked and Killed. he would be so hated its not even funny. Christians you say you follow Jesus you say you Love Jesus yet everytime i turn on the news and hear about this i just have to say what Jesus did………they worship me with there lips but there hearts is far from me………………………….can you not see the Harm you are doing can you not see the Hate the Venom the Toxic nasty pure Hate you spew when you do stuff like this……Christians can understand why so many in the world give the Middle finger to the Church and to Christians. They are so blind they cant see it. sure you may do good stuff. but its tainted. its Poison wrapped up in a Pretty Bow. Jesus said Love one another as i have loved you. let that sink in How did jesus love people…….just let that sit in your mind and think on it. because the so called Love from Christians has nothing to do with the Jesus i have read about in the bible not one thing……….you say I Love you but then what you call love turns to nasty pure Hate when you say oh yes I love you Jesus loves you but if you dont live how we say you should jesus will drop kick you right into Hell to burn alive in such pain and suffering the likes the world has never seen because that is love………………………..when you say you dont want a gay or a transgender going into the same bathroom with you i will say i dont want to be in a bathroom with you as well. thanks but no thanks take you Hate your Toxic vomit Posion you call the Gospel and you call Love…..and leave me alone. i want nothing to do with your so called Love…..
Dan, thanks for reading the article and for your thoughtful comments!
The hate spewed in the name of the “God-is-love-except-not-for-you-or-you-or…” is nothing new. But with social media it’s ever so easy to spread one’s arrogant, self-centered version of Christianity-Judaism-Islam-Buddhism to thousands if not millions with a click and an eye-catching meme. Real or fake cause? Doesn’t matter (Did it ever?)….just claim that thus and such company isn’t falling into the right theological line and instantly there’s a justification for a boycott, a shuning, a chance to scream about just how ungodly everyone is, except of course the people who will repost and “Like” your comments. It may be, probably is, more common in the Christian community in the US due to sheer numbers, but it’s not limited to Christians. I see it happening in the Jewish community (“Hey, did you hear company X didn’t like something Israel did? Boycott!” “Company Y’s new ad looks a little anti-semitic (if you look at it at the right angle). Boycott!” “That soda company sells to Palestinians! Boycott!) It all just makes me crazy!! And sad.
Thank you for your incredible article…just wanted you to know that it just might be more of an American thing than just a Christian thing. Apparently, we’re an equal opportunity country when it comes to stomping feet and acting entitled. Unfortunately. Sadly. Tragically.