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Life lessons from a Hatmaker

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If you’re struggling with the LGBTQ issue, here’s something to ponder, and it’s especially helpful if you’re trying to reconcile the LGBTQ issue with your religious beliefs—the words of Jen Hatmaker, a Texas pastor and mother of five. Here’s what she had to say in the Aug. 28, 2017, edition of Time magazine when asked if the LGBTQ issue will divide the church: “If we are following Christ literally, then nobody’s humanity is up for grabs. Nobody. That is a nonnegotiable. So I’m hopeful. And I hope to help lead that charge.”

I think Hatmaker nailed it. Understand, please, I’m not big on using religion to justify social norms. I’m Catholic, and for the most part, Catholics don’t wear their religion on their sleeves. Plus, evangelical Christians sometimes scare me with their religious views. (Remember President Trump’s religious advisor, Robert Jeffress, telling us, “God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un.” Really? How did Jeffress get a hot-line to God?)

I may not be a fan of using religion when arguing social issues, but I like what Hatmaker says, and I like what she says because she focuses on that one issue that seems to get overlooked whenever we talk about human rights—each person’s humanity. Regardless of the physical differences that may separate us, we’re all human beings. Hatmaker’s perspective springs from her Christianity, but put religion aside—how do you deny that each of us is the same? If we’re all the same, doesn’t each of us deserve the same rights?

When you focus on the superficial differences, you’re giving way to your own biases. And to make the logic of discrimination work, you have to convince yourself that “those people” are different and, thus, not deserving of the rights you enjoy. It’s either hubris or ignorance or a combination of the two that supports that faulty logic.

Hatmaker brings to the table a wonderfully open view. What she says about abortion speaks to how she sees the big picture. Here’s how she responded to a question about the abortion debate: “Historically the Christian community has taken what is a very fraught decision reduced it down to a sound bite. Right or wrong. But rather than simply just a pro-life stanch, I’m seeing a much broader construct, which is pro-prenatal care, pro-affordable housing, pro-health care.”

Again, I agree with her. The abortion debate seems to always take place in a vacuum. Lots of angry voices, lots of yelling about morality versus individual rights. No discussion about the women who are involved and the struggles they face. How can you engage in a discussion about abortion without talking about everything that is part of the world in which woman who get abortions live? That’s the point. We don’t engage in conversation. We throw sound bites at each other, as if that will change things.

Hatmaker also commented about the white supremacist protest and violence in Charlottesville last month: “The truth is obvious to anyone humble enough to admit it; white supremacy is a scourge upon the American landscape, and the only adequate response is confession, repentance and an unwillingness to normalize the language, icons, symbols and inequitable systems that celebrate the White Story over the Real Story.”

Being humble? Confession and repentance? Isn’t that all so yesterday? Not for Hatmaker. I think she’s got things right.

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Jack D’Aurora write for Considerthisbyjd.com

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