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BY MISSY SMITH

October 11, 2020


Just Faith: Reclaiming Progressive Christianity, the new book by The Resistance Prays founder Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons, is out now! Learn more here.
The National Coming Out Day logo, designed by Keith Haring.
Today is National Coming Out Day. NCOD was first celebrated in 1988, created by members of the LGBT+ community to promote a spirit of positivity and celebration around the coming out experience.  In 1988 this day was recognized by 18 states, and by 1990 was observed in all 50 states. Learn more from Wikipedia.

This week, conservative Supreme Court justices Thomas and Alito released a statement that suggested the court would rule to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges if given opportunity, thus eliminating same-sex marriage in this country. 
Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. - 1 John‬ ‭3:18‬

One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” - ‭‭Mark‬ ‭12:28-31‬
This year, National Coming Out Day is very different than in years past, as are all 2020 observances and celebrations. Because of this isolating pandemic, many in the LGBT+ community are forced to live in environments that do not feel healthy or safe. In a recent poll released by the Trevor Project, ”over 40% of LGBTQ youth stated that COVID-19 impacted their ability to express their LGBTQ identity, including 56% of transgender and nonbinary youth. One-third of all LGBTQ youth said they were unable to be themselves at home, and nearly one-third of transgender and nonbinary youth felt unsafe in their living situation since the start of COVID-19.”

At the same time, justices Thomas and Alito suggested the Supreme Court would rule to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, thus eliminating same sex marriage in this country. If that wasn’t enough, this same court is scheduled to hear a case that could legalize discrimination in all of its ugliness against members of the LGBT+ community. All of this comes on the heels of the Trump administration’s 4-year-long campaign of hate against LGBT+ Americans.

So this year, National Coming Out Day may not seem as joyous and celebratory as in years past. As a people of faith who are called to love, let us hold all of these truths as we seek to fully affirm our siblings and children. Let us celebrate the beautiful uniqueness that the Creator placed in each of us. May we provide a safe and loving space when the world can feel so terrifying.

Two important points to remember today:
1. Telling your full truth can be an amazing and freeing experience. It can also be dangerous. Only the individual knows which is true for them. For this reason and more, no one should feel pressured to come out on a particular timetable.

2. Today is NOT a day for cisgender and straight people to center themselves as allies. We do not “come out” as allies. Rather, our actions and advocacy will speak for us.
If your church is not a welcoming, safe place for members of the LGBT+ community to be fully themselves, what steps can you take to move your congregation in this direction? And if you know that your church will not move towards full inclusion of the LGBT+ community, you may have some hard choices to make.

You can find a list of welcoming and affirming churches in your area here.

Finally, VOTE!  This administration seeks to other and ostracize our LGBT+ neighbors. We must take away their ability to do harm by removing Trump from office.
Parent God who delights in the individuality of Your children,

We acknowledge the pain and anxiety our LGBT+ siblings may be experiencing in this moment. Show each of us how to move in light of this knowledge, how to love every individual whom You have placed in our lives. Bring to light the ways we could love more fully and inclusively; convict us in the ways that we fall short.

We pray for a world, on earth as it is in Heaven, where all people are safe to be fully known and loved. Show us what you would have us to do to bring this to reality.

Amen.
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