Long before our national policies acknowledged the spectrum of gender expression, the United Church of Christ embraced the Imago Dei in every human being. Since the ordination of Bill Johnson in 1972, gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersex and transgender clergy have served as ministry leaders and pastors of UCC congregations in every setting of the church because we believe the words of Peter recorded in Acts 10: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to God.”
Today we read that the New York Times is reporting that the current White House Administration is circulating a memo asking the Department of Health to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX. That is a federal civil rights law banning gender discrimination.
The memo asks the Department to define gender as either male or female, established by genitalia at birth, and unalterable throughout a person’s life.
Whether or not they accomplish this assault on the dignity of all transgender and intersex people, their families and loved ones, they have already traumatized every one of them.
This kind of blatant discrimination is exactly what Title IX was written to prevent. Under the previous administration, critical civil rights were enacted to protect the transgender community from abuse, discrimination, and violence.
The United Church of Christ supported those protections. They are consistent with a theology that expresses a core belief that God is love. God’s love is offered freely and unconditionally to all. Leaders in the United Church of Christ must always leverage the full capacity of their voice to engage powers and principalities that seek to limit the full expression of God’s love for all.
To be clear, the United Church of Christ stands in full support of the transgender and intersex community. We deplore the abuse of government power and authority that assembles to deprive transgender and intersex Americans from their God-given and constitutionally mandated inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
We call upon leaders throughout the United Church of Christ to speak out against this proposed action, to proactively engage the practice of love for all, and inform the White House (and all other relevant elected officials) that these threatened actions are inconsistent with our faith and the countries highest ideals.
Peter’s theology of a God who shows no partiality was based on the experiences he had with Jesus – whose love was not filtered through outdated cleanliness laws that left some worthy of God’s love and others unworthy. The Christianity Peter envisioned would burst through those barriers and become a faith all-embracing of God’s beautiful assembly of human life.
The United Church of Christ will continue its historical and ongoing mission to rebuild the church and the world in the image and likeness of a God who shows no partiality.
In that pursuit, we declare our strong opposition to any attempt by the current White House to deprive transgender and intersex Americans of their civil rights.