If You Really Give a Damn About the LGBTQ Community

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(Original publish date: June 16, 2016)

Less than a week ago my phone was on fire.

A blog post I’d written on the Stanford rape case had gone fully viral that morning, and dozens of national talk shows, newspapers from all over the globe, and all the local broadcast teams had swarmed to book me or interview me about my words, and about the bigger issues surrounding sexual assault.

They all operated under the guise of caring deeply about “this very important issue”. But having gone through a similar experience two years earlier I knew the truth: Sexual assault was tending and they wanted a piece of it.

Knowing that their attention would soon be departing I did as much as I could with my time in the spotlight, to lift up the inherent dignity of all people and to center the story on survivors of this kind of prevalent violence, urging people to go beyond the blinding lights of a viral story. Yet while the media storm was still swirling I knew that it would soon be over, and with it I feared, would be any lasting, sustained conversation about sexual assault. There would be no fundamental change. They would all be moving on to the louder, more urgent, more popular story just around the corner. I wrote about that fear here.

The next day I was thrilled to hear from a full-time news network that they wanted me to go to New York City for a live Town Hall on sexual assault, victim advocacy, and the issue of consent. “We want to continue this important conversation”, the producer said.

“Wow, maybe we are doing better!” I thought to myself.

Twelve hours later: Orlando.

A producer called early Sunday morning saying that due to the shooting at Pulse they would be canceling the Town Hall, hoping to “bring the topic to life at another time.”

They won’t. At least not until the next viral rape case that moves the public’s needle.

One week is an eternity these days.

I’m sharing this with you because right now you seem to give a damn about the LGBTQ community; a community that is dear to me, and a community who so deserves your attention and your social media real estate and a place at the table of your churches and workplaces and homes.

This community is experiencing a tragedy that frankly, those of us who do not identify as LGBTQ can’t possibly fathom and don’t realize the gravity of.

This massacre and these lives and this community merit our attention long after the media has lost interest.

But my great fear is that in a few days, we’ll do to the victims of homophobia and transphobia what we’ve done to the victims of sexual assault this week: we’ll simply replace them. We’ll take this great passion over the lives of queer men and women; all the words of support and all the grief and all the outrage and all the promises to stay for the long haul—and we’ll easily transfer them to something else. We’ll get new Facebook profile filters and share new memes and for a few days we’ll feel good about ourselves for feeling bad—and that will be it.

The media certainly will move on. 

Here’s how you can not do that:

1) Read and share the work of LGBTQ Christian writers, pastors, activists, and thinkers.  Hear the stories of people who have lived this story before it ever hit your radar, and who will live it once it’s no longer newsworthy to the news.

Start here:

Kevin Garcia
Julie Rodgers
Allyson Dylan Robinson
Isaac Archuleta
Broderick Greer
Matthew Vines
Kimberly Knight
Brandan Robertson
Charissa White
Nadia Bolz-Weber
Matthias Roberts
Austen Hartke
John Paul Brammer
Eliel Cruz

2) Attend a local Pride, Out, or PFLAG Event. Literally stand with your queer neighbors and let them know they matter beyond a trending story. Make an effort to live life alongside LGBTQ people and talk to them, not around them or about or over them.

3) Loudly oppose legislation that discriminates against people based on their gender identity or sexual orientation. Call, text, and write your elected officials, show up at their offices and Town Hall meetings. Use your influence and your vote to demand equality and justice in all levels of Government.

4) Support LGBTQ-owned businesses. There are millions of people from the gay community who do whatever it is that needs doing in your life. Seek them out and help their businesses grow so, that their influence and presence in your neighborhood grow too.

5) Volunteer at/Give to your local LGBTQ center. Step into the lives of people right where you are and ask them how you can help with your time, your resources, and your community connections, to partner with the important work they are already doing so well.

6) Call your local church community to the table now. Hold your spiritual leaders accountable for their theology, their practices, and their public stance toward the LGBTQ community. Demand that the table be expanded.

7) Support and attend LGBTQ-affirming churches. Help to build and strengthen faith communities already committed to doing the work of equality and justice.

8) Talk around your table and look in your mirror. Have conversations with your children, parents, spouses, small groups, church staff, and workplaces about the Orlando shooting; about how you need to respond to it, and to the culture and factors that created it. Reflect and pray about your own heart—and then move in response.


The media will never be our moral compass because its True North changes every 24 hours and it follows the sizzle of urgency.

Soon, the public gaze will drift from this topic, and with it could go real relationships, more loving communities, changed churches, important legislation, and the kind of transformative renovation that only comes through our sustained attention.

If you really give a damn about the LGBTQ community, yes, please do it today.

But perhaps more importantly—do it tomorrow.

Do it a week from now when their phones stop ringing.

Do it a year from now.

 

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76 thoughts on “If You Really Give a Damn About the LGBTQ Community

  1. I take issue, a little, with #6, though, and the sentiment that might be behind such action.

    Those of us in churches that may be welcoming but not yet affirming or reconciling… many of us NEED to stay put, alongside our LGBT sisters and brothers, as we work for change.

    Otherwise, the rift between progressive and traditionalist will simply grow wider and wider, the conversation will stop or just turn nasty as it has in the political realm in our day.

    • I am glad to hear there are churches struggling with this issue. I live in NW Montana, and I have visited many churches here in the valley, looking for such a church, and I only found one—a Presbyterian church with progressive pastors. Every other church I attended preached fire and brimstone and one even referred to Homosexuals as “Sodomites!” They are so blind to any other viewpoint that I despair of things changing around here any time soon. And the Presbyterian church? There is a split in the church, one group trying to get rid of the pastors (one pastor is female and that seems to infuriate that group), and it looks like that group is winning and the pastors will soon be replaced.

      • I don’t know where you live in Montana, but Glacier Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is in NW Montana north of Kalispell on Highway 2. You will find a welcoming congregation there.

      • Sadly, most Presbyterian Churches are apostate. They do not care about the Bible. Try the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America). They are true to the Scriptures. Meaning they do not believe it is Biblical to practice homosexuality. But they are not fire and brimstone. They want gays to come to repentance.

        • I used to go to a PCA church, and found it was seriously eroding my relationship with God. I learned that if I want to have any such relationship, I had best steer clear of PCA churches.

          I was not engaged in any sexual relations during the years when the PCA was having such a negative effect on me, nor was I planning on any homosexual activity. In fact, my sexuality was only a small part of what I reacted to.

          The pastor of the church I now attend, a PCUSA (Presbyterian Church in the U S A), has been told by some visitors that he preaches too much grace (or he preaches grace too much), a claim I would not make regarding any of the PCA churches I’ve attended.

          Sorry about this, but that has been my experience.

        • The PCA also has Christian Reconstructionist connections and tendencies. Christian Reconstructionism is a right wing extremist heresy against Jesus Christ and the legitimate Christian faith. Avoid the PCA like the plague. It is also a known haven for disaffected racist Christians, especially down South.

    • I belong to the Anglican Church. We are true to the Scriptures and identify homosexuality as a brownness related to the fall. It is prohibited in the Scripture. We welcome gays, but long for them to come to repentance and live in God’s will for their lives.

      • I think Keith Ward—a fellow Anglican—would kick you in the butt for saying that. You do not sound like any Anglican I have ever heard. You must be a member of some sort of splinter group that has gone fundie but still calls itself Anglican. The only brown thing I see here is you.

    • I like that. I’ve never been to a fully gay-affirming church, and I don’t feel a need to. Because our (ELCA) church is in in a very right-wing community, the gay members are “tolerated.” They need support too.

    • Each person will fit where they are needed. It’s not important to be told what church to go to. Affirming churches need people too! And we need affirming churches because some of us still deal with deep shame and insecurities.

  2. As a transgender woman who has become scared to death to even leave my home, much less spend any time in a public place, I applaud this post. We can’t let violence against the LGBTQ community, women, or minorities go ignored any longer, Thank you for this, John!

    • You should move to Las Vegas, we have so many trans/cross/ whatever, whatever, no one thinks 2x about it, most of us figure they’re a show worker (or a wanna be), if we can even tell or try to, and are (or wanna be) getting paid the big bucks on the Strip. Don’t live in fear, move somewhere friendlier.

      • I’m in Chicago now, which is, all in all, pretty friendly. It’s everywhere else that scares me.

      • Same here in DC! LOVE it here, because of how liberal, and open it is to all alternative lifestyles!

  3. John,

    Thank you for this post. The Orlando shooting has been tearing me up inside in more ways than I can say, and I’ve been struggling with how to respond and make a positive change moving forward. I want to do something beyond “thoughts and prayers” or posting a Facebook status where I proclaim that I stand with the LGBT community. But most of all, I want to engage with them in a way that is genuine, non-threatening, and Christ-like. I appreciate having a place to start!

    -Alyx

  4. John is married, I think, but he is so obsessed with gays, that I’m convinced he is gay. That is ALL he talks about. Gays represent a few % of the population. There are a few more % of the courageous same sex strugglers that do not buy the gay agenda and live in integrity and holiness. But all in all a minority.

    I wonder if he cares about any of the “normal” members of his congregation that are just living their lives. That are not angry, vitriolic or playing the victim. I doubt it.

    But it is clear what his motive is. MONEY. Got to get that readership up so he can cash in.

    A sad state of affairs.

    Enough about gays, OK? Let’s talk about the persecution of Evangelical Christians. Or the hundreds of thousands of Christians run frothier homes by radical Islam. He has no interest in that. They are far away. And powerless. And can’t help him.

    Gays are here, rich and willing to give him money. Because he tells them it is OK to ignore the Bible. And that sin is “no big deal”.

    In the las t dat, I believe, he will be surprised.

    One of us will be.

    • Man, whatever drugs you’re on, I want some. They seem PRETTY trippy. I mean, at the very least they might help me forget the state of constant grief/slash terror I live in for being an out lesbian.

      • Try being out, lesbian, and trans. That’s really awesome these days. *locks doors and hides*

        • So your’e a bio woman who likes women and thinks your’e a guy? Or are you a bio man who likes women and wants to be a woman? You didn’t say which trans you were. Your life must be very confusing. Have you considered getting into the Biomedical sciences to work on a better solution for this than dangerous hormones and radical surgery. This is a field with great growth potential.

          • I’m MTF. And actually, there was a fantastic study done just last year (I believe it was in Lancet) that showed that HRT, administered properly (injectable estrogen, antiandrogen, and a progestin), is about as safe as Advil.

            And no, my life is not confusing. Far from it. And no, I don’t *want* to be a woman. I *am* a woman.

            • The long term side effect of Advil use is toxicity to the liver, so that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for safety. Please be careful with your long term health and side effect with those drugs.

              • I’m being safe, following my doctor’s instructions, and taking care of myself. Believe me, I’m taking every precaution I need to to transition as healthy as possible. It would be foolish not to. Again, done correctly, it’s safe. If you have any questions about it, I would be more than happy to answer them. 🙂

                  • Cudos, Suzanne, and true thanks for your concerns…the HRT regimes used to be quite dangerous as they used forms of Estrogen that were very toxic but nowadays it is quite safe…and I think Caitlyn was trying to say that HRT is as safe as any OTC medical aid and that assumes proper use…heck anything used improperly will be harmful to the human organism.

                    As to “want to be’s” and “thinks you are’s”, those are common assumptions usually to those who have never really encountered gender issues, and I am used to those.

                    Your heart comes thru in your words, and tells me that your openness to human compassion and community combined with your love of truth and defending it will lead you to do the reading and discover for yourself that the state of being transgender is one that has existed throughout human history and is related to the essence of identity…in other times and places, a trans person was considered to be touched by Divinity and revered as a gift to their people. In those times you would have been drawn to us immediately…in our culture we do not have that as our common swimming waters.

                    I write openly of my life and existential experiences over on my blog Charissa’s Grace Notes, and you are welcome anytime…

                    True Blessings to you…and may that lil scritch scritch scritch that gets in your craw when God begins to lead you into new Green Pastures and then cause you to lie down in them by still waters…may that dynamic increase and grow! I sense that many oppressed will be blessed by your expressions of God’s love in the coming days.

                    Bless you, Sister
                    Charissa White

      • I agree. His tactics are about as subtlest a playground bully. If he doesn’t care for John’s views and support… Then go elsewhere. That attitude is the very reason church pews are empty. Judgment went in first and said “stay out”. Nevermind that LGBTQ folks have the same concerns and trials as the normative folk… Oh, but we’re just gay. And “concerned” is a laughable user name.

    • Please tell me how 6he Christians are being persecuted. Better yet, tell me the last time a Christian in America was murdered just because of who they are. When did that happen? Oh. Right. It doesn’t.

      Meanwhile, people like me can’t even walk down the street without fearing for our lives. 12 transgender people have been murdered in the United States this year alone for the simple fact that they existed. 12. How many Christians have been murdered just for being Christians?

      There is NO SUCH THING as Christian persecution. There is, however, plenty of Christians, such as yourself, committing acts of persecution every single day against people like me. I can’t even use a public restroom anymore because Christians are afraid of what I do or don’t have between my legs! How stupid is that?

      Stop telling people like me how to live our lives, and please stop accusing people like John of being something the’re not! THAT is the real persecution here!

    • As Christians we are called to reach out to the marginalized in our society. I can’t think of another group that is as marginalized in American society today as the LBGT community, by people with your very attitude. It seems you’ve just “popped up” here . I’d suggest you read some of John’s past posts before you pass judgments and make ridiculous accusations. And I agree with you — in the last days one of you will be surprised — but I don’t think it’s going to be John.

    • Concerned, Bless your heart, but please take your “concern” elsewhere–we are all good here. Another great article John–Tyou!!

    • While it is true that the handful of (Protestant or non-denominational) Evangelical Christians in the Middle East are under threat, the far greater ancient Christian communities in Syria and Iraq are under multiple threats, both religious and ethnic.
      Likewise, the Armenian communities in Turkey and Nagorno Karabakh are under genocidal threats from the current Turkish and Azerbaijani governments.
      John can deal with this ongoing threats another time, as they are as likely to continue as the threats to gays, lesbians, practicing bisexuals, transgender individuals, and other sexual or gender non-conformists.

    • Are you serious? Why bother reading of you’re so put off. Leave theses messages for those of us who care to hear what John has to say.

    • Well said. He has found an angry little niche for himself. And he claims to know the Jesus of the Bible – the one who tells followers to LOVE their neighbors. He is a classic case of reverse hatred, bigotry and hypocrisy. He is one of the most angry people on the Internet. Absolutely toxic. And toxicity cells. The more controversial, the more people want to hear, read, invite you. He is an angry little troll masquerading as someone who gives a damn.

    • Concerned. Why in the hell would you care about Evangelical Christians so much if you are Anglican? I have never heard a single Anglican upset about so-called “persecution” of Evangelical Christians. These people whine and squeal persecution like stuck pigs if you commit the unpardonable act of simply disagreeing with their their false and corrupt theology. Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are hate mongers in American society who major in bullying people they consider to be easy marks because of their weakness. Personally, and I am going to tell you straight to your face, I think you are lying about being Anglican. If you are, you are certainly AINO.

    • ok…never mind about the prayers. I will include you in mine, but this…guffaw. wow what a tawdry revelation of your mind.

      shakin my head and dust offa my sandals…

  5. John, to imply that a person can’t “give a damn” about the LGBTQ community, unless they do the things you suggest, is untrue. To imply that a person doesn’t “give a damn” unless they attend a Pride event or affirm sexual sin, is a lie, and you know it. Those giving blood, those opening their churches for Pulse victims’ funerals, those who are in Orlando grieving and walking with gay and straight friends and family members of the victims–they “give a damn”. Even if you don’t agree with their convictions about sexual sin.

    • That’s the thing. What about after this is all over? What about after we’ve all moved on to the next tragedy? Do people then just stop caring about the LGBTQ community until another tragedy like this happens? Or do people continue to try to show support and make those connections between our communities and build bridges between us instead of walls built on hate, fear, and violence? I think that was the gist of John’s post.

      • Then our friends and family who are in the “alphabet” community are still our friends and family and we are still as nice to them as we ever were. Maybe it would be nice if we just treated people like people.

    • So, I hear what you’re saying, but I just want to jump in and say this:
      I don’t want to argue the semantics of what constitutes ‘caring’ vs ‘not caring’. That’s too subjective and ultimately pointless. But I would rather have just ONE person come out to support me, one person who loved and accepted me for who I truly am, no caveats or conditions, than one thousand people come who believe as you seem to, that there’s something ‘sinful’ about who I love. And I’ll tell you what else; I grew up in the Bible Belt, I was raised in a southern baptist church. I know this ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ rhetoric backwards, forwards and inside out. And it it BS. Completely and totally Grade A Bullshit. Because for me? You cannot really love someone, REALLY love them, without love everything that makes them who they are, sexuality included. If the only reason you go out and support them, help them in their times of need, is because you hope to someday ‘save’ them by totally restructuring who they are, then no, you don’t really ‘give a damn’ about the lgbtq community.

      • Hey Morgan, I respect what you’re saying here. I also take issue with the “love the sinner, hate the sin” lingo. I have a hard time believing Jesus would say this. However, my experience is that what some (not all) LGBTQ people want, and what John is advocating for in this blog post and others, is for followers of Christ to agree with them. Love does not equal agreement.

        • The one who loves accepts the beloved as he or she is NOW
          And
          desires for the beloved that he/she become the best that he or she can be.
          Whether and how much this deals with sexuality varies in relationships. It definitely deals with the attitudes and behaviors of the beloved towards themselves and others.

    • Jason. Have you taken a poll on the streets of Orlando? I do not buy into the notion that the vast crowds of people going out of their way to lovingly support the families and loved ones of the deceased LGBTQ people are Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. I would bet my last nickel that a poll would show most of those loving supporters are mainline Christians like me (people you would call apostate), committed nonChristians, people of other faiths, and millennial “NONES.” And while you are at it, I would like you to call Jesus an apostate as well. He was a 1st century liberal who would not be welcome in your church if he were to arrive and start teaching there next Sunday morning. I wonder what you are going to say on the last day when He walks up to you and says: “Gosh, I am trying to recall–but I don’t think we have ever met.”

        • from the article:
          Over the past few days, you’ve had the chance to pray for and with people who probably wouldn’t normally be in your church. What has your message been to the LGBT community?

          The church loves you, God loves you, and Jesus loves you. We want to dispel the myth that evangelicals hate gays. We have a lot in common, not least of which is our shared humanity. We’re all moms and dads, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews and grandparents, and that brings us together. I spoke to a young Puerto Rican gay man who grew up in the Pentecostal church, and he said, “I’m shocked that a Pentecostal Latino pastor led the prayer at this vigil.” I just said to him, “Jesus would have led the prayer. Jesus would have.”

  6. “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you know nothing about”. ~Wayne Dyer

    That is the problem with everyone who spouts off about LGBT folks. They are the people who have opinions out the yeng yang but know nothing of facts and reality. What is real to them is their own fear, bias, hatred and extreme narrowness of mind.
    The only thing that matters or will right the ship is love. Love does not have conditions. And if one thinks love has conditions – rest assured it isn’t really love.
    Keep on telling it like it is John.

    • It is not so hard to actually learn what is going on, what science thinks about gender and sexual identity (hint: It has changed a LOT in the past 40-some years).

      And, for some of you out here (who, if it were my blog, I would have nuked your responses in 15 seconds or less) should learn that there are actually Christians who believe in the Bible who disagree… for reasons they find in the Bible…

      And to all of my LGBT friends here… be strong! there are plenty of us out here who think you are just fine, thanks.

    • And I would add that even if LGBTQ behavior is a sin, the Old Testament law is gone—all of it—even the 10 Commandments. Christians are called to love their LGBTQ neighbors—not persecute them. Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals like Jason and “Lying Concerned” are Old testament Jews born from the same seed pod as the Scribes and Pharisees—and they behave just like them.

  7. Thank you for the links to LGBTQ Christian writers, pastors, activists, and thinkers. I am confident my life will be invaluably richer, my eyes further opened, my heart passionately moved, my advocacy strengthened. Thank you.

  8. I am copying and pasting the heck out of your “LTSHTS” article while this small window is open. Thank you for articulating what is in my heart and giving me a wealth of material.

  9. John – typo in 2nd paragraph…”tending” instead of “trending.”

    thought you’d want to know. 😀

    as always, you speak important, poignant truths.

  10. WOW! Once again I am stunned! Where is Jesus’ precious lesson of love and tolerance and acceptance John has shared with us over these years? Once more I am offended by certain people insulting others in order to defend their own self righteous intolerance and bigotry! Spouting garbage like yeah, we welcome gays into our church – to bring them to repentance? Are you kidding? A Christian church? My immediate response was Then keep your damn church! The verses in the old testament people so love to quote to justify their own narrow-minded intolerance against gays and any other differing cultures were originally written by superstitious people lacking current scientific knowledge, seeking order in a chaotic world, and passed down through countless scribes’ oft-re-written texts and much-translated languages whose original meaning you will never know for certain. In contrast, Jesus’ message was of tolerance and love and inclusion – yet even now bigots utterly fail to honor his message or welcome his tolerant social concept when it comes to people whose physical appearance or emotional chemistry differs from theirs. And still unenlightened people continue to pass judgment on others and act superior! I often ask myself – How is it that so MANY holier-than-thou haters have the nerve to call themselves “Christians” when that was not Jesus’ message at all! I have given up on the church. I have found Gods peace and love and tolerance in different, often better, places – like the lake side and John’s well- thought-out heartfelt posts. The only thing I miss is the great classic music – No, not garage band night-club barroom junk! The great composers’ truly God-inspired music that was written to lift us high ABOVE the mundane. And I wish everyone could simply open their heart and begin to appreciate and learn from others’ differences.

  11. You’re an insightful writer. But, I can’t stand all of the haters who use your writings to grandstand on. Trolls,? I don’t get it. Life’s too short, so I’m just not going to read them anymore. But keep up the good work, John.

  12. This Pagan lesbian thanks you for your obvious love. My gay brother and I long ago left the church of our birth when their friends who had known us since birth turned on them for “raising us wrong”. If you will accept a blessing from an Arch Druidess, many blessings on you and your work.

  13. Pingback: Symbolic Gestures « Asexuality in A Sexual World

  14. Hi everyone. Over on the “Flee from Christian Fundamentalism” blog, I have had a Rebuke Festival since Sunday for fundie haters like Jason and Concerned. You are welcome to come on over and take a look:

    https://faith17983. wordpress.com/

    The new item by Samantha Bee is especially on message and to the point with regard to the shootings in Orlando. The piece on the rank hypocrisy at the Southern Baptist Convention this week is especially poignant.

    However, I am really looking forward to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on abortion within the next two weeks. Unless I miss my guess, the justices are going to give the state-level fundie bigots the “Buddy Love” treatment:

  15. John – seems to me your pointing your pen at the wrong target. Unless of course, you actually believe, only the LGBT community cares about 50 or so innocent souls being slaughtered by an ISIS allegiance claiming Muslim.

    • I think John is responding to the silences and messages from much of the Christian Fundamentalist and Conservative Evangelical communities in the US.
      I have, myself, seen the loving, supportive response from CAIR, the Council for American-Islamic Relations. I participated in a prayer vigil at a local (‘Evangelical’ in the non-political sense) UPCUSA (United Presbyterian Church in the USA). I have also noticed a distinct lack of such response from many of my more conservative Christian friends, who mostly were either concerned about those horrible Muslims, or about the loss of gun rights.

      • yes. this.

        your logic is flawed…anyone could just as easily do the same to you because you didn’t mention every sin and ill that threatens us/plagues us…especially the one that plagues us all, having huge big pieces of wood stuck in our eyes.

  16. Another great post, John. When our Christian daughter came out, we spent about six months trying different LGBTQ affirming churches in our city with her to help her find the perfect new church home. We attend a Free Methodist church which is not affirming. For two reasons, my husband and I remain at our home church. First, to do all we can to be change agents there. We have held an event at our home for our church members to come hear our daughter tell her story. We have dialogued with the pastors many times on this subject. We openly talk to our non-affirming fellow church goers to try to slowly, inch by inch, help them become more loving and inclusive. And we have come alongside others in the church with LGBTQ kids or siblings to let them know that they are not alone in our congregation. The second reason we stayed is that I have serious cancer going on for the third time, and we need the support of our community at our home church. It was not the time to start all over again making friends who would come alongside us in the cancer journey. However, we spent much time discussing this with our daughter and telling her that in one heartbeat we would leave our church and attend the new church with her. She fully endorses the reasons that for now, we are staying in our home church, and we often visit her church, where she is active in youth ministry, the food bank, serving on the communion team, etc. We could not be more proud of our daughter and are so thankful that God made her just the way she is!

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