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"Exalting the Humble and Meek" - Monday Moment - December 18, 2023

CW: Discussion of HB68 and anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation.

Happy Monday, my friends! One of the Gospel lessons appointed in the lectionary for yesterday was Luke 1:46-55, which is the Song of Mary, also known as the Magnificat. If you’ve been with us for a while, you might remember me using the Gospel Canticles as inspiration during the fall of 2022. Well, the Magnificat was one of those canticles: “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For they have regarded the lowliness of their handmaiden. For behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For they that are mighty hath magnified me, and holy is their Name. And their mercy is on them that fear God throughout all generations. They hath showed strength with their arm; they hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. God hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble and meek. They hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich they hath sent empty away. God remembering God’s mercy hath holpen their servant Israel, as they promised to our ancestors, Abraham and his seed forever.”

Last week was the year that would not end. If you saw me at all, I was likely frazzled, running from one project to another. Not only was last week the final week of classes at MTSO with multiple papers and projects due, but it was also an extremely busy week at the statehouse with three anti-LGBTQIA+ bills on the docket. While the week quieted some as we learned that HB8 (the forced outing and censorship bill) and HB183 (the transgender bathroom ban) would not be moving again until at least January, we went into Wednesday hoping for the best, not really prepared for the worst, and thinking we’d end up somewhere in the middle on HB68 (a ban on gender-affirming health care for minors and a ban on Transgender girls and women in girls and women’s sports). By 6:30pm our worst-case scenario had come true and the Ohio General Assembly had passed HB68, sending it to Governor DeWine’s desk.

The worst part of HB68 is not that it has in the best and kindest terms been described as disgusting, draconian, and state-sponsored bullying. The worst part is not all the evil in the bill—and there’s a lot. The worst part wasn’t all the dismissed arguments from Trans youth, medical professionals, lawyers, pastors, and more. And the worst part wasn’t the fact that when proponents showed up they brought around 20 people, many of whom were from out-of-state, compared to the well over 300 opponents who filed testimony (many of whom also showed up to deliver that testimony). No, the worst part is that HB68 targets children. Children who should not be forced to choose between being their true selves or being eligible to play sports. Children who shouldn’t have to choose, with their families, between staying in their communities or fleeing to a state where they can access gender-affirming care. This is not how we are supposed to treat children and it definitely is not how we are supposed to treat people who are created in the image of God.

Regardless of what we put our faith in, we can be assured that the moral arc of the universe bends towards justice. Like the lines from the Magnificat: “God hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble and meek. They hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich they hath sent empty away,” there will be a time when HB68 and bills like it across the whole world will be nothing but memories and stains on our shared history. Until then we will not stop fighting until people realize that Transgender and LGBTQIA+ people in general are not to be feared or ridiculed. We are people too. We are people created in the image of God.

What was your reaction to the passage of HB68? How will you contribute to stopping it from becoming law?

Let us pray: God, we know you’re with us, but we want signs and we want miracles. We want you the fix the problem and do the work for us. Yet, that’s not who you are. You made us to come together and fight for a better tomorrow. We lean on your strength and march forward ready for a new day. Amen.

Blessings on your weeks, my friends! Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.




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