Why I’m not applauding Bruce Jenner

I’ve been told I can be pretty liberal for a Christian. My husband often pokes fun at how passionate I get over issues that don’t even involve me, especially issues that many Christians stand against, (like giving service to gay couples at bakeries), and he will shake his head and smile at how loudly opinionated I get.

I have several gay friends who I absolutely love, atheist friends I have fun having conversations with, and co-workers I’d die for despite their very opposite line of beliefs. I don’t protest in the streets against civil rights, I don’t gawk at tattoos and piercings or judge those who drink wine at work functions. I believe in women’s rights in the workplace and respect for all races. I believe that everyone has the right to worship however, even if those religions contradict with mine. Liberal? Fine. I like to call it human.

And because that’s who I am, some will expect me to applaud Bruce–or Caitlyn–Jenner.

Consider me on the other side of the fence with this one.

Vanity Fair just published this magazine, with Bruce Jenner completely dolled up and feminized now, announcing that he’s a woman named Caitlyn, and that he’s always felt it within himself to become a woman.

bruce jenner

Bloggers, journalists, and the whole of social media has already been blood thirsty over this subject. I’m kind of late to the party, I know. I’m sure that as soon as that picture hit the shelves there were thousands of writers and commentators and Jane Doe’s salivating at the chance to shoot down the first Conservative that sauntered into the opinion party with a line of thinking sure to ruffle some feathers. Because in this day and age, don’t you DARE call something wrong if that something makes someone out there HAPPY. Because happy is the name of the game nowadays, no matter what.

Just do what makes you happy….right?

Now I’m not dismissing the fact that we should love–always. We should be tolerant and kind and understanding of pain or difference in beliefs. There’s no excuse to not love every single person who graces this earth.

But here’s the question we come to. Where do we draw the line?


When does our obligation to be politically correct and tolerant cross the boundaries into celebration of wickedness or the absurd turning away from what’s moral and right? When do we lose our right to freedom of religion or morality simply because those who don’t have religion get offended or call us bigots and bully us into silence? Where do we draw the line?

Like I said, I have friends from all backgrounds and belief systems and my favorite part about each of them is how much they respect my beliefs and my ways of stating what I think without hurting them in the process. But unfortunately not everyone in today’s world is like that. We are nervous to offend. Scared to hurt. Absolutely terrified to be a bigot, or to be intolerant, or heartless. I live in a world where “I’m a Christian” or “I’m Mormon” or “I’m conservative” pretty much sounds like, “I’m a gun-toting, ignorant hypocrite who hates anyone who doesn’t go to church on Sundays.” Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it’s truer than you think.

John Boehner

We are slowly transforming and changing as a society. Our entertainment industry cheers for those who step outside of traditional values, heralding those who change their genders or advocate for the freedom to do “whatever one chooses to do” as “heroes”. Because we’re told that those kinds of people are “real” and “honest” and “brave”. And the rest of us, who feel that the things Bruce Jenner is going through might be a need for intervention or help or might simply just be wrong–we’re just bigots, or religious nuts, or pigs or…shall I go on?

It’s a real illness in our world. But we won’t heal it, simply because too many people feel that there’s nothing to heal. As long as everyone is happy–even superficially happy–what’s the need to butt in?

WASHINGTON - APRIL 25:  Pro-choice activists shout slogans as they take part in the March For Women's Lives April 25, 2004 in Washington, DC. Hundreds of thousands of activist demonstrated for abortion rights and opposition to the Bush Administration's policies on reproductive health issues.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Jesus himself butt into the lives of others, calling people out when they walked a crooked path, yet breaking bread with them at the same time and reminding them of His Father’s love. Jesus himself cared so much about those around him that he couldn’t bear to be silent. He loved his friends too much to just accept things as they are or to hide His light from them.

We need to love like that.

jesus turning tables

I refuse to applaud for anything and everything because that’s not being true to what is right.

Those who have a crisis of identity or a crisis of self image needs more than public approval. I refuse to applaud for those who have lost sight of who they truly are, much like an anorexic sees a falsely overweight reflection. I refuse to clap my hands when my rights are smothered to appease the feelings of those who have lost their way all for self-gratification in the here and now. I’d rather advocate for help to those who need it. I’d rather urge people to look out for those who might need prayer or guidance or assurance in their self worth. I’d rather see certain things as a terrible trial of this life and love and understand those who literally have the burden of that on their shoulders until they die. And if that makes me a bigot, then consider me the most heartfelt, well-meaning, honest bigot you’ve ever known.

I’m called to love Bruce Jenner. But I’m not called to give a standing ovation to whatever he chooses to do.

Of course we have the duty to love. But love is much greater than standing idly by or not expressing an opinion in fear of being called unkind or hypocritical.

Love has a light.

And for as long as I’m breathing I’ll believe it also has a voice.

I’ll believe what I want: And Phil Robertson can too.

When I write posts on this blog I avoid any talk about homosexuality.

I just don’t go there. You might think it’s because I’m Mormon. Or because I’m so passionate about it that I might just blow up and scribble hate speech all over the page. Not so.

The reason is actually because I have dear friends–and family–who are gay. And I love them. They’re some of the best people I know for darn sure.

But then, a situation arose that I just couldn’t brush aside. Phil Robertson was suspended from the show “Duck Dynasty” by A&E for expressing his opinion–and distaste– about homosexuality. You can read the interview here.

phil robertson

Was his opinion blunt? Sure. Was it a little coarse? Uh…yeah. Not the way I would have worded it, or you probably would have. But have you SEEN the show? It’s not exactly a walk through the daisies. These are rough-around-the-edges hunting men with their feet in swamps and their chins in dirty beards and their mouths running with witty off-the-wall comments. That’s the point of the entire show and it reflects the kind of people they are. But all of that bluntness, coarseness, and red-neckedness aside– it was his OPINION. And the last time I checked, our constitution protects that right. Right…?

As a Mormon journalist in Seattle I confront gay rights and gay movements ALL the time. I’ve written stories about it, I’ve walked right past parades in the city, I’ve sat next to people who LIVE the lifestyle. And I often get asked if it’s difficult to work in that kind of environment or face issues like that or interact with people like that who are so different than me. And the truth is, it’s not.

book of mormon

As a Mormon–actually I’ll go as far as saying as a Christian, since Phil and I have that in common–we’re called to stand true to our beliefs all while holding fast to the belief that we’re called to love. I love my gay friends for who they are–and in return, they love me for who I am. It doesn’t mean we agree on everything.

No, I don’t agree with homosexuality. There, I said it. But you could have guessed that from my religion.

Just like Phil expressed, I don’t personally feel that the practice of homosexuality is right or that it’s obedient to God’s laws. But having said that, I DO agree that everyone has rights to live in the ways in which they feel is right, even if that’s different than me. I may not agree with them, but I’ll love them. Because that’s what Christ would do.

holding hands

And just as I have the obligation to love and accept and give freedom to those who practice or agree with homosexuality–THEY have the obligation to afford that to me as well. I have the right, protected by this great country, to practice any religion I want and believe what I want and express whatever I want to say. If you get that right–then so do I. And so does Phil. Even if he does say it in a blunt kind of way or “hurts feelings”–it doesn’t matter. It’s his right to speak about what he believes–and he hasn’t committed any kind of hate crime while doing it.

opinion about gays

I’m tired of living in a society where it’s protected to speak out about gay rights and it’s socially acceptable to march in the streets with flags and voices raised in unison about marriage equality–but it isn’t acceptable to talk about God at work or to express a view contradictory to a politically correct stance or to say “Merry Christmas” because– Heaven forbid–the phrase has Christ’s name in it.

gay pride

Our country was built upon long-standing principles that protect you just as much as they protect me. If you’re Buddhist or Christian or Mormon or Athiest…if you’re supportive of the principle of homosexuality or you’re personally against it…if you’re pro-choice or pro-life…if you have a strong opinion about everything or little to no opinion at all–our constitution says you’re protected. Since when did that get so forgotten and smeared and erased that our people have become silenced?

That doesn’t sound like my country anymore.

Is it really land of the free and home of the brave…or land of the oppressed and home of the politically correct?