From The Hutch
The recent furore over how Christian schools should cater for their LGBTQIA+ students has forced me to confront my own identity and beliefs.
Frankly – or Francine as the case may be – everyone should walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, no matter how pointy and uncomfortable they may be.
It’s called empathy.
But first, you need to pick a gender.
I’m lucky there because I’m comfortable with all the various components that were included in the original packaging. There were no leftover nuts or bolts, just one or two screws loose.
God doesn’t make mistakes, of course, but I’m convinced some of the minions putting the flatpacks together don’t always read the instructions.
Anyone who has ever assembled something as simple as a bicycle will know that it is not unusual to be left with extra bits and pieces or have bits missing that should be there. And humans are way more complicated.
Next, you need to choose a sexual preference. You can choose as many as you like, or none if you want.
For a while there, after a redundancy, my go-to song was Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I will Survive’. Apparently this song could make me gay.
It’s not that much of a stretch really because I’m rather fond of myself and I’ve already established that I’m a man.
Finding someone just like me would be brilliant. We would both be right all the time, with the same expectations over housework, nights out, lawn maintenance and meals. I don’t even care which side of the bed I sleep on.
Sadly, it seems I’m one of a kind.
And you would think my wife would be deliriously happy about that. The only issue is that my personality often acts as a contraceptive.
I have been reliably informed that what I am rhymes with ‘anchor’. There’s no W in LGBTQIA+ so I guess it’s covered by the +.
So I don’t even get my own letter.
The higher power
Now, all that is left to consider is the spiritual side and fortunately I have been thinking about that a lot lately.
I was basically a heathen child until my parents were born again in the 1970s. By the time the 1990s rolled around I was well on the way to being a heathen again. It’s only in recent years that I’ve started pondering my spirituality. And only because my mother asked me what my spiritual beliefs were.
It’s not just Mum who thinks it’s a good idea to have a healthy spiritual life, Alcoholics Anonymous also swears by it, although I can’t tell you who told me that. They reckon a higher power can restore us to sanity.
Having a Higher Power sounds great so now it’s just a matter of finding one. As a big science fiction fan, I’m leaning towards an intelligent alien lifeform, preferably a friendly one with a wormhole that I can use for travel purposes. I really do like the idea that we are not alone in the universe.
Finding the right place
So that brings us to the empathy part. How would an alien-embracing self-lover who was born with male bits and identifies as a male get on at a Christian school?
I don’t think there is a massive leap there when it comes to ideology, so probably quite well. The age might raise a few eyebrows on the PTA though, so I’ll almost certainly get pelted with food that is past its use-by date.
Clearly, I should be at university studying astronomy. And you could argue that if your personal traits don’t align with the special charter of a Christian school then you should go somewhere else too.
However, high schools are places where young people crystallise their own ideas about who they are and in New Zealand you are legally entitled to do that, without prejudice.
Christian values and faith are valuable tools to teach but I’m a big believer in giving people the space to come to their own conclusions or they might just throw the whole lot away.
No doubt many people who find they don’t fit the mould seek out a more nurturing environment, but they should also feel free to stay.
Either way, thank God for the Bill of Rights.