Compassion and empathy are cornerstones of Christianity

Compassion and empathy are cornerstones of Christianity

Editorial Board

On August 10, 2015, the Seattle City Council passed a law making it a requirement that any single stall restroom, whether in city or private business, which includes coffee shops, hotels and stores, no longer can use gender specific signs and places, but must make the restrooms available to both men and woman.  This includes coffee shops, hotels and stores.

The city’s LGBT Task Force recommended this, and Mayor Murray has applauded. A long passed rule by our Legislature finally put into effect on December 26 allows transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with the gender that fits their identify best.

Philadelphia passed a  similar legislation last year.  The federal government established gender neutral restrooms in the White House and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Even some schools are moving to gender neutral restroom including Miraloma Elementary in San Francisco.

The Human Rights Commissions, which introduced the law into the Washington State Legislature, cites safety as one of its major reasons for this new law.  

It is reassuring that progress is happening at one level, but that doesn’t transfer over to all areas of our country or even our community.

The National Coalition of Antiviolence Programs reported in October of 2015 that twenty-two transgender people, most of them people of color, had been murdered. It cited fear of the unknown as being one of the primary sources for this misplaced hatred. 

People are scared of things they do not understand, according to NCAVP’s report. This fear, however, can never be used to justify hatred, especially in hearts and minds guided by the gospels.

Jesus Christ did not preach a gospel for the comfortable. His teachings were then and still remain revolutionary. Christians are always called to act through a faith based on compassion and empathy.

At the very least, being tolerant to this new change in our city’s public buildings is probably our best response. Despite what people might feel about such a controversial topic, it seems obvious that all people who are being persecuted in our society deserve and need our compassionate action.  

Ideally, the issue of gender diversity and the respect of people of all races, creeds, colors, and genders should be at the heart of  in this community. The Miter urges the opening of honest, open-minded, faith-based discussion on how our community can support people of all callings. Hearts opened by the gospels cannot close because of discomfort.