Intersection of Policies & Prayers // M-Note 4.22.23

This week, I talked with some friends who are part of The Gathering. They shared how difficult the past week has been. They have a young-adult kid who currently receives medical care for gender dysphoria. This spring, legislation has been moving through the Missouri state congress that would bar minors who experience gender dysphoria or identify as trans from receiving similar healthcare. The Missouri Attorney General then issued an emergency rule that would deny gender-affirming care not just to minors but also adults. While there are exceptions to the rule, the new declaration makes it virtually impossible for most people to receive care. These are among the most (if not THE most) restrictive laws and rules of any state in the country and make Missouri far less safe for individuals or families who need access to medical care related to gender.
Many people we love now fear no longer being able to access care. As I sat with this couple, my heart broke for the difficult decisions they must make. They were processing things like, “Is my child safe?”, “Can we get necessary care?” or “Do we have to move?” The emergency rule targets and makes life much harder for people who are already alienated, mistreated, and excluded. Trans people, other LGBTQ folks, and their families are hurting.
Also this week, our Missouri House passed another bill that would override existing gun restrictions. Under this potential law, people with concealed carry permits could bring a gun to church without the pastor's permission, as well as on public transportation. While churches can still post signs to ban guns, this law would make it easier and less restrictive for people to carry firearms.

I disagree with these laws and rules. I do not think they represent the love of Christ, don’t contribute to the common good, and are not being enacted out of authentic concern for the impacted people. If you want to speak out about these bills, you can find your state representatives here, and I encourage you to contact them.

Whatever you believe about these potential laws, scripture instructs us to “be happy with those who are happy; cry with those who cry.” (Romans 12.15). Right now, many in our community are crying and hurting. Let us cry with them. If you are a person or family impacted by these laws, I am praying for you, and our church is a place of refuge, support, and safety for you and your family. If you need prayer, support, or want to process more of how to respond, please contact your site pastor or The Gathering Care Ministry.
In the midst of this, it is even more critical that The Gathering strives to be a community that worships Jesus, works for peace, resists injustice, and welcomes all people. I hope you will help me create that kind of church and witness Jesus's love for all people.

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