Love Wins in Taiwan, the Heart of East Asia – Yu-Jen Dai

This, our first post for Pride Month, is a dazzling mix of LGBTQ and gender issues, Asian Christian identity, global Lutheranism, as well as education about one of the world’s most distinct cultures and nations: Taiwan. To say much more would be to give away too much, so we will just end with a sincere ‘thank-you’ to our author, Evangeline (Yu-Jen) Dai for her time – and all the rest of you? Read, comment, and share!

Francisco Herrera, PhD student and Interim Blog Editor

lutheran queer

I do not like politics, but I have to say this:

My home country, Taiwan, is an independent country that has been oppressed by the Chinese government on many international occasions.

Taiwan has its own government, president, currency, and constitution; people in Taiwan can vote; the passport of Taiwan is green, not red (scarlet) as China… Taiwan is an independent country, not a province of China.

Why does this matter for the PRIDE Month?

Because Taiwan is the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage (see: Wikipedia, PBS, or Google it for more).

map asia

I would say the climax of its legalizing process came along the way of my first year of seminary.

Not only for same-sex marriage, but Taiwan has also been working on gender equity as well. In my first semester of seminary, I took a Christian Ethics course, and my group presentation topic was “cisgender privilege” and how to interrupt the systemic injustice of that privilege. Through my research, I found out that during the 5 years since I left Taiwan, radical movements for gender equity in Taiwan were vigorous – most importantly because of the government’s support.

All-gender restrooms were set in many public places. The Gender Equity Education Act has been revised many times when a new need emerged. I have to say, to faster confront systematic injustice, my government’s ruling would be sufficient. Taiwan is a democratic country, but individualism is not a thing, most people will follow the rules even unwillingly. Wearing uniforms in school is a tradition in Taiwan, binary one as girls are forced to wear skirts; now some schools break that tradition and allow boys to wear skirts, and they really did, in order to show inclusion for gender diversity.

senior high
New Taipei Municipal Panchiao Senior High School, Taiwan

On 24 May 2017, the Constitutional Court of Taiwan ruled that the then-current marriage law was unconstitutional and that the constitutional right to equality and freedom of marriage guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry as well (Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748). Political opposition to this legislation tried to fight and request a popular vote, then in November 2018, the Taiwanese electorate passed referendums to prevent the recognition of same-sex marriages in the Civil Code and to restrict teaching sex education with LGBT issues. I remember I was so sad and hid myself in the room crying. My classmates understood I was having a hard time and they were very supportive for me.

gay taiwan

The sad part of it was that many groups oppose same-sex marriage using the Bible and Christian faith to support their ideas. They made most people believe Christian = anti-gay. But this creates hatred and is not helpful in bring people to Christ… Thankfully, there are still some affirming Christians who work very hard to show the real inclusive love of God to people.

After the vote, the Government responded by confirming that the Court’s ruling would be implemented and that the referendums could not support laws contrary to the Constitution. On May 17, 2019, the Legislative Yuan approved the same-sex marriage bill; on the same day, after heavy rains, a rainbow showed up in the sky, people posted the rainbow photos and said even God approves the bill. The bill took effect on 24 May 2019.

Presidential Office Building of Taiwan with the rainbow on May 17, 2019. From Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen‘s Facebook page

However, this did not bring the fight to an end.

The legislation for same-sex marriage only applies to the couples that all both from the countries permit same-sex marriage. Many same-sex couples have a partner in China, Japan, Southeast Asia, etc. these couples are still not able to get married. So the next level of activism is to advocate change for full inclusion, so the partners of Taiwanese citizens from other parts of Asia can get married and apply for naturalization in Taiwan.

gay protest

Now, allow me to share something interesting from my cultural background. There are different Chinese characters and phrases for the English word “marry” shows the gender roles in ancient Chinese tradition:

1. For females’ action to marry a man is 嫁 (Jià), which is combined by two words: 女 (, means female, girl, or woman) at the left and 家 (Jiā, means home, family) at the right — for a woman to get married is making the woman have a new home. Another explanation is “a woman can only form her own home after she gets married.”


2. For males’ action to marry a woman is 娶 (), which is combined by two words: 取 (, means to obtain, to acquire, to receive, etc.) at the top and 女 (, means female, girl, or woman) at the bottom — for a man to get married is taking a woman.


3. A common phrase for all genders is 結婚, which means to establish/conclude a wedding/marriage. However, the first word 結 (Jié) is the verb, that means to establish/conclude, the second word 婚 (Hūn) is a noun, which means marriage. Most same-sex couples will use this phrase as the verb for their marriage.

The Chinese characters for marriage “婚” “姻” content the element 女 (, means female, girl, or woman). What could that mean? Is it a good thing or a bad thing to emphasize women in the “traditional marriage” (a term frequently used by Chinese users)? Actually, similar to ancient Israel, in ancient China, women have no right of themselves, but as goods that men would take the women home.

As a result, I found it problematic for same-sex gay couples to use these words for marriage. I asked some gay friends in Taiwan that how do they feel about it, they kind of just accept it; unless they want to use restrained classical Chinese to say “get married”: 成親 (Chéng Qīn) which literally means “become relatives/in-laws” but have been used as “get married.” But this phrase only exists in historical dramas and novels, we don’t use it in contemporary speech.

From this example, we can see how heterosexism has dominated the world and how women have been suppressed in this culture for so long, and we know better that there are more cultures and traditions which think similarly.

We are lucky to live in a world that is more open and just for gender equity and sexual justice, yet we have a lot of work to do. In some corners of the world, our siblings are still being discriminated against.

We shout, we pray, and we hope. One day, there will be no more tears…

For Taiwan, the first female president was elected and served since 2016; she was just re-elected for the term of 2020 to 2024.

Let us pray:

Eternal God, we thank you for the multi-colored rainbow that reminds us of your covenant with all. Help us learn to see the beauty and dignity in the colors of all people, as we see the beauty in the colors of the rainbows. Let all the world celebrate every person you created in your image; with faith, not with fear; with hope, not with despair; with love, not with hate. Heal all who are wounded, grant us the courage to continue proclaiming the gospel with diversity and inclusion.

We pray in the name of Christ, Amen.


Evangeline (Yu-Jen) Dai is a MDiv student at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary of CLU, a candidate for Word and Sacrament ministry with TX-LA Gulf Coast synod. She was born and grew up in Taiwan, converted to Christianity in 2013, moved to the US (Houston) in 2014, joined Faith Lutheran Church, Bellaire, TX in 2015, and moved to Berkeley for seminary in Fall 2018. Evangeline likes arts, graphic design, and crafting. She has a YouTube channel as a side ministry for music videos featuring ELW hymns sung in Mandarin; she also translates contemporary hymns from English to Chinese or vice versa. Embracing diversity and advocating for minority are her passion; except gospels, her favorite Bible verse is Galatians 3:28.

Satis Est in Exile: Queer Latinx Reflections Over the Augsburg Confession – Sergio Edson Rodriguez

Our final reflection on Pride Month and Lutheran theology, we have a fascinating piece by Sergio Edson Rodriguez – a latinx, synodically authorized minister in south Texas, and seminarian at Wartburg Theological Seminary. But as a gay Tejano living along la frontera (the borderlands between the United States and Mexico) Minister Rodriguez’s need for grace was very different than that of Luther’s. His exploration of this difference, mixed with his personal story, is the subject of this week’s post, and it is a marvelous one. So please, read, comment, and share!

Francisco Herrera – PhD student and Interim Blog Editor

“La Bamba” – Victoria de Almeida


This might sound quite odd to most of you but if I had not discovered the liberating message words of Satis Est in the Confesio, I would be stuck in the closet, living an unhappy life of machismo and self-loathing.

As the son of two Mexican immigrants on this side of La Frontera  in the Rio Grande Valley, I grew up in an environment of ridged societal norms and work ethic based off of hay que sufrir. I was to be an hombre, a macho, a hardworking man who gave up everything for his wife and kids. I was to honor la familia and take care of mis padres all the while conquering the hearts (y honor) of many senoritas. And so when I was in the fifth grade, I started to notice my own eyes following the movements of many of my male classmates and my heart yearned to be together with my male best friend. What did this mean for me knowing what my abuelos, tios and papa week after week taught me about what it meant to be a hombre? What would happen to my relationship with my papa if he knew I started to have these odd feelings? I saw how my papa struggled to provide for our family in his construction jobs, how he rehearsed his answers to border patrol agents, how he showered my sister and I with such tender affection that I could not fear losing his love. So, I didn’t tell him.

Yet how could I stop being myself, a small, timid, passive child who at the drop of a hat would bawl his eyes out? Since I was used to being the butt of many jokes, being called Maricón for starts, I decided at a fairly young age to bury myself in the thin veneer of sports, clubs, music and video games as I attempted to make sense of who I was and what I was feeling.

Translation: “They called me ‘fag’ in high school.” Video here.

I grew to loathe the deep inclinations of my heart as puberty increased my dissatisfaction with my nascent sexuality. It was at this time that I stopped attending la Misa at Our Lady of Sorrows in McAllen, TX because I could not see how any institution could tell me how to think or how not to be true to myself. And with this severing of my affiliation, the ax fell upon other identity markers of my youth as I struggled to make sense of my own beliefs and feelings: Español, followed by my own hatred of La Raza.

I was a Maricón and I didn’t feel that neither my father or the church understood what it meant when I longed to be loved by another man like me. So when it came time to go to college, I took the decision to go far away from mi familia y la raza at Baylor University. Finally, I would be among folks who would think to some degree like me; rational, liberal and etc… Of course I did not realize at the time that I was going to a conservative school with conservative classmates and required religion courses.

Again like in my childhood, I became the butt of many jokes but this time these really stung me; go back where you came from, wetback. These years of college made me yearn for the familiar rhythm of life where I could live and breathe the same air as my antepasados did as they toiled the contours of the North Mexican soil. So, I decided then to recover what I was able to as I studied in Waco; my Roman Catholic faith. So I returned back to the bosom of La Virgen de Guadalupe even though I knew that if I were to pursue the calling I had in my heart, that I would be celibate. But at that time, I rationalized the entire process. I would be like El Padrecito, like Cantinflas

Promo poster for the film”El Padrecito.” or in English “The Good Priest.”

Luchando – fighting and struggling – for the marginalized of society. I would be a blessing to my papa y mama because I would be closer to God on their behalf.

But more so, I would finally win the battle over my self-loathing over my sexuality and ethnicity because the gracious merits of Christ would enable me to win my victory over these powers of wickedness.

La Virgen would enable me to win the crown of victory through my ministry. I would no longer be a queer disappointment but to be loved with all the crosses heaped upon me.

And so I began the sleepless nights, the scruples in, within and under Confession and Contrition, the utterances of a laundry list of litanies with the particular caveat of helping me not commit a mortal sin. But no matter what, I always found myself impeded from taking la hostia because deep down inside I felt a pull drawing me deeper and deeper into the pit of resentment, resentment because I knew that I hated being a maricón. With a deep sorrow weighing me down, I would leave la misa at St. Peter’s Student Center in Waco, TX with deep regret for not having tasted the sweet meal of salvation. This cycle came to a halt during a my senior year in college.

One Tuesday afternoon as I arrived to my apartment after class, I broke down. I broke down because enough was enough of this charade. I was tired of hating myself for being attracted to men and then almost breaking out in a cold sweat because I might have or not committed a mortal sin.

I just wanted grace. I just wanted love. I wanted Dioscito to look at me with tender eyes and hold me, hold me with a love that unconditionally accepts me just as I am.

Suddenly an odd thought came to mind; perhaps Dr. Luther was correct.


See for years, I had a zeal for the Roman Catholic faith that I attempted to do whatever it took to convert people back to Holy Mother church. So during the semester I broke down, I finished Roland Bainton’s Here I Stand for my History of Protestantism class. Here was a man who like me was seen in such a horrendous light and who also yearned for God as I did. Here was a man who loved his wife and children so tenderly that I found myself back in the arms of my own papa with every passing description of Luther’s love for his son, Hans. His message of justification by grace through faith warmed my heart; God in Jesus Christ unconditionally held me, a Queer Latino in his loving familia. Immediately, I phoned my only Lutheran friend with the desire to learn more about the Lutheran faith. The Book of Concord was the road he pointed me to; the road to Wittenburg. Quickly, I ran to the library and seized upon the Tappert edition and turned to the Augsburg Confession; the first Lutheran Symbol…

luther rose.jpg
The Luther Rose

I devoured each article with such a hunger that could only be explained as my own personal Pentecost moment. There it was my vida, my faith, my hope that I would never again lose my cultura y my sexuality. La Misa was celebrated. La Virgen retained. La Hostia to be tasted with faith. La familia and ministry pursued together as sacred. But above all, God viewed me with the eyes of mercy and new life, me a Queer Latino hijo de imigrantes from la Frontera. Through God’s son, I felt my self-loathing melt away and give way to a life in the company of people like me.

Ya llegue. Satis Est. – I had made it. It (I) was enough

Even now as a Queer Latinx Luterano vicario (Latinix Lutheran vicar), I lean into my own encounter with the living God that Melanchthon and Luther proclaimed whenever I encounter other Queer Latinx folk who yearn for a place and a word that wrapped them in unconditional mercy.

As I look towards La Frontera and see the beautiful faces of la Raza struggling to come over to this country, I can not help but see in their lives, my own life. Their hopes as my hope. Their own struggles as my own. God’s grace for them as God’s grace for me.


sergeSergio Rodriguez is a word and sacrament candidate in the Southwestern Texas Synod and is a M.Div student at Wartburg Theological Seminary. Currently, he is a Synodically Authorized Minister at St. Paul’s Square Ministries (St. Paul Lutheran-Karnes City; St. Paul Lutheran-Nordheim).

Queer Resistance, Holy Vocation – Joshua Warfield

As Pride Month continues, We Talk. We Listen. is most happy to present an extraordinarily thorough exploration of the queer resistance inherent in Lutheran theology. Joshua K. “Pace” Warfield, PhD student and scholar/theologian at the Graduate Theological Union reminds us just how queer a thing it is to resist – both either by what we do and what we are. Read, comment, and share!

Francisco Herrera – PhD student and Interim Editor


Marsh P. Johnson in the wake of the Stonewall Riots

Resistance is a queer thing.

Fifty years ago, on a humid night, police raided the Stonewall Inn for the second time in a week. Staff, drag queens, crossdressers, and transwomen were the frequent targets of these raids, often times arrested. This time, a spark of something (revolution? just being sick and tired of having no safe place? the Holy Spirit?) must have crackled in the air as, at least according to legend, a black trans woman named Marsha P. Johnson threw a bottle at the police, setting off a two day riot where the queer community resisted.

The Stonewall Riots lasted from June 28th through June 30th 1969, and are frequently cited as the beginning of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

Four hundred ninety-eight years ago, a monk stood before his emperor, representatives of the church, his own prince, peers, enemies, and friends. He stood on trial, forced to defend forty-one errors in his teachings. While his prince was able to secure him safe passage to the imperial diet, his life, safety, and career were very much at risk. This man, of course, was Martin Luther. While scholars debate whether or not he actually said “Here I stand,” his response at the Diet of Worms was nonetheless an act of resistance: “If, then, I am not convinced by proof from Holy Scripture, or by cogent reasons, if I am not satisfied by the very text I have cited, and if my judgment is not in this way brought into subjection to God’s word, I neither can nor will retract anything; for it cannot be either safe or honest for a Christian to speak against [their] conscience.”[1]

hammer time


Resistance is a Lutheran thing.

Perhaps because of these anniversaries, this milestone in queer history and the approaching 500th anniversary of the Diet of Worms, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of resistance. Perhaps it’s the current political climate, where since taking office, the current administration “has waged a nonstop onslaught against the rights of LGBTQ people,”with the Trans Equality website tracking nearly forty actions taken against the LGBTQ community, not to mention communities of color, immigrants and refugees, Muslims, and other marginalized communities.[2]

Our lives, as queer people, are lives of resistance.

From the moment we are born, we are gendered in blue or pink colors. We are spoon-fed a culture of heteronormativity telling us that an ideal life is a married, heterosexual life and anything else is deviant or immoral. We teeth on gendered expectations of everything from what toys we can play with to what color clothes we can wear to what kind of haircuts we have. Growing up in the church, we are often baptized into expectations around family, marriage, and gender, with the infamous clobber passages waiting to remind us of our deep, embedded sinfulness if we dare express our queerness.

Our queer resistance comes in one of two ways: either we resist by being ourselves or we resist being ourselves. In other words, in the first option, just being true to ourselves is an act of resistance; the second option, by hiding our truths deep within us, we resist being who we are, whether we do so out of fear or safety or any other reason.

When I was fourteen, soon after I finally admitted to myself that I might be queer, I remember going into my mother’s study and pulling a Bible off of her shelf. My mother is an ordained Lutheran pastor, so finding a Bible was easy. I pulled it out and looked up the word “homosexuality” in the index which took me to the passage “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”[3] Of course I found out later that the English Standard Version of this passage is not a very good rendering of the Greek, but, at fourteen, at the beginning of the road to self-acceptance, this Bible passage told me that I was not going to go to heaven, I would not be inheriting the life abundant promised to Christians in John 10.10.


It appeared that those promises were only for those who were straight and cisgender.

What followed was an insurmountable desire to not be queer, for the divine to change me, transform me, because in that moment it seemed impossible for me to be able to be “gay” and “Christian.” In order to be perceived as straight and match my assigned gender, I “butched up” my gender performance—sweat pants and ratty jeans with graphic tee shirts became my wardrobe of choice. I asked a friend to point out whenever I sounded or my mannerisms were too gay or effeminate so I could police my behavior. However, the more straight-acting I became (or perceived myself to become), the more distant I felt from God. I felt like a rubber band that kept stretching and stretching and sooner or later I felt like I would snap.

I spent far too long resisting myself, trying to silence that voice deep within me telling me, calling me, to be who I am and love myself. Yes, every time we queer folk love ourselves as we are it is an act of resistance. To do otherwise “cannot be either safe or honest,” to borrow Luther’s language.


And that voice deep within me, calling me to resist the world around me and be true to myself, I have no doubt that it is the voice of the Holy Spirit. It is the same queer, rainbow Spirit that calls all of us queer folk to a holy vocation of resisting a world that tells us who we are is not enough, who we are is unlovable or dirty or perverted or flawed or broken.

It is the same rainbow fire that danced over the heads of the disciples at Pentecost, that same rainbow fire pulses through our veins, the same pulsating voice of resistance that led Luther to his “here I stand” moment, the same fire that ignited the resistance at Stonewall fifty years ago, or Compton’s Cafeteria, or the riots following Harvey Milk’s assassination. It is the same glittery sparkle that ignites in a young queer person at their first pride event, where they finally feel seen as who they are. It is the same comforting Spirit who listen to our sighs and cries too deep for words when another one of our black, trans sisters is murdered.

queer god

It is the same Spirit of Marcella Althaus-Reid’s lemon vendors on the streets of Constitucion or San Telmo, the same Spirit that led her to write these sacred words: “the Queer God [calls] us toward a life of Queer holiness, [and] has been coming out for a long time…. [T]he Queer God—fluid and unstable as ourselves, but also laughing and taking pleasure while pursuing a divine destiny of the kind of transgressive justice which disorders the law—comes in glory and in resurrection.”[4]

Yes, resistance is our holy calling. Resistance is a queer thing.

pic2Joshua K. “Pace” Warfield (they/them/their) is a PhD student at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California and received their MA in systematic theology from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (now United Lutheran Seminary). They are studying systematic theology, with research interests in Martin Luther and the Reformation, queer theology, and deconstruction. Pace presently lives in the Baltimore-DC metropolitan area with their husband, Matt, and two dogs.


[1] Martin Brecht, transl. James L. Shaff, Martin Luther: His Road to Reformation 1493-1521, (Minneapolis, MI: Fortress Press, 1985), 460.


[3] Emphasis added. English Standard Version. Even the NRSV translates this passage as “male prostitutes” and “sodomites.”

[4] Marcella Althaus-Reid, The Queer God, (London: Routledge, 2003), 171.

Not the Land of Canaan, Sweetheart – Crystal Ann Solie, M.Div.

IMG_4512On June 28, 1969 – early in the morning – a group of bar patrons, gay and lesbian, transgender and cross-dressing and queer – fought back against police officers attempting to raid a gay bar in Greenwich Village, New York City, The Stonewall Inn. And since then, thousands of cities across the world celebrate June 28, and the entire month of June as well, and the socio-political breakthrough of that night. To commemorate this month, colleague Crystal Ann Solie has agreed to give her own very poignant commentary on the recent Supreme Court decision Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission as well as what this means for her as a lesbian and a devoted follower of Jesus. We won’t give away much more than that, as she speaks much of herself in the piece, but especially encourage church leadership to ask themselves to reflect on how they ask for LGBTQIA+ members of their churches to fully support their ministries if the churches themselves don’t fully support them. Read, comment, and share!

Rev. Dr. Linda E. Thomas – Professor of Theology and Anthropology, Chair of LSTC’s Diversity Committee, Editor – “We Talk. We Listen.”

joseph dines with his brothers
Joseph Dines With His Brothers – Yoram Raanan

A child betrayed by their family is sold into slavery and dragged off to another country to  experience further mistreatment and injustice. This child then comes into power when strangers trust him with a task seemingly beyond his state. This task, however, is the work the child has been ordained to perform to save their community and ultimately, the family that betrayed him.

The Joseph narrative in Genesis draws connections to my life as gay woman as few texts can.

Admittedly, the insult, insensitivity, and uncertainty I have experienced are not the same as being sold into slavery as Joseph was. However, it did cause me to feel trapped and reminded me that I was not being treated the same as the majority of families around me.

The world was a different landscape for same-sex couples in 2008 when my soon-to-be wife and I were making plans for our nuptials. A process that was supposed to be joyful, maybe fun, and certainly stressful for us was instead stained with anxiety.

Would we find a venue, a florist, or a baker that would take our business as a same-sex couple? We certainly weren’t expecting to find a church for the event given the volatile climate following the 2009 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) policy change regarding same sex clergy in committed relationships.

Further distressing was that we weren’t even getting legally married. For this reason and because I did not feel welcome having our ceremony in a church, I didn’t call it a wedding throughout our planning. We had a piece of paper from Cook County (IL) that said we were Domestic Partners. That was it. We wouldn’t have a Civil Union until 2012, wouldn’t be legally married until 2013, and wouldn’t have that marriage recognized in the state where we lived until 2015.

Click here to see the awesome video

However, we were fortunate. We found service providers for every aspect of our special day. We had a great venue, fantastic food, and were surrounded by our friends and family who have championed our marriage from the start. Legally, no one was required to give us any of this, but they chose to of their own free will. Whether they were simply business decisions or choices made to treat us with equality, I cannot be certain.

If it sounds complicated, you’re right. It is and it shouldn’t have to be complicated to treat people with dignity.

Our family has navigated the changing social climate with patience and persistence. We have achieved a level of emotional, spiritual, and financial stability. I imagine this is how Joseph felt, having come into power and being placed on a pedestal in Egypt. However, many same-sex couples do not have plans turn out as we did.

Two recent court cases give rise to the fact that there are still business that do not want and will not accept the patronage of LGBTQIA* individuals or couples.

On June 4, 2018 the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled on the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. A same-sex couple went to the bakery looking to order a cake for their wedding and was told by the baker that he does not make cakes for same sex weddings. The baker was investigated by the Commission and found to be in violation of the state’s non-discrimination statutes, a decision which was upheld by the Colorado Court of Appeals. In this case, SCOTUS ruled that the proceedings that let the Commission’s investigation and findings against the baker infringed upon the baker’s freedom of speech and religion.

Owners of the Masterpiece Cakeshop walking with lawyer and supporters

In the decision of the court, Justice Kennedy noted, “However later cases raising these or similar concerns are resolved in the future, for these reasons the rulings of the Commission and of the state court that enforced the Commission’s order must be invalidated.” (Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 584 U.S. ___ (2018)) This means that a future case could be brought against the same baker for the same reason, but maintains that the investigations for such activity must be conducted with respect and dignity afforded to all parties, including the baker. This seems fair to me.

In short, the SCOTUS ruling does not give businesses the right to discriminate against LGBTQIA folks.

Immediately following the SCOTUS ruling, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled on Brush & Nib Studio v City of Phoenix. In this case, the studio’s artists argued that the City’s non-discrimination ordinance infringed upon the artists’ first amendment rights to freedom of speech and religion to refuse to create wedding invitations for same-sex couples. The court ruled that while a custom invitation might constitute such an infringement, the act of writing the names of two women or two men on a basic invitation design did not.

This, again, is a fair ruling to me and a protection that can be applied to all people. As one business is free to refuse to create a custom wedding invitation for a same-sex couple, another business is also free to refuse to create a custom sign for an LGBTQIA conversion camps or an organization that works to hinder LGBTQIA rights.

The end result of both cases is that all people should be afforded dignity and people should not be denied basic services.


I’ve seen the meme, “All I’m saying is that I believe Jesus would bake the damn cake.” I agree, yes, Jesus would have baked the cake and he would have invited others to join him in baking the cake…

…but he would not compel anyone to bake the cake.

Jesus, however, would compel us to build relationships that would make sure everyone had cake for any occasion they wanted or needed it. Relationships where we are called to mutually sustain each other instead of pointing out faults or claiming religious superiority or righteousness.

As an MDiv graduate who didn’t have any interviews for first call, I have moved across the country and found work in corporate America’s IT sector where new tasks and titles are awarded to me regularly. Sitting in a pew during a congregation’s capital campaign presentation presents a certain irony to me.

It’s a curious position to be in, standing in a place of economic privilege while facing ongoing marginalization.


Much like Joseph’s brothers, the Church comes to me looking for resources. Reticent to honor my call, the Church is always willing to cash my check or use my training without placing me on the payroll.

I realize now how much courage it took Joseph to speak the words that would openly identify his relationship and solidify his commitment to the family that betrayed him. He didn’t ignore their need, but reminded them of their relationship. I’m not quite there yet, but the words are in my heart, waiting to come out and to be received and accepted and loved.

“Come closer…I am your brother” (Genesis 45.4).

29025477_10215588491602483_2981151768359054516_nCrystal Solie is a graduate of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (MDiv 2012) currently living in Orange Park, Florida with her wife and two daughters. She currently works as an Information Technology analyst and serves as a leader for the Pride business resource group for a global banking firm. In her free time, Crystal enjoys grilling, story telling, and singing with her family.

*LGBTQIA = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual and Ally; the term is intended to be inclusive of all non-heterosexual and non-binary gender persons .