Why I’m a Rainbow Fish
God has placed a passion in my heart for issues of sexuality. Homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgender issues are a controversial topic, especially in the Christian world. The vast majority of Christians believe that any sexual orientation other than heterosexuality is sinful. But this is not what I believe. I am a rainbow fish.
A rainbow fish is a Christian who supports the LGBTQ community. That’s an acronym for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender or transexual, and queer or questioning. (More information on that here.) We get the name “rainbow fish” from the combination of the “Jesus fish” and the rainbow as an LBGTQ symbol. The rainbow fish is a rare species, it seems, but we’re out there.
As a rainbow fish, I want to be clear about something. I believe in the truth of the Bible. I believe in one true God, and in Jesus Christ as my savior. I believe in Heaven and Hell, and sin and grace. I don’t disregard the Bible when it comes to my views on sexuality, but rather I base my views on my best understanding of the Bible and God’s character.
I believe in the Bible as our ultimate source of truth. Although it was written by human beings, its writing was directed by God, and so we can trust that it is perfect and without error in its original form. Yet what we read today is not the original form of the Bible. It has been translated over thousands of years from languages that are no longer used into the languages that we use today. It’s inevitable that in the process of translation, the original messages can lose certain things and take on other things, especially as they pass through cultural lenses.
We are fortunate to have a huge number of Bible translations available today—reading in multiple translations can help us get closer to what the original text intended to say. Not only that, but I’m sure God was well aware of the issues that language barriers would cause when it comes to passing the Bible down through generations of humanity. That’s probably why he had it written in such a way that the overall themes and most vital messages of the Bible are woven consistently and clearly throughout the entire text—although some details may be off here and there, for the most part the Bible corroborates itself very well.
In the area of sexuality, I am inclined to question whether the original messages in the Bible have been properly translated. There are reasonable alternative interpretations for all of the verses in the Bible which seem to condemn homosexual behavior as a sin. It is quite possible that the way most Christians view sexuality is based on Biblical references that don’t mean what we think they do.
Let me explain why I believe this is the case. The Bible is full of wisdom and commandments from God that tell us how to live life best, and in a way that pleases him. When you look at the big picture, these “rules” all come down to two things: loving God and loving others.
In Mark 12:28-34, Jesus taught that the two most important commandments are to love God and to love others. Romans 13:8-10 says “Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments say, ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.’ These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.”
Love does no wrong to others. Whether that love is between two men, two women, or one man and one woman, it is still love. Sexuality is a gift from God, which he intends for us to enjoy within the context of marriage (a consensual, monogamous, and permanent union of two people).
Aside from the fact that love is love, I also understand that sexual orientation is not a choice. I never chose who I would be attracted to—I simply felt it. God gave us the gifts of attraction and sexuality so that we could tie ourselves emotionally and physically to another person in a very special way. Teaching that being gay is wrong turns sexuality into a burden rather than a gift, for those individuals who were born that way. They can’t turn it off any more than I could turn off having brown eyes or being five feet tall or having two arms.
But what better tool than sexuality could the enemy use to divide people? Christians who don’t accept homosexuality are repelling a huge population of people away from God. Imagine how it would feel to be told that one of the most basic parts of who you are is not acceptable to God, and that you are therefore unwelcome in a church community unless you somehow change that part of yourself. It would be easy to stay far, far away from any part of that world, don’t you think? There are billions of people who will never know God, because his representatives in this world have pushed them away.
Transgender individuals are even more misunderstood. Christians say things like “You don’t get to choose your gender, God does!” Ironically, that’s kind of the point. Transgender people feel that they were born one gender, but that their sexual organs don’t match that gender. They aren’t choosing their gender at all, they’re simply acknowledging it. In fact, it would probably be easier if they could simply choose to be the gender that their bodies tell them they are. But in order to do that, they would have to pretend to be something they are not for their entire lives. It would be like me being forced to pretend to be a man, when I know that I am in fact a woman.
We don’t argue with the fact that some people are born with physical and mental defects. We are living in a broken world, where God’s will is not always done. So why can’t we accept that some people may be born with sexual defects? Oh wait, we already do accept this! Because there are cases in which babies are born with sexual defects, such as both male and female genitalia. The parents of those babies have to choose which gender to assign their children. So why is it such a leap for transgender individuals to do what they can to correct what they deeply feel is a physical defect in their bodies? Logically, it is ridiculous to say that this is wrong, especially when you aren’t the person in that body.
Personally, I have never felt that I was not female. I don’t know how it would feel to be certain that I am a female without the reassurance of my female body. I cannot and will not tell other people that what they feel is not valid, or that it’s as easy as a choice.
All arguments aside, however, I could be wrong about all of this. I’m a human and my human logic and thinking is far below God’s way of thinking. I could be missing something. And if I am wrong, and the truth is that God’s best for all people is to either be in a heterosexual relationship or no sexual relationship at all, then I will surely find that out when I get to Heaven. But even in that case, I do not believe for one second that the typical Christian approach to interacting with the LGBTQ community is what God wants. Right or wrong, we are pushing people away from God. We are condemning them and telling them that they cannot follow Jesus unless they change something that they don’t believe they can change. (And fighting to make same-sex marriage illegal? Don’t get me started. Unless you are also willing to fight to make divorce illegal, this is hypocrisy at it’s finest.)
I would love to see a Christian community where sexuality is an issue that is left between each individual and God. Like any other sin (if it is a sin), it should be up to God to lead his children onto the right path, and up to us to simply encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ to live their best for him. If we could start accepting homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgender individuals into our churches without the stipulation that they change themselves, how many people could we reach for Christ? What might happen if we stopped building walls between gay people and Jesus? What might happen if we built bridges instead?
You may want to check out this resource for information about alternative interpretations of the Bible’s message on homosexuality: