I was born and raised in Houston, Missouri. I am your native son. Houston was home. And, it was a good home. Houston is a place of about two thousand people, hosts a sleepy downtown business district, with light poles adorned with flags on Memorial Day and Christmas decorations in December. Houston is a place where John Deere green competes with camouflage for the most popular color unless it’s football season and these hues are overtaken with red and black. It’s a place with lots of little churches, Ozarks values, and patriotic pride.
It’s also a place where a young man was murdered. It’s not a place where this type of thing ordinarily happens. It was sinful, tragic and wrong. However, people are using this story to paint my home county in a light not shaded by red, black, John Deere green or camouflage. Instead, they’ve chosen to use this tragic murder as an opportunity to advance their political agenda of social engineering, like buzzards circling a corpse for their own filthy purposes, putting death on the menu. Let me explain.
Joseph Steinfeld, a 17-year-old man was murdered. Whether while alive or dead, his genitals were mutilated. His corpse was desecrated. His body was burned. This is a grievous crime that should make us weep for humanity and is another life lost to the curse of sin in a fallen world, which is death.
However, Steinfeld wanted to be called “Ally.” Certain news agencies report that he was a “transgendered teen.” Of course, he was not a transgendered teen – not because he had yet to surgically mutilate himself – but because gender is biologically equivalent to sex, and someone can’t change their gender any more than someone can change their chromosomes from XY to XX.
Three persons (above) were charged with his murder and have been detained. There is no reason to believe – from anything reported in the press – that this had anything to do with the mental and spiritual illness from which Steinfeld suffered.
Without any evidence to the contrary (at least, yet to be produced) some are impugning Texas County as being a “hateful place” and calling this a “hate crime.” A few things here:
1. Every violent crime is a “hate crime.” When you are eager to stigmatize something – either socially or by penalizing crimes differently based upon the motivation of the criminal – you’re not actually criminalizing the crime; you are criminalizing thoughts. You’re criminalizing internal motivations rather than external deeds. Every murderer who is convicted in a court of law should be met with a tall tree and a short piece of rope, and I know the vast majority of Texas County residents would agree with me.
2. Those practicing sodomy or suffering from gender dysphoria are statistically more likely to be murdered by fellow LGBTQRZLMNOP practitioners than by “straight” people. That’s the facts. Most violence in that group is committed from within that group.
3. Practicing sins against nature and against God make the LGBTQRZLMNOP more prone to nearly every societal ill possible; higher rates of domestic violence, higher rates of murder, lower unemployment, higher illiteracy, higher mental illness (redundant, I know), increased morbidity, higher drug use, short life expectancy and so on. It is a sad life that often leads to a sad death. Normalizing or approving something that is harmful to the individual (like affirming someone in their gender dysphoria) may be the path of least resistance in the year 2017, but it’s the least loving thing for the individual.
4. Pointing fingers of blame toward the residents of Texas County – as a whole – because of a crime of this nature is no less bigotry than killing a man because he thought he was a woman. It is also statistically aloof, in that the most violent crimes against the LGBTQRZLMNOP happen with more frequency (per capita) in liberal strong-holds than in places with stronger, more traditional or Biblical values. Accepting sin doesn’t lead to less death; accepting sin leads to more death.
5. Considering that these alleged perpetrators were close associates (and roommates) of the deceased, one would be hard-pressed to accuse them of committing the crime based upon a bias against the young man’s life choices. Assuming that the young man’s sin problems were the motivation for his killing is not only irresponsible, it’s grossly presumptive.
6. It should take more to be a martyr than practicing sexual deviancy. Practicing homosexuality doesn’t make someone a martyr. Misidentifying yourself doesn’t make someone a hero. Being murdered – for any reason – does make someone a victim, and that’s reason enough to mourn.
Let me give the best pastoral advice I can to the people of Texas County. Express your sympathy and grief, but do it without compromising your Biblical values. Do it without dishonoring God by calling the deceased “her” or by a name that did not belong to him. Weep. Cry. Mourn. Care for the family. Give your resources. Take a casserole over. Be there for them. But take the lead of the Houston Herald, which as I understand it is run by a Christian man, which states HIS name and properly identifies HIS gender in its reporting. Do not bend or kneel on this issue out of a heart of sympathy and grief.
Do not commit a hate crime against God, by taking away from Him credit for “making them, both male and female.”
This blog post was approved by the elders of Fellowship Baptist Church, Sidney, MT. If you would like to speak to the church office, you may call (406) 433-4004.