By Craig Hardegree | 

We’re coming up on the first anniversary of the bloody massacre of nine precious souls in a hallowed house of God by a terrorist whose young life had been shaped by white Christians spewing vile inciting hate against President Obama. Like other terrorists, he sought to do spectacular evil; evil so heinous and horrific that it would net nonstop media coverage.

But unlike the terrorists in Benghazi who never said whether their attack was motivated by anger over a film or by generic anger at America coincidentally timed with the film, 21-year-old Dylan Roof left no room for doubt or speculation.

Even as he was in the midst of shooting the nine precious souls and was begged by one of them to stop, he said, “No, you’ve raped our women, and you are taking over the country — I have to do what I have to do.” He told others that he wanted to “spark a race war.” And in his manifesto, he wrote, “Segregation was not a bad thing. It was a defensive measure. Segregation did not exist to hold back negroes. It existed to protect us from them.

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Monday, evangelical preacher James Dobson wrote an editorial on World Net Daily essentially calling for the real men of America to rise up and protect their wives and daughters by killing born-male trans people as they are headed towards the ladies’ room.

The evangelical “Christian” group Faith2Action has spent weeks inciting hate and fear against transgender people with a national campaign of dishonesty and lies which will culminate in “Don’t Target Our Daughter’s Day” at a Target store near you this Saturday.

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Before I make the analogy, let me be very clear. I am not equating the problems faced by transgender people with the centuries of ingrained insidious racism against people of color. There is no other single attribute that rises to the level of skin color when it comes to systemic institutionalized discrimination. I am fully aware that even though the internal wiring of a transgender person is fundamentally beyond the control of that person, a white transgender person can — although it certainly isn’t optimal — make superficial modifications that will allow that person to still freely move within white privilege without discrimination. It is possible to change outward appearances long enough to get a child into a may-as-well-be-whites-only school or to land a job unspokenly reserved for white people. I’m not equating gender-identity with race.

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But an analogy can be drawn in terms of the callous behavior of white evangelicals that puts people who are different in harm’s way.

What preachers and conservative religious people are doing here is inciting violence against people who are different, just as they have done from their pious pulpits and lofty perches against people of color from the moment President Obama set foot on the national scene. They have acted ugly, talked ugly, poked eyes, told lies, chomped bits and pitched fits in their verbal lynching of our first black president. They are as responsible for the Charleston massacre and the ongoing killings of unarmed black males as the day is long, because they have intentionally incited their flocks and stirred unrest and stoked unfounded fears, all in the name of Holy God.

It’s been 60 years since white men took little Emmett Till down to the banks of the Tallahatchie River and beat him and shot him and wrapped his 14-year-old body to a chunk of a cotton gin with strands of barbed wired and threw him into the river — all for speaking to and whistling at a white girl.

It’s a theme that had played out many times before and has played out many times since — “they’re after our women.”

They painted black males as scary beings with mysterious other-world capabilities, larger-than-life, with superhuman strengths and perverted desires so that their mere presence was seen as a threat — a threat to all, but especially to “our  women”… “our wives and daughters” who they will rape and molest in a second given the slightest opportunity.

It’s why police officers shoot first and ask questions later when they pull up to a park where a 12-year-old boy is playing — he’s dangerous; he’s got capabilities we don’t even know about; we’ve got to shoot first before he hurts us, or worse, hurts our wives and daughters. From the time of slavery through Jim Crow when white Baptist preachers filled the ranks of the KKK, they’ve demonized and dehumanized black males as a means of maintaining white power and control.

And now they’ve added born-male-identifying-female to their centuries-old anti-black-male campaign of false smear and unfounded fear, pushing the abhorrent idea that a born-male trans is a mysterious enigma with other-world desires and perverted predilections and capabilities that we don’t even yet understand and whose mere presence is a threat to our wives and daughters. They need to be shot on sight and sorted out later because we just can’t take a chance letting them get near “our wives and daughters.”

And while they would never admit it, this ginned-up faux fear for “our wives and daughters” is rooted in the Neanderthal concept of women as chattel — the personal property of men…don’t go messing with our stuff…them’s our deer rifles and golf clubs and women.  

And the preachers and religious conservatives are peddling this false and unfounded fear in the face of documented decades of evidence that preachers and priests actually are a threat to our daughters — and sons…it’s a provable fact that there is a spirit of pedophilia that pervades the priesthood and preacher men; yet, they are the very people ginning-up this unfounded fear of born-male trans people against whom no such evidence exists.

To all you preachers — and I have a ton of them amongst my Facebook friends — think before you preach. This is not about you. This doesn’t even affect you. You don’t have any born-male trans people in your midst — maybe you did in the past but you’ve long since run off people who are different. You’ve called down fire from Heaven against President Obama for years because it’s an easy applause line and it’s a lot easier to pile-on about a popular cultural issue than it is to spend time before God studying and praying to come up with a real sermon.

The church has always had to have a boogeyman. Some tangible embodiment of evil to slay over and over and repeatedly drive a stake through the heart of to make yourselves feel better about your own shortcomings and moral deficiencies. But the current focus of your fire and brimstone condemnation are among the most vulnerable of your victims; already hurt, enduring pain that can never be expressed.

Your hands are already soaked with the blood of people of color who have been killed out of white-fear that “the blacks are taking over.” The anguished souls of the casualties of your callous cultural crusades already cry out across time with a finger of accusation appropriately pointed in your direction. Don’t stomp the heart out of a wounded forest animal to make yourselves feel all big and macho. Don’t wait until born-male trans people start turning up dead at bathroom doors before you get back to Bible-based sermons of love and acceptance.

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