When my kids were in high school, their girls’ volleyball team made it to the district finals of the state tournament. I went to watch the match and used the men’s restroom beforehand.
As I stood at the urinal, I noticed someone wearing a girl’s skirt move into the urinal next to mine. The school is co-ed. The skirt was worn by a young man on the football team. The conversation went like this:
Me: Hey, nice skirt.
Him: Thanks. The football team is wearing them to show support for the girls.
Me: Great idea. Very clever.
Him: Yeah, we liked it. Thanks.
I peed, he peed, and off we went. It was a funny moment. Of course, in North Carolina and some other places, it probably wouldn’t be funny at all. Who knows? There would likely be some big dust-up over a person in a skirt using a urinal.
And isn’t that so sad? And more than a little creepy? Why are so many politicians and religious leaders so obsessed with where people pee and what’s in their pants?
And since religion inevitably gets dragged into it, let’s ask a pertinent question: Who would Jesus pee with?
First things first. Why are folks so caught up in others’ sexuality?
Historians point out that religions and politicians have always spent a lot of time trying to legislate sexuality and push away the people that made them uncomfortable. I’ve seen that in my lifetime. Jim Crow laws were still in place when I was growing up. White people didn’t want black people peeing next to them. Or drinking from the same water fountain. Or eating at the same lunch counter. Or sleeping in the same hotel. Or marrying white people.
Black people made them uncomfortable, so they tried to legislate to keep them away.
And so it goes today. People who are uncomfortable with gay people or transgender people are trying to legislate to keep them away. And just like the defenders of Jim Crow, they’re using their “religious beliefs” to support their arguments.
So, let’s get to that bigger question: Who would Jesus pee with?
The gospels provide short, thumbnail descriptions of what Jesus is passionate about: Feeding the hungry, healing the broken, sheltering the homeless, visiting the imprisoned, sharing everything with those in need. Trying to love everyone unconditionally. Being compassionate and accepting. The gospels go on and on about this.
Peeing? Not a word. So he probably wasn’t much concerned about it. In fact, he chose to surround himself with friends who were the religious, cultural and sexual outcasts of his society — the ones that others wanted nothing to do with. He ate with them, laughed with them, lived with them. And, undoubtedly, he would have peed with them.
Why wouldn’t he?
And how different is all of that from how we’re acting? Instead of growing in wisdom and age and grace, we’re more like junior high kids caught up in hormonal drama. Instead of being concerned about what’s in people’s hearts and in their stomachs, we’re fixated on what’s in their pants.
Doesn’t it creep you out, this fixation with people’s private parts and private lives? How religious leaders have turned Doubting Thomas into Peeping Tom?
And nobody buys the rationale that it’s about protecting children. There are no issues of transgender people hurting children. However, there have been many cases of politicians and religious leaders doing horrific things to children. And what about the homeless children in our country and the refugee children worldwide who desperately need our help right now?
Instead, we’re fixating on who’s peeing where.
So, let’s ask the question again: Who would Jesus pee with?
Even though there’s no mention of how he peed in the gospels, there’s lots of stories about how he did other things. As the stories go, when a crowd gathered to spend time with him, he would make sure that everyone had some fishes and loaves to eat, regardless of their age or religion or sexuality or anything else. In fact, sharing the bread with everyone – especially the marginalized and the outcasts — became his signature act.
He healed anyone who asked for healing, loved anyone who needed his love, and invited everyone to do the same. In one story, he washes the feet of everyone – including those who are about to betray and deny him – and says they must go and do the same to everyone else.
Serve everybody. Unconditionally. No questions asked.
So I suppose Jesus would pee next to the young man wearing a skirt to support a volleyball team. And next to the transgender person. And next to the self-righteous religious person. And while doing so, he would maybe strike up a conversation and say some kind words to them, show them a little love.
Who would he pee with? You know the answer to that.
And then he would tell us to go and do the same.