Days of Observance Among People Made in the Image of God

By Jim Kenaston Published on April 9, 2024

Despite all the uproar over the White House’s official proclamation of “Transgender Day of Visibility” being observed on Easter Sunday this year, it turns out it’s just one of 47 commemoration days or weeks that the LGBTQ+ community has sprinkled throughout the year — not including the entire month of June, which has been proclaimed “Pride Month.” Until last week, I was unaware that in 2009 an activist had declared March 31 to be “Transgender Day of Visibility.”

Easter, as we know, is based on a lunar calendar, so it falls within a range of dates from year to year. Apparently this new transgender commemoration hasn’t overlapped with Easter until this year, so we might consider its convergence on this past Easter Sunday as a “time bomb” of controversy that had been waiting to happen. Had it not, I would have overlooked it completely, much in the same way I fail to recall or observe Kwanzaa toward the end of each calendar year (which is another contrived observance, one that has its historical roots in the countercultural movement of the 1960s).

But for being one obscure secular commemoration among many, it seems that our current administration bent over backwards to accommodate the occasion, even disallowing the use of Christian religious symbols to mark Easter eggs in favor of proclamations seeking to advance another agenda that mocks the created order.

Made in the Image of God

One such message of support came from the president himself: “I have a simple message to all trans Americans: ‘I see you. You are made in the image of God, and you’re worthy of respect and dignity.’”

To this I’d simply say that all human beings are made in the image of God, and thereby have agency as a reflection of God’s character — but not by virtue of how we may have marred that image in our pursuit of our particular brand of idolatry.

Joe Biden could have equally said to any Nazi or Klansman (or to anyone whose ideology the populace may disfavor), “I see you. You are made in the image of God, and you’re worthy of respect and dignity.” While it would have been factually true, what kind of uproar would we have seen over that in the media?

Redemption doesn’t come by defining ourselves by our sin, but by trusting in the completed work of Christ, repenting of the sin, and living thereafter with grateful hearts among fellow repentant sinners of all stripes.

Regardless of the contrary views we might embrace, all people are indeed worthy of respect and dignity as human beings made in God’s image. Yet, God calls all sinners (or idolaters) to repent of their sins (idolatry), and to trust that only through faith in Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf are any of us unworthy sinners forgiven. Christ bids us all to repent and sin no more. He also tells us to pick up our cross daily and follow Him. This would suggest a life of self-sacrificial service for others, not one of pride in one’s favored expression of idolatry.

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Idolatry, we should note, was at the heart of the original sin: that of planting ourselves in God’s place as the one with the authority to define good and evil. The original sin was motivated by a lust for power and control. When we place ourselves in God’s role, we are making an idol of ourselves. This idolatry is seen, among other places, in our ungrateful rejection of our God-given gender and sexuality in favor of whatever we think we can create ourselves to be and do. We want the power and control to enforce our own will upon the world, rather than accept with thanks what God has given us.

A Call to Repentance

Each of us in our own ways have marred the image of God that we were created to reflect. One way we can do that is to define ourselves according to an appetite, sexual or otherwise. This is to treat both ourselves and other people as something less than human, as objects that do not exercise agency or choice, but which are a mere product of hormone-driven desires.

Redemption doesn’t come by defining ourselves by our sin, but by trusting in the completed work of Christ, repenting of the sin, and living thereafter with grateful hearts among fellow repentant sinners of all stripes. None of us are given a pass to continue in our old ways. We may stumble along the way, but Christ’s gracious call is always to repent and sin no more. This applies to all human beings, each of whom were made in the image of God, and who have real choices to make as they live out repentant lives as a part of His kingdom of redeemed souls.

To suggest that we are not made in the image of God would be to say that we are mere animals, driven by forces beyond our control. If our president believes that people still reflect God’s image and have agency, as opposed to being hardwired to live as less than human, driven by some form of lust, then his call, as a supposedly Catholic Christian, should echo the call of Christ to all sinners: repent and sin no more.

 

Jim Kenaston graduated from Messiah College with a B.A. in History (1983) and from Miami University with an M.En. in International Environmental Affairs (1990). In his writing, Jim hopes to offer encouragement to fellow Christians, or a constructive word of challenge to non-Christians, as he seeks to follow Christ with integrity through these times.

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