White Guy’s Response to Proselytizing Religious Fundamentalist

In this Ask the White Guy, Luke Visconti responds to one reader's fundamentally religious criticism of the recent presidential appointment of Amanda Simpson, who is transgender. See how his reaction emphasizes diversity and values.

Luke Visconti’s Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.

I knew our article on the Obama’s transgender presidential appointment would draw a lot of reader comments—and it did. But this response gave me a moment of clarity on diversity and values, so I thought I’d break it out from the rest of the responses and share it with you.

Luke, if you don’t want other people to have negative opinions about a person’s inappropriate selective operation, you must tell people to stop publishing the fact that they can’t accept what and who they are. No, the religious world, especially those that truly believe in the God of creation, and the Lord Jesus Christ, will never stop responding to such an attack on the image of God which is displayed by males and females. You answered this very profoundly, however incorrectly. You may have your opinions and promote immorality by stating removing your genitals to become something you can never become is okay, and that people can do what ever they wish. This is incorrect. Just imagine living next door to a repeated rape or sex offender? One changes their mind very quickly. Until Christ come to set up his kingdom on this earth there will always be sin, and true Christians will always fight against sin. Is this hateful because we advise people not to walk off a cliff? Some of us are unwise in our approach and comments, but we will never say or condone a person trying to change their sex. We know the affect that sin has on this world; abortion, lying, cheating, stealing, murdering, bestiality, adultery, fornication, witchcraft, homosexuality and the likes. Luke, do you believe that there is such a thing as sin? If you do then who determines it? If there is sin then there is help. Call us right wing or whatever name you wish; it will always be wrong for one not to accept their birth gender, and to change it. God is still in control, but allows man to destroy himself, but not without warning. And I am at trumpet. The problem here with transgender or transvestites is the confusion of the mind. If you have someone openly saying that they have changed their gender, they are also saying they don’t know who they are. In order to change the gender, one must change a part of their brain and their pelvis bone. Then they will end up like Dr Frankenstein’s monster. To put people like this in high level positions is to risk a job being done from the beginning. If the person is capable of doing the job, why do we have to know if they had their genitals remove? If the President hires a one arm person, should we know this or see it? Luke, I would like to say to you and all your readers (you will not publish this even though it is considered diversity) that God loves each one of you, but he has standards. Those standards are the things that will judge us after this life. Christians, left wings nuts as you and your readers call us, know that God is sovereign, and his law is final. I love you in the name of Jesus Christ and pray that God’s mercy will cause all to repent. If not a fiery day awaits those that reject Christ’s offer of salvation. Call the fiery day statement a fear tactic, but it is a real statement.

The founders of the nation most successful in liberating people from the yoke of oppression in the known history of humankind did not feel it necessary to proselytize.

You may feel it your duty to proselytize and it is your First Amendment right to do so. I have standards and beliefs too. Perhaps you would consider mine to be more pedestrian than yours, as I am concerned with the “here and now.” And “here and now” is where people must live and business must manage.

My standards are absolute human and civil rights, and in my opinion, we serve the creator when we serve the creations—as they are, for I do not have personal insight into the unknowable, nor do I feel the imprimatur to judge, except in the case of those who would violate others’ human and civil rights.

You may believe you have that insight. Good for you. However, what YOU believe is what YOU believe. You don’t have the right to crowd other people’s space, especially in the workplace. That said, I don’t have to agree with you to respect you—and I do respect you because you have a remarkable degree of integrity. As you believe that you are “at trumpet,” so do I.

I hope that you will continue to send us e-mail.  Perhaps over time your heart will soften to embrace those who do not perceive themselves as you would have them perceive themselves—and open your mind to the majestic range and complexity of the human condition.

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  • Commenter: You have your beliefs and that’s fine but don’t expect everyone to share them. We have freedom of religion in this country for a reason. Sometimes I wish it was freedom FROM religion in this country. There seems to be so much hate and intolerance spawned from religious beliefs. That is no religion that I would ever be a part of.

    On another note your comparisons are way off base. I’ll give you an example. You stated “You may have your opinions and promote immorality by stating removing your genitals to become something you can never become is okay, and that people can do what ever they wish. This is incorrect. Just imagine living next door to a repeated rape or sex offender? One changes their mind very quickly.”

    Really, I mean to say that someone who alters their bodies is like a sex offender, come on. First of all, sex offenders are breaking the law and doing harm to others. People who get sex change operations are not breaking the law or hurting anyone. And watch out people who get tattoos or piercing, you are immoral and likened to a sex offender for not being exactly how “God” made you. Someone who get pins put their leg after breaking it is also in this case altering their bodies and the doctor who did the surgery is not without fault either.

  • Luke,

    Your response captures so much of my personal belief and feelings. My shades of bias and prejudice seem to emerge at the moment I personally become overly judgmental, uncomfortable, and irrational without having knowledge, understanding or a personal relationship with the difference I am challenged by. Fear tries to take over.

    I often try and imagine how different my life would be, how “successful” would I be in life, if my entry point into life was different from how I identify (white, male, heterosexual, Christian, able-bodied, US citizen, financially secure etc.). I am not arrogant enough to believe I am that talented and gifted to pull myself up by my “bootstraps” and bust through all the systemic barriers and disadvantages I would face for being different…probably not. Ironically, I would be the one on the receiving end of my fear generated hate and discrimination.

    Thinking about this usually shifts my fear towards respect, sensitivity and a desire to use my various forms of privilege to serve creation without looking for recognition and reward. Getting pats on the back is not part of the deal going against the grain. I have also come to understand that by trying to do this doesn’t make me feel less whole. Changing my behavior to accept, respect and be fair with the other person to help make them feel whole only deepens who I am and my faith belief. I become more whole.

    Thank you for all you are doing to open my mind to the “majestic range and complexity of the human condition.”

    Remain strong.


  • Luke,
    Webster’s Dictionary defines proselytizing this way: 1: To induce someone to convert to one’s faith 2: to recruit someone to join one’s party, institution or cause.
    That being said don’t you proselytize? Isn’t that your job in fact? If a person truly believes in a cause or a point of view as you do wouldn’t you consider it a breach of their moral responsibility if they did not speak out? Would any politician be effective at all if he was not actively trying to bring other people to see the point of view he or she advocates?
    My question is why is it acceptable for you to tell the person whom you labeled the “Proselytizing Religious Fundamentalist” that you consider yourself to be a trumpet also; and yet you encourage him to embrace those people who do not perceive themselves the way he perceives them? Does this depend on the message that is being communicated? Why is it called persuasion when you do it but when he is intentionally labeled in a manner that conjures up images of a religious nut?

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