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Message From Bishop Zellmer: HB 1008

By South Dakota Synod | Posted 2/18/16 at 2:30pm |
Category: Synod News

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I have contacted South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard and urged him to veto HB 1008 – legislation that would prevent transgender students in public schools from using restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity.  This is a bill that ostracizes transgender students, putting them at risk in our schools.

This is not how we treat our neighbors. We are called to love and protect our neighbor in need.  Let us stand in their corner rather than against them. These are the children of our own families, congregations, and communities. Let our love for them lead us to take action for their protection.  I urge you to take action and contact Governor Daugaard and ask him to veto this dangerous bill.  His contact information may be found here.

Please join me in praying for our South Dakota children that this bill would effect and for a proper resolution.

In the hope of mercy and equality,

Bishop David Zellmer
South Dakota Synod, ELCA

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  • Audrey (Mortvedt) Mortensen  |  Posted 2.18.16 at 4:22 PM   

    Thank you, Bishop Zellmer, for speaking out against the outright discriminatory bill being proposed in the SD Legislature. As a Dell Rapids native, (with roots in the Halvorson and Braa families in Highland Township,) I am proud to stand up for my transgender niece, as well as my gay and lesbian family members who have been labeled as “unclean” by those who otherwise claim to follow our Lord. It is a shame that anyone would judge others by false understandings and innuendo and yet claim to be educated citizens in this land of the free!

  • Heidi Seefeldt  |  Posted 2.18.16 at 5:32 PM   

    Bravo! Thank you for standing up for those who struggle. I am proud to be part of this church which demonstrates love and acceptance at every turn. To quote Pope Francis, Christians build bridges, not walls. Literally and figuratively.

  • Mary Hock  |  Posted 2.18.16 at 6:14 PM   

    Thank you, Bishop Zellmer, for encouraging politicians and everyone to treat our neighbor with live and respect. Discrimination is deadly in its ability to harm those who are ostracized in our society.

  • Alan Neville  |  Posted 2.18.16 at 6:41 PM   

    Very proud of my church for taking this Christian stance!

  • Marina Gillespie  |  Posted 2.18.16 at 6:58 PM   

    This is the most uplifting thing I have seen in days! Thank you! I’m very proud to be a part of a church that preaches love and acceptance!

  • Katrina Manley  |  Posted 2.18.16 at 7:33 PM   

    Thank you!

  • Nancy Sonne  |  Posted 2.18.16 at 7:38 PM   

    Thank you for your articulate message calling for an enlightened and compassionate vote from the governor….a veto of this I’ll-motivated legislation.

  • Karen Kraus  |  Posted 2.18.16 at 8:02 PM   

    Thank you, Bishop Dave, for your urging to our fellow South Dakotans to urge Governor Daugaard to veto this bill.

    may love and compassion prevail

  • Kathy Antonen  |  Posted 2.18.16 at 8:06 PM   

    Thank you for taking a stand.

  • Dr. Margaret Charmoli  |  Posted 2.18.16 at 9:29 PM   

    Thank you Bishop Zellmer for taking this courageous stand against discrimination. This will mean the world to young transgender students who feel marginalized.

    I was at my hometown church in Mountain Iron, Minnesota over the weekend and Messiah Lutheran Church welcomed a transgender teenager into their fold and congregation and it was very heartwarming to see God’s love flowing through them.

    Any time that we say “yes” to God’s love and “no” to marginalizing people we make a difference.

    Again thank you Bishop Zellmer!

  • Larry Johnson  |  Posted 2.18.16 at 9:46 PM   

    Thank you Bishop Dave for being courageous enough to convey your/our beliefs to the Governor.
    We are all God’s people.

  • John Nordlie  |  Posted 2.18.16 at 9:49 PM   

    Thank you for taking this stand. Your message prompted me to write Governor Daugaard as I hope it has many others.

  • Deb Nelson  |  Posted 2.18.16 at 10:57 PM   

    Thank you so very much for taking this step. I appreciate this.

  • Carolyn Pendle  |  Posted 2.19.16 at 12:08 AM   

    Thank you for your wise words and for speaking out. I hope this is the beginning of a movement to thwart this blatant political action that could be so harmful to transgendered children and adults

  • Gayle cranston  |  Posted 2.19.16 at 3:25 AM   

    Thank you for standing up for SD children. I am so encouraged to see you have the will and the courage to speak in their behalf. The world is difficult and painful enough. We do not need laws to make it worse. God bless you.

  • Beth Thoreson  |  Posted 2.19.16 at 6:05 PM   

    I agree that as a Christian our duty is to defend the most vulnerable of us, our children. We need to love them and guard their hearts and eyes from taking in things that are potentially harmful. I think our duty is have the best interests of ALL CHILDREN in mind, not just an extremely small segment of them. While you have expressed your concern for carrying out our Christian responsibility to love our neighbor and protect them from danger, you have not given any real solution to this problem. Do we put the overwhelming majority of children at risk to protect the minority? All children have tender hearts that need guidance and love. We need a solution that protects ALL.

  • Alli H.  |  Posted 2.20.16 at 8:31 AM   

    Thank you so much for this message. I grew up in Huron and though I’ve moved away for work, I still consider South Dakota my home. I am a transgender woman with 4 children and couldn’t be more proud to be a Lutheran today. The level of acceptance and support you’ve shown speaks volumes.

    God Bless All

  • Chet H  |  Posted 2.22.16 at 6:25 AM   

    Are we now assuming that God made some mistakes & we
    as mortals can do better, changing the gender to what
    may suit us? And now the Church is backing this?

  • Beth Thoreson  |  Posted 2.22.16 at 9:33 AM   

    I was raised Lutheran. I became a born again Christian in a Lutheran church. What it has become now is a departure from anything Biblical. The leaders of our church have done spiritual gymnastics to make the words of the Bible say what they want them to say. It grieves me.

  • Lynne  |  Posted 2.22.16 at 12:47 PM   

    How many transgender children do you know? How many transgender adults do you know? How many of these men would you like in your bathroom ladies? Alli H which bathroom are you taking your 4 children into? Why is this something that needs to be legislated, it is not a new issue and how have folks been getting along until now? When you travel out of state, which bathroom do you use? It seems to be a politically driven spotlight issue to take attention away from the majority of society! Thank you Chet H and Beth Thoreson for your statements.

  • Bob Burns  |  Posted 2.22.16 at 9:25 PM   

    Thank you Bishop Zellmer for your loving and courageous remarks. You make me proud to be a Lutheran.

  • Danielle Beaner  |  Posted 2.28.16 at 2:27 AM   

    Dear Bishop Zellmer, I commend you for your stance to support the transgender. Though it is sad to see that our society is still closed minded and narrow minded as well.. Discrimination and bigotry is still much alive as it was back before the 1964 Civil rights act became law.. yet people will find anything that is different and will attack.. through out history first it was to the Native Americans from the very beginning of the white europeans started to settle here in the early 1600s then continued to this day. then came the africans who were brought over as slaves then were freed during the civil war.. and took another 100 years to finally give them equality but even today there are people are still racially bigoted ..but today it is shifting on to the transgender people. I hope that the Governor will veto the law.. but I am more hoping that eventually if not very soon that there will be a federal mandate to protect not only the transgender community but to the LGBT community as and hope we can stop this ugliness.. its time for full 100% equality protections of all people.

  • John Chisham  |  Posted 3.2.16 at 9:01 AM   

    Dear Bishop Zellmer,

    With all respect, this is exactly why your denomination has shrunk by nearly 50% over the last eight years. You have bought in to the PC interpretation of scripture. Of course we are to ‘love our neighbor’- but the LGBT crowd is not your only neighbor.

    What about your female neighbor who is being forced to shower with a biological male? Or vice versa?

    What about your female neighbor who has been sexually assaulted, and that is brought to her mind again when she sees male parts around the locker room?

    What about your male neighbor who looks with lust (naturally) because a female form is undressing before him, even if she identifies as a male?

    What about that same female who is likely to get sexually assaulted in one way or another because males, being males, might misinterpret the signals they are receiving- I mean we are talking about adolescent males here…

    What about me? I love my neighbor as a Christian, but I love them enough to warn them with the entire scripture- Including 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 which names homosexuals as among those who will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. You are not giving them the hope of verse 11 which says they can be cleansed and sanctified through faith in Christ. They can become a new creature in Christ! (Ephesians 2:10, 2 Corinthians 5:17) which means how they feel – their very nature – is changed.

    What God creates through the process of birth is beautiful. Male and Female, as a biological and creative reality, is beautiful. You demonstrate a hatred for the beauty God has created when you change it. God has declared it good; modern man has declared it bad.

    Your disdain for the scripture is the reason that your denomination is no longer a factor, and you, sir, are in danger of the fires of Hell without repentance and faith in the Jesus Christ of the Bible- the one who declared Marriage as between Man and Woman from the beginning (Matthew 19:5-6) and the one who says you must be born again (John 3:3,5) in order to see the kingdom of God. You, as a teacher, a bishop- a leader in the church are in greater danger because you are leading the sheep astray.

    May God transform your understanding.

  • Christina Cleveland  |  Posted 3.2.16 at 9:51 PM   

    I thank you for this act of Justice and Christian witness for the transgender community, my Tribe.
    I’ve been away from the church for a few years now and have been seriously considering returning to church and the ELCA in particular. Reading this has been an answer to prayer.
    My sincerest gratitude.

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