A sitting member of the Minnesota House of Representatives published a self-help book for Christian teens who are questioning their sexuality.
Rep. Leigh Finke, DFL-St. Paul, a first-term legislator who is transgender and identifies as a woman, released a book in 2020 entitled, “Queerfully and Wonderfully Made: A Guide for LGBTQ+ Christian Teens.”
“Queerfully and Wonderfully Made” contains almost no references to prayer and encourages teens to “limit contact” with adults who do not affirm their choices, including parents.
“Please, if your parents are unsupportive, remember this: You are a separate human person from your parents (crazy, right?!). They don’t know you like you do; they don’t get to decide who you are,” the book says. “God decided that, you have accepted it, and if they are going to be part of your future, they’ll have to accept it too.”
Finke echoed these comments during a December 2021 rally in Hastings, Minn.
“Being trans is the best. We get to create ourselves outside of any system that wants to dictate who we are. It is freedom unlike any other and you have access to it,” Finke said. “Anyone who tells you differently than this, whether it is a teacher or a pastor or even your parents, is wrong.”
The front cover of the book, published in 2020, says it was “edited” by Finke. Finke promotes the book on his campaign website, where he calls it a “handbook I wrote for LGBTQ youth in Christian families.”
The book suggests teens should trust their feelings over their parents and says kids as young as 11-years-old can experience feelings of same-sex attraction.
“I have 11-year-old grandkids myself, and the last thing they’re thinking about is sex,” said Brian Nystrom, a mental health professional. “The sexual urges remain dormant up until the hormones begin to change naturally between ages 12 and 14. At 11, boys aren’t thinking, ‘Am I really a boy’ and girls aren’t thinking, ‘Am I really a girl?'”
Throughout the book, Finke attempts to use Bible verses to validate the queer lifestyle. The title itself is a play on Psalm 139, which states: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
“If your parents do not accept you and your queerness, then they do not know what’s best for you. They just don’t. Even if they love you, even if they’re praying for you,” the book says. “Just because they love you does not mean they know what is best for you.”
“Limit contact with any adult who tells you something is wrong with you. That’s not always possible. But when it is, do it,” the book adds. “We’ll talk specifically about parental rejection later, but for now, just know that you are the only authority on who you are.”
The book compares being “queer” to a “faith journey.” It says:
“Some Christians seem secure from the beginning to the end. Others waver, doubt, leave the faith, return, leave again. Some people are comfortable their whole lives in the church they were raised in … None of these behaviors are wrong. None are invalidating. If you know, if you don’t, it’s okay. The same is true about knowing who you are, and knowing whether or not you’re queer. It’s a journey. And that’s okay.”
A local pastor said Finke is taking verses out of context. Mark Henry, pastor of Revive Church and founder of Mark Henry Ministries, said Finke is “twisting” Matthew 19:12, the verse Finke used as the cornerstone verse in the book.
The verse reads: “For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”
Finke implies this is evidence that Jesus was “totally fine” with the queer lifestyle.
“Did you know there were queer people in Bible times? Jesus did. And he was like, It’s totally fine, everyone. Chill out,” the book says.
“Eunuchs from birth” refers to people who are born sterile and is not affirming a queer lifestyle, Henry said.
Another concept Henry contradicted is Finke’s recommendation that teens trust their feelings. “If a voice somewhere inside you is saying you’re queer, listen,” the book says.
“They believe their sexuality is defined by how they feel, and their feelings can’t be wrong,” said Henry. “So therefore, the Bible must be wrong or they rationalize that Jesus embraces how I feel because Jesus wants me to feel good.”
Henry said Finke’s view on the parent-child relationship is skewed, and his ideology is more in line with Karl Marx, who maintains children are property of the state rather than a God-given stewardship of parents.
Chapters in the book include, “Help! I’m a Horny Queer Teenager;” “Okay, But I’m serious. Help! I’m Like, Really Horny!;” “How Do Queer People Have Sex?;” and “What If My Congregation is Too Affirming? (This Happens).”
The book is not scientific or credible, Nystrom said.
“No one should read it without the author providing legitimate sources,” Nystrom said. “The author has a biased agenda skewed by his personal issues that should not be thrust on children or teens.”
Finke also claims in the book that a “tiny fraction” of people who “come out” realize later they are not truly LGBTQ. When it comes to sexual orientation or gender identity, the book says, the concept of “going through a phase” should be “thrown out entirely.”
“You might identify one way today, another tomorrow. Some know right away, others take years or decades to find the right label,” the book claims. “None of this makes your queerness a phase.”
Finke’s book also asserts that “gender is not biology” and viewing porn is a “safe way to explore your sexuality.” It does, however, concede that there “are a lot more costs than benefits when it comes to pornography.”
“For starters, porn can be a safe way to explore your sexuality. You can learn about your body and pleasure and how to make the most of both. You can also take that information, when applicable, and put it to use on your partner’s body,” the book says. “There is also the education (it’s misguided education, but still) that can come from watching queer porn.”
The book recommends watching porn “with your partner, which can open up new conversations about sex and pleasure, stimulate our natural arousal systems, or it can just be a silly fun thing to experience together.”
“The lies are so good and so oiled and so refined in the world today. If you let your kids be exposed to them rather than a true theology, they have no chance of surviving,” Henry commented.
Finke recently made headlines for his sponsorship of a bill to make Minnesota a “refuge” for children seeking transgender surgeries.
Finke also published a guide for adults on working with LGBTQ Christian teens. He did not respond to a request for comment but discussed the books in a Twitter post Wednesday.
We should never cede the ground of any meaningful space for our community. Accepting difference is the point. Knowing that you will be able to build your own life is a source of hope for many young queer people. That's what Queerfully and Wonderfully Made is about.
— Leigh Finke (@leighfinke) April 5, 2023
“A few anti-trans media outlets recently ‘discovered’ my involvement in books for queer teens in Christian families. But they’re not secret. I’m SO proud of these books,” Finke said. “There is a vast world of affirming, queer-inclusive Christianity! Teens should know that there are millions of faithful LGBTQ2S+ folks. They should know that they do not have to give up their faith to be who they are. And they should know they don’t have to be Christian, either.”
Sheila Qualls is an award-winning journalist and former civilian editor of an Army newspaper. Prior to joining Alpha News, she was a Christian Marriage and Family columnist at Patheos.com and a personal coach. Her work has been published in The Upper Room, the MOPS blog, Grown and Flown, and The Christian Post. She speaks nationally on issues involving faith and family.