Donica Hudson knows all too well the way the press paints Christians—especially when they come into conflict with LGBT activists.

“We try so hard to be kind and respectful, but the media want us to be seen as haters,” she says “And I am not a hater. I am a lover of Jesus Christ and of humankind. I am not here to condemn; I am here with one mandate, and that is to protect my children. Do I pray for the other side? Absolutely.”

Hudson also knows all too well what the media rarely, if ever, covers.

“We face attacks that are just vicious,” she says. “I have a friend who’s been speaking on these issues for 12 years, but she no longer will because her children were threatened on social media—sexually threatened. Things like that are not reported.”

Hudson, however, won’t respond to those attacks in kind. And every now and then, she sees signs that some people on the other side are noticing. Like the time she was at a Charlotte City Council meeting, seated next to a transgender activist—a young man who was dressed as a woman. She was talking with him sporadically and feeling the tension. 

“At one point, he looked at me and said, ‘You all just hate us, don’t you?’ ” she says. “My heart was breaking, and I said, ‘No. We love you. I pray for you.’ And his entire countenance changed. He dropped his defensiveness toward me, and we were able to sit together peacefully.

“That’s my heart. I’m not here to condemn anybody. It’s the love of God that draws men to repent. That’s the approach I’ve always taken.”

It doesn’t mean Hudson is soft-peddling her principles, though.

“I do not force my Bible on anyone else, but I have a charge from God to protect my children, and I will do that,” she says. “I’ll do that with love, but I’ll also do it with strength and with the power of God.”

Originally published in the September 2016 issue of Citizen magazine.