A Gay Christian Was Punished Because of His Horribly Ignorant Congregation

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, discusses how a gay Christian was punished due to prejudice from his congregation:

You can read more details about the story here.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • A3Kr0n

    It does help the kid. It’s not comfortable for him, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? There are plenty of reasons why we criticize the church, and this is one of them. I hope him the best of luck. Time to visit a FaceBook page (yuk).

  • Paul Reed

    Sounds like they’re projecting their own bigotry onto others so as to sidestep the responsibility.
    “Yeah, we don’t have a problem with you, but other people might, so bye.”
    Sounds similar to:
    “It’s not me saying you’re an evil person deserving of hell, it’s God”

  • Peter

    Excellent presentation Hemant. Colin is a great kid and the Church should have been very proud of his dedication…..instead they showed their bigotry and sided with a small group of homophobic parents. Thanks for helping to bring attention to this story. I follow you on Twitter and always look forward to your posts…..keep up the great work

  • Mick

    Surely Briggs wasn’t so naive as to believe that Christians would give him a free pass when he was outed? Why on earth did he associate himself with such bigots?

    • Octoberfurst

      Maybe he was just naive. Maybe he thought they really would accept him once they got to know him. I feel sorry for the kid. I hope this causes him to question his faith.

    • https://twitter.com/atheist_in_nc Heisenberg

      My guess is that he was raised in an ultra-religious household. Such kids never get a chance to question their religious upbringing until they’re grown.

  • Bitter Lizard

    The irony of a church leader telling anyone they shouldn’t be left alone with kids is palpable.

  • https://twitter.com/atheist_in_nc Heisenberg

    The church was doing the kid a favor. He’s pouring all this time and energy into his church life, and in return the church demonstrates how out of touch they are with reality — and in the name of his god at that.

    The best possible outcome would be that the kid starts questioning his faith, and realizes that he, himself, is evidence that the Christian god doesn’t exist; after all, how could God hate something that he created, simply for being the way that he created it?

    • skeptical_inquirer

      I’m still hoping he does charitable work but with a secular bent so it actually does both him and the people he’s helping more good.

  • Silthn

    As dumb as Christianity is, sin is sin. And the church sees man as fallible, and everyone else is a sinner. It’s your job to ask for forgiveness and not judge others. I don’t understand how one sin is worse? It’s not a commandment even! Coveting goes on far more, and that’s a commandment! Why not excommunicated people who lust? Why not kick people out that bear false witness? Because that’s just an excuse to hate guys. The real reason they have a problem is that they are bigots and the thing guys are ewwie. They hate because they don’t know how to low something different than themselves. They do it because some people never advance into self awareness and are stuck in a high school mentality.

    • getz

      ” I don’t understand how one sin is worse?”

      Because Christianity is dumb.

      Person A has faith that one sin is worse than another.

      Person B has faith that all sins are equal.

      How would person B show that their claim is true? At most, all they can point to is what Person C had faith in a long time ago, but that is just one more empty claim among many. Under those circumstances, all positions are equal. Is it your job to ask for forgiveness, or is it your job to judge? Once again, neither claim can be supported. No gods are going to stop by church on Sunday to clarify anything either.

      If scripture actually meant anything, you would never have sects like Christianity develop in the first place, so a general disregard for what they symbolically hold up as important teachings is the norm. What’s actually important is what is actually taught. and if that modern teaching is “god has told us that homosexuality is extra yucky”, then it has just as much support as every other religious claim: none. There’s no need for a real reason that religion is just used as an excuse to cover for. Their superstitions about human sexuality play a central role in what they believe homosexuality is, why they believe it, and what will result from gay relationships. For most people, they aren’t even given an opportunity to develop a non superstitious perspective before hiding behind religion. And when the religious beliefs go, the bigotry often disappears with them, because they weren’t just an excuse for bigotry; they were central to the individual’s justifications for being a bigot.

    • Intelligent Donkey

      I don’t like the concept of “sin” at all. Sins are forgivable.

      The transgressions of religion are not “sins”, because they are unforgivable.

  • Gunner Miller

    The church and pastor in question released a video responce…that answers NOTHING. They talk about it and how they did it with much thought and prayer, but did not answer why. They also hinted that the story is more complex. They then fell back on the old ‘they never report on how much good we do’. It was 4 minutes of fluff.

    http://vimeo.com/75162300

    • Guest

      You mentioned in the video their Facebook page…it’s gone like fluff in the wind.

    • catsnjags

      Worse yet, the video implies that there were “other evil acts” that occurred… therefore, we’re no bigots. If that’s not true then all they have done is further shamed the poor kid.

      • 3lemenope

        Depending on what exactly they implied and how strongly they implied it (I haven’t been in a spot where I can view the video myself), they may have a slander lawsuit in their immediate future.

    • Octoberfurst

      I watched the video and you’re right–it answered nothing. The pastor went on about how they “love and accept everyone”—but not if you’re gay I guess. I hated his whining about how no news organization talks about all the great things they do–feed the hungry, help the homeless, etc. But the best part was his whine about how “tolerance is a two way street” and how they shouldn’t be criticized for their stands. Yes, what a shame that people aren’t tolerant of bigots. What an idiot.

    • cary_w

      The only answer they provide is a hint that there is more to the story. I don’t know the kid involved or anything about this church, but to play devil’s advocate for a minute, if this kid really did do something inappropriate or even criminal, then the church is covering it up, trying to sweep it under the rug just like the Catholics tried to do. They could be held liable for covering up a crime and putting other children at risk. No matter what the real truth of the situation is, this church is behaving un-ethically.

      • skeptical_inquirer

        Since he’s only a parishioner and not a preacher, I’m pretty sure they’d hang him out to dry if he actually did something then preach about how evil gays are.


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