Anti-gay Christianity claims another life

This is Carlos Vigil, of Valencia County, New Mexico, just south of Albuquerque:

CarlosVigil

Here’s another picture of him:

Carlos

By all accounts, Carlos was a terrific young man: compassionate, thoughtful, kind, actively engaged in helping young people deal with the devastating effects of being bullied.

Being bullied was something Carlos knew much too much about. He was gay, and for that had been relentlessly bullied for as long as he could remember. Finally, as he was set to enter his senior year of high school, that bullying proved too much for him. Three days ago, Carlos posted this online:

Carlos suicide note

And then he hurt himself so badly that this morning his family took him off life support. Carlos is now in a place where no one is ever bullied. (Read more of the story here.)

Bullies bully because they feel empowered to do so. And why do bullies in America feel particularly empowered to victimize gay people?

If you’re wondering about the answer to that question, you’re only pretending to. Because you know why. We all do. American bullies feel empowered to freely hound, denigrate, and beat-up LGBT people because they live in a country historically and culturally defined by, and everywhere infused with, Christianity. And the ubiquitous “traditional values” brand of Christianity (as opposed to the Christianity in which I believe) has long and very actively taught that being gay is a reprehensible moral abomination, an offense against God so foul that divine justice demands that in the afterlife gay people be punished by spending eternity having the living flesh burned off their bones.

Every American bully who victimizes gay people does so confident, at one level or another, that he or she is furthering the cause of God—just like the pastor up the street, or the pastor on the radio, or the pastor on TV, or the pastor at the head of any of the infinite number of Christian “ministries” that trades in the hectoring of gay people.

Anti-gay theology and physical brutality are as near as the church pulpit is to the street outside the church. (Tweet this.)

If you’re a Christian who believes that being gay is a sin, then tonight, after you’ve turned off the lights, and laid your head down to sleep, take a moment, please, to listen into the darkness.

Hear that distant, horrific scream? That’s yet another gay teen being piteously tortured by a bully acting out the theology that you subscribe to and support. It’s the sound of another young gay person accepting as true about themselves what Carlos so heartbreakingly expressed finally and ineradicably believing to be true about himself: that he was born a freak unworthy of ever loving or being loved.

That scream is, or should be, your “Christian” conscience.


 

See also: Taking God at His Word: The Bible and Homosexuality, which shows that the notion that God condemns homosexuality is anything but biblical, Christians and the Blood of Jamey Rodemeyer, and this cartoon, which I made to be watched til its very end:

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • Tasia

    so sad. my heart just breaks more and more every time I see/read these stories. When are we going to wake up and embrace our children for who God made them to be?

  • Jennifer Vance

    Horrifying, John. Absolutely horrifying. How can anyone be so effing horrible as to make another human being feel the way that Carlos felt? My heart aches for him. My heart goes out to his family. He was wrong. Totally wrong. He was not a loser. And his death leaves many hearts saddened. Even total strangers like myself and many others in the LGBT community. I wish I could say something equally horrible about those who bullied this young man to death, but I can’t. To do so would just perpetuate the cycle of evil that those who bully are caught up in. I can only pray that they find themselves with an uneasy conscience. I pray that they realize the evil that they have done, and ask God for forgiveness. I pray that Carlos’ death will not be in vain, but will instead be a rallying cry for those in his community to raise up against their classmates and those in their churches who are so blind to the total love of God for all of his children. Rest in peace, Carlos….rest in peace.

  • http://coolingtwilight.com Dan Wilkinson

    Wow. Thanks for sharing this, as heart-breaking as it is.

    You say “Every American bully who victimizes gay people does so confident, at one level or another, that he or she is furthering the cause of God.” And while at one level this is certainly true, I think that at another level every bully also feels deeply insecure about their own life, their own sexuality and their own relationships. They see someone that is different than them — or perhaps too similar to them — and feel the need to denigrate and isolate and even destroy that which they don’t understand and fear. Christianity, and in particular our flavor of American Christianity, may provide a convenient cover for this sort of flagrant abuse, but I have to think that, deep down inside, most bullies in some way know that what they are doing is deeply wrong and is in no way Christian. Likewise, I think that many of the most vocal anti-LGBT voices on the Christian Right, if they truly listened to their God-given consciences, would have to acknowledge that their rhetoric is deeply harmful.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Yeah, I mean … all of what you said here is why I was sure to include the modifier, “at one level or another.” You’ve helpfully pointed to at least one more important motivating level at which bullies are operating.

      • Susan

        Here is the what runs under the gay panic defense. Young gay child brewed in the anti-gay soup realizes at 8,9,10 or so they are not as interested as their friends in the grow up, marry, happily ever after. Soon a crush brings the realization, OMG, am I the hated other?, and the self fixing, hiding, hating begins. Later puberty takes hold, and at some point a lapse, followed by increased self hatred and control, and maybe projection on the temptations around, of that hatred. The bullying continues even as they evolve, if they do, or they are abusive to their closeted release partner that is love/hated. When outing threatens then gay panic bashing, killings happen by those so poisoned to now face exposure, to save themselves. Or so it seemed from this spectator of this story. Otherwise christian(trying to be good) enough, young person attempting the impossible, to hate their sexuality enough to erase it and replace it to suite the family, church, and the added survival self medicating addiction that followed, lead to a self destruction that then included violence for self protection—–the gay panic defense. How much poison would it take to get you to leave your husband or wife and take the opposite, so that I might be happier? As an adult, fat chance, right? But remember this begins as young as 5-6, certainly by 8,9,10 and continues unabated, as they in the shadows hear all the radio, TV, church and family sing the “you do not deserve to exist” song. Remember also how teen dating was, and consider what being hated, by the object of your affection might be like for the young gay kid whose misfortune is to get the attentions of the poisoned anti-gay teen. This poison still flows between the 2 sides of the culture wars as our kids go to school together, and eruptions of violence are certain. Because to anti-gay christians gay children do not exist, they can not see that the poison, is coming from them to their gay children and ours. I also exist in a family that regards my wife and I this way, and even though I am happily married out and proud, I was blown away by how the bigotry in the children of the extended family that happened as they grew up just cut to the core, like it was yesterday. Watching from the sidelines, shuned in action, but “loved” in words, does not nurture a child, and is unpleasant even as an adult.

  • http://listencloselyproductions.wordpress.com Liz Massey

    I totally agree with what you are saying. I also predict you’ll get more than a few responses from people who subscribe to that murderous theology who are going to be hurt that you’re calling them out as responsible. Sorry folks, you don’t get to run with the popular (anti-gay) crowd at your church and then cluck your tongue in private at how this rhetoric kills people. If you think the deaths are a shame, take a stand with us. Even if you’re still working out your personal spiritual belief system on this.

    • http://wilkinsonweb.com Dan Wilkinson

      “If you think the deaths are a shame, take a stand with us.” YES!

    • DR

      Dead. On. Accurate.

      Christians, time to pick a lane.

  • http://www.susanirenefox.com Susan Irene Fox

    My heart aches, John. Beginning finally to hear more positive messages from my own church about this issue, PTL. Takes courage to speak up – thank you for being a loud voice in the wilderness. I am an avowed UC and will remain so, slowly making changes from the inside. Bless you.

  • Jessi

    And then there are the Christians who are champions of LGBT rights. We are not alone. We do not have to defend those who are not coming along, yet. http://newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/new-survey-notes-the-great-strides-catholics-have-made-for-lgbt-equality/

    • Cindy

      I am one of those heterosexual who is a champion of LGBT rights. I am so excited to say that I have made arrangements to join my local chapter of PFLAG, and will hopefully have more opportunities to make a difference to a cause that I have always cared so much about.

      And to a group of people that I love. I do so wish I could give one of these gay teens the love they might not be getting from their family. This story and stories like this cut me to my core.

      I pray all the time, hoping someone will hear me: You are loved! You are loved!

      • DR

        YAY! What an incredible thing to be a part of! Inspired, thank you for this.

  • Tom

    Fake Christians have no conscience. That’s what they are. Fake. It includes almost all who call themselves Christians and it’s a sickness. They are the abomination-the antithesis of everything Jesus stood for. They file into their church every Sunday to sing the praises of The Lord. In reality they are worshiping Satan because the god of Abraham as depicted in the Old Testament, is indeed a devil. Here’s something from The Essene Jesus. Essene you ask. What is that? I’ll tell quite simply. It is the Jesus we should know, the one before Paul skewed his teachings and made them his own. It goes like this: “After my departure there will arise the ignorant and the crafty, and many things will they ascribe unto Me that I never spake, and many things which I did speak will they withhold, but the day will come when the clouds shall be rolled away, and the Sun of Righteousness shall shine forth with healing in his wings” ~Jesus; The Gospel of the Holy Twelve

    Jesus made no exceptions to his teachings of love. None. If you want to apply the OT as a weapon of judgment, go right ahead. But if you do, just know that you are not following in his footsteps, you are not righteous in the eyes of The Lord. And yes, you can blame yourselves for Carlos’ death, and all the rest before him. Their blood is on your hands.

    • Brian

      **heavy, exasperated sigh** “Fake Christians.”

      Yes, I agree with you. THOSE Christians are not being very nice.

      However.

      I get so tired of the “they’re not real Christians” that gets thrown around when those “other Christians” are misbehaving in especially nasty ways. When I came out and was dropped by the church I was attending (which was an extremist, charismatic independent congregation, because I wanted to believe that God would make me hetero) – I did a fair amount of church-hopping. I was hoping that maybe in the more mainstream denominations I would hear some message that wasn’t so out-of-touch with the reality I was experiencing.

      Can’t tell you HOW MANY times I heard “oh, but it’s not like that at OUR church” and “we believe what the Bible REALLY says”… only to find that when I got there for a visit they were all still driven by some version of “you’re going to hell if you don’t end up believing like us.” All those other churches – those weren’t REAL Christians.

      Well, guess what. They’re all Christians. Some of them are nasty judgmental shits. Some of them are decent people. All of them are probably some combination of the two in varying degrees. I’m an atheist. Sometimes I’m an a***h**** atheist, but most of the time I’d like to think I’m a considerate one.

      My point is this – I don’t think it’s productive, or even helpful, to split hairs over who is and isn’t a REAL Christian. The real problem here is the one John has highlighted, namely an abusive belief that has so thoroughly permeated our culture that it regularly kills ***and allows the murderers and enablers to feel SUPERIOR to and LOVING of their victims.***

      And it is being perpetrated by REAL Christians. Thank goodness, not **all** REAL Christians behave like that.

      • Tommy

        Yes, there are fake Christians, whether you acknowledge that or not. They have no idea who Jesus is and no understanding whatever of his teachings.

        • DR

          Tommy honestly, the constant pearl-clutching that we as Christians do around “These are the bad Christians, stop pointing fingers at us the good Christians” is stupid and exhausting. The bottom line is this: these people are in our Christian “tent” and we’ve not done anything to shut them down and drown them out. We’ve sat silently by as they have taken our faith hostage and brutalized the GLBT community. It’s completely self-absorbed to focus on making sure everyone knows we’re one of the good guys – let’s solve the fucking problem committed in the name of Christ, ok? Then we might earn the good guy title.

      • Tommy

        Oh. And it’s productive for me and that’s all that matters. I’m tired of their shit and people who support them.

        • Brian

          …and I’m simply tired of Christians and the endless arguing over who’s REAL and who’s FAKE. Just more tiresome finger-pointing. If someone claims to follow Christ, that makes them a Christian. Theme and variations on that claim are POINTLESS arguments that detract from what is important, namely:

          Work for justice and shut the F up about everything else.

      • Jill

        I didn’t know true Christians existed on this planet until I came over here and found John. Yes, I truly *needed* to know this, otherwise my rage would continue unabated. I didn’t want to live like that, holding onto hatred and untruth. Facing the reality changed things. It is important.

      • DR

        I couldn’t agree more. It’s terribly self-absorbed. xoxo

    • The_L

      Well, if it isn’t the “No True Scotsman” argument! Fancy meeting you here!

  • Matt

    Oh my God. How heartbreaking.

    It cuts especially close to the bone because Carlos’ message is one that I could have written, in the not-too-distant past. The wording is even similar, scarily enough. The only reason I’m not a statistic is because I have a partner who means the world to me, and I know I mean everything to her. Because I have friends who will text me every single day that I feel suicidal: “Matt, we love you. You could never be replaced. Please stay.” Friends who are ready to have me stay on their couches at a moment’s notice so that I won’t be alone, no questions asked.

    But I still remember high school, when I had no friends. This was pre-transition, while I was still just an awkward 15-year-old girl. My former “friends” wouldn’t talk to me or look at me, even when I spoke to them directly. Part of the smear campaign was calling me a lesbian, which to them was little more than the worst insult they could think of, something salacious which no “real” or “good” girl would ever be. When I changed with the other girls in the locker rooms, they got nervous and made comments if I happened to look at them, as if I were some kind of predator. I remember a group of boys in particular who would follow me to lunch and deliberately sit near me so they could insult how I looked, the things I said in class, etc. I stopped talking at school almost completely. Books were my friends instead. Had I known I was transgender at the time, and had they known, it would definitely have been even worse.

    I can say that I, unfortunately, know exactly how Carlos felt in his last few days of life. It’s an indescribably painful deep, dark hole. Once the bullies leave, their words stay. The things I told myself and the names I called myself are not fit for print, polite company, or any other human being. I can guarantee that Carlos edited himself heavily in that post; to hear his actual internal dialogue would be like listening to a horror movie on repeat, all day, every day. You feel cut off from every other person. Eventually, you stop feeling human at all.

    Carlos, I’m so profoundly sorry you didn’t get the lucky breaks that I did. You certainly deserved no less. I’m not stronger than you for not giving in completely. I honestly don’t know how I got out of the hole by myself, and there are days I still slip in. There’s no shame for you in what you did. The shame is all with the people who made your life hell. I’m so sorry that you had to leave this world in order to find peace. But you did make one mistake: the world is not a better place without you. It’s actually a little darker.

    Rest in peace, friend.

    • Elizabeth

      Matt, you could never be replaced. Thanks for staying. :)

    • harrisco

      Matt – Yes, thank you for staying. Thank you for surviving. Just thank you.

      You are right–painfully so–when you say that a bully’s words linger long after the bully is gone. The next time you feel those words reasserting their old, durable power, remember this: You did not deserve bullying then. You do not deserve the memory of bullying now. You just don’t. No way you do. You deserved a better world. Carlos did too. I am sorry too few, if any, spoke up on your behalf when you needed it. I am sorry a lot of people joined in the ugliness or stood quiescent and watched it take place in their midst. God forgive me if I have ever done the same. Just remember: You deserved better…

      • Matt

        Thank you, harrisco and Elizabeth. Your words mean so much to me.

        It’s something that’s difficult to communicate to people, the feeling that I am inherently bad and something Other, not human. They think I am speaking metaphorically when I am not. For years, it was my unquestionable truth. In fact, I couldn’t have even started to see it as a lie without outside help. The feeling is still there and sticks very firmly, but I have learned ways to work around it until I can unravel it for good. It makes me mourn even more that Carlos never even got a chance to challenge his false truth.

        • Jill

          I always believe in you. I wouldn’t be the same without you, Matt.

    • http://www.ripplesgalore.com Felicia

      This was absolutely beautiful …. goosebumps beautiful. Thank you so much, Matt. I hope you don’t mind if I share it with others.

      • Matt

        No, Felicia, of course I don’t mind. Please go ahead. I write knowing that it’s going to be public. I’m just glad that John lets me write so much.

    • DR

      Beautifully said.

  • Teresa Freeman

    Excellent article…once again.

  • Pat Long-Gilbert

    Very well said.

  • Patty Cross

    Well said, John. Rest in peace, Carlos.

  • Peggy Ann Mills

    The opposite of Love is not hate, it is Fear. So if you cannot love another person as they are, then you might need to ask yourself what it is you FEAR.

  • Mary Hunziker

    Heart breaking. What a tragic loss. Please let us all so everything we can to reach out to the LGBT community with love and acceptance.

  • Pat Long-Gilbert

    It is the people who call themselves Christian, yet spew hate, that I believe this is aimed at. True Christians don’t/wouldn’t treat people that way. Psuedo christians are not the only ones to blame, true.

  • Nancy Caroline Deatrick

    I don’t think it’s about “true” or ” not-true” Christians. Many are poorly and misinformed. They believe they are following “God’s will” but aren’t looking at the outcome of their actions. John is helping us to examine the outcome of our theology. Where does it lead us individually? What role do we play? Think about it, rather than dismiss it…

  • Lois DeBoid

    I am certainly NOT defending Christianity, but I have to nitpick a little. Although the title of this heartbreaking article blames this poor kid’s death on Christianity, there is nothing in this story that even implies he was persecuted by Christians. I was all ready to repost this on Facebook, but I didn’t because the title is just wrong. I mean, I get your point, bone-headed Christians and their bone-headed “beliefs” certainly make the plight of gay teens even more horrific, but it is not the only factor. Your own article says nothing to implicate them in this case. I would have reposted this story in a heartbeat if it did, or if the title didn’t declare something that the article doesn’t prove.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Read again the title that so offends you. It doesn’t say “Christianity.”

      • Lois DeBoid

        Then I must be hallucinating. “Anti-gay CHRISTIANITY claims another life.”

        • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

          I think John is labeling a certain kind of Christianity, that is, the anti-gay kind. He didn’t say simply “Christianity clamins another life.” Although I see where you are coming from–it does look like a judgement on Christianity. The comments below are helpful.

          • Lois DeBoid

            I take your point. I thought he was just being redundant! : ) So I am the one judging Christianity. My original point, as I wish someone would notice, was about journalism, not religion per se. Somehow people are taking me as a defender of Christianity, which is hysterical to me. I am a writer, and I cringe when I see good stories that should be told being diluted by sensationalism or exaggeration in media. My intent was to protect the power of the written word, not Christianity!

          • Elizabeth

            Still a Christian blog, Lois. Thank you for protecting the sanctity of journalism from Jesus. Hysterical I’ll give you. Now, if you’re ready for a grown up conversation on how one can be gay and/or gay-affirming, Christian, and ethical, make yourself at home.

          • Lois DeBoid

            I’m sorry, I was not trying to offend. “Hysterical” was a poor word choice. I was not trying to be snarky or insulting, but you don’t seem to have a problem with that. Very “Christian” of you. If you had bothered to actually read my other posts, you would know that I am gay. But I see that people are just as judgmental and exclusive here as they are in the “other” Christian world. I am very disappointed that this has been blown so out of proportion. Please forgive me for offering a small suggestion that I thought would be helpful in not turning off new visitors, but I see that turning off new visitors is of no concern to you. I will most gladly leave your little club alone.

          • Elizabeth

            Please join our little club. Add your voice. We’re a fraternity of saints and misfits. I love what John’s been able to do to create a community here when we can speak our minds and our hearts.

            Just don’t lead off with hating Christianity. It’s as toxic and pointless as hating gays for being born the way God made them. It’s a double-edged sword. As for my scare-quoted Christianity, it’s more ‘thieves in the temple’ than ‘turn the other cheek’. I’m tired of both sides’ preconceptions. There’s an entire blog here for you to educate yourself. And plenty of visitors.

          • Lois DeBoid

            I’m sorry, I see now I didn’t make it at all clear that toxic Christianity is what I was railing against. I am not anti-Christian, and that was not the post I lead off with. I am fortunate to have found in my town a community of Christians who live by the teachings of Christ and are wonderful, sincere, giving, loving people. They (and, I like to think, I) make an effort to understand people, not attack them. However, it’s difficult when total strangers take out their anger on me, insult me, and condescend to me. It’s sad and ironic that I feel bullied on a thread about bullying.

          • Elizabeth

            Please, feel welcomed. And take John seriously when he invites you to make improvements. I can say, from personal experience, he listens.

            But don’t claim the attack didn’t start with: “Then I must be hallucinating. ‘Anti-gay CHRISTIANITY claims another life.’” Like I wrote previously, we try (anyway) to be adults here.

          • Wayne

            Lois,

            I agree with you 100%. The article has a misleading title. But on the larger issue of the hateful anti-gay treatment of people, this is reprehensible and, as a Christian, I am appalled by it, regardless of where it comes from.

            Wayne

          • Wayne

            Excellent point! I fully agree!

            Thanks Lois.

          • Lois DeBoid

            Thank you Wayne, I’m glad there is someone here who actually tried to understand what I was saying. I never, ever suggested that this wasn’t an utterly reprehensible, and had no idea I was going be jumped all over for it. I appreciate your kindness and consideration.

          • Brian W

            Agreed, the title should be “Anti-gay BULLYING claims another life” Carlos’ tragic suicide had nothing to do with Christianity and everything to do with bullying

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            Bullshit, Brian. From this post:

            If you’re a Christian who believes that being gay is a morally reprehensible offense against God, then you share a mindset, worldview, and moral structure with the kids who hounded Jamey Rodemeyer, literally, to death. It is your ethos, your convictions, and your theology that informed, supported, and encouraged their cruelty.

          • Lymis

            Lois and Brian,

            It seems to me that you are doing what so many people do – since the bullies that forced him to change schools – which didn’t stop the bullying at the new school, and finally to kill himself, aren’t reported as shouting Bible quotes while they attacked him, it must be “bullying” – apparently with no motivation of any kind, as though American Christian churches are not leading the anti-gay bullying movement.

            But even if you don’t want to believe that, you know what else is missing from these stories? Every single one of them talks about how alone, lonely, isolated, and hopeless the kids who eventually kill themselves are. In this case, he had supportive parents who helped him change schools, but that wasn’t enough.

            What’s missing? Any evidence of any Christian support from anyone around him. Where were the Christian teachers? Where were the Christian fellow students? Where was the community outrage that someone could be driven from a local school when the majority of the community who claim a a religion are Christian?

            Even if you don’t want to believe that Christians were up front and actually doing the bullying – a truly misguided and hopelessly naive way to bet – you can’t ignore the fact that Christians stood by and let it happen.

            If it wasn’t anti-gay Christianity doing the bullying, (again, ha!), then it was certainly anti-gay Christian apathy letting him feel hopeless and alone.

          • Brian W

            According to the story, no one came to his rescue, so why is it the fault of Christianity? Being he was in a public school why not say ‘Anti-gay, anti-Christian secular humanist public education system claims another life”. Why is it always the fault of Chrsitianity when a young gay person commits suicide? The largest Christian denomination is the Catholic Church that is clearly anti-gay, but I never read “Anti-gay, child molesting Catholic Church claims another victim”. Carlos was bullied at a government school, why didn’t the government protect him?

          • Lois DeBoid

            Brian, we are wasting our breath. Lymis is happier whining and blaming the metaphorical bogeyman named “anti-gay Christianity.” Why he doesn’t blame PEOPLE is beyond me. I’m pretty sure Jesus (you know, the inventor of Christianity?) wasn’t a bully, so it seems logical to me that PEOPLE are the root of the problem. But he needs to blame something, otherwise he might have to actually take responsibility for his own life.

          • Lois DeBoid

            I’m sorry, Lymis, my reply was uncalled for and rude. I hit the “submit” button before I stopped to think about what I was saying, and now I wish I could take my ugly words back. I hope you will forgive me.

          • DR

            Who is Lois and why exactly is she completely losing her sh** against Lymis, one of the most gentle and articulate members of this community? Is she a troll? She has to be a troll, no one who is reasonable acts this way.

          • DR

            Why do you keep denying the power that Christianity has when calling homosexuals sick, sinful and condemned against God ? You are so busy defending Christianity, it’s like you’re too scared to actually listen to what it’s done.

          • Lois DeBoid

            Bigotry and hate existed a long, long time before Christianity came along. You apparently have such tunnel vision on this issue that I believe it is you who is scared to listen to any other opinion. How is it helpful to stew in your own bitterness and hatred? What are your suggestions for improving things? How do you propose to “shut them down and drown them out?” Violence? Going all militant on their asses? Persecute them? Were you bullied so badly you won’t be satisfied until you get make them suffer as much as they made you suffer? Then I pity you. You are part of the problem.

          • DR

            Lois, please point out where bigotry and hatred toward the gay community – let’s use the fight against gay marriage, for example – is being funded and led by anyone other than Christian groups. I’ll wait for that example.

            In terms of your other questions, as a straight christian woman I’ve invested hundreds of hours in homeless shelters for teenagers, many of which are gay who are kicked out of their “loving Christian homes”. I’m also a volunteer for the Trevor Project and I’ve worked with a number of organizations that are trying to make amends to the gay community for how they’ve been completely brutalized by my church. I’m not marinating in “hatred”, I am so panicked for the health and well being of gay kids who are the #1 group of kids to commit suicide that I’m not exactly prioritizing your opinion.

            Now it’s your turn. What are you doing to support the GLBT community? Perhaps in-between your comments that you’ve been a complete jerk (ironically while calling out others for their hostility) you might provide some insight into what you’re doing that’s contributing to the solution.

          • DR

            Clearly what John was doing was preserving what authentic Christianity is by the useage of the title – any belief that tells a gay man or woman that they are “not of God” as a result of being gay is not Christian. Given you are so focused on accuracy, it seems like you’d appreciate the intention of someone trying to keep the integrity of meaning as intact as possible.

          • Elizabeth

            I don’t know how many people said, “Welcome. Please skip the insults.” Ten? Sigh.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          Lois: You’re into journalism. If you’ve got a better title you’d like to suggest, lemme know what it is. Seriously; it’s not hard for me to change the title of a blog post, which I’m always willing to do if I feel my first/current choice needs improving. I think the title I’ve used here IS justified by the piece itself, insofar as I THINK I adequately made the point that, more than any other single factor, anti-gay Christianity is responsible for the suffering of gay people at the hands of bullies. You may feel I failed to make that point (one that perhaps I better made in this post, or this one).

          Anyway, just know that if you’ve got a better title to suggest, I’m all ears. I come from a background in journalism (which is how I made my living for some ten years), so I’m nothing if not (still) sensitive to its strictures. Suggest away, if you’ve a mind to. I’m listening.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            (and, honestly, I’ve been trying to think of a better, more accurately reflective title. and I just … haven’t been able to. God, I miss the ever-useful subtitle…)

            Anyway, again, offer away.

          • Lois DeBoid

            John, I am sorry I ever said a word. You have very devoted, if aggressive, fans who are quick to jump to your defense at the slightest perception of dissent. If this is indeed a site that promotes Christian understanding and tolerance, some of your fans have completely missed the point. The last thing I need is hostility from my own community. Ironic, isn’t it, that I feel bullied on a thread about bullying? You have every right to use whatever titles you think are appropriate, and I apologize for suggesting otherwise. Rest assured, I will trouble you no more.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            Oh. Gosh. Okay. Well, I was serious about reaching out to you for help/assistance on this. I’m seriously always open to a better title. My readers suggest them all the time, and if they’re better, I use them. You pointed to a weakness with this title; I understood the validity of what you were saying; I couldn’t think of a better title; I thought you might be able to. That’s … the whole package, to me. But I do know that Elizabeth’s been banging on you pretty hard. She’s … feisty like that sometimes.

          • Lois DeBoid

            I thought Brian W’s suggestion was good, but you seem to have some sort of issue with him, as do one or two other people who don’t seem happy unless they can blame everything bad that ever happened in their lives on a metaphorical bogeyman, called here “anti-gay Christianity.” I see this more as an issue with anti-gay PEOPLE, Christian or otherwise, and the PEOPLE who control them, be it the church or Fox News, not with Christianity per se. Anti-gay Christianity doesn’t bully people, anti-gay people do. Who are we to say if Christianity is their motivation, their justification, or something else altogether? Go ahead, Matt, Lymis and Elizabeth, start your engines.

            I am of the opinion that it is more constructive to take our power back. I did. I had a shitty childhood, I was tortured for being gay and fat, no one came to my rescue, but that was then and this is NOW. We are not responsible for what was done to us as children, but we are entirely responsible for what we do about it when we are adults. We can ignore the idiots, find our true selves and our own God, and move on proudly with our lives, support each other, and maybe start doing something constructive to educate the ignorant and help the afflicted until the world becomes a better place for people like us. You know, kind of like Jesus did.

            As for Elizabeth, lets just say you are way more diplomatic than I.

          • Matt

            Lois, I wanted to apologize for any part I played in making you feel unwelcome. I reacted, and let my emotions get the best of me before I could get a chance to know you. I’m sorry. If you want to stay, I think you would make a great addition here.

          • Lois DeBoid

            Thank you, Matt, you are very kind. That means a lot to me. I think I better go elsewhere, though. I’m getting too emotional and reactive here, too. I just blasted someone else and I truly wish I could take it back. I need to go do some soul searching…

          • DR

            Lois come back! We all get triggered and pissed, it’s not personal. You seem like you have a lot to offer, hope you come back and join us!

          • Elizabeth

            Apologize for the feistiness! Hell, I should probably just put that on my business cards.

          • Elizabeth

            And fascinated that your name on Facebook is Bev DuBose and here Lois DeBoid. That’s exactly the kind of weird we need more of around here. That’s not snark. I am, in fact, pathologically odd but rarely snarky.

          • DR

            Lois, people choose to hold certain beliefs about a lot of things because of how they have chosen to interpret the Bible. Those choices create a system of belief that mainstream churches embed deeply into their theology, it becomes collective. That *system* of belief is deeply, deeply woven within mainstream Christianity in America.

            Please consider taking a breath and slowing down, as much as you’ve been saying you’re not being heard, you don’t seem to be listening. There are terrible people all over the place, in all religions. And there are incredible people there as well. The real damage that’s done in Christianity are those of us who are educated, emotionally intact and still choose to embrace a belief system regarding homosexuality (and act on it that is vile and abusive. What we are addressing here is the MACRO impact (no yelling, just emphasizing) impact that these interpretations of Scripture have had and what needs to be done to stop its impact.

            As far as Brian W goes, as lovely as a man he seems to be, Brian continues to ask this same question as he did -above – he’s asked it no less than a dozen times on this forum – people take the time to answer him, he thanks them and says “Gosh I’ve really changed my homophobic Biblical beliefs” and then he comes right back again asking the same question. So if you’re feeling some aggravation towards Brian, stop jumping to conclusions. Slow. Down.

          • DR

            Oh please, what a passive-aggressive slam. People disagree with John all of the time, this isn’t some kind of creepy cult and John is the leader where one bit of “dissent” is attacked. You were rude and you were a jerk and you made a ton of assumptions. That’s why people reacted. Take responsibility for how you acted, for goodness sake. You’re not a victim of anyone on this forum and your comment seems to reflect that you believe you are.

    • Matt

      Your “nitpick” is something that John has addressed multiple times, including in the post itself. Because our culture is saturated in Christianity, and Christians have historically marginalized LGBT people, Christians don’t need to directly bully LGBT young people. It happens with their tacit approval when they don’t do anything to stop it; it happens with their explicit encouragement when they call us “abominations,” “perverts,” and so on. The Christian church is just another way for these bullies to hear, “Go ahead. Don’t feel too bad. You’re not hurting real people or anything.” It being only one factor doesn’t make it any less important to point out.

    • Lymis

      I wonder if you would be so quick to complain if someone posted an article about something wonderful people did to gather together to help someone in need, or to protect someone from an attack (one not associated with homosexuality, of course, nobody would expect Christians to do something like that), and the credit was given to them as “Christians.”

      Sure, if a specific church group, acting AS a church group did something like that, it would be pretty straightforward. But if a group of public school kids got together to help renovate an old folks home, and the writer said what a wonderful reflection of Christian values that was, would you leap to nitpick and make sure everyone knew that “it is not the only factor?”

      I have to assume you’ve never been on the receiving end of anti-gay bullying. Because when you are, there is absolutely no question that it’s religiously based.

      If you are imagining roving bands of secular humanists harassing and bullying kids into suicide, please think again. And it would be bad enough if these people were coming up with this on their own, or even against the express teachings of their churches – but a significant majority of US churches have put opposition to homosexuality as one of their highest and most visible priorities. People can make an excellent case that Jesus wasn’t anti-gay. Nobody can make a credible case that American Christian churches are not.

    • Lois DeBoid

      Wow. You all make as many knee-jerk assumptions as the people you complain about. First of all, the title does not “offend” me, I simply find it misleading. Second, I was gay AND fat when I was young, so I think I know a little bit about being bullied. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the North, but not once did anyone bullying me tell me I was going to hell or anything remotely like that. I have HUGE issues with the Christian church and wouldn’t set foot in one, but I don’t feel the need to blame it for everything. I also have huge issues with exaggeration and misleading headlines in journalism, blogs included. I don’t think it helps the cause to do so. Look, I am 100% on the same side as you all. My god is not defined by bigots and ignoramuses. And yet I felt duped when I read this because I expected an article about Christianity being directly involved in the death of a young gay man, not just a very wide net cast over a story claiming a correlation for which there is no evidence. You may as well say that every gay person who kills themselves was killed by Christianity. Bigotry and hate are NOT limited to the Christian church. Would you rather be a gay Islamist? Atheists can be just as close-minded as religious people. Some people just hate gays because of the “ick” factor. They don’t like the idea of it for themselves, so they think anybody who does is disgusting. To fight bullying by blaming all the woes of the gay community on one religion is like fighting close-minded bigotry with close-minded bigotry. It’s crazy to me to say that absolutely everyone who bullies a gay person does so in the name of God at some level. Good lord, I can’t believe I’m defending the Christian church, of all things, from my own people.

      • Elizabeth

        Maybe we’re not your own people. Kind of sounds like a stereotype a bigot would fall back on. Je ne comprend pas. Pouvez-vous répéter?

        • Lois DeBoid

          Yes dear, I am overwhelmed by your bi-lingual brilliance. Maybe you should look in the mirror.

          • Elizabeth

            Google translate. If I were a bigot, life would be so much simpler. #existentialproblems

          • Lois DeBoid

            AND…we’re back to snark. You’re wasting your talents on me. We’re on the same side, but you are too busy trying to prove your superiority to even see it. I’m sure you can find thousands of anti-gay sites to troll, and you may even enjoy directing your anger where it belongs. I know I would. I’ve tried to be civil to you, I even apologized, but you won’t be satisfied until I tell you that you are right and I am wrong about this and every other subject that ever comes up. “Adult” my ass. I am from the same city you are, sweety, and I only take so much shit from arrogant little brats.

      • harrisco

        I went to the news report John linked to in his post, from a news station in New Mexico. The report has nothing to say about this young man being bullied because he was gay–even though he used the f word in his final message. If I had read the news report without reading John’s post, I would never have known that Carlos was bullied for being gay. Why did the reporter not mention it? (John – you must have learned of it elsewhere yourself. Set me right if that is not correct.)

        I am in need of some counsel on this question. A kid gets bullied for being gay and takes his own life and the news report on his death leaves out the gay part? What is that about? Really – I want some answers. Anyone have any insight? Anybody feel like writing a furious letter to the news station in New Mexico? I do.

        • Lymis

          My guess is that if you check out the ownership of the station, you’ll find it’s owned at some point up the food chain by a conservative Republican multimillionaire who doesn’t like the progress gay rights are making.

          This wouldn’t be the first time that gay got edited out if it cast gay people in a positive or compassionate light, just as gay often gets edited in if it makes gay people look bad.

          It’s one of many reasons LGBT people tend to be skeptical of the society around us.

          • harrisco

            Thanks, Lymis. You may be on the right track.

            In all of the possible explanations of the selective editing of the report of this young man’s life and death, there is not one that leaves me without a sick feeling. Poor kid–hit one more time on his already tragic way out of this world. I am sorry, Carlos. We failed you again.

      • Annie

        Just a word of support, Lois, from a long-time lurker. I had some of the same thoughts and I *do* think you’re getting jumped on. I feel empathy for you, and if the same happened to me, I’d feel really triggered and silenced.

        I look at the anti-gay bullying attitude as a “sword” that any religion or group can pick up. It exists apart from, and before, Christianity. There are lots of Christians who will consider you “in there club” if you pick up that sword, however. And I’m sure that many non-religious sword-wielders were encouraged by the tacit approval of their local religious climate.

        I too am opposed to anti-gay Christianity; I go to an affirming church and have had a gay pastor. Yet it’s hard to read this post without interpreting that the author thinks the anti-gays would go away if Christianity just rolled over and died. Now, I’ve read enough of John’s stuff to know that’s NOT the case, but it is the reason I don’t re-post this: I’m worried my friends and followers would take away the same wrong message *I’m* stumbling over… and I’d rather not have to put words in John’s mouth and tell them “No, he’s not against *all* Christians… really!”

    • DR

      Lois you’ve certainly done a lot of protesting here. Perhaps you’d be interested in talking about the issue. You’ve said several times that Christianity is only “one factor” that is contributing toward the institutionalized bigotry and homophobia that exists in our culture, our educational system and our legal system. So please elaborate on what those are – what are the other influencing factors that condemn homosexuality besides the Judeo-Christian belief system (clearly other religions do not have any kind of prominent impact in the USA). Tell us what has created bigotry on such a macro-level if not the beliefs that over 50% of US citizens currently hold. Thanks.

  • Matt Ryan

    Yet another reason to cry…and pray. The God I love and serve will bring justice. I can only do my part to help bring light into a very dark and volitionally ignorant world. Enter into your rest my dear brother Carlos. You’re safe now.

  • Cassie

    Thank you for posting this… I really feel for Carlos, and it’s so sad that the world is now a darker place without him. I’ve been there – bullied incessantly for my weight, my orientation, my increasingly obvious mental instability. I’ve been at the edge. I’ve repeatedly scratched my arms until they bled – I still can’t wear sleeveless or short-sleeved shirts without feeling judged. I’ve considered suicide, to get away from the bullies, the hatred, and from my own damn brain.

    I was lucky. I had the best mom in the world who, even though she was in denial for a long time about my mental illness, still supported me even when she didn’t understand. She figured out on her own that I was a lesbian, and made sure to sit me down and tell me she loved me anyways. She even started taking me to a Unitarian Universalist Church (we were the first church to come out in support of equal rights), so I could meet others like myself, so I could be part of a loving community. She takes me to the Pride Parade every year, and she proudly wears pro-LGBT shirts even in our conservative community.

    I got lucky, because I stumbled upon friends (the Creative Writing club, always a good place for those who don’t quite fit in) in high school who didn’t mind my orientation or even my insanity. They’d give me odd looks when I had mood swings or acted off, but they supported me no matter what.

    I got lucky, because I had a few good teachers. Teachers who would listen to me, and take the bullies to task. Teachers who supported me and encouraged me.

    I’m past that, now. I’m on meds to control my mental instability. It still causes me problems, but now I consider it a strength rather than a source of shame. I’m in college, at UVA, where a quarter of the campus wore “Love is Love” shirts on V-day (and more would’ve if they hadn’t run out). I can openly wear clothes and buttons declaring my orientation, and I never get flak for it. I can go on a date with a beautiful girl, and no one looks askance at us. There’s even a LGBT fraternity/sorority I’m part of.

    It got better.

    To everyone with that same internal monologue, wondering if you’re just a waste of space: YOU ARE HUMAN. YOU ARE WORTH LOVE. I LOVE YOU. I love you, and someday you’ll leave this place behind you. Someday soon you’ll move, you’ll go to a liberal college or to a liberal town and find a caring community.

    And thank you, John, for posting this. Because it isn’t the bullies that are the worst part. Because you can rationalize the bullies away – call them mean and petty and decide that they’re just jerks with their own problems. It’s the quiet. It’s the people who stand by and do nothing, the people who won’t sit next to you at lunch. The people who just watch you suffering. The teachers who never speak up. The Christians who silently condemn. The constant barrage of media saying “you’re not good enough” and how no one ever calls them out like they might call out blatant sexism or racism. It’s not the pastors and pundits with their hateful rants, but instead the complicit silence of their listeners.

    If you’re Christian, hell if you’re human, and you hear something like this – hear gay-bashing or people saying “I’m not homophobic, but…” then CALL THEM OUT. Stop bullying when you see it. Don’t close your eyes. Make it clear that some things just aren’t appropriate to say. Don’t let people think this is somehow okay.

    You just might save a life.

  • Soulmentor

    It would be interesting to know how anti-gay attitudes ever got started. From what we can ascertain historically, it wasn’t a major issue prior to the development of the Abrahamic religions. To be fair to Christianity, we should notice that Islam is even more anti-gay and often officially violently so. Years ago I met a man from Iran who admitted the Islamic societies are officially violently anti-gay (they will execute gays) but unofficially wink at it because the men don’t have “normal” sexual outlets until marriage. (That is beginning to change) So there’s more to our American social gay issue than American religious attitudes, tho religion is all too obviously the primary motivator of the pervasive anti-gay prejudice.

    That said, and despite the sexual aberrations we see in nature (and let’s be honest, tho it can be pointed to, it’s NOT the norm) there does seem to be something about the prejudice that seems to be more deeply psychologically (instinctually?) ingrained.

    Which is not to say it’s wrong or abnormal, and it remains obvious that Religion has somehow hijacked, subsumed and promoted the prejudice. WHY is the big question. WHAT REALLY IS RELIGIONS’ PROBLEM WITH HOMOSEXUALITY? No one seems to have a rational answer and the religious conservatives who rant on about it don’t get pinned down and forced to answer for it.

    So thanks to you John and others for at last beginning that process of pinning them down and forcing them to answer and holding up a mirror to their ignorance and fear and hatred.

  • http://castlerockbear.tumblr.com Keith

    Now I’ve had my second cry over this! Guess I needed that. Every time I read of an LGBT person that has been claimed to suicide, it makes me tear up. I’ve been there, but I was stronger and I’m here today. It makes me think of how close I had gotten. YES, it was “Anti-Gay Christian Bullying” that pushed me that way, and it came from my family, the very people I was supposed to look to, to protect me!

    I know it’s only certain “misguided ideologies” that create the atmosphere that makes bullying EASY, and that can be also blamed on the “ick factor” for anyone..but, there are certain institutions that are intent on calling themselves Christian that have made an art form out of the way that they misinform their followers! But that isn’t EVERYONE.

    I honestly hope for a day when their voices are silenced, because the hateful ideology that is shouted out on “News Programs” , “Radio Shows” and in daily e-mails will become “passe” because of it’s ignorance and it’s vial attempt to dictate and harm! I hope that at some point, there is no reason for ANYONE to listen to the Tony Perkin’s, Brian Fischer’s, Matt Barber’s and Brian Brown’s (to name a few), because they have become irreverent and irrelevant to EVERYONE! These tears I cry, need to stop!

    I wish Carlos had known the love I know and cherish today…he’d still be here!

    Thanks John…as always!

  • Peter

    Reading this post and other posts on your blog makes me curious–how do you explain away bible verses that clearly and emphatically state that sexual immorality is a sin? I’m not going to single out homosexuality, but it is included along with sex before marriage, sex outside of marriage, etc. I’m not condemning the LGBT community, because God knows I’m in no place to point fingers. But by His grace I am in the process of being redeemed from my long history of sexual sin. For those who claim the name of Christ, isn’t it pretty important to believe that the Bible is true? I know that there are many passages in scripture that aren’t very “tolerant” or “diverse”…like when Jesus says that the ONLY way to the father is through Him. Heck, that’s why we murdered him. I would submit that those who choose to edit scripture or look past verses that don’t support their lifestyle should take a long hard look at who their God truly is…themselves, or Jesus?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      I deal with all of your concerns by first knowing and the writing this:

      Taking God at His Word: The Bible and Homosexuality

      and also by writing this book:

      UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question

    • Lymis

      “I’m not going to single out homosexuality, but it is included along with sex before marriage, sex outside of marriage, etc. I’m not condemning the LGBT community, because God knows I’m in no place to point fingers.”

      Sure you are. You’re just trying to either shift the responsibility for that condemnation, or else dress it up in pretty language and pretend it’s not offensive.

    • Anakin McFly

      You don’t need to explain anything away; the whole point is that homosexuality isn’t a form of sexual immorality.

    • Jessi

      For me, and for many other Christians, being a Christian is following Jesus’ example, and believing what He said, not any church doctrine. Using the Bible as an authority requires interpretation. Interpretation isn’t cherry-picking the verses that one chooses to believe, but rather reading the entire text as a single narrative, with a single purpose and that is God’s purpose. There is a really good closing chapter in a book called “God and Sex” by Michael D. Coogan that describes better than I can here one can arrive at a theology of liberation by reading and believing the Bible entirely. The theology of Richard Rohr and Matthew Fox (both VERY different veins) also reflect belief systems based of believing and using the Bible. And then there is Carter Heyward, an even different path.

    • harrisco

      Peter:

      I understand your questions, I think. In response, I would say that sexual sin is any type of sexual behavior that adulterates a loving human relationship and takes us away from the heart of God rather than closer. I use ‘adulterate’ because that is the concept often used in the Bible in key passages on this topic. The word ‘adulterate’ means to add something impure or inferior, to make something less than it should be. Adulterated medicine, for instance, has bad ingredients that reduce or reverse the effectiveness of the drug. You do yourself no good by taking bad pills–and you may make yourself much worse.

      Similarly, there are all sorts of ways to adulterate a relationship, whether it is a sexual one or a non-sexual one. The pure, loving, forgiving, compassionate, friendly, healing, life-giving, prayerful, humble relationships that Jesus exemplifed are the ideal. The loving heart of Jesus is at the center of them–and that heart, as Christians, is our heart–or at least our hope, our ideal, our model. Any type of behavior that leads away from that loving heart adulterates a relationship: It makes it less rather than more. It breaks us rather than heals us–and that is not what Jesus wants for us–not at all. He wants us whole. He wants us well. He wants us home. And home is all about giving and receiving deep, abiding love. He has gone to some considerable trouble to give us a radically gracious gift–fullness of life–so he wants us to accept no cheap substitutes. We are precious to him–and any relationship in which we are not treated as precious is just not good enough.

      So, Peter, when you look at human sexual behavior, to determine what sin is, look for what seems to lead away from that gracious heart (that is sin) and what leads toward that gracious heart (that is love). That is the first test. If a relationship fails that one, it is the “Go directly to jail, do not pass Go…” card in Monopoly.

      What other guides do we have? We have the Bible–always good. We have prayer–always good too. We also have the Holy Spirit as guide, friend, adviser, and consoler in matters of sexuality as in all other parts of life–so listen to the leadings in your own spirit from the Holy Spirit. Tune out mundane, earthbound messages–and listen for what else may the there. Do so and you will make the right decisions.

      Peace be with you.

    • Snazzy

      “how do you explain away bible verses that clearly and emphatically state that sexual immorality is a sin?”

      Here’s a better question: Who made the Bible, and by extension, Christians, the authority on sexual morality?

    • The_L

      “I’m not condemning the LGBT community, because God knows I’m in no place to point fingers.”

      But you did! You condemned them when you wrote this sentence:

      “Reading this post and other posts on your blog makes me curious–how do you explain away bible verses that clearly and emphatically state that sexual immorality is a sin?”

      Any time somebody says “I’m not prejudiced, BUT” or “I’m not singling you out here, BUT” the clause after the “but” always proves the first part to be a lie. I am sick of other people’s big “buts” butting in to the conversation on how to be good and loving people.

      “I’m not going to single out homosexuality, but it is included along with sex before marriage, sex outside of marriage, etc.”

      You’re absolutely right. Homosexual sex outside of a committed marriage is identical, morally, to heterosexual sex outside of a committed marriage. However, “it is not good for man to be alone,” and every single person I’ve encountered who considers having a homosexual orientation* to be a sin has always indicated the same thing: For straight people to be good and righteous, they merely need to not have sex with their significant others until marriage; for gay people to be good and righteous, they aren’t allowed to have a significant other, sex or no sex. These two ideas are not even remotely equivalent.

      “For those who claim the name of Christ, isn’t it pretty important to believe that the Bible is true?”

      I’m no longer a Christian, but I’m pretty sure that the only things Christians must believe are in the Nicene Creed. And most of the Bible doesn’t appear anywhere in that creed at all. Certainly human sexuality and romance are not mentioned anywhere in the Nicene or Apostolic Creeds. I know. I had to memorize them at one point.

      And if the truth of the Bible is important, surely the most important things are the topics that the Bible talks about the most?

      “Love one another as I have loved you.”

      “Love your enemies.”

      “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst, for they shall be filled. [...] But woe to you rich!”

      “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

      “Depart from me, you workers of iniquity; for I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink; I was naked and you did not clothe me; homeless and you did not shelter me; sick and in prison and you did not visit me.”

      “And this was the sin of your sister Sodom; pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”

      “Heck, that’s why we murdered him.”

      The Passion narratives in all 4 gospels say otherwise. Jesus was executed on charges of treason against the Roman Empire. Indeed, on the cross, as a list of his charges, it said “This man was the king of the Jews.” Surely you remember the interchange with Pilate: “Shall I condemn your king, then?” “We have no king but Caesar. [...] Crucify him!”

      “I would submit that those who choose to edit scripture or look past verses that don’t support their lifestyle should take a long hard look at who their God truly is…themselves, or Jesus?”

      Indeed. So let’s look good and hard at the 600+ verses about how we’re not doing enough for the poor, the outcast, and the homeless. Again, if the Bible is true and important, then those 600+ verses clearly outweigh the 5 verses that appear to be about homosexual intercourse. And as it is “easier for a camel to pass through a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven,” I’d say that giving more to those in need and practicing social justice would get in the way of a lot of Christians’ affluent lifestyles.

      I’m not saying that you’re a bad person for being affluent. I’m just saying you need to stop being so affluent for the sake of your immortal soul.

      Ball’s in your court, Pete.

      _______________________________________________

      * You cannot convince me that all you’re calling sinful is acts of sexual union between two members of the same sex. Too many gay virgins, like Carlos Vigil, have committed suicide over bullying for that to POSSIBLY be the case.

  • Jeff Morlock

    This is tragic, and sad, and a sign of just how deeply we are fallen as sinful human beings. However, by targeting “traditional values” Christians (I happen to prefer the term “orthodox”) as the cause of such tragedies, you perpetuate the hate that you claim to despise. My traditional values church teaches that homosexuality is a sin, along with hate and violence and scapegoating others to make yourself seem more righteous. Yet there are gay people who are deeply involved in our church who stay, because they have found community, hope, and the love of Christ here. And let’s not pretend that the culture hasn’t changed, just because insecure heterosexual adolescents act the way insecure heterosexual adolescents have always acted. The bullies will always be with us, but the culture has changed, John! Haven’t you noticed? Traditional values Christians are in the minority now, and progressivism is prevailing. In the media, and in the culture at large, LGBT lifestyles are celebrated, not denigrated. Every celebrity worth their salt is doing their own anti-bullying campaigns. Modern Family is in and Duck Dynasty is out (or at least its patriarch, Phil Robertson, who was summarily fired recently by A & E for stating what almost all Christians believed a couple of centuries ago… and yeah, I wouldn’t have said it the way he did). All that is to say, don’t get it twisted. Blame is easy. Taking the speck out of your own eye and cooperating to find real solutions takes work. Selah…

    • Jonathan Kuperberg

      Amen. Stop blood libels, unfundamentalists…

      • Bones

        I like the way Fundamentalists turn the hate language around.

        It’s not hate to tell you to stop bullying and picking on people.

        It’s not hate to defend Jews from Nazism and to tell people to stop picking on Jews.

        It’s not hate to defend coloured people from racists and tell them to stop..

        It’s not hate to defend members of the gay community from discrimination by Christians who think it is their God given right to do so..

        That is not what Jesus meant by taking the speck out of your own eye.

        You need to examine your own life.

        Not others.


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