I’ve noticed that there are an increasing number of evangelical Christians who argue that homosexuality is sin but that gay people should have equal rights. In other words, they make a distinction between their religious belief on the one hand and ensuring equal legal rights for all on the other hand. While standing up for LGBTQ rights is an excellent step, it is not enough.
I’ve had readers question me on this. Why do I want them to change their belief that homosexuality is sin, they ask? Aren’t I in favor of freedom of belief? Yes, absolutely, people are free to believe what they choose! And I, in turn, am free to oppose beliefs that cause harm, no matter how sincerely those beliefs are held.
I oppose the belief that wives are to submit to their husbands because I have seen the harm it can do to relationships and lives.
I oppose the belief that vaccinations are medically harmful because anti-vaxxing threatens herd immunity and ends lives.
I oppose the belief that homosexuality is sin because of the harm done to LGBTQ youth who grow up with such teachings.
I once had a gay coworker my own age who told me his story. He grew up in a Baptist home, and attended his family’s Baptist church faithfully. He attended youth group, and volunteered at the Christian radio station. And one day, when he was 16, he swallowed an entire bottle full of pills in an attempt to end it all, because he was gay and he could not change that. The level of self loathing and the feeling that God hated him for who he was were simply overwhelming. He woke up hours later, covered in vomit and blood, his suicide attempt a failure. Later, in college, he found a new group of friends who affirmed him for who he was, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Do you have any idea how high the rate of suicide is among LGBTQ youth? Do you have any idea what growing up believing that who you are is disordered and a sin does to people? I am not okay with the evangelical belief that homosexuality is sin not only because it generally results in opposition to LGBTQ rights but also because of what it does to LGBTQ youth growing up in evangelical families and evangelical communities. This is not okay.
I don’t care if you sincerely and truly hold that God condemns homosexuality as a sin. I refuse to give that a pass. I oppose the belief that healing should come through faith rather than through medicine because it results in dead children. In the same way, I oppose the belief that homosexuality is sin because it results in dead children.