Want to make a better world for LGBT? Destroy religion.

It never fails.  Whenever you’re explaining to a religious person why their beliefs are absurd, you always get asked the question.

“Why do you care what I believe?  Why does it matter to you?”

This is why it fucking matters.

A gay California teenager killed himself after his Christian parents performed an exorcism on him in an attempt to “cure” him, and when that didn’t work they kicked him out of the house.


He revealed the exorcism story in an “It Gets Better” video that he put on YouTube in the weeks before his suicide, saying “‘I was raised in an extremist Christian household… My mother knew I was gay and performed an exorcism on me in an attempt to cure me. My anxiety, depression, self-loathing and suicidal thoughts spiked.”

At a memorial service last week in the San Joaquin Valley, California, one friend read from his suicide note:

My pain is not caused because I am gay. My pain was caused by how I was treated because I am gay. To my friends you gave me life and love, never think this was your fault…To Lady Gaga, you have been a fearless relentless proud LGBT advocate.

I care because faith allows people to believe all kinds of ridiculous things, and ridiculous beliefs often have disastrous consequences.

I really hope it does get better because right now if you’re gay it really fucking sucks.

It kills me to watch LGBT rights organizations try to play buddy-buddy with religious groups.  It is obvious that the opposition to equality with regards to the LGBT community emanates directly from the pulpit.  Show me someone opposed to gay rights and I’ll show you someone who loves the lord in some Abrahamic faith.  Religion is the enemy of equality and has been since we dreamed of gods.  You want to make sure it gets better?  Keep Christianity on the decline.  Fight back by trouncing their arguments at every opportunity.

When religion has vanished, so to will the prejudices it keeps on life support.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/miguel.picanco miguelpicanco

    … but there are those that believe that are completely for gay rights. There’s not just one front on the war against bigotry and we need all the help we can get. When you find people who agree with you recoil at your words, this is why.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      Yeah, there are people who are just as irrational who think gays are alright. So what? That doesn’t change the fact that the virtual entirety of the opposition to gay rights comes from the faithful. Nobody argues for drinking poison just because it doesn’t kill everybody.

      You’ll likely respond that liberal Christians can help us. They can add their vote, for instance. The problem is that treating liberal Christians like their position is valid exacerbates teh problem.

      Liberal theists use faith to prop up their ideas of god’s will just like the fundamentalists, and so they cannot attack faith, the life force of fundamental Christianity, without attacking themselves. They can say “god doesn’t hate gays” but they reach that conclusion using the same means the fundamentalists use to arrive at its antithesis. In so doing, they lose the power to effectively say the fundamentalists are wrong.

      The truth is that they’re both wrong. God wills nothing, and nobody citing god’s will can defend their position. My words are that reason should be the arbiter of what is true, not faith. They can recoil at those words all they like, I won’t care.

      • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed Natalie Reed

        Heh. This touches on a bunch of the same points I was getting at in my “Is Religion Inherently Dangerous?” post this morning. Just much more succinctly. :)

        • sisu

          Actually Natalie I thought your post this morning was one of the best-written explanations I’ve seen about why the problem is not just conservative fundie religion of whatever flavor, but religion PERIOD. Really well done.

    • Alverant

      Would they be for gay rights without god? That’s the question that needs to be asked.

  • Beth

    Your equivalence of religion with prejudice, bigotry and support of the status quo is wrong. Not only do some Christian churches welcome gays and strongly support the fight for their rights, I am acquainted with atheists that are against gay rights.

    Prejudice and bigotry against gays are part of our common cultural legacy in the U.S. Young people, both conservative and liberal, tend to be supportive of gay rights. Older people,both conservative and liberal,tend not to be.

    Change comes about as our institutions, such as goverment and churches, support and endorse that change, which happens as more and more members of those organizations are supportive of those changes, which will occur naturally as our population ages and the young people of today move into positions of responsibility in those organziations.

    • Aquaria

      Religion is the problem, folks.

      Maybe some secular people are anti-gay, but they’re not the ones given the automatic ass-kissing as self-proclaimed, privileged asshat moral authorities, and given a voice for it that religion is.


  • thecynic

    If only it were that simple.

    The hate doesn’t stem from the religion so much as the religion is used to justify preexisting hate. Trust me, as a gay man who grew up in a progressive, largely secular, community (Ann Arbor, Michigan), I know first-hand that anti-LGBT prejudice exists entirely independent of fundamentalist religious philosophy.

    Besides, like it or not, attacking religion is one of the fastest ways to alienate a lot of people very quickly. A better tack to take here is for the LGBT community to find allies and advocates among the religious so that bigots will no longer have the smokescreen of religious dogma to hide behind.

  • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed Natalie Reed

    To be fair, JT, there is plenty of anti-LGBT prejudice and hatred in the secular world, too, and justified by secular mythologies like the pseudoscience of evo psych, gay genes, “biological realities of gender”, etc. I’ve been no stranger to bigotry and hatred within the skeptic/atheist community itself.

  • baal

    Individuals who go to churches and temple aside; the organizations of the Catholic Church and the LDS temples continue to give big big $$ to anti-LGBT efforts like the California prop 8 and the Minnesota (soon to come) anti gay marriage state constitutional amendment.

    The liberal and LGBT friendly churches do not have the same level of $$ resources. I’d assert (but might have a hard tie proving) the net of the two different religious traditions is against LGBT.

  • Anteprepro

    Since denying/mitigating the influence of religion has on the anti-gays has been brought up several times in these comments, here are some stats (for the U.S.):

    Pew Religious Landscape : 71% of unaffiliated think that homosexuality should be accepted by society (the alternative is “discouraged by society”), as well as 84% of “Other faiths”. Only 58% of Catholics, 56% of Mainline Protestant, and 26% Evangelical Protestant concur (70% of Other Christian also concur). Catholic, Mainline, and Evangelical are categories that each make up 20 to 25% of the total population in this poll (8000, 7500, and 9500 respectively out of a sample of 35500).

    Pew 2003 : On their view of homosexual men, roughly 60% of seculars had a positive view, compared to 43% of mainline Protestants and 46% of Catholics. 22% of Evangelicals have a favorable opinion. 55% of churchgoers report sermons about homosexuality, compared to 48% hearing about prayer in schools, 53% about Iraq, 63% about abortion, and 28% about political candidates. 76% who hear clergy talk about homosexuality say the clergy condemns it, while 16% say their clergy is neutral. Also , of those that object to gay marriage and when asked for one reason for the objection, 28% cite the Bible, and 17% say it conflicts with religious beliefs, which are the two most common objections. The other big one is the definition of marriage as one man and one woman (16%). 82% of opponents say that gay marriage runs contrary to their religious beliefs, compared to 76% believe it would undermine the family.

    Gallup 2006 : On the question of whether homosexual marriages should be valid, 51% of those who seldom or never attend church said yes, 44% of those who attended nearly weekly or monthly said yes, and 20% of those that attended church weekly said yes (comparison: 19% of Republicans and 53% of Democrats also say it should be valid).

    Gallup 2010 : 71% of those who believe religion is not important to their everyday life believe same-sex marriage should be legal, compared to 60% who think it is fairly important and 27% of those who think it is very important. 81% of people with no religious affiliation support same-sex marriage. 48% of Catholics support it, 33% of Protestants.

    Finally, a strange Gallup that isn’t just U.S. based : Looked at 120 different countries and asked people who lived there whether they thought they lived in a community that is a good place for gay and lesbians to live. Looking at religiosity of country (based on importance of religion in polls), the rate of people saying that it isn’t a good place for homosexuals to live correlated with religiosity. The rate is least for secular countries, moderate for several other faiths, highest for Muslim countries. And Christian and Jewish individuals who say religion is important to them are far more likely to say it isn’t safe than those of the same faiths who say religion isn’t important to them (this holds for Muslims as well, to a smaller degree).

    So, to sum up:
    -Religiosity of nations as well as religiosity of those in Abrahamic faiths is correlated with “perceived intolerance” towards gays and lesbians.
    -Religiosity in the form of church attendance and belief in importance of religion correlates with opposition to gay marriage.
    -A large majority of opponents of gay marriage believe it conflicts with their religion and roughly half give explicitly religious reasons for objecting to gay marriage, when given various options.
    -Evangelicals greatly oppose homosexuality, while Catholics and Mainline are split on the issue. Seculars are the most approving of homosexuality.
    -Homosexuality is one of the most popular political topics in churches (esp. evangelical ones) and the clergy’s opinion is rarely ever positive (4% of the time).

    The fact of the matter is this: The religious people most likely to support gay rights are likely to be the least religious among religious people. Least represented among the clergy, least likely to rate their religion as important, least likely to go to church with regularity, all that stuff. In addition, a slight majority of Catholics and Mainlines, the most liberal major blocs of Christianity in the country, still oppose gay rights while the third powerhouse, Evangelical Protestantism, overwhelmingly opposes it. But at least the majority of those more liberal groups don’t want homosexuality to be specifically discouraged by society at large.

    The matter is far from black-and-white, and one can hardly say that all religious are anti-gay and all secular non-believers are pro-gay. But, the evidence and trends are clear: Christian religious affiliation and intensity are both associated with various kinds of opposition to homosexuality, while lack of any religious affiliation is associated with some of the highest levels of support. That there still exists bigots among the godless and decent human beings among the Jeebusites does nothing to undermine these facts.

    • tynk

      Well written, well researched, and a well reasoned, measured and cogent summary.

      I applaud you.

  • John Phillips, FCD

    Anteprepro, not only that and adding to your excellent post, the non-believers only have their own biases to support an anti-gay stance. Though in many cases a background of cultural religious bias against gays doesn’t exactly help. But the believers, on the other hand, have their holy books and their leaders to supply all the justification and support they could wish for in their bigotry.

    To quote Stephen Weinberg:

    With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil, but for good people to do evil – that takes religion.

    Though I would have no problem substituting religion with faith based ideology in that quote without it losing anything. Well apart from the odd xian maroon who would likely claim that their faith is different.