Love the sinner

While I’m justifiably ragging on Texas, let me show you the product of nursing a discriminatory and hateful culture.

In a possible gay hate crime, two teenage girls in a relationship have been found shot in the head with one dying from her injuries.

If you go around saying that people being happy in the relationship of their choice is a threat to the well-being of America/the world, you can’t be shocked when somebody believing that garbage steps up to defend America/the world.  This says nothing of the LGBT people who kill themselves under the weight of social penalties piled on them by the faithful without remorse.

Here’s the pale truth: Christianity is responsible for almost the entirety of hate toward LGBT people in this country.  It is undeniably a causal factor in murders like this.

Love the sinner, right?  Love them to death.

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.

  • Aliasalpha

    Love the sinner because they’re more fun to shoot than paper targets?

  • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    Love the sinner, hate the sin, but have you ever tried to shoot sin?

  • Richard

    Yeah, brace yourselves, the no true Scotsmen are coming. That or zero input from all the religious people. Its things like “oh noes don’t hate on religion” and then doesn’t step up to the bat against crap like this that makes me sick.

    • TerranRich

      Or what I like to call the “Those OTHER Scotsmen” argument. Basically, those OTHER Scotsmen are like that, but not ME. I’m a BETTER Scotsman because I’m not like that. Which… proves nothing, really. It ends up being a non sequitur.

      • Richard

        Behold the evolution of the religious meta scotsman… Waitasecond….

        • Kaoru Negisa

          Can I have a Religious Meta Scotsman action figure? It could come with a Bludgeoning Cross and its own Religious Meta Scotsman figure to play with.

          • John Horstman

            Sadly, present manufacturing processes are not up to the task of producing an action figure with the necessary infinite regress of action figures implied.

  • Kaoru Negisa

    There is no more cowardly position on the planet than “love the sinner, hate the sin. ” It’s never been anything but a way for disgusting people to not have to be disgusted with themselves. Hiding behind god’s skirts is a way of life for these reprobates.

    • John Horstman

      I agree with this statement.

  • gadfly

    Here you go again, hating away and making baseless claims:

    Christianity is responsible for almost the entirety of hate toward LGBT people in this country. It is undeniably a causal factor in murders like this.

    C’mon man, correlation does not equal causation. Deliberate in good faith.

  • anteprepro

    C’mon man, correlation does not equal causation.

    No, but robust correlation plus plausible explanation for causation plus plausibly ruling out tertiary factors as less signficiant is pretty damn close to “causation”. And there are definitely no plausible arguments that rule out Christianity as a factor at all in this. Do you really think this quibble absolves Christianity? Honestly?

    • gadfly

      Similar logic has been used to “justify” racism.

      • anteprepro

        Except in the cases of race, they were clearly ignoring alternative hypotheses. WHAT GOOD ALTERNATIVE HYPOTHESES ARE WE IGNORING HERE?

        Put up or shut up.

        • gadfly

          And I’m just throwing things out here, but how about SES, education level, peer relationships, parents, etc.? Maybe some of these variables are stronger correlates of homophobic attitude.

    • gadfly

      Seriously, you need to do your research. There is indeed a correlation, however the correlation proposed in this post (that you are defending) does not exactly hold up. The relationship between subjective religion and ethnic prejudice (including homophobia) is curvilinear.

      Furthermore, a Harvard study (1967) found that the “casual, irregular fringe members are high in prejudice; their religious motivation is of the extrinsic order. It is the constant, devout, internalized members who are low in prejudice; their religious motivation is of the intrinsic order.”

      Translation: those high in faith are less likely to be prejudice.

      Here’s my source:

      Allport, G. & Ross, M. (1967). Personal religious orientation and prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 5 (4), 432 – 443.

      • anteprepro

        The fact that you think I am uninformed is pure Dunning-Kruger.

        First off, way to cite a 45 year old study. American culture has changed drastically in that time period. And the state of psychology has also advanced.

        Second off, way to cite a study that only mentions general prejudice when the topic is homophobia. The kicker is that, due to both this and the study’s age, homophobia was probably NOT one of the types of prejudice considered in this study.

        And third off, way to quote mine what is convenient for you. The entire abstract:

        3 generalizations seem well established concerning the relationship between subjective religion and ethnic prejudice: (a) On the average churchgoers are more prejudiced than nonchurchgoers; (b) the relationship is curvilinear; (c) people with an extrinsic religious orientation are significantly more prejudiced than people with an intrinsic religious orientation. With the aid of a scale to measure extrinsic and intrinsic orientation this research confirmed previous findings and added a 4th: people who are indiscriminately proreligious are the most prejudiced of all. The interpretations offered are in terms of cognitive style.

        Additional translation: The religious are more prejudiced than the non-religious.

        Anyway, here’s a more recent study:

        Does religion contribute to, or inhibit, prejudice? Although major world religions espouse tolerance and love toward others, empirical evidence provides little support for the effectiveness of such religious teachings, and a considerable body of research suggests that, at a general (and simplistic) level, religion and prejudice are positively correlated. Suggestions that this relationship is actually curvilinear and possibly a result of differences in intrinsic I extrinsic religious orientation are questioned. Recent investigations suggest that conceptualizations of religious fundamentalism and quest offer better ways of distinguishing between more and less prejudiced individuals. Further, the fundamentalism and quest relationships with prejudice are especially meaningful in light of an association with right-wing authoritarianism. Limitations and implications of the related research are discussed. In the end, it would seem that it is not religion per se, but rather the ways in which individuals hold their religious beliefs, which are associated with prejudice.

        Translation: All those bad things about religious prejudice have been confirmed and the redeeming things are in question.

        Hunsberger, B. (1995). Religion and Prejudice: The Role of Religious Fundamentalism, Quest, and Right-Wing Authoritarianism. Journal of Social Issues , 51(2): 113–129.

        Here’s a fun continuum to look at from the Pew Religious Landscape. It’s the percentage of each religious group that says that gays should be discouraged by society:

        Of overall population, 40% say it, 51% of Total Protestants say it, 20% of Unaffiliated say it, and 8% of Other Faiths say it.

        More specific, in order: 6% of Unitarians, 10% of New Agers, 10% of Agnostics, 12% of Buddhists, 14% of Atheists, 15% of Jews, 17% of Secular Unaffiliateds, 29% of Religious Unaffiliateds, 30% of Catholics, 34% of Mainline Protestants, 37% of Orthodox Christians, 37% of Hindus, 46% of Historical Black Protestants,
        61% of Muslims, 64% of Evangelical Christians, 68% of Mormons.

        See a pattern? Hint: The least homophobic groups also happen to be most the liberal and/or least hardcore religious.

        Oh, I’m not done.

        To look at comparing age, religious participation, and political affiliation, here’s Gallup poll, labeled Americans at Odds over Gay Rights (May 2006) gives us this hierarchy of those consistently opposed to gay rights, from least worst to absolute worst:
        All 40 to 49 year olds, men 50 or older, all 65 or older, Republicans and Conservatives, and “Worships Weekly”.

        The ones that most consistently approve gay rights, from lesser to greatest:
        Democrats, All 18-39, All women 18-49, Never/Seldom Worship, and Liberal.

        So, religious participation rivals political affiliation and outstrips age.

        And, onto your other comment. There’s this:

        In support of the selective intolerance hypothesis, general religiousness was associated with less accepting attitudes toward homosexuals and negligibly with general racial prejudice. These associations remained when controlling for some other known individual differences in prejudice

        Rowatt, W. et al. (2009). Associations among religiousness, social attitudes, and prejudice in a national random sample of American adults. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality , 1(1), Feb 2009, 14-24.

        So, to be more direct:

        And I’m just throwing things out here, but how about SES, education level, peer relationships, parents, etc.?

        Peer relationships and parents: Just dodges the question. How did the peers/parents come to become homophobes? If alluding to the fact that people become less homophobic the more they are exposed to gays IRL, it fails to account for WHY people are bigoted prior to exposure.
        SES and Education: Religiosity correlates negatively with education to begin with and correlate with one another as well. In addition:
        -These factors have been explored.
        -They correlate but not strongly enough that they have become a central focus in these models.
        -These are common factors that are regularly controlled for in all psychological studies, so they most likely aren’t confounds in the studies that find a link to religion.

        So, you obviously aren’t serious enough to find an alternative explanation. You aren’t even serious enough that you are willing to do more than find a single half-century old article that is tangentially related to all of this before you start sneering and feigning triumph. Absolutely pathetic.

        • gadfly

          Firstly, never did I say that I didn’t buy the fact that there was a correlation.

          On average, religious people are more homophobic than non-religious people. That’s a fair statement, and that’s as far as it can be taken.

          If you are a student of statistics, you should know that using averages to describe a sample is not a very informative statistic.

          Secondly, all the research you have put forward DOES NOT support your previous claim (and my true beef with this post) that religion/Christianity are a causal factor in homophobia.

          If parading around correlation statistics that actually do nothing to support your claim of causation isn’t an example of Dunning-Kruger effect, then I don’t know what is.

          Admittedly, I am not well-versed in the literature on homophobia, but nevertheless, I suspect that homophobia existed well before religion was created – certainly before Christianity.

          It is MORE likely that individuals who hold onto homophobic attitudes seek out religions whose dogmas fit with their intuitive views on the issue.

          Saying that there is a causal relationship is absolutely ludicrous, and you know it.

  • anteprepro

    Also, see here for a few more citations (and easy links to those citations) regarding stats showing link between homophobia and Christianity.

    This part is especially relevant to gadfly’s argument so far:

    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.

    Basically, it is a 50-50 split between strictly religious concerns and a random grab-bag of other, non-religious concerns.

    Oh yeah, and of Total Homophobes for the Pew religious landscape (14,222), Christians make up 89%. Christians make up 80% of the total population, by comparison. So, that means that even that 50% which doesn’t give explicitly religious reasons for being homophobes are still religious homophobes. Go figure, huh?

    • gadfly

      I suppose, per your fallacious logic, that Christianity is responsible for negative attitudes towards rape, murder, and incest as well?

      Your claim is laughable.

      • anteprepro

        Oh, just fuck off. Your non-sequiturs aren’t going to turn you into Socrates any time soon, gnat.

  • anteprepro

    Grand, gadfly. Yes, I mentioned averages all on their lonesome, without testing for significance. It was already far more work then you pulled off, and infinitely more than you deserved. But, anyway, how observant of you. So observant that you also managed to completely ignore the cited papers that did do stats. So observant that you seem not to notice that I made your one cited paper completely moot, and the rest of the stuff you criticize was just gravy. But, whatever.

    Secondly, all the research you have put forward DOES NOT support your previous claim (and my true beef with this post) that religion/Christianity are a causal factor in homophobia.

    If parading around correlation statistics that actually do nothing to support your claim of causation isn’t an example of Dunning-Kruger effect, then I don’t know what is.

    And you have yet to address my counter: That there is NO GOOD MODEL THAT EXCLUDES RELIGION AS A FACTOR. Your simplistic canard of “correlation is not causation” doesn’t change that.

    I’ll note that your latest responses weren’t disputes of the idea that we can determine causation from examining correlations. I’ll note that it actually attempted to 1. come up with more variables and 2. find evidence that religious people weren’t prejudiced. You failed on both counts and now want to change your tune back to your original song and dance. What a fucking clown.

    Admittedly, I am not well-versed in the literature on homophobia, but nevertheless, I suspect that homophobia existed well before religion was created

    Considering how old religion is supposed to be, I am going to need more than your gut feeling on the matter. But you don’t give a fuck, do you? Just anything that can possibly give you the tiniest bit of wiggle room is good enough for you, regardless of whether it is evidenced or true.

    Here’s a pro-tip: I don’t care about homophobia throughout time and space. Homophobia, as it exists in present-day and in modern society, is what is actually relevant to us. Exonerating religion because cave-men may have been homophobic is like exonerating racism for American slavery because slavery in Place X Time Y wasn’t racially motivated (ergo racism isn’t the causal factor for slavery). As I alluded to when I was mocking you for using a study from the 60′s, the nature of homophobia has changed within American society over a short period of time due to the fact that the cultural discussion of homosexuality has dramatically changed. I am focused on the present. Not a generation ago, definitely not a century ago, and most certainly not the beginning of human civilization. If you can’t understand WHY, then I can only laugh. You try to present yourself as someone who is knowledgeable, if not about homophobia specifically, about social science. Sadly for you, I am not completely ignorant on the subject, so you won’t be able to pull the wool over my eyes.

    It is MORE likely that individuals who hold onto homophobic attitudes seek out religions whose dogmas fit with their intuitive views on the issue.

    Bullshit. That dogma is hard-written into Abrahamic religions, all three of them, two of which are the largest two religions in the fucking world. If you are proposing this as the mechanism, and proposing it as a way that alleviates those religions of their guilt, then “supporting my homophobia” has to be one the main reasons why homophobes join their religion of choice. Otherwise, you know, they might wind up in any old religion that doesn’t actually happen to support homophobia.

    But consider: Religion is a major fucking part of the lives of the kind of religionist who hates teh gheys. Are you seriously proposing that the kind of fundies who beat their Bibles all day about EVERYTHING only became fundies so that they could beat their Bible about how evil the gays are? And this is MORE likely than them simply being religious to begin with and becoming extra hateful of gays due to their perception of Biblical law? Even I wouldn’t be as insulting towards the religious as to suggest that the reason they became religious was so that they could have an excuse to hate gay people, but you not only do so, but do so in order to defend them . Hilarious.

    • gadfly

      Good mud-slinging.

      You still have not acknowledged the fact that you cannot say Christianity is a cause of homophobia.

      I don’t have time to do the research to rebut your claims of a hard and fast positive correlation between Christianity and homophobia. I acknowledged (and have all along) that there’s a correlation, so your last post was a waste of words.

      By the way, don’t you think homophobia probably preceded Christianity if early Christians thought it important to include reference to it in their works?

      You cannot admit that your stance is flawed. Clearly you are not concerned with arriving at the facts of the matter. In doing so, you will make no headway in your fight against Christians whom you have successfully caricatured in your head – probably because you live in a filter bubble.

      Also, saying that I am defending homophobia or some Christians’ particular hate towards the gay community is disrespectful. Never said that. You also need to learn how to discuss things with civility, even on the internet. Name calling is seriously immature.

      Not all Christians are homophobic, as one would conclude if indeed Christianity causes homophobia.

      Really, this is not a difficult concept.

      And I’m glad you finally caught the reference my handle’s trying to make.

  • anteprepro

    Ugh. Yes, I can say that Christianity is a cause of homophobia. Because when your only rebuttal is “correlation doesn’t equal causation” (completely lacking any understanding that correlation can, in fact, suggest a causal relationship and that it is blatantly obvious how Christianity could contribute to homophobia), you’ve got nothing.

    As for homophobia preceding Christianity: Way to read for comprehension, dumbass.

    Oh yeah, and I didn’t say you were homophobic or defending homophobes: I said you were defending the religious . You can still have yourself a good cry over being called names, though. I note, however, given that you are essentially admitting to trolling, that I have given you far fewer insults than you deserve.

    Not all Christians are homophobic, as one would conclude if indeed Christianity causes homophobia.

    No, one wouldn’t conclude that. Anymore than one would conclude that everyone who smokes needs to have lung cancer in order to recklessly assert that smoking causes lung cancer. You would think someone with your ‘nym would have better grasp of logic than you actually do. I suppose you gave more priority to simply being an annoyance. *shrug*

    • gadfly

      For you to say that Christianity causes homophobia, you must be able to show that Christianity precedes homophobia.

      People have homophobic attitudes for reasons that are much deeper than the fact that they happen to be Christian or practice Christianity.

      How fears and hate develops in humans is a complicated issue – one that scientists/psychologists/sociologists are studying on an ongoing basis. Boiling it down to “oh religion causes it” (or “almost the entirety” of it) is, as you should know, ridiculous.

      Is someone taught to fear snakes, or heights or any number of other more or less irrational fears?

      I would say maybe to a small degree, but certainly there are much more powerful forces at work in those fears and in homophobia.

      Homophobia might be a behavioral phenomenon that has been around since before we were human beings.

      So again, I repeat, your logic is completely flawed, and unhelpful to the conversation about what can be done to fight homophobia.

      You are also being unfair to all of the people of religion and Christianity who are not homophobic and who may be actively fighting against homophobic attitudes. You are stereotyping.

      You probably don’t have many religious friends, as you atheist organized-religion-haters tend to stick together much the same as the fundamentalist Christians you take issue with.

      Judgmental people come in all shapes and sizes. People too rigid in their ideologies do as well.

      • anteprepro

        You just don’t grasp that Christianity can be a major causal factor here and now without being the sole causal factor throughout all time, do you? And you also can’t grasp the fact that Christianity being a causal factor in no way implies that all Christians are predicted to homophobes? Well, I’m sorry. You are either too stupid or too dishonest to actually talk with.

        Happy trolling.