“According to a witness, the attacker threw him to the ground and stomped his face into the pavement while yelling, ‘Faggot! Faggot! Faggot!'” My heart is broken for this young gay man, 26-year-old Devin Norman, who was beaten. And I have to tell you… I am angry at non-affirming Christians and others who look for loopholes to avoid unconditionally loving people, or to justify dehumanizing oppression toward another group, using terms like “tough love” or “hate the sin, love the sinner” and creating an overall atmosphere of fear and homophobia.
I worry for the safety of my own beautiful children, and for the thousands of beautiful children who I have met, who just so happen to be LGBTQ.
This is Rob writing today…
What the hell is wrong with a person who would feel justified in his mind to do this? And what the hell is wrong with people who do not stand up and shout at the top of their lungs… “No more!!”?
Regardless of the situation, both are indefensible.
If your beliefs or actions are creating an atmosphere of fear and hate, are causing harm, if they are oppressing or marginalizing someone, it is NOT love, it is NOT of God – so stop claiming that it is!
Enough is enough.
Go ahead, look at the photo again. Imagine your child’s beaten face — maybe attacked just because someone was afraid, or because they are different in some way – nerdy, short, overweight, or a particular race, or just from the wrong side of the tracks – does it make you sick to your stomach? What if it were your gay child – would it still make your stomach turn? What if it were the gay child of a close friend? What if it is the gay child of a stranger?
For those of you who claim to love and follow the Bible, Romans 13:10 says, “love does no harm to a neighbor.”
For those of you who claim to love and follow Jesus, he says, “everyone is your neighbor.”
And to you I say, you cannot remain silent when things like this happen!
For this young man’s sake, for my children’s sake, for your children’s sake… stand up, do better! Please.
NOTE: I am aware that new details about this case have surfaced. Apparently, Devin threatened to out the man who attacked him (a closeted bisexual, by his own admission). Devin was not innocent here, but he did not deserve to be beaten like this. The troubling part is the atmosphere of contempt/homophobia so prevalent, especially in certain areas of the country, which extracts such a high price for coming out. To brand the LGBTQ community as “other” and “less than,” and to throw phrases around like ”abomination,” ”disgusting to God,” ”burn in hell”–this is unconscionable. Church leadership within many parts of the church teach this. Devin likely knew that to threaten to out someone is serious. He probably knows he was wrong to do that. His attacker was so scared of being identified as part of this “disgusting” community that he committed this horrible act of violence. We need to connect the dots here. People who continue to teach contempt of LGBTQ people are helping create a place for these ongoing crimes to occur. – Rob
[Photo credit: Robert Earl Gilchrist & James Anderson (Facebook)]