In the wake of the spate of suicides of young gay people, The Public Religion Research Institute has conducted a survey revealing that:
A plurality (43%) of Americans say the messages coming from places of worship are negative, and 4-in-10 Americans believe that these messages contribute “a lot” to negative perceptions of gay and lesbian people. One-third (33%) of the public also believe that messages from religious bodies are contributing “a lot” to higher rates of suicide among gay and lesbian youth, and another third (32%) say these message contribute “a little;” only 21% say they do not contribute at all.
“The survey shows that a significant number of Americans are aware of and concerned about the negative impact of messages about homosexuality from places of worship, particularly with regard to gay and lesbian youth,” said Dr. Robert P. Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute.
Responses from religious leaders and communities have ranged from the heartening to the odious.
Not surprisingly, the most repulsive came from Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in a column published by the Washington Post on National Coming Out Day:
Some homosexuals may recognize intuitively that their same-sex attractions are abnormal–yet they have been told by the homosexual movement, and their allies in the media and the educational establishment, that they are “born gay” and can never change. This–and not society’s disapproval–may create a sense of despair that can lead to suicide.
Of course, it’s the gays’ fault! We tell them that they’re okay and we’re lying to them because we’re such depraved sinners.
Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, “flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention,” is just so darn upset about these suicides:
…[W]hen gay activists accuse conservative Christians of homophobia, they are also right. Much of our response to homosexuality is rooted in ignorance and fear. We speak of homosexuals as a particular class of especially depraved sinners and we lie about how homosexuals experience their own struggle.
He even demonstrates a clear understanding of the problem:
The homosexual community will argue that these boys were oppressed by the fact that so many believe that homosexuality is sinful. They respond with calls for the acceptance and normalization of homosexuality. Their logic is easy to understand. If the stigma attached to homosexuality were to disappear, persons who are convinced that they are homosexual in sexual orientation, along with those who are confused, would be free from bullying, the threat of exposure, and injury to their parents and loved ones.
But what can he do? He doesn’t like the homophobia, but that doesn’t change what God wants:
Of course, Christians committed to biblical truth will recognize this as a demand to lie to sinners about their sin. The church cannot change its understanding of the sinfulness of homosexual acts unless it willfully disobeys the Scripture and rejects the authority of the Bible to reveal the truth about sin and sinfulness.
What an impressive presentation of the danger of “biblical morality.” While Mohler understands that accepting gay people as normal is the right answer, it contradicts his story book. The story book takes precedence over actual morality.