A few years ago, when I was about twelve, one of my church’s senior elders was scheduled to preach on the pulpit during the Divine Service. This elder, who considers himself a conservative Christian, had never struck me as a hate-filled individual. Why would he? We were all “Christians” after all. So, why would I expect a hate-filled sermon from him this particular Saturday morning? Well, apparently I didn’t know him as well as I thought. That morning, this senior elder preached the most hateful sermon against clapping, (yes, clapping,), and against homosexuals. But it wasn’t just a few hits here and there, like some “reformed” churches attempt to do today. No. This part of his sermon was a full on “their lifestyle will send them to hell” type sermon. And it wasn’t just a few sentences, it was a few paragraphs. (I would write some of what he said, but this is supposed to be uplifting. Yes, it was that bad.)
Never in my life, going to that church since I had been born, had I imagined a fellow Christian could say such horrible, un-Christlike things. I went home literally shaken by what I had heard and, for about three months, questioned the idea of “God’s love.” If God’s love was preached in that sermon, by a senior elder of my church no less, how can I be a Christian and serve a god like that?
I know that I’m not alone in hearing these types of messages. Self-proclaimed “conservative Christians” spew this type of rhetoric all the time. Christians, and non-Christians alike, have all heard the slurs used against LGTBQ+ affirmation:
“Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!”
“Gays can’t have babies and God made us to reproduce!”
“Being gay isn’t natural!”
“Leviticus 18:22 says that it’s a sin to be with another man!”
“Remember what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah?”
And so many others. This isn’t a new philosophy however- for “conservative Christians” to target a minority with “it says so in the Bible” slurs. The same type of “Bible bashing” has been used to justify slavery, white supremacy, male dominance in society and a bunch of other (for lack of a better term) crap.
Personally, I do not believe the Bible condemns same-sex marriages, same-sex sexual activities, etc., but that’s literally a theology lesson and yeah, no. I recommend reading “The God Box” by Alex Sanchez if you want to dive into the whole idea of sexuality and the Bible.
But the question still remains: why is it that “conservative Christians” justify hating on homosexuals, transgenders, etc., and yet still are “prayer warriors” and “champions of God’s love?”
The answer is simple: hypocrisy.
For some odd reason, it seems like Romans 8:37-39, 1 John 4:9-11, John 3:16, and so many others include everyone else, except LGBTQ+ individuals. If you’ve grown up, or are growing up, in a ultra-conservative Christian household, as I am, you’ve probably seen this hypocrisy first hand. All your life you have been brought up to believe that “God loves you!” but that logic is often excluded when talking about homosexuals.
I want to reaffirm something that I feel is often overlooked when we talk about sexuality and organized religion, especially Christianity. Ready?
Not all Christians are hateful a**holes who want you to go to hell.
The senior elder of my church, who preached hate and bigotry, does not represent me or my God. No matter how many times you hear it, even under the mantle of Christianity, God does not hate you. God does not want you to go to hell. God thinks your relationship, your dreams, your desires are valid. You are His creation, His perfect creation. Just because you are a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, asexual, pansexual – just because you aren’t straight – it doesn’t mean that He does not care about you, that She* doesn’t hurt when you hurt, that He doesn’t forgive you when you ask.
When the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, the Vedas, teach of God’s, or Gods’, love, they mean it.
My God, and certainly my idea of Christianity, does not teach hate. It does not teach denial of love or feelings. In fact, just the opposite: “‘The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:31, NIV)'” God already loves you. She* wants you to love yourself as well.
Being an LGTBQ+-Christian is not easy. I know it first hand. Accepting Jesus, Muhammed, etc., as your Savior(s) and accepting yourself is not easy. Our parents, and our parent’s parents have grown up to believe what they have been taught. Just as slavery, white supremacy, and male dominance have all been justified, and yet contradicted, by the Bible, so is loving who you want to love. Going to any church with your boyfriend or girlfriend and having them immediately accept you is not easy. People, like the senior elder at my church, will hate what they have been taught to hate and it is nearly impossible to change their minds. Find an accepting church. (http://www.gaychurch.org/find_a_church/). Find a church that understands that God’s love and acceptance is not only for heterosexuals.
But friends, don’t be afraid of religion. Don’t be afraid to welcome a superior being into your life. Don’t be afraid to welcome Yahweh, Allah, or Shiva into your life. God is waiting for you to enter into his fold, and he’s waiting for your partner as well. Don’t be afraid to get on your knees and ask God to bless your relationship, just because it isn’t with someone of the opposite sex. Love is love. Loving someone isn’t a sin.
I accept you. The growing majority accepts you. God accepts you.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV).
*I personally do not believe the Christian god has a gender, thus I use He/She inversely.