Thursday, October 30, 2014

Voices of Faith: The toll of "Christian" love on LGBTs

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Voices of Faith
From the Huff Po, a writer calls out "Christians" for the damage that they do.
Scores of people from all over the world have shared with me their devastating stories of exclusion and isolation, of unanswered prayers to change, of destructive conversion therapies, of repeated suicide attempts, and of being actively and passively driven from faith by people of faith. 
Church, this is the reality of our theology on homosexuality. 
This is the cost of our religion to the LGBT community. More accurately, it's the cost of our religion to LGBT human beings. This is the painful collateral damage that comes when we see principles and ignore people; when we refuse to give them the dignity they deserve. 
Apparently love does hurt -- really, really badly. 
The most common defense I've heard over the past 14 days from Christians who believe that being gay is both chosen and sinful has been some variation of the supposedly well-meaning "Well, we're just loving people by being honest with them by giving them the truth. Telling people the truth is loving them." 
I have a crammed, bursting inbox of "truth" for you if you're interested in reading, Church. 
It's full of vile profanity, and utter contempt, and crude jokes, and physical violence, and white-hot fear. It's packed with school-hallway harassment, and city-street beatdowns, and church shunning, and workplace hazing, and brutal self-harm, and all sorts of perpetual, personal terrorism. 
And none of it looks a thing like love to me.
He goes on,
However we want to frame it or justify it, the net result of our religion to so many gay people is that entire families are being torn apart, sent to the shadows, and horribly mistreated in the name of Jesus. Real flesh-and-blood people are going through uninvited, individual Hell every day at the hands of people who claim Christ. The church's treatment of the LGBT community people has been downright sinful, and it's killing our testimony to the world. 
We're making it virtually impossible for gay people to exist in our churches, and then feeling justified in damning them for walking away from God when they leave. The truth is that so often they aren't turning away from God; they're just removing themselves from harm's way. 
We are losing credibility to those outside organized Christianity, not because we're "condoning sin" but because when the rubber meets the road, we really don't know how to "love the sinner" in any way that remotely resembles Jesus, and our "God is love" platitudes ring hollow. 
Church, this is our legacy that we are building in these days to the LGBT community and those who love them, and I assure you it's not a legacy of love. 
I don't know what the answer is for you, and I can't tell you how your theology gets expressed in the trenches of real people's lives. I only know that we as Christ's church can do better, regardless of our theological stance. We have to do better. 

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