Many Christians would answer this question with a resounding “Yes!” Or even if they wouldn’t say it, this is what their actions would suggest. Christians notoriously condemn homosexuality and are outspoken in their judgment of anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+. Children wrestling with questions about their sexuality are generally afraid to approach their Christian parents with their feelings, and the ones who do often end up getting rejected and kicked out of the house. Gay students are expelled from Christian schools, and gay visitors are automatically ostracized if they try to attend church. If a gay character makes an appearance in a popular movie, Christians swarm the internet with expressions of outrage and hatred, even if it’s a very minor aspect of the film (e.g., the portrayal of LeFou in the Beauty and the Beast live-action remake, which, let’s face it, was not very different from the original cartoon).
Is this an appropriate response? These Christians try to defend their hatred by spouting off verses such as Leviticus 20:13 and Romans 1:26-27, which call homosexual relationships unnatural and worthy of the death penalty. Based on these verses, it’s justifiable to assume all gay people are automatically condemned to hell…right?
I have heard some interesting arguments claiming these verses are not being interpreted correctly. However, I’m not going to look at these arguments here. Right now, I want to focus specifically on the church’s response to homosexuality.
Assuming that homosexuality is a sin condemned in the Bible, is it okay for Christians to hate and reject anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+?
Well, since Christians use the Bible to justify their hatred, let’s take a look at a few other verses that are often overlooked in this conversation:
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
These verses claim that any commandment can be summed up in the instruction to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Therefore, by hating gay people, Christians are in fact breaking God’s law. And as James 2:10-11 says,
For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.
In other words, even if these Christians do not practice homosexuality, but they do hate other people (or lie, cheat, look at a woman lustfully, put anything in their lives above God, etc.), they are just as much a sinner as the gay person they are condemning.
Christians are called to love the people around them, to be a light reflecting God’s love in this world (Matthew 5:16). The fact that so many Christians are hateful, spiteful, and judgmental is, quite frankly, an embarrassment. We as believers in Jesus Christ need to do better.
Rejecting a gay visitor who comes to church only results in failure to effectively share God’s message with that person. This rejection might also prompt this person to shy away from conversations about God and the Bible in the future.
To anyone who has had this experience, who has tried attending church or speaking to a Christian, but was hurt, condemned, judged, or rejected – I am so sorry. Please know that despite what you may have been told, God does love you. He does want you to come to Him. You do have a place here in this family.