In the wake of the tragedy in Orlando a few weeks ago, the nation has tried to evaluate how these horrific happenings keep occurring. Many talked about ISIS and terrorism. Many talked about stricter gun control legislation. Still others talked about the inherent bigotry against the LGBT community that persists in this nation.
All of these conversations are worthwhile endeavors in searching for answers and in trying to prevent future horrors. However, it is this last topic I'd like to dig into further.
When we refer to bigotry against the LGBT community, where exactly does it from?
While the shooter in Orlando was not Christian, I think most people would point to the Bible when we talk about opposition to gay rights in this country. And I think that's fair.
Opposition to gay marriage has traditionally been a mainstay on the Republican platform, which has a predominantly Christian base. And who could forget Republican Presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, and Mike Huckabee attending that Kevin Swanson conference on the campaign trail where Swanson discussed (more accurately shouted) about the merits of burning homosexuals? I know I can't. Oh, the memories.
Thirty-seven percent of Americans still oppose gay marriage in the US, according to a 2016 Pew Research Study--even after last year's Supreme Court decision. And several studies in the past few years show that about 70 percent of Americans are Christian. I'm not an analytics specialist so I can't prove causation, but it's hard not to find a link.
The point is these are not niche beliefs. They are mainstream. We wonder why people still are bigoted enough to kill people dancing at a gay nightclub, and yet families still bring their kids to religious services where religious leaders teach congregations to oppose other Americans' civil liberties, to demean the LGBT community, and in some instances, actual advocate for killing these "sinful" creatures.
We've been taught to hate gays. I know I have been. As a Catholic, I learned young to hate myself and that has been to the financial gain of my therapist for years. You're welcome for the summer home, Dr. Thompson.
My question though is why?
Why has Christianity singled out homosexuality as its rallying cry? As the flag of the Christian crusade?
With the amount it's discussed in Christian sermons nowadays, you'd think Jesus went around Jerusalem handing out "pray away the gay" hotline numbers or standing outside Cher raves in Bethlehem discouraging men from entering. But alas, no.
Yes, homosexual acts are denounced in the Bible, but it's only mentioned a handful of times and the majority of those are rape. For example, Sodom and Gomorrhea is often cited as a direct attack on gays. In actuality, the Bible is denouncing a bunch of Sodomites who try to gang bang rape some male angels who are visiting the city. First of all, is anyone supporting raping angels at the Pride parades? Unlikely. Second of all, that's just poor hospitality. Any self-respecting gay would've had a cheese platter and some chilled wine ready for those traveling angels.
In another section, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 talks about how gays won't inherit the kingdom of God and then proceeds to list others who won't either: the greedy, drunkards, idolators, on and on.
Oh gosh, who knew there was so much to judge people for? What are some of the other things that warrant death and condemnation? Well, eating pork or shellfish is pretty horrific. As is charging interest on debts, folks. I'm looking at you, Bank of America, with your ATM fees.
But importantly ladies, listen up and listen good: if you don't bleed during your first sexual experience with your husband, it is reasonable for him to assume you're not a virgin, you've been a whore, and then he is perfectly within his rights to drag you out into the streets where the town can stone you to death. That's fun the whole family can enjoy. And if you call right now, we'll throw in a second stoning for free--just pay shipping and handling!
The point is that there's a lot of crazy teachings in the Bible, and I'm not even touching Revelations.
So, why do we focus on homosexuality?
If bigoted Christians spent a fraction of the time they spend on anti-LGBT shenanigans by hating people for all these other reasons, they wouldn't have time to pick their kids up from Sunday school or to indulge in that deluxe Ashley Madison account. They'd be way too busy protesting outside of any butcher shop that sold pork, or telling everyone at bars that their alcohol is sending them to hell, or communally killing any girl who didn't bleed in the wedding bed.
I firmly believe homosexuality is not sinful. But let's pretend for a second it is. Why does it warrant such a higher level of judgment and hatred than everything else the Bible mentions? Christianity has a laser-like focus on sexual sins.
Even if gay is a sin (read: it's not), thinking something is sinful does not equate to hatred for the sinner. Nobody is banging down the door to every adulterer threatening to kill them. Nobody is shooting up honky-tonks where lust is prevalent and drunkenness is out in full force.
Who determined homosexuality was a bigger sin than all of those? Nowhere in the Bible is there a ranking of sins. I looked.
LGBT folks are targeted because they are people whose "sins" are easily identifiable. They make the Sunday churchgoer feel better because those LGBT "sins" are not in the dark. They're visible, they're easy to judge, and judging makes one feel superior.
And lest we forget, Jesus' greatest commandments were: 1) Love your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. 2) Love your neighbor as yourself.
They were not 1) Stop butt sex. 2) Prevent scissoring.
Give up the crusade, Christians. It's not just about sex.