Few things are less Christlike than Christians when they’re attacking the LGBTQ community.
There is a malice and sadism they’re capable of that simply defy explanation and fully deny the heart of Jesus. Incredibly, these folks are somehow able to simultaneously claim faith in Christ, while responding with a cruelty, viciousness, and violence that he never once demonstrated, continually condemned, and wouldn’t tolerate from anyone in his presence then or now. It’s the very kind of galling hypocrisy that is rendering organized Christianity fully irrelevant to more and more of a watching world who can see it from a mile away. I see it too—and it’s a flat-out, deliberate sin they need to repent of.
This week Christian music star Vicky Beeching, who came out in 2014, announced that she was taking a break from social media due to the relentless vile, profane, abusive attacks she’s endured from Christians.
Continual, horrible bullying—from Christians. Not Muslims. Not Atheists. Not immigrants or refugees or terrorists or Democrats. Not from any of the go-to boogeymen religious folks like to throw out there as the ever-present danger to us all.
Self-identified Jesus followers.
Professed disciples of the benevolent, compassionate “Love your neighbor as yourself”, “Blessed are the peacemakers”, “Judge not lest you be judged,” rabbi, who touched lepers, fed multitudes, healed the sick, turned his cheek, and forgave his executioners.
(Yeah, that Jesus.)
The cognitive dissonance on display is astounding; that these people can manage to believe they’re actually doing the will of God or sharing the Gospel, while berating and bullying and beating the hell out of strangers simply because of how they identify or who they love. Worse still, is that these sanctimonious, high-horsed zealots will try to use the very same Bible they persecute the LGBTQ with—to glorify guns, justify war, refuse refugees, endorse racism, perpetuate misogyny, and validate Donald Trump. Talk about miraculous.
It’s an exercise in wildly selective Bible usage and self-serving theology—and it would be laughable if it wasn’t such a complete perversion of Jesus’ life and ministry.
One of the most hurtful displays to Vicky, was a meme that was shared tens of thousands of times, stating “You may be gay or you may be a Christian, but you cannot be a gay Christian. Do not be deceived” and urging her to read 1 Corinthians 6:9.
Theologically speaking such a statement is out of context, historically flawed, and exegetically lazy.
Humanly speaking—it’s a hot, steaming pile of heretical horse manure.
Nowhere in the Bible are there requirements on who can and can’t claim faith in Jesus, and certainly no permissions are given to anyone to establish such requirements for anyone else. The heart of the Gospel is that the invitation is to all, period—without caveat, exception, or condition. (That’s why it’s called Grace—at least when the hypocrites are claiming it for themselves and reprehensible Presidents they’re shilling for.)
The original sentiments of the meme itself (ones Christians so easily toss out) are patently ridiculous and those who share them, out themselves as angry, vicious people who simply want Jesus to consent to being as hateful as they are and to justify their prejudices. He does not. He never will. They need to come to grips with this.
Anyone can be a Christian. Anyone can follow Jesus. The prostitutes and tax collectors and soldiers and beggars all found home in his presence, as did the doctors and fisherman and the religious elite. The radical openness of his table was the very reason he was scandalous and offensive to the self-righteous in his midst. The idea that any LGBTQ human being needs something more to make them eligible for proximity to Christ is ludicrous. People do not require another person’s blessing or approval or permission—to declare Christianity or more importantly to be fully embraced by the love of God—certainly not of those determined to craft a Jesus in their own bitter, judgmental image.
In fact, the spectacular irony on display, is that while Jesus never mentions any restrictions on who can follow him based on gender identity or sexual orientation, he speaks explicitly and often about those who profess faith, while living with contempt for others; those who do damage and leverage power to inflict wounds, those who neglect and ignore and prey upon the marginalized, those who wield religion like a weapon. (The very kind of malignancy Vicky Beeching has endured publicly, and that millions of LGBTQ folk deal with every day in their classrooms, homes, hallways, workplaces, and neighborhoods.) If there’s anything the road to Hell is paved with, it’s bigotry and violence done in the name of Jesus.
The truth, is that an LGBTQ Christian isn’t an oxymoron, but a hateful one most certainly is. The choice to be horrible and to use religion as the reason, is a disconnect of the greatest order. The Gospel testifies to this over and over again, and we who come in love, loudly amen this—and we’re not having this nonsense anymore on behalf of our faith tradition.
To Vicky Beeching, and to the millions of people around the world who identify as LGBTQ, both those who claim faith and those who do not—I’m sorry for those trying to retrofit Jesus to their hateful hearts; for the way they twist the Bible and distort the voice of God that you hear in your head, and for the daily, living Hell you go through at their hands and words. They don’t speak for anyone but themselves—not for me, not for millions of Christians, and certainly not for God.
And to the religious who believe they can oppress and harass and insult people until they are driven to isolation or tears or self-harm or suicide, all in the name of Jesus—I’d take a good, long look in the mirror, I’d let your knees hit the earth, and I’d do some serious soul-searching.
You may be closer to Hell than you think.
You may be getting really, realy warm.