“Oh, I’m Christian but I don’t hate gay people…”
trigger warning: suicide, religious homophobia
Sure, it might be a nice thought when a Christian says that they don’t judge gay people because ‘we all have different sins’ and it’s not their place to judge other people’s sins. Don’t get me wrong, I really do appreciate and prefer that response to outright homophobia. But it is still a form of institutionalized homophobia. What that person is saying is that they aren’t going to hold what they see as your weakness against you, and that they will be nice to you now and let their god burn you in hell later. It’s
But I have trouble with this on a deeper level: I do not believe in sin. I am not a sinner who needs saving.I am an infinite expression of God, just like every other being in this world, and I am not broken, and neither are you.
I find it not only insulting, but outright inhumane when people say they love me but still believe that I’m breaking their god’s rules. I find the whole ideology of believing in sin and salvation harmful because it teaches us to be ashamed of our human experiences and to separate ourselves into sins and separate ourselves into good and bad compartments. I used to be involved with a Christian youth group; I know first-hand how self-defeating this line of thinking can be. I would go to services and feel uplifted, but then leave and feel a tremendous pressure to act like someone who I am not. I would hide and demonize my sexuality. I would ache with pain seeing traditionally masculine men be more accepted than me by the group, and I would sit and burn with envy while two of the group leaders smugly celebrated their new pregnancy. It was awful, and I don’t say it lightly or with exaggeration when I say it drove me to suicidal thoughts. It was nobody’s fault, but it was a direct result of the beliefs that were being pressed upon me.
But it also taught me a lot, because I also learned how liberating it can be to let go of self-judgement and believe that we are all perfect in our growth and whole in our struggles.
I don’t doubt that some people can live spiritually fulfilling lives believing they sin, I don’t hate Christianity, and I honor Jesus Christ as one of humanity’s most important teachers. But I am frustrated and saddened that so many people who clearly need to be told that they aren’t broken- young gay people, for example- are surrounded by such negative teachings. You can believe what you want, but when your beliefs contribute to teen suicides, hate crimes, and institutionalized homophobia, I think you need to take a hard look at your beliefs, words, and actions and how they affect those around you.