“Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for they that loveth another hath fulfilled the Law… Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law.” -Romans 13:8, 10
God’s Law as defined by Paul here is pretty clear. It’s my opinion that anything that doesn’t support or falls outside of ‘love one another’ is fluff, extra. It is unfortunate that some Christians today seem to be unable to look past their own discomfort to attempt to understand why the concerns of the LGBTQIA+ might be applicable or relevant to the Church. Do people think LGBTQIA+ people feel love from institutional exclusion and extreme historical and ongoing persecution?
Be the Good
One argument I have recently heard is, ‘but look at all the good (person or group doing the condemning) do(es)!’ I know that some of those pointing the fingers have done good, and I don’t want to take away from that good. We need to understand though that even ‘good’ people can do real harm.
Being ‘good’ in some areas – or doing some good/having many good qualities – doesn’t and shouldn’t absolve someone from culpability or feeling the weight of repercussions when they cause harm. The connotation of ‘seriously sinful’ places a burden of guilt and shame on the person who is supposed to be loved. I don’t believe there can be a true love for any person when there is an underlying belief that that person is guilty or that they are somehow faulty because of who they are/aren’t attracted to, or their gender identity.
Fueled by Fear
Something to ponder is why parts of Christianity seem to have such strong feelings about this issue, even if they don’t see themselves as against LGBTQIA+ people. My theory is that it isn’t the values of love that they truly fear, it is the control they are losing over people’s minds, bodies, spirits, and wallets – control that has been fostered through generations of theological pedagogy centered on fear and ‘us vs them.’
There are those that point to the Bible to justify their human bias, and some take things even further, mocking those that disagree with them. But I don’t believe that pure love can exist or be felt between a person who condemns a significant part of who another person is, and that person who they condemn. God doesn’t deny LGBTQIA+ individuals a place at His feet or in His Church, people do.
It is the job of every Christian to be an ally, or ‘bridge builder,’ to shut their mouths and open their ears, to listen to the people who have suffered at the hands of our faith. Listen to their hurt, and yes, listen to their anger. Try to understand them. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Then, try to reconcile yourself and your faith into a place of welcoming love and acceptance. It is NOT our job to tell the LGBTQIA+ community what they should be feeling or try to discredit or attack their very real experiences and feelings.
As Christians, the work we do as allies of the LGBTQIA+ community and messages we spread are ALWAYS for the members of the LGBTQIA+, first and foremost. If our work and messages are seen by those within the community as harmful or hurtful, we should be the first to step back, reassess, and learn from our mistakes. We do this in the hope that eventually the hearts of those that would marginalize and oppress them will be softened and they will be able to see where there have been errors, and I hope that we will all continue in our desire to care and support marginalized communities.