Think Progress By Zack Ford June 24, 2016
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, Christian conservatives known to be anti-LGBT expressed sympathy for the victims and their families, suggesting that radical Islam was wholesale to blame for the attack. Many avoided mentioning that LGBT people were the victims — at least until a few days later, when they began reminding everybody what they truly think about gay people.
“Yes, we can oppose gay marriage and still oppose the slaughter of gays,” Steve Pauwels insisted at BarbWire.
“Yes, Christians do believe homosexual actions are sinful. But we also believe that mass shootings are sinful, and lying is sinful, and gossip is sinful, and so are laziness, torture, theft, rape, dishonesty, abuse,” Mary Tillotson argued at The Federalist. “As a Catholic, I go to confession about once a month to repent, seek mercy, and renew my own commitment to rid myself of sinful behavior. We all sin.”
“It is true that many Christians hold to the Bible’s teaching on the sinfulness of homosexuality and that upsets some gays,” wrote Rick McDaniel at the ChristianPost. “But here is an opportunity to simply receive love and support and it is rebuffed.”
There’s a reason it is rebuffed.
Conservative Christians have long argued that their condemnations of homosexuality are couched in love, complete with the catchy slogan, “love the sinner, hate the sin.” But that message — that homosexuality is a sin — is harmful in and of itself.
Dr. Ilan Meyer, who has long studied the impact of minority stress on the LGBT community at the Williams Institute at UCLA's School of Law, told ThinkProgress that "the message that homosexuality is a sin is not really simple. It is at the core of homophobia." Because it's an explicit tenet instead of just a prejudice, it creates the sense that nobody is really to blame for the harm that belief causes.
"Religious condemnation is internalized by religious LGB people and their families, leading to a sense that the LGB person cannot be accepted and respected — not simply because of personal rejection of a family member — but because it is the Word of God," Meyer said. "That is a high authority that is difficult to argue against." The church community sees the LGB person as a sinner, and thus feels it has permission to disdain the person and ostracize them, including excommunicating them in some traditions.
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