Christianity and LGBTQ+
Growing Up in the Church When You Disagree
I remember one day in church I was listening to one of my favorite youth pastors. He was always one of the nicest guys around and always had a nice thing to say to someone. He was speaking on the state of the youth in the secular world and the dangers that could lead us away from the path of God, covering the typical things like drug use and premarital sex; the usual church stuff. Then he got to the part that I would always dread, talking about the LGBTQ+. As most Christians will tell you, there is always an issue with same-sex relationships in the Bible. They will point you towards the same scriptures and tell you the same thing about "Adam and Eve." Still, it would always leave me with a level of frustration and disappointment at the way they speak of an entire group. Needless to say, that pastor was no different in how he viewed things. He called gay people "an abomination against God" and that was how distasteful he found it. My anger only grew at his use of the f-word. After that word came out his mouth, I was done. I zoned out and didn't pay attention again until we left the building.
At a whole new church, the pastor had us pray in groups for God to end general troubles that plagued humanity. I can still hear the pianist tickling the keys with that generic inspirational background music to help us enter that state of mind. The pastor would whisper into the microphone about how he asks God to stop gun violence and drug use. The group I was in prayed for an end to depression and suicide. Then in the middle of the prayers I heard him say what I had been anxiously wishing he would avoid; he asked for God to put a stop to homosexuality. I just couldn't comprehend it; that an entire group could be lumped into prayers about drug use and gun violence. I just couldn't understand how people can holler and hum in agreement with the pastor as he prays for people to be cured of gayness and alcoholism in the same sentence.
While I am not a part of the LGBTQ+ community, I have family and friends who are. I have always loved and cared for them like I would for anyone else. I see them and watch them with their partners and wonder how God or any Christian could see what they do as sinful or in any league with murder. God tells us to love each other as we are and treat your neighbors with love. How is calling your neighbor an abomination love? How is praying away a part of who they are showing them love? It's seeing the people in a place where they say "to come as you are" talking like this that makes me feel cynical. Hearing a pastor say that teens who are bisexual "are confused and looking for attention" really makes you not want to come in and hang out. It's those types of comments that make me understand why there are LGBTQ+ friendly churches or not go to church at all. If I was a part of the community I wouldn't want to go into any sort of church either.
What we can do to bridge the divide between the two groups? The Christian community does have beliefs that go against the lifestyle of the LGBTQ+ yet there are some that don't necessary agree with those beliefs. One of the best ways in my opinion is that you know the difference between agreeing with what the bible says and being a bigot. The use of the f-word and generalizations about a group of people is not being a Christian, it is being discriminatory and should not be agreed with. Don't shout "hallelujah" when someone speaks about gay people like they are lesser. Don't clap when a person alludes to a "feminine" choir director. Call out the mess when you see it happen. That is how you start to do better.