February 11, 2010

Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin

hate.jpgYou've heard it thousands of times. "Love the sinner, hate the sin." It is a mantra some Christians repeat every time they are called out on their religiously-motivated bigotry. "Oh no, I don't hate gay people," they insist, "I just hate what they do." This phrase is supposed to relieve the bigoted Christian from responsibility. But it raises another question that isn't asked often enough: why hate at all?

I am not sure why some Christians feel so good about hating homosexuality, reproductive freedom, science, knowledge, and the like. Isn't hatred itself something to avoid? I've certainly learned that there is little to be gained by hatred of people or ideas with which I disagree. Is hate simply a Christian value?

I'm not suggesting that Christians - or anyone else - should approve of everything equally. That would be ridiculous. But why do some Christians seem so proud of moving from disapproval into hate?

But wait! Don't they hate these things because they have convinced themselves that they are sinful? I realize that this will likely be the response this line of questioning would elicit, but it answers nothing. Saying that one hates something because it is sinful is no more informative than saying one hates something because one hates something.

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