May 5, 2015

Christians: We Are Not Bigots!

Westboro Baptist Church at Brown University, May 2009
By Brendan Hickey, via Wikimedia Commons
As I'm sure you have noticed, many evangelical fundamentalist Christians have been struggling to face up to their bigoted attitudes toward LGBT persons. It is almost as if they are beginning to recognize that they are going to be on the wrong side of history yet again. The common refrain I've started to notice is something like, "I'm not bigot; I just believe what the bible says."

If we are going to understand this, we might as well take a look at what the bible many Christians regard as "holy" has to say about homosexuality?
  • It is an abomination (Leviticus 18:22).
  • It should be punished with death (Leviticus 20:13) or exile (1 Kings 15:11-14 and 1 Kings 42:42-46).
So a "bible-believing" Christian living in the U.S. today certainly could believe that LGBT persons deserve death for engaging in homosexual behavior. Such a Christian could point to his or her bible as providing justification for this belief. Such a Christian might even interpret these passages as justifying the murder of homosexuals. Of course, one might expect that the sort of Christian who would point to his or her bible for such justification might take the rest of it seriously too.

Does the fact that these statements can be found in the Christian bible have any relevance whatsoever to the claim that someone who believes LGBT persons are inferior, should not have the same rights as others, or deserve death is not a bigot? Of course not! Religiously-motivated bigotry is still bigotry. Someone who holds bigoted views holds bigoted views regardless of whether support can be found for them in a "holy" book.

But there is a big problem with the passages from Leviticus and Kings mentioned above. These books are found in the Old Testament, the same Old Testament Jesus supposedly abolished (even though he was described as clearly stating otherwise). If we were to exclude the Old Testament and look only at the New Testament, we'd find nothing but love for LGBT persons, right? Absolutely. Here are some examples:
  • The Christian god makes people homosexual even though homosexuality is "vile" (Romans 1:26-27).
  • Homosexual acts are still "worthy of death" (Romans 1:28-32).
  • One will find no homosexuals in heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
  • Homosexuals are "filthy" (1 Timothy 1:9-10).
About the only thing approaching love for LGBT persons seems to be an odd statement attributed to the Jesus character in which he seemed to suggest that being homosexual would make one more likely to be "raptured" (Luke 17:34-35). The point is, the New Testament contains ample justification for bigotry against LGBT persons. And once again, the fact that it does so does not make holding such attitudes any less bigoted.

Try as they might, the conservative Christians who are now claiming that those of us who are calling attention to their bigotry are the intolerant ones are not fooling anybody.

H/T to The Skeptic's Annotated Bible

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