Evangelicals Don't Love Gay People

Never tell an evangelical they're unloving, especially towards gay people. The bleeding heart pageantry that follows will make you think you accused them of punching a kitten. They're not mean or bigoted or judgmental. They just care about people in this life and the next.

Sure, you could love somebody today by giving them food, clothing, and comfort, or you could save their precious soul from an eternity of destruction. Jesus' miracles of healing the blind and the sick do seem a bit paltry in comparison. All that matters is helping people follow the one, true savior. And all his rules.

Unlike the original two-word invitation, "follow me", evangelicals invite you to follow Jesus so long as you're not gay or transgender or having sex before marriage or anything else they call "sin" but don't practice themselves (for the record, yes, they do recognize that gossip is also sinful, but they're a little fuzzy on the line between living in sin and dabbling with it).

Don't bother trying to explain that sexual orientation or gender identity are not behavioral tropes dependent on mood shifts. Our sin nature affects both our thoughts and actions, so your identity can be dismissed as another example of sin's pervasiveness.

What evangelicals ought to explain is why following Jesus means looking and acting like them. 

The 19th century is fondly remembered by many evangelicals as the golden age of missions. But it is conveniently forgotten as an imperialist time when being a Christian in West Africa meant acting like the white missionary. For evangelicals, you can't be a follower of Jesus if you don't do as they do.

Because they're right. They have the Bible. They have the best hermeneutic. They have the most impeccable faculties of perception and understanding. And only they are illumined by the Spirit because he couldn't possibly illumine Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians or any other Christians who believe differently.

But here's where they're wrong (apart from the abundant circular reasoning above): evangelicals conflate the Great Commission with the greatest commandments.

Jesus said the greatest commandments were to love God and love people. He also said it was pointless to gain the whole world but lose your soul, and he commanded us to make disciples. Thus, evangelicals think that converting people is the most loving thing they can do.

They can't fathom loving another human being without trying to convert them because they can't imagine that anyone could be a Christian and not share their views (how modest). So they pray for gay Christians, Catholic Christians, even pro-choice Christians. They pray that these lost souls who already follow Jesus will start following him the right way--their way.

Now, if conversion is the greatest form of love (something Jesus would contest), then evangelicals are literally saying that the most loving thing they can do is convince you to think like them. In their minds, love is telling you that you're wrong and they're right.

That's not loving; that's gaslighting. It's borderline abusive and most importantly, it's conditional. Which brings us full circle. Never tell an evangelical they're unloving because they're more than happy to convert anyone unconditionally.

Evangelicals don't love gay people. Unlike the unconditional love of the God they call Lord, their love is conditional. They can afford to be because they meet all the conditions they impose on everyone else (excluding gossip, of course). Their beliefs are too limited for truly unconditional love.

Unconditional love, God's love, isn't coercive. It's freely offered to everyone, even those who don't choose him and convert. He expects us to do the same. Jesus never said that if we converted the least of these, we were doing it for him. He said if we fed, clothed, and comforted the least of these, then we were doing so for him.

That's love. We weren't commanded to go and make converts who looked like us; we were commanded to make disciples who loved like us. Love God, love people the way he loves, encourage others to do the same, and leave the sorting of souls to him.

For those of you who are gay or transgender or marginalized by evangelicals in some other way, I hope this helps you understand them a little better. Don't seek love from them because their beliefs won't allow them to do so unconditionally the way God loves you.

For those of you who are evangelical, I'm not sorry. You can't claim to be loving when your metric for salvation is a mirror. You can't claim to love as God loves when your love is conditional.

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