Why “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin” Gets Under My Skin

I’m tired of the conservative Christian response to LGBT people. You know the one. “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” When it’s uttered, I always get the feeling that I’m supposed to be grateful. “Hey, thanks for loving my sorry ass while I punch my one-way ticket straight to hell!”

Lately, I’ve been thinking about why this statement bugs me so much. I mean, I firmly believe that all people are entitled to their own beliefs and opinions. I’ve read the Holy Bible, and though I may question why you cherry pick verses from Leviticus for literal translation, I respect your right to do so.

Happiness (and legal marriage) in New York!

Happiness (and legal marriage) in New York!

But I’m not grateful. Because that sentence, that sentiment, is a false equivalency. By saying that “we’re all sinners, but God loves all of us”, you’re suggesting that our sins are equal. But unless we’re talking about objectionable behaviors I exhibit — drinking alcohol, swearing — your sin and my “sin” are not the same. Why? Well, let’s allow the Oxford Dictionary to illustrate:

Sin: An immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.

According to this definition, a sin is an immoral act. Act implies behavior. Behavior implies choice.

Under this definition, there are really only two ways I can reconcile my “gay sin” as behavioral:

  • I must believe that my gayness is a choice. God would never have made me this way, so I’m bucking his will and choosing a “gay lifestyle” (hate that phrase). Or…
  • I must believe that, even though I was born with “same-sex attraction” (hate that phrase even more), God made me this way as a test. To stay in His good graces, I must make the choice, every day, not to succumb to it.

I don’t believe either of these is true. I believe that I was born this way. That gayness is a part of who I am, not just how I choose to behave. That a certain percentage of all species (God’s creatures, if you’re so inclined) are homosexual. And that living an authentic life is my best path to doing good while I’m on this planet.

I simply cannot believe in a higher power that wants us to actively deny who we are. If you do, and if your church wants to preach against me, that is absolutely fine. But don’t expect me to be grateful that you love me despite my “sin”. Because with that single statement, you’re doing more than judging my behavior. You are diminishing me as a person. And I refuse to be ashamed of who I am, or who I love. No matter what your religion says.

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4 thoughts on “Why “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin” Gets Under My Skin

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