Andrew Walker, Policy Director at ERLC

Why insensitive evangelical rhetoric on LGBT youth is toxic

A Response to Glenn Stanton and Andrew Walker
Co-written: Brandan Robertson and Eliel Cruz

Almost every week we see national news stories about LGBT individuals who have been deeply harmed -- both physically and psychologically -- by evangelical Christian teachings. We see stories of teenagers being violently kicked out of their homes by “Christian” parents and students being forced to leave their religious schools because of their sexual orientation.

At the heart of all of these heartbreaking stories lies a common evangelical teaching about the inherent sinfulness of queer sexual orientation and gender identity.

A few weeks ago, Andrew Walker, policy director at The Ethics & Religious Liberties Commission, and Glenn Stanton, Director of Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family; published a piece on Public Discourse where they raised the question, is evangelical teaching on sexuality psychologically harmful? Throughout the course of the piece, Stanton and Walker attempt to make the case that evangelical teaching on sexuality actually creates a more loving and healthy environment for LGBT individuals, not a harmful one. But throughout the same piece, Walker and Stanton’s insensitive rhetoric and toxic advice point directly to the opposite conclusion.

It becomes immediately clear that Stanton and Walker are unqualified to lead a conversation on sexual orientation and gender identity as they continually conflate the two. It is this deafness to the facts surrounding the complex lives and experiences of LGBT individuals that makes the article truly harmful advice for parents of LGBT youth.

In their defense of evangelical teaching, Stanton and Walker prop up the work of Cornell’s Ritch Savin-Williams, author of Mom, Dad, I’m Gay: How Families Negotiate Coming Out and The New Gay Teenager, in which they quote him saying, “teens who come out to their Christian parents are generally treated just as well, if not better, than kids who come out to other types of parents.”

This claim, which was offered without a citation making it hard to verify, is patently and unfortunately false.

Here are verifiable facts about LGBT youth suicide rates: In a 2011 report, the CDC stated that LGB youth are four times more likely to commit suicide than their straight peers. In a 2007 report on transgender youth, The American Association of Suicidology stated that nearly half of transgender people reported to having suicidal thoughts and a large portion of them have attempted suicide.

What’s perhaps the most alarming statistic, according to a report published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, LGBT youth who come from families who reject them are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide than LGBT youth who experience coming from low levels of family rejection. These statistics are only confirmed by the heartbreaking stories showcased such as a story in Rolling Stone expose on the rising number of LGBT youth who have been cast out by religious families.

Stanton and Walker acknowledge these stories exist but in the same breath discount their significance: “People of faith cannot ignore or deny that we have heard of young people who commit suicide or seriously harm themselves because their rigidly religious parents have condemned them or kicked them out of the house,” Stanton and Walker say in their piece. “But is it then reasonable to conclude that Christian beliefs must put LGBT kids at danger? Absolutely not. Quite the opposite is true. It is a fundamental command of Christianity to love others unconditionally. We are called to love even those who insult and hate us. If God gives us the grace to do this, surely we can love our children, even if they challenge our values.”

We couldn’t agree more with Stanton and Walker’s sentiments here. Christianity in itself is not harmful to LGBT youth. To paint all Christian parents as vehemently anti-LGBT due their religious beliefs would be a disservice to all the Christian parents of LGBT children who come forward and show what true Christian parenting is like.

There is Jane Clementi who has started the Tyler Clementi foundation after her gay son took his life after being harassed online for his sexuality. There is Linda and Rob Robertson who blog at Just Because He Breathes on how parents should respond to their LGBT children with unconditional love and affirmation – just because they breathe. There is Pastor John Pavlovitz whose blog post went viral on how he would respond to having LGBT children. And there is Lisa Bohn talks about why she allows her son to wear princess dresses.

Stanton and Walker do not have the authority to define what is or isn’t Christian parenting. There are Christian parents who raise their LGBT children in environments that allow them to flourish. But Stanton and Walker haven’t the faintest idea of how to create this environment. It is evident in their writing. They misgender Leelah the teenager who took her life earlier this year due to underprepared Christian parenting (ultimately denying her humanity even after her death). They sexualize LGBT youth defining them only by assumed sexual behavior. And they ignore the very real experiences of LGBT individuals.

They scoff at the idea of a welcoming and affirming family environment for LGBT youth. They even cite to mock Eliel Cruz's piece calling for Christian parents to affirm their LGBT children. Yet those are the family environments that keep LGBT children alive. Stanton and Walker prioritize their sincerely held beliefs over the lives of LGBT youth.

It’s exactly this type of misguided advice that allows Christian parents to believe they are in the right to disown their LGBT children.

It’s exactly this type of spiritual malpractice given by Stanton and Walker that lead to the death of LGBT youth.

This is why evangelical teaching on sexuality, like that articulated by Walker and Stanton, is most definitely harmful.


  1. Make no bones about it, these anti-gay evangelicals do not care for the existence of gays within their congregations or the families of them.

    They would rather have dead children than to show a modicum of compassion and basic humanity. In many ways they actively encourage suicides of gays, but few will admit to it openly. They even actively campaign to have gays imprisoned and/or executed. There is no sense in treating such people as being open to reason.

    Anyone willing to shun their own children for religious reasons does not deserve a benefit of a doubt or consideration. Given such a toxic environment, the best strategy is to get away from it and seek a more affirming environment.

  2. If i had a child who was LGBT and they shared their feelings and orientation with me then I would still obviously shelter them, nurture them, love them, provide for them, and all the things a good parent would do. I would also encourage them not to engage in sexual activities with people of the same gender due to my belief on sexual ethics. I would do the same for a straight child, encourage them to live by the sexual ethic that I believe correct, all in a loving nurturing, open environment. If when my children grow up and they adopt a different view than myself would all just have a respectable difference of opinion and could still operate as a family.

    Is this not a way for me to be a loving, compassionate, understanding parent while still holding true to my Christian beliefs?

  3. Your response to a gay child will demonstrate tolerance, rather than acceptance of them as the person they are. They most likely will sense they are only tolerated and will seek to create a family where they are fully loved and accepted as who they are.

  4. That’s understandable.

    I suppose I believe i could show someone that I love them unconditionally, wholly as a person, even if me and said person disagree on a couple items of behavior, beliefs, and/or ideology.

  5. “This claim, which was offered without a citation making it hard to verify, is patently and unfortunately false.”

    Like your initial claim that “Almost every week we see national news stories about LGBT individuals who have been deeply harmed — both physically and psychologically — by evangelical Christian teachings”? That seems patently and unfortunately false.

    But the two main problems with your piece are, first, that you assume a certain view of “harm” that not everyone agrees with, and, second, that you are more interested in discrediting Stanton and Walker by painting them as ignorant rather than arguing against their propositions in any meaningful way. Your piece is a dismissive rant based on differing views of what counts as true Christian sexual practice. You might as well have reduced your column to one tweet: “They don’t share my view of harm or understand my experiences. They have no credibility.” That would have saved me the time of having to read this insipid, self-satisfied article. Who appointed you arbiter of who counts as an authority on this issue?

  6. The honest answer to your question, Jo, is “Not according to the gay activists.” You gave a good post there, a very loving and caring post, but your clear failure to surrender to the LGBT talking points, will never be accepted by the LGBT activists.

    In 2015, their general position is this: You, the parent, are not “loving”, “compassionate”, nor “understanding”, UNLESS you abandon your own biblical Christian beliefs.

    You have to surrender every last biblical text that might oppose “gay self-identity”, you must give up every last Bible belief that opposes homosexual relationships, up to and including gay marriage.

    In other words, there’s a new Goliath in town, and he is openly demanding of you, Mrs. David, to **surrender** and be quick about it. And he means it, too!

    This is no joke, no hyperbole, no lie. (And no hate or holier-than-thou either.) This is what today’s gay activists demand from you, the Christian parents.

    If you choose, gently, lovingly, caringly, prayerfully, NOT to surrender, then please know that there are helpful Christian resources and people out there (online and elsewhere), who can provide good information, life stories, and alternatives.

  7. Are you kidding me?

    You have no basis to dispute the claims that LGBT people are being harmed by evangelical rhetoric and teachings. They are actively encouraging the shunning of gay relatives, forcing and coercing people into religious inspired torture under the guise of “orientation change therapy”, and attacking their civil liberties.

    Stanton and Walker are not ignorant. You are correct. They are purposefully hateful and intentional in the harm they are trying to cause. The author describes the situation from the perspective of those harmed by it.

  8. Glen Stanton? you mean the same Glen Stanton that called my rather innocuous sex life “a particularly evil lie of Satan?”

  9. The not-so-subtle message in this article is that if you are parent who does not affirm the LGBT lifestyle, then you are abusive by default. Again, there is only one end game here – complete acceptance of the gay lifestyle or else you are labeled mean, hateful and ignorant.

  10. Man what to do if the children openly confessed that they thought they had an attraction to someone of the same sex? Well I guess I would have to say thank you for telling me, now let’s see what Jesus expects of you. He knows what you are thinking in your mind, and first and foremost wants you to know that He, the Father, and the Spirit, Love you in a way that you could never imagine, and They are going to ask you to make a huge sacrifice in this life, so that you can enjoy eternal life with Him in the next; He wants you to know that every time you reject any of these temptations, He will reward you 10,000 fold in eternity; in fact, you will experience eternal ecstasy in a way that no drug, nor sexual act, could ever achieve, that being immersed in the heart of God is to swim in the ocean of Divine Love, being raptured in boundless euphoria, forever, and ever, and ever. That is the reward which should drive you. However, should you decide to accept the temptation, then an empty life will be your lot, and an eternal life of torment with the Devil and his angels will be the reward. And just as one can never imagine the intoxication of heaven in this life, so too, can nobody ever comprehend the misery and demonic torment that awaits them in the afterlife for the reprobate. And if communicated properly, a good, single-life, of prayer, within the framework of good works and charity, should be the final decision.

  11. Lets be even less subtle and throw out the phony euphemisms here.

    “Not affirming a child’s LGBT lifestyle”, means shunning them, tossing them out of the house without any means of support, forcing them to undergo mental/physical torture, treating them as less than people or driving them to suicide.

    If the child dies from any of these, the parent can feel comfortable in the fact that they acted in accordance with what they believed God’s will was. Because to someone like yourself, better a dead child than a gay one.

  12. Yes, because there’s nothing like the threat of eternal torment to teach someone about unconditional love.

  13. Wow Greg, apparently, you and you alone know who is going to heaven and who is going to hell. I sure don’t and I don’t think the Bible teaches that everyone who sins will go to hell; I sure hope not! Having said that, I do not agree with the author of this article either. Dr. Gagnon wrote a massive scholarly treatise dealing with biblical teaching on homosexuality and with objective support cited, he concluded that one has to really twist the Bible to get it to approve LGBT behavior. So, if we ignore the Bible on this issue, what about incest or bestiality or adultery? Where do we draw the line? The answer is that once we have crossed the line and assume we can ignore one biblical absolute, then we can ignore all absolutes, and the Bible means exactly nothing to us. I don’t want to go there. It is possible to love without approving. My daughter is living with her boy friend without being married. She knows her mother and I do not approve. Yet, she also knows that we love her unconditionally, and we visit her often and enjoy each others company. We would feel the same way about a same sex relationship and would still love our daughter. Just because you can’t imagine it doesn’t mean it can’t happen!

  14. That would be a compelling argument if not for the fact that there are no “biblical absolutes” ever when it comes to moral behavior. The Bible means whatever you are willing to impute to it. Always has been.

    Murder, theft, lying, malice, all of the above can be justified if you claim to be doing it on behalf of God.Unconditional love gets confused with sowing fear and justifying torture and torment of others. The Bible is a great tool for finding excuses from acting in a moral fashion to others.

  15. So you would only love your child if they denied who they were to appease your own closed mindedness?

  16. You wouldn’t know what love was if it smacked you in the face, Doc. You don’t have a single loving bone in your body.

  17. The truth is that homosexuality is a sin, one which is deeply displeasing to God. Gays should be reminded of this truth from time-to-time.

  18. Steve, You are correct that sin is sin, and many will go to hell regardless of the type of sin; however, certain sins are sins against nature itself, as well as God’s commandments. They are called sins against the natural law. We can read in the Bible (Romans 1:26-27, 1Cor 6:9-19) how certain types of offenses offend God in an exceptional way, sins that knowingly pervert nature. In the Old Testament God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of its sexual perversion. When reading the OT, we need to keep in mind that God was slowly revealing his nature, showing to man in this life, what would become of them in the afterlife should we pursue a course apart from Him. In the NT Jesus cleared up all things that remained ambiguous. But getting back to your statement/question. If we do the best we can in this life, God will be merciful; however, if we knowingly knuckle under to temptation, and deny that we can combat sin, then we have given up, and will be rewarded accordingly (see James 4:17, or Luke 12:48). But as for your daughter, well, there is nothing you can do about that, but I would suggest telling her each time that should they get married, and when they do, then you will help them in many ways, but if not, then they are in a sense on their own. We should not participate in sin, even if it is a family member. So sometimes people need to be urged. In summary, God has given each of us a life, and expects us to shine His light in this world, We are expected to at least try. And when we try, He makes up the difference. But when we give up, and no longer try, then we are no better than those who are sinning. And by trying, I mean at minimum, we need to be praying for those who are sinning to turn back to God Almighty, and His ways.

  19. Thanks for making my point Larry. It’s nice to know I can count on the pro-gay crowd to demean, insult and mischaracterize anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

  20. Steve-What Greg was saying is that everyone who does not Repent is
    going to hell not eveyone who sins. Only one guy next to Jesus on the
    Cross went to heaven because only one guy Repented. Read a Bible.
    Romans 1:18-32 also 1 Corinthians 5 and 6 the whole chapters are a
    really good start plus in Luke 13. We all sin/are sinners but the Bible is
    clear we are not to continue is our sins/keep doing whatever/practice a
    sin.1 Corinthians 6:9-12 says the people who get drunk,covet,have sex
    outside of marriage/sleep around go to hell if they don’t Repent/change.
    Bible says Repent and believe Gospel to be saved. We all must Repent!

  21. Your POV is reprehensible. It deserves to be insulted.

    I certainly didn’t mischaracterize or misrepresent it in any way. I merely put it in more plainer and clearly more honest terms than you were comfortable with.

    You want parents to act in a way which encourages torture, ostracism and suicide. There is simply nothing worth respecting there.

    You can’t deny, in any good faith, that attitudes like your own encourage parents to kick their gay children out of the home, to isolate them from others, encourage them to undergo mental/physical torture or drive them to suicide. All of that has happened and not only still is, but is actively encouraged by people like yourself. People like yourself are leaving a trail of bodies behind them.

  22. So where exactly in my comments did I encourage torture, ostracism and suicide? You continue to make the point, Larry. You don’t know me or my full opinions, yet you launch accusations my way based on my disagreement with you on a very specific point about the issue. My above point was that unless I do I agree with you, then I am those ugly things you wrote by default. But you can’t really know those things about me, and you know that. So you are the one who has taken one very small point and made an entire character judgment on it. Very poor Larry.

  23. “The truth is that homosexuality is a sin, one which is deeply displeasing to God. Gays should be reminded of this truth from time-to-time.”

    “The truth is that not believing that jesus died for your sins is a sin, one which is deeply displeasing to God. Non-Christians should be reminded of this truth from time-to-time.”

    But you don’t.

    “The truth is that divorce for reasons other than adultery is a sin, one which is deeply displeasing to God. Divorced heterosexuals should be reminded of this truth from time-to-time.”

    But you don’t care.

    “The truth is that judging the sins of others when you have not achieved spiritual and moral perfection yourself is a sin, one which is deeply displeasing to God. Jesus mentioned this several times, but failed to say much of anything about gay people. Hypocritical, so-called Christians should be reminded of this truth from time-to-time.”

    But how much fun could THAT be?

    “The truth is that integration is a sin, one which is deeply displeasing to God. Southern Baptists always said so, and they had their bibles to prove it. White people should be reminded of this truth from time-to-time.”

    Are we getting closer?

    “The truth is that hypocrisy is a sin, one which is deeply displeasing to God. Scribes, Pharisees and hypocrites should be reminded of this truth from time-to-time.”

    I could do this all day.

  24. Good question, Neon.

    I would question the idea of “denying who they are” when it comes to playing a parental role in guiding their sexual urges. I would encourage a straight child to not engage in sexual activities while in high school and/or under my care. Encouraging my child to have certain sexual boundaries and ethics, in my mind, is not the same as denying the straight child their identity. For the GLBT child, would categorize this the same. Guiding behaviors. As far as their personality and individual person-hood, i would absolutely encourage that development.

    I choose to limit my sexual encounters due to the fact that i have a specific belief about the function, meaning, and proper context of sexual expression. This does not mean i am denying who I am or forcing myself into depression. I would push back on the thought that all repression or limiting of sexual activity is bad and harmful, i would argue that encouraging all people to have a healthy, holistic, responsible sex life is advantageous. I am sure everyone here would agree to that, but not everybody would agree to my view of sexuality. I am currently not sexually active, and i am a healthy person, emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

    I would also like to humbly question the idea of “closed-mindedness” I think the issue is generally not who is “closed” or “open” minded, but we have “closed” our minds on differing things, and we can have healthy discussion on what are the truthful merits of said proposition we have ‘closed’ our mind on. And nobody wants to be totally ‘open’ minded, we are all evaluating the information and messages that are given to us, and allowing which messages we accept or reject. Or ‘close’ our mind on. I would describe someone as closed minded as someone who refuses to hear others’ view points or opinions if it doesn’t agree with theirs, not as someone who has opinions or beliefs of themselves. I do get offended as well when people refuse to consider anything that doesn’t already agree with their worldview, so I can understand that conflict and frustration.

    Looking forward to your response,


  25. So what constitutes in your mind a proper response to a parent “refusing to affirm a child’s LGBT lifestyle” I am all ears.

    From what we have seen so far, the “Biblically correct” response from Christians with your POV usually involves kicking them out of homes, isolating them from others, enrolling them for religious based torture sessions or driving them to suicide.

    If you have some different idea in mind, please do tell.

    The whole point of Mr. Cruz’s article is how rhetoric like yours is constantly employed to justify such actions.

  26. I would also ask, HOW do you look someone you love in the eye and tell them they need to be free of romantic relationships to live up to your view of God’s law? That is something I don’t think I could faithfully live out, so how could I ask someone else to manage it? I myself can barely fight off my own sinful desires; temptations that seem minuscule in comparison to swearing off romantic relationships for the remainder of my life on earth. How can I judge others for not having the strength to do so?

    The answer is, I cannot. I can’t say I agree, but I also can’t say I know others are wrong. When it comes down to it, I don’t know for a fact what’s right and what’s wrong in the eyes of God when it comes to this matter. I truly believe I will meet a lot of people in heaven that I wouldn’t expect to be there. I don’t say that becuase I don’t expect people who are gay to be there, I say it to highlight how little I know of the mind of God. I don’t know much for sure. I know I love my friends and family who are gay, so I have faith that My God, who is love, loves them too…and start there.

  27. I read the piece by Stanton and Walker. They quoted that gay children of Christian parents are treated as well if not better than gay children without Christian parents. This can be debated. But the question for me is do Christians and Churches treat families with gay children well? I would say no.

    As a father of a 14 year old gay teen he has been kicked out of two churches. So, I can’t say that their supposition is correct.

  28. All religion is a willfully accepted lie. A lie that perpetuates a mass delusion. It is a con designed to control and manipulate the ignorant masses (otherwise known as human beings) into conforming to a set of behaviors, Behaviors that train them to funnel their collective wealth and political power into the hands of a few powerful and rich elite. Thats’ all every religion has been since the beginning of humanity. That’s all it ever will be. The bible is a work of fiction on par with Mein Kampf when it comes to instigating murder, torture and depravity. Homosexual love is not sinful because nothing is “sinful”. “Sin” itself is just a bunch of judgements made by people with an agenda to manipulate people via fear of eternal torture and death. It’s blatantly emotional blackmail with the express purpose to manipulate people. If there is truly anything evil on earth. It is every and all religions that currently and have existed on this planet.

  29. Travis Rogers-Explain how we all got here? Read Romans 1:18-32 where it
    says that God made it known He is real through the mircale of His creation.
    Evolution is impossible. Bible prophecy that came true is why we can trust
    the Bible. Many don’t want to believe in God becasue they don’t want to be
    told how to live. God/Jesus is very,very real so give Him a chance. God bless.

  30. Evolution isn’t impossible… You could try to argue against macro evolution, but we can see micro evolution happening around us. God is big enough to have created a world that can evolve.

  31. Also, using biblical references to reply to a person who doesn’t believe the Bible is the infallible word of God is an exercise in futility.

  32. Jay-Wrong again! Bible verses show people their sin and also Bible
    prophecy shows people that God is who He says He is because of
    prophecy accuracy. Read Romans 1:8-32 which says God is real
    and Psalm 22:16-18 plus Isaiah 53:3-7 both are specific prophecy.
    Creation itself is proof of God. Bible says God created the world so
    read Genesis in the Bible.. God/Jesus are very real/Bible is the Truth.

  33. What a refreshingly reasonable response, Jo! Thanks for raising the level of discourse here. I think your initial comment left some ambiguity as to your regard for LGBT youth, and I’ve been thinking about it since I read it, trying to decide what you meant by it.

    As parents, we are a resource for kids to turn to when they have questions about their feelings and bodies. It’s entirely reasonable and, in fact, necessary for us to help them sort out an emerging identity. I would agree with you regarding the necessity of teaching them how to define their sexual boundaries. If approached appropriately with an eye toward a full and healthy experience with life, I like to think it would help. I took this approach with my own daughter, and so far, it seems to have had an effect.

    Having said this, and bearing in mind I do not believe in gods or subscribe to religious ideologies, I think training children in sexual ethics using a book written by and for people having barely a glimmer of understanding of even the basics is unwise. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves and our world since then, and healthy boundaries aren’t (or at least shouldn’t be) set by fiat, divine or otherwise.

  34. I find it incredibly arrogant that the LGBT community…..a minority by any standard, can suggest that all religious rejection to homosexuality is callous and discriminatory. The long held concept that homosexual acts are sinful is based not only in religion, but in civilization throughout history. There is nothing wrong with those who object to it, and it is atrocious that those who do are labeled homophobes or fanatics. The very structure of man and woman is obviously built to accommodate the other sexually. Homosexuality is an aberration, yet it should be accorded safety under secular law as is any other minority condition. To fear religious condemnation, or forbid it, is juvenile ……for man cannot teach what is against God’s known Will. Catholicism teaches to love the sinner, but hate the sin…….which is proper in its simplicity. The homosexual will decide which way to lead their life,and their decision is between God and them. Lies should not be told as truths simply because it will make people feel better. Teenagers commit suicide for being overweight, ugly, or bullied……..facing homosexual feelings is just another crisis of puberty……not a situation caused by religion. The people would have to be religious to begin with, and that is far from common these days.

  35. I don’t accept a single word of the bible as anything but words designed by men to create and maintain a con, a lie. The entire book is a lie. From first word to the last, from Genesis to Revelations. No “god” spoke this gibberish. It was created by men to manipulate men. Period.

  36. Travis Rogers-Explain how we all got here? You have faith that this
    whole universe just came into existence by accident where the sun is
    set perfect so we don’t burn or freeze. It takes more faith to believe
    that than to believe in God. You are loved by Christ. God is real.

  37. Travis- The Bible is inspired by God cause for that many different
    people to get it right/point to Jesus Christ over thousands of years
    it was inspired by God so yes man wrote it but all of Bible prophecy
    coming true with 100% accuracy shows/proves that God is real and
    Jesus is the Messiah/the only way to heaven! Do some research on
    the Bible/all of the prophecy that came true about Jesus. God bless.

  38. Do you find it at all incongrous that the article calls people to avoid judging all parents of LGBT individuals as a group and, yet, that is exactly what you turn around and do to another group?

    Or did I miss the moment when all LGBT activists appointed you their spokesperson? Because, if I did, I apologize; I bet it was fabulous.

  39. Thank you! I love the image of a teenager waking up one day to look in the mirror and realize they came down with a bad case of homosexuality. Very Kids in the Hall of you.

    I am intrigued by your assertion that minorities should not be bothered by the damaging opinion of a larger minority or majority because…you know, history. And…biology. Or genital ergonomics, which, I assume, is what you were implying by “built to accommodate each other sexually.”

    Never mind chemistry, which doesn’t support your thesis: Or sociology, or anthropology, or primatology. Or history or biology, for that matter.

  40. Larry,

    “…that there are no “biblical absolutes” ever when it comes to moral behavior. The Bible means whatever you are willing to impute to it.”

    How very true.

    “The Bible is a great tool for finding excuses from acting in a moral fashion to others.

    Perfectly said.

  41. Ben in oakland,

    You’ve written an excellent reminder for us all.

    You summarized it well here —

    “The truth is that judging the sins of others when you have not achieved spiritual and moral perfection yourself is a sin, one which is deeply displeasing to God. Jesus mentioned this several times…”

  42. Of course any minority is hurt by cruel people who taunt them for conditions that are out of their control. My anger goes towards those who demand that homosexuality be stricken from the list of sins that religion holds as true. Aduloptery is a sin, but adulterers do not demand the churches elevate their weakness to a virtue! The secular world is free to bless all vice as an individual right if it wants, but they are ludicrous to suggest that religion can learn anything from them.

  43. The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel and also Jesus among other gods
    by Ravi Zacharias are both good books to check out and read as well.

  44. That group you are defending is doing deliberate (and sometimes lethal) harm to others in the name of their faith. It demands judgment.

  45. When considering the suicide rate of gay children raised by Christian parents, the percentage of them in the teen homeless population and the various stories concerning mental and physical torture by ex-gay ministries, it is obvious Christian rhetoric of demonizing them is to blame.

    James, you are walking over the bodies of children essentially killed by their parents for being gay with the sanction of various churches. I guess any excuse to ignore that or pretend it doesn’t exist will make you feel better.

  46. So, at what age or point in your gay or straight child’s life would you allow or teach that they have any level of sexual intimacy with someone they are falling for? Ever? Or would you eventually allow this for your str8 kid, but the gay one must continue or always suppress their God given human orientation? You are designing their life solely to satisfy your lack of basic understanding.

  47. Great question David.

    Hmm. While I am not a parent and cannot speak much from experience my response is admittedly limited. However I would teach the Christian view of marriage, which I’m sure you know is defined as a man and a woman for life. As most Christians but not all believe that sexual expression is only to be done in this relationship then that is the view I would encourage them to adopt. I suppose I don’t know what I would do or how I would handle one of my children having sex while under my care, as I am not in that life stage yet. I would definitely encourage them not to. I would do everything I could to keep them safe educated and informed of the merits of the beliefs I see most beneficial. I mean, I wouldn’t shame or guilt or in any way hurt either kid for their sexual behavior if that is what you are getting at.

    I suppose we have a respectable disagreement over what a ‘god given’ orientation is. I don’t claim to understand everything about sexuality and the experience of my GLBT friends, I don’t find significant reason to believe that orientations are ‘god given’ or assigned at birth. While I completely understand there may be legitimate biological and chemical factors that factor into someone’s sexual orientation.

    And, well, I don’t agree that I am designing my child’s life to satisfy my lack of basic understanding. I can always learn more and am willing, perhaps I am biased and think myself to be pretty well read and versed in this topic, I think I have looked at the same evidence and come to a different rational logical conclusion which I’m sure is respected. I do understand how many Christian voices talk about the to glbt community and issues of homosexuality and it is clear by how they talk that they have never met someone of that community let alone befriended them and spent significant time with them. This bothers me. I can understand one thinking that for someone to adopt a traditional stance on marriage and sexuality that they must be completely ignorant on current sexual issues and the experience of the glbt community like many Christian speakers. But I want to humbly encourage you David that this need not be the case. There are very intelligent people with sound minds that have adopted different views on this issue. I believe myself to be one, even though we all can learn more.

    Thanks David

  48. Yeah, that’s what I’m doing…….walking over dead kids bodies……

  49. Jo, it sounds like you think it’s all about sex. When you were very young, before you knew the mechanics of sex, did your play life include themes around marriage and family? Imagine that your thoughts, urges, and desires through those years were characterized by dreams of growing up and marrying your girlfriend and raising a family together. Your early crushes were all on females rather than males. Imagine your childhood just as it was, except that your urges, dreams, and fantasies were about girls instead of boys. Yes, there is value in straight and gay youth living chaste lives and not becoming sexually involved until they are married. Giving in to lust and sensuality is sin, but dating, courtship, and marriage aren’t, regardless of whether one is gay or straight. If you have a gay child who loves God and is dating and moving towards marriage would you be supportive? Imagine how you would have felt if your parents disapproved of your choice for a life partner and could never quite bring themselves to embrace who you are as a wife and mother? Wouldn’t that feel like your parents were rejecting a significant part of who you are? Would you feel completely loved by them and rationalize that you just disagreed about that one thing? If you have a gay child and cannot bring yourself to support their dreams for love, intimacy, and family then you are truly rejecting a significant part of who they are, and not simply disagreeing about a belief or issue.

  50. Eternal torment is essentially chosen by the individual who rejects God’s eternal love. Religion can only instruct the world on what is offensive to God, our Free Will can only be properly used when we have all the facts. Teaching that a sin is not a sin is irresponsible and the teacher does not truly love their “student”.

  51. If what you say is true, then Pope Francis is the biggest sinner of all, because although he has NOT achieved “moral and spiritual perfection”, he has just recently criticized the Mafia, even criticiized them PUBLICLY, using the very specific and very judgmental phrase “your choice to serve evil.”

    So let’s see some folks around here publicly jump on Francis for being all “deeply displeasing to God” by criticizing the Mafia, yes?

  52. “Eternal torment is essentially chosen by the individual who rejects God’s eternal love.”

    Thank you for illustrating why I gave up on Christianity 45 years ago.

    As the abusive husband said to the battered wife: “It’s your fault that I’m hitting you.”

  53. No disrespect, but why is this comment hidden? Seriously, I see NO disrespectful or un-caring wording at all within this paragraph, (not even the Snively Whiplash mess that I sometimes indulge in.)

    Greg’s post is a rationally-worded, thinking-about-it response to the same issue that Jo was responding to — what should a parent do, what to think, what to live out, if their teen or youth announces they are gay or lesbian?

    Sure, Greg’s post is reflective of some of the Bible texts that we commonly disagree about at RNS. But if the idea is supposed to be something like “Christ-like conversation across differing theological interpretations” then that’s going to mean exposure to (not censorship of) conservative viewpoints as well.

  54. Anthony,

    I meant that the well known but often unconsidered verses would apply here —

    1. Matthew 7:5
    2. Luke 6:42
    3. and others

  55. Greg is right on this matter. I would continue to love my son/daughter if they were gay and went on to “marry”…but, I would not attend the “wedding” because it is a sinful and paganistic ritual. Legalizing gay marriages does not make it moral by any standard.
    The woman who obtains an abortion, also involves the doctors/nurses who facilitate that abortion. Same scenario of sin.

  56. Except the whole nonsense of “refusing to affirm my child’s sin” is used as license to abuse children, abandon them, ostracize them from others and in some cases drive them to suicide. All in the name of “unconditional love”. Its garbage. Again, it appears the preferable situation for a Fundamentalist Christian parent of a gay child is that they no longer exist, rather than deal with them as human beings.

    It is immoral to abuse your children and attack them based on your own personal prejudices. This is true whether you think scripture agrees with you or not.

    What constitutes “sin” and what constitutes morality are two entirely different things. Sin is strictly a construct of your sectarian religious beliefs and extremely relativistic. Morality is far more universal.

  57. James – you probably won’t see this since it’s been almost a month since these posts, but I had to say something here, perhaps only for posterity. You say, “Eternal torment is essentially chosen by the individual who rejects God’s eternal love.” And if you look at the nature of the Gospel you would be correct, I don’t dispute that. But, reading the context of your comments, you have somehow equated “rejecting God’s eternal love” with “accepting your inherent sexual orientation”. This is not only ridiculous, it’s also unscriptural. How can you say to an openly gay born-again Christian that “you reject God’s eternal love”? Granted, you might not approve of gay people and especially gay Xians, but to say we’ve rejected anything (other than misapplied theology) is pure dogma. This is the same crazy slippery slope that leads people to declare even straight gay-affirming believers are going straight to Hell. How is the heck is THAT even remotely Xian?? I think Xians, unchecked, begin adding preferences to their personal theology without ever bothering to connect the dots. Like with Greg, your dots don’t connect, James.

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