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Christians respond to Orlando massacre

A woman takes a photo at a makeshift memorial the day after a mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 13, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Carlo Allegri *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-PROTESTANT-REAX, originally transmitted on June 13, 2016.

(RNS) Christians responded quickly to the shooting rampage at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association immediately sent trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team to Orlando to offer emotional and spiritual care to victims of the attack early Sunday (June 12) at Pulse. The Washington National Cathedral tolled its mourning bell 50 times Monday morning for the lives lost.

Washington's National Cathedral

Public domain

The Washington National Cathedral tolled its mourning bell 50 times Monday morning for the lives lost.

Christian leaders also released statements mourning the dead, condemning the violence and encouraging prayer.

“Christians everywhere must condemn this horrible violence against … the LGBT community,” tweeted Ed Stetzer, recently named executive director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College.


RELATED: Chicago archbishop decries targeting of gays in Orlando attack


And the African Methodist Episcopal Church released a statement noting the mass shooting came almost exactly a year after the shooting that took the lives of nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The church called it a reminder that “racism and hate are still a part of American life.”

Its statement read in part:

“We feel the loss, hurt and sorrow of those whose loved ones have been injured and killed in Orlando, Florida. We extend our sympathy and our prayers and ask God to comfort them in their sorrow, fill the void in their lives, and give them the peace of God. We also lift our prayers for those who have been injured, believing that God will heal and restore them, physically, emotionally and spiritually.”

But not all LGBT Christians heard good news in some of those well-meaning messages.

Founder and President of The Reformation Project Matthew Vines, in Washington, DC on November 25, 2014. Photo by Stephen Voss.

Founder and President of The Reformation Project Matthew Vines, in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 25, 2014. Photo by Stephen Voss.

Matthew Vines, author of “God and the Gay Christian,” noted in an op-ed for TIME Magazine that nearly 50 percent of LGBT Americans are Christians, like himself. For them, Sunday mornings are a reminder that they are not accepted in many pews – that many traditional churches view homosexuality as incompatible with Christian beliefs.

“The core problem is that so many Christians still talk about the LGBT community like they’re not a part of the church and like they’re not part of the same family. That’s the core problem: They use ‘othering’ language that presupposes that Christians and LGBT people are separate, mutually exclusive groups,” Vines told RNS.

For instance, he said, many of the statements made by prominent Christians didn’t name LGBT people as the targets of Sunday’s massacre.

One of them was the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

“Today’s deplorable act of terrorism goes against everything we stand for as Americans and as Christians,” he said in a statement Sunday. “We call upon all Americans to come together for the purpose of building a firewall of love, grace, truth and respect against intolerance, hatred, bigotry and violence.”

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Photo courtesy of Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Photo courtesy of Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly

Christian activist and author Shane Claiborne in a Facebook post blamed the problem of gun violence. But before it was updated it didn’t mention the problem of “anti-LGBT animus that pervades much of American society, including the church,” Vines said.

Some Christian leaders also suggested in their statements that they did not agree with homosexuality.

In a tweet shared nearly 2,000 times by Monday afternoon, Russell Moore, president of Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said, “Christian, your gay or lesbian neighbor is probably really scared right now. Whatever our genuine disagreements, let’s love and pray.”

About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.

113 Comments

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  • Billy Graham First Prayer and Proselysation Group has rushed off to Orlando looking for converts in their time of horror and pain..

  • I’m more frightened of a certain class of so called Christian than I am of Muslims. But then. I am in a so called Christian country.

    I have 45 years of lies, slander, revilings, and hate to back that up.

  • They did the right thing, from the heart. In fact, every leader or organization in this article either sincerely said or did the right thing from the heart. Doing their best to show true caring, true servanthood, true willingness to identify with the victimized gay and straight people of Orlando, at a time of true tragedy.

    But as you can see from this article — it’s NOT going to be enough for some people. We Christians now gotta surrender and kowtow to the gay activists. We gotta abandon our Bibles. We now gotta talk like gay marriage and homosexual behavior is A-Okay with God and with us.
    We mustn’t make it sound like Matt. 19:4-5, 1 Cor. 6:9-11, and 1 Cor. 10:13 still exist and are still authoritative. Not supposed to affirm that Jesus Christ still changes and heals people, and that he still has the power to produce **former** homosexuals.

    Well, long story short, your surrender demands are hereby REJECTED. Russell Moore’s statement is correct and commendable.

  • It is often difficult to frame a statement where none feel slighted or neglected. Public statements are often made hastily without careful vetting, but no matter how carefully one speaks, one is sure to offend some one. We are a common humanity, but diverse in our points of view. I can appreciate the present fear and anger in the gay community, yet some subset of human culture is constantly being targeted somewhere on this tragic globe, laws and legislation are powerless to prevent it. Many place their faith in rationalism, I place my faith in the God of the biblical scriptures…even so, I know that more and more pain and tragedy is coming to this planet, which I believe will only reach its culmination with the Return of Jesus Christ. Others reject this argument…fair enough, but I wish we could agree to disagree without so much personal invective, that would be true rationalism.

  • For any given belief, there are 2 kinds of believers. Each calls the other at best misinformed and gone astray, and at worst I don’t really care to say.

    But you can easily tell the difference. One side, the Respecters, are humble, considerate, and empathetic; they treat other people as people, and they don’t manhandle others’ beliefs. Their one weakness, in my opinion, is that they rarely stand their ground against the other side.

    That other side, the Trespassers, are arrogant, disrespectful, and cruel (they call it “righteous”); they treat other people as their lessers, and they go out of their way to trash others’ beliefs. They’re just as loud as they are proud, and they always stand out in a crowd.

    The best way to tell them apart is with a decibel meter at a safe distance.

  • I imagine how I would feel if Billy Graham sent chaplains if a synagogue was attacked. I would assume that they were really there to convert us. I think the GLBT community in Orlando probably feels the same way.

  • Actually Jesus does not have the power to produce former homosexuals. They all return to what they truly are. Christ comes form the Greek, Christos, which comes from the Hebrew Mashiach, which means anointed one. It is not Jesus’s last name.

  • Russel Moore’s statement is somewhat telling of the attitude. Semi polite words for the sake of appearances. “Your” gay and lesbians neighbor. Not “our” or “my” gay and lesbians neighbor. Meaning I and my church consider gays and lesbians outsiders. Not one of our own. Subtle but still exclusionary and marginalizing language.

  • You’ll have to travel to Orlando and ask them. So far I haven’t seen any news of the victims/families rejecting any help from any source.

  • one can only be called righteous by others. those people calling themselves righteous are arrogant, as you said, They are the Pharisees and the Sadducees of modern times- the ones who gave Jesus so much trouble. The bottom line is, we all are sinners, and in that we are all equals. http://thetorchblog.net/

  • Matthew never existed. The gospel is anonymous. The jury is still out on Paul, who got his anti Gay rhetoric from OT, and you guys have tossed over the OT. Franklin cannot endorse killing Gays one week, and then offer condolences the next. He is rejected.

  • We could let THEM (and they are not monolithic) decide what’s helpful at this time, hmm?

  • And Christian fundies are contesting it and trying to legally discriminate against gays. As well as try to get them executed in Africa and Russia.

    Crazy Muslims can only kill people and break things here. Crazy Christians have much more damaging effects.

  • So now you’re broad-brushing a lotta religious people (and this also includes religionists other than Christians and Muslims) as mass murderers. Good job.

  • If there is no such thing as a transcendent God, you are correct. But … the dog, the human eye, the serrated teeth of a shark, the cell, the rainbow, the desire for beauty and meaning and love, all testify to something beyond the material.

  • Seriously,Ms.Stein? You actually want to quibble over THAT??? As if no one but YOU knows that? Wow…

  • I see no mention of Christian leaders who praised the massacre, such as Pastor Roger Jimenez of Verity Baptist Church and Pastor Steve Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church.

    Those who don’t know any better could come away from this article with a less-than-wholly-accurate impression of Christianity as a positive and compassionate force in the world, rather than an archaic and extremist ideology that thrives on tribalist hatred.

  • your priorities are a bit put of order. Handing out Bibles and engaging in prayer when people need real emotional support, real help dealing with their injured and dead friends and relatives comes off as callous at worst. Tone deaf at best.

  • Not sure they were there handing out Bibles. Usually water bottles and crisis counseling from what I know about them, which is mostly listening. Which is, in fact, what most people need. That’s what they did in Paris, in Baltimore, in Ferguson.

  • Yep. It really doesn’t take much to go from “gays are cursed by God” to “gays should be banished from sight and consideration as people” to “laws must attack gays” to “kill all gays”. Where were you when Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio attended conferences by pastors calling for execution of gays?

    What was your reaction when news broke of Scott Lively’s efforts to execute gays in Africa?

    What was your reaction when ex gay ministries were being banned as abuse and torture?

    It’s a wide brush, but it’s a widespread issue. Frankly I doubt many “Bible believing Christians” would raise a peep of an objection if gays were imprisoned and executed here.

  • You don’t have to kowtow, nor must you surrender or abandon your bible, but for the love of god, could you please shut up?

    And I mean that in the nicest way possible.

    What I really mean to say is, we’ve heard it, and heard it, and heard it, and now all you’re doing is stirring people up.

    Okay, so you don’t like them gays, we get it…we just don’t care.

    Now, please stop stirring people up, and we’re all good.

  • Christians call for gays to be killed, forcibly moved to an island, forced to give massages to ‘real Spartins’, and refused access to outer space.

    And I think that was all in the last few weeks.

  • A hero among the Christian Right that has to be hands down, the biggest idiot god set on the face of this earth.

    Google+Louie Gohmert+Gay=Comedy Gold

  • Who wouldn’t want prayers from the people who think Tinkie Winkie, and Patrick the starfish are ghey?

    Sounds reasonable to me…

  • One of the most bigoted, dumbest troglodytes ever elected to national office (assuming Trump is defeated in 2016)

  • Christians do deserve some blame. If all of Christianity were accepting of gay people, it would make it more difficult for Muslims to maintain their deeply embedded level of hatred, especially among Muslims living outside of predominantly Islamic countries.

  • I don’t dispute your sincerity or your “niceness.” Thanks for the courtesy.

    But what you’re saying is that you want to censor out just ONE of the voices who post here regularly. You don’t want that one voice responding to all the gay and pro-gay voices who post in this forum every single day, night and day, with your approval.

    As for me, I do not call for ANYbody’s voice to be silenced or censored. I may not agree with your opinion, but I will read and think about your opinion sincerely, and all others.
    Oh, by the way…..**Request Denied**. Thanks for asking!

  • Let me do that last question for you. I’ve met both gays AND ex-gays in person. I’ve spent time listening to them both.

    So let me assure you of something: Ex-gays are real, Spuddie, they’re just as real as gays. You guys can hate on them as much as you want, you can tell broad-brushing falsehoods about ex-gay ministries all you want, but ex-gays are honestly NOT going to go away.

  • You are being blinded by your own prejudices and disposition. Ex gay means to you that you can despise gays with a clear conscience as it is allegedly not really part of their identity. Every noted “Ex gay”.and proponent of ex gay ministries has repudiated and disavowed their own work and the notion such things are possible. All of this is available information to anyone looking. Your assertions they ate real is not supported by anyone except the anti gay religious crowd. One not predisposed to let facts get in the way of a discriminatory agenda. To put it more simply, you are full of it. As long as religious bigotry exists against gays, there will still be malicious abusive typed to capitalize on this with ex gay nonsense.

    BTW less than 3 weeks ago a member of the House of Representatives was using Bible quoted suggesting gays should be put to death. We have the lieutenant governor of Texas tweeting on the same day as the massacre that “they are reaping what they’ve sown”. Both saying the only good homosexual is a dead one. Same hatred, different books.

  • I love anecdotal evidence. Nothing better than undocumented claims and baseless generalizations to make you feel better about your fact-free convictions.

  • Hey Nat, do your homework and google Rep. Rick Allen of GA. Or just search RNS articles for his name.

  • I’m just grateful not to have read any stories about a hospital or its workers refusing to treat any victims for religious reasons! That would’ve literally added insult to injury.

  • Major difference between Christianity and Islam:

    Christianity wants homosexuals to be saved. Islam wants homosexuals dead.

  • It’s sickening you’re hijacking this tragedy to make it all about you. Unless you are LGBT, you don’t get to tell other LGBT people how to react.

  • 2 pastors amongst billions of Christians worldwide. In comparison to numerous Islamic states that condone the attacks by virtue of having homosexuality punishable by death on their statute books.

    These pastors words come straight from Satan’s mouth if they cannot “mourn when others mourn”. But otherwise you’re comparing apples and oranges. Or rather a house brick with the Empire State building – a ‘comparison of false equivalence’ in philosophical terms.

  • What gives Muslims the room to hate is liberals who cry “Islamophobia” “bigotry” and “racism” every time somebody points out how totalitarian and dangerous Islam as a religion is. Because Muslims are higher up the liberal victim-hood chain than LGBT’s, they get off the hook.

    Secondly, doesn’t help that liberals all over the West are desperate to flood the West with as many Muslims as the possibly can. Honestly, what were they expecting? We’ve been trying to tell liberals this for decades, but they just don’t listen.

  • God can do all things. He is powerful. I believe he can make what ever transformation in a person so long as that person wants that transformation. Also, there is a difference between the sinful thought and putting that thought into action.

  • Christians everywhere must condemn this horrible violence perpetrated by guys that frequent gay bars… Oh! ..That’s the other side of this story… The shooter was a frequent drinker at this gay bar… I wonder how many straight dudes frequent gay bars to drink at? .. Or are we not allowed to suggest this is just “gay” violence?

  • These are but a few things Franklin Graham said about the Gay Community and he has the nerve to send his people there to console the Gay Community!
    the Bible praises the marriage of a man and a woman, but it speaks only negatively of homosexual behavior whenever it is mentioned.

    The New Testament agrees, listing “homosexual offenders” among a list of people who “will not inherit the kingdom of God” unless they are cleansed through Christ.

    Satan is behind LGBT rights and advocacy: “This is a full-scale assault against Christianity and the followers of Christ.

    God made male and female plumbing different there cannot be a gay family.

    He wants to “warn people” about the “consequences” of being gay.

    If your are homosexual it’s the flames of hell for you.

    Gays are shaking their fist at God.

    Putin is right on these issues when it comes to gay issues
    .
    Senseless violence and homosexuality are both a sign of “moral decline”.

    Graham: Pastors Need To Be Willing To ‘Get Our Heads Chopped Off’ For Opposing Gay Rights.

    Franklin Graham: Gay Christians are ‘The Enemy’.

    I do not think it is appropriate for Franklin Graham to send anyone to Orlando Florida.

  • God cannot save homosexuals unless the Christians do it for Him – is that what you are saying. You may be surprised who you see him heaven that is if you make it.

  • In the early 80’s at M.D. Anderson Hospital the Chaplin refused to visit an AID patient, at the time we did not call it anything – unknown disease. A Methodist minister in the hospital dying of cancer ask me if I would visit the young man and I did. I am now approaching 76 and still kicking. I expect more from Christian ministers.

  • Unfortunately many feel like you, but not all Christians are stupid, bigots, judgmental heathens and think they are the only ones with the true interpretation of scripture. Not all of us play GOD!

  • I believe depending on what Christian you are talking to will result in varying opinions of homosexuals.Many Christians will find the Orlando killings not as offensive as others will,but they could not say this, because of who they believe they are.

  • If you will read my comment history, it will make sense to you.

    If you won’t read it, nothing I can say will ever make sense to you.

  • Homosexuality is a sin. Period. No excuses needed. I hope the victims had time to repent and ask for God’s mercy.

  • Reviling. Slandering, and Christian love. Turnin the other cheek. Motes and beams.

    You have it all in there.

  • No, you are allowed to suggest that yet another homosexual hating homosexual, filled with self hatred at himself and hatred for others, murdered people because he could not stand what was in himself, and taught to be that way by his faith.

  • ex gays are indeed real. They are just people who now claim to be Exgay. They are not heterosexual.

  • Handing out bibles has never convinced a Christian not to call for our deaths, ourimprisonment.

    Pat Robertson reads his bible every day. Google what he said yesterday.

  • I put it this way.

    There are people who call themselves Christian, read their bibles, don’t understand a word of what Jesus had to say because they think it doesn’t apply to them, want to go to heaven, but are afraid they are going to hell, and therefore obsess about sin, especially sexual sin.

    Then there are people who call themselves Christian, understand their bibles, follow what Jesus has to say because they know it applies to them, don’t care about heaven or hell, and therefore don’t obsess about sex and sin, preferring to be the best people they are capable of being.

    In other people, faith makes some people better people, and makes others worse.

  • Laws and legislation maybe powerless to prevent it, but that doesn’t mean that faith has to help it along.

  • Lol! Nice one Poe Troll.

    So why didn’t god stop the mass murderer? Because he doesn’t exist. Now stop useless praying and work to fix our gun laws.

  • What hypocrisy. All i see is hate from Christians against Gay people. It makes me sick they think they are going to be saved, and spread hatred all over the place. Jesus did not come here to save anyone. In fact, the story that he died on the cross is a lie. Look up stories on youtube of how Jesus studied in India and how there is evidence he never died and he lived out his life till old age. There is evidence in Renee Lechatau france, that Jesus fled to India and then france after the crucification where he survived. The Christian religion is just another mind control program to keep people docile while waiting for their big daddy to save them. No one is going to save people from their own mess they create. Thoughts create this reality. It’s called Quantum physics and the reality we see is manifested by the toxic thoughts of the human race. We created it, no one is going to save us from people’s own evil thoughts.

  • Susan is right. Christ is not Jesus’s last name. Christ means of higher consciousness. We can all obtain Christ consciousness if we evolve spiritually passed religious dogmas created by the Royal bloodlines to enslave our souls from lifetime to lifetime. The bible is a mind control program and is filled with stories to keep you from knowing the full truth and to keep this planet playing the same ol’ war games and bloodshed over and over.
    Jesus did not come here to save people physically in the afterlife. He knew that one has to save themselves. he cannot do that for anyone. He never said he was THE god. That is something the church made up because they know the ‘savior” program will keep people from taking action and evolving spiritually themselves.
    Jesus studied ten years in India with llamas doing meditation and learning how to raise his frequency and vibration. We can all do that but they don’t want you to know this, so they give you a fear based mind control program. To keep you at a lower vibration. Everything in this world is energy. And the only way to truly evolve is raise ones own vibration. And taking action to help the planet and to show love. This whole hate for Gays is just designed to keep Christians vibrating at a low frequency and designed to destroy them spiritually on a soul level.
    Yogananda’s book about the second coming of Christ talks about some of the truths. And after he wrote this book, Jesus physically appeared to him and congratulated him for job well done. Yogananda brought yoga to the United States and taught meditation. He and many other llamas can do the same miracles as Jesus. He wasn’t God but a teacher just like Bhudda and the only way to grow spiritually is by taking spiritual action to help the planet and to spread love and not hate and to realize everything is energy and one has to raise their own vibration to evolve spiritually. The Jesus realm is just on of the millions of astral planes in the multiverse where souls inhabit when they are in between physical lives. Everyone goes to the realm that matches their own personal vibration of their soul. No one can save anyone else, everyone has to do their own work and graduate like they are graduating from school. Sorry but Christians and others have been lied to.

  • I actually agree with you on this issue. I am definitely liberal, but I disagree with most liberals on the issue of Islam.

  • 2 pastors not living in dictatorship hell holes. We hold Americans to higher standards than the mouthpieces of autocrats. How about instead of making excuses reflect on what is said here. American Fundamentalist Christians are no better than ISIS on this subject. If they had an ounce of moral fiber they would be tempering their violent anti gay rhetoric or disavowing it. But they aren’t. They are issuing mendacious backhanded pseudo sympathies and making excuses.

  • So is gluttony. So is avarice. Funny, people don’t get anywhere nearly so bent out of shape about those “sins”. Just so you know, every time I hear some religious zealot blabbing about “homosexuality is a sin” I automatically assume they’re a deeply closeted self-loathing person, unable to come to terms with their own same-sex sexual desires. We see this so often, it’s just standard for the type. Closet cases, every time. My friend, a psychiatrist, sees this so often in her practice, it’s become a running joke. “Diagnosis – R.C.S.” Religious closet case!

  • God can save everyone. They just have to repent, and turn away from sin not because they have to, but because they want to. God’s grace is available to all. Only Christ can save, Christians are his disciples and can only show the way.

  • Doesn’t anyone, including Pastor’s, read their bible?…Romans speaks very clearly of this type of conduct and lifestyle…It is not about Hate, let me repeat, It is not about hate…it is about love and love is truth…not about tolerant love that everyone seems so ready to accept for God would not be a just God if he allowed such behavior…God is love, this is true, but God is about HIS truth and the best love their is is true love, sacrificial love as displayed by Jesus.. and also about wrath bc he has made a way for all but if an individual denies God’s only way then his blood is on himself and people who reject His perfect love, in truth, which the bible describes, are sending themselves to a pit of torment bc they refuse to hear the truth..God has given freedom to choose…God does not send people to hell people do that themselves by the choices they make….I applaud Sacramento’s Preacher at Verity…he seems to be the only brave soldier fighting for God…Pls Read your Bible bf you spew hate…it’s not about hate it’s about a way back…know the facts bc it’s a matter of eternal life or eternal death…and eternal is forever!

  • I know true Christianity exists in the hearts now suffering and not in the words pried out of a hypocrite’s mouth. Every one of these politically astute men of god knows they have declared gays beyond the pale and they are preparing for the connection to be made between homegrown homophobia and the middle east’s variety finding completion in a mass murderer.

  • Why do Christians have to abandon their deeply held theological views to show compassion to individuals who have been targeted by Radical Islam? If Hamas kills Jews in Israel, I am going to grieve for the people who died. If some crazy kills Sikhs in Wisconsin, I am horrified. It doesn’t mean I have to believe in Judaism or the Sikh religion. Nor does my compassion for gays being shot like pigeons in a park mean that I cannot believe in sexual purity. I still have a right to believe that.

  • Of course Christians can’t abandon their long held beliefs and a true Christian would suffer the hatred of the world before condoning the sexual attraction between people who are of the same sex. Unfortunately, “long held” means being raised in an intellectual environment where consistency in the groupthink is more valued than what the words they use actually mean. In this case, they say the proper words in the proper order and yet they still are able to convey a disdain for the lives led by the dead.

  • As you well know from my past remarks, nothing in my faith background or those in my faith community endorse violent actions towards anyone, regardless of a particular point of disagreement on what constitutes correct moral and spiritual behavior, I can’t answer for the mentally deranged.

  • You are not required to answer for the mentally deranged. You are required to answer for yourself, and perhaps, the consequences for your actions. Let’s talk about the consequences of “love the sinner and hate the sin.”

    Many people who call themselves Christians are happy to tell me how much they love love love love love me and all sinners, but just hate my sin. Just like God himself. There is your first clue about what is going on here.

    We don’t hate you. we love you. We really really love you. We just hate your grievous, grievous sin, and…

    your child molesting, disease spreading, freedom endangering, sin delighting, morality despising, nature rebelling, god defying, Chrstianity insulting, promiscuity loving, Rome declining, sexuality perverting, faith hating, religion denigrating, marriage destroying, military endangering, free-speech curbing, on-Jesus crapping, society undermining, innocent recruiting, marriage attacking, holiness oppressing, family eroding, sacred institution destroying, god’s-messengers-victimizing, speech denying, future-of-humanity threatening, perversion flaunting, Scouts infiltrating, priesthood undermining, virtue despising, muslim loving, and chicken-sandwich abhorring…

    …ways.

    And really, how could anyone find hate in that?

    But you say, “I don’t do that. I just believe you are sinning grievously. I don’t condone violence against you.” But there are plenty of people who claim to speak for Christianity who makes their livings doing exactly that. Tony Perkins, Scott lively, and Bryan Fischer are perfect examples of self proclaimed Christians who do that. Does anyone call them out for their reviling, bearing of false witness, and slandering? no, and certainly not “love the sinner and hate the sin” Christians, despite what Corinthians says about who is not going to heaven.

    Rather selective sin hating, isn’t it?

    But here is the real consequence of the love the sinner position. Other people get to do the hating, other people get to condone or promote the violence, as when Pope Benedict said that gay people should not be surprised if violence is the response to people claiming their full civil rights. Kevin Swanson, roger Jimenez, pat Robertson are others.

    The harm wished upon and done to gay people, our families, and our Faiths is monumental, and has been for 2000 years. What we get from “bible believing Christians” is a monumental tsk-tsk. Your hands remain quite clean, like Pilate’s.

    You’re not doing the violence, but you are creating the atmosphere where it flourishes, and are doing nothing to prevent or discourage it.

    Believe it’s a sin or not. I don’t care all that much, though I care enough to disagree. But your hands are not clean, not as long as the violence, hate, and discrimination continues, the lies are told without remonstrations.

  • Look, Christian or not, I find it difficult to love my fellow man, gay or otherwise. However, I contend every day within my own soul, in the recognition that I too am a sinner, subject to the same ungodly inclinations, of whatever nature, as any other human soul. I contend not only here, but in other forums, and in my daily face to face interactions with Christians and non-Christians alike. I contend against violence, but not the freedom of expression, eash person is entitled to they’re own opinion. I base my opinions on the received text and orthodox interpretations of the bible. I am fully prepared to answer before God and man for my beliefs. Any Christian who thinks he is without sin is deceiving himself, I own that. Homosexuality is a hot button issue…You want to discuss something else? Fine, how about serial marriage and divorce among Christians? How about a lost generation of young Americans are who enmeshed in a drug and alcohol infused culture that is destroying them. Or any other of a host of issues? Don’t you see the destruction and decay reminiscent of every empire that has risen and fallen in the history of humanity? Would I eny you employment because of your sexual practices, housing or any other amenity of life? No. But I resist gay marriage because it fails to meet my understanding of what marriage means and what it is designed for. However, the courts have spoken and I will abide by the law, it is only when a law is passed that will require me to personally violate a fundamental tenet of Bible teaching that I may be inclined to resist. Peace

  • Thank you for a reasoned response. We are going to disagree about a lot of things. But I recognize that we are actually concerned about many of the same things, just from a different perspective.

    I don’t agree that we have a generation lost to alcohol and drugs, but I do think that drug laws are counterproductive, and produce what they are supposed to eliminate. Empires and societies rise and fall, and have throughout history. It’s what they do. The claim that it has something, anything to do with homosexuality is spurious at best, and prejudice at worst.

    I bring up serial marriage and divorce among heterosexuals all the time, because I think it is beyond hypocritical to claim that people wanting to get married– gay people– harms marriage, but ignoring the fact that the number of heterosexuals divorcing, adulterizing, and fornicating exceeds the number of gay people in toto by many magnitudes.

    Again, thank you.

  • Truly, though we disagree about the nature of many things, I appreciate the grace in your last remarks. I will continue in my efforts to frame my comments with courtesy even in disagreement with you, or anyone. It is much the best way, something I’ve been reminded of lately.

  • Unimpeachable historical evidence please, beyond the mere speculations of historians.

  • The conversation you wish to pursue is a conversation based in hate. Gay people are well aware of what you believe, and you’re just beating a dead horse.

    Some Christians, like yourself, will stick to their guns and continue their abuse, but many wont. Not only will you and your ilk be removed from the conversation going forward, but you’ll be increasingly marginalized.

    Not good choices in my book, but…whatever.

  • Yes, please do prove the existence of god or jesus with unimpeachable evidence. Either one, your choice, should be easy, right? An empty tomb!!

  • Such evidence as I might supply regarding the existence of God would no doubt fail to resound with you. Jesus and Matthew are another matter. I first posit the question…why should the existence of either man (or Paul for that matter) be such a difficult question? The extant fragments of manuscripts from early in the common era testify to the existence of all these men. If other sources (i.e. non-sectarian) were cited, of which there are some few, they would not be questioned, but merely because these ancient fragments are from the Gospels/Epistles they are most often rejected out of hand from a bias against the nature of the texts, hardly an objective/scientific response. Josephus, the ancient Jewish historian, made reference to the existence of Jesus, based on the comments and “rumors” of other people with whom he came in contact. He was not alone. Because these references came mere decades after the life of Christ I see no reason to doubt them. The only “proof” I have of the US Civil War is the writings of those who observed it. I wasn’t there to see it. The same principle holds true for the attestations of those who knew Jesus. The biographical information contained in the Gospels/Epistles regarding Matthew and Paul demonstrate nothing remarkable about either man to cause us to question their existence; nor John, James, and Peter. All of whom affirm the Life of Jesus. Further, among ancient texts and documents of which we have only hearsay and rumor, and little physical evidence, and which are usually accepted, none compare to the volume of scraps, fragments, and passages of the New Testament that date from the late 1st, early 2nd, and 3rd centuries. There is no objective reason to reject them merely because of their content. They do not comprise lurid, fantastic literature, generally speaking. Analytical evidence may be reckoned with respect to the fact that the names, places, and artifacts alluded to in the bible are most often discovered by archeologists to be precisely where stated, and in the stratum chronologically appropriate to the declarations of the bible. I doubt if this is sufficient to persuade you, but it rises above the level of ,”Matthew never existed” and “the jury is still out on Paul.”

  • You had better re-research the “volume” of scraps etc. from the 1st-3rd centuries. You are misleading us there. hundreds of people wrote about the civil war at the time it was taking place, including the governments of the time. Christians claim Jesus appeared to “500” and yet none thought to jot it down, or send a letter telling Auntie Maude about the occasion. Historians of the era missed the grand event as well. All we get was 4 anonymously written stories, constructed from the writings in Isaiah, to build up Jesus into a god, starting 40 years after the death of the supposed One, and continuing for another 40 years as the legend was grown.

  • The fact that such documents do exist, dated to within decades of the events described are considered by many reputable antiquarians to be sufficient and reliable proof of Jesus’ existence. It would be rather remarkable that such detailed accounts which correspond in many features, but differ merely in personal perspective, should prove to be constructed merely of wholecloth. Few experts accept the interpretation you advance. Some of the strongest critics of Christianity do not doubt the existence of Jesus. Additionally, for someone who “never existed,” He’s had a pretty dramatic impact on the world, which effect has not diminished to this day.

  • He has had no impact, his concocted story has. Seriously, you are quite ill informed on the evidence for jesus, and your arguments are purely apologetic.

  • The comments here are crazy. It looks like a lot of people never got over the fact that their sinful Christian neighbor was very judgmental.

  • At no point in this discourse have you offered any evidence at all, merely bald assertions and insulting remarks. I recommend you examine “The Historical Jesus,” by Gary Habermas Ph.D. He can refute you far more effectively and quietly than I.

  • Can you imagine the reaction of Liberty University, should Gary ever come up with a dissenting opinion? He is an apologist, not a scholar. Apologists are paid to toe the official line, regardless of what they might find in their studies. No, Habermas is not a reliable source. A christian scholar could be.

  • Actually, Habermas is quite independent, and his book received endorsements from a number of reputable Christian scholars. Are you seriously suggesting I should take the unsupported opinion of a non-academic who is hardly objective on the subject to that of an accredited Ph.D.?

  • By definition, an apologist has no independence, and by association, a PhD means nothing when it is connected to Liberty University, who would fire Habermas immediately, should he ever say anything in contradiction to their biblical view. Apologists are paid to give one view point, and one only. They are paid for their lies.

  • Unless Habermas attained his Ph.D. from Liberty, which is undoubtedly not the most highly accredited school in the country, his employment there is not necessarily germane. His book, from 1996, probably predates his employment, though I couldn’t swear to it. The text was endorsed by Dr. Norman Geisler, a highly reputable scholar, Dr. Gregory Boyd, and Dr. Michael J. Wilkins. Your definition of an apologist seems to be anyone employed at a Christian educational institution, with a Christian point of view, regardless of academic category. You, however, are adept at tossing out rabid assertions without attempting to offer any evidence at all but your own subjective bias. I prefer to cite sources, names, quotes, and documentary evidence.

  • You certainly have a rosy view of PhD’s. Look him up. He is identified as an apologist first. There are many christian scholars who are not apologists. Apologists are like the early church fathers Jerome and Eusebius; any lie will do if it convinces someone to accept Jesus. Apologists sign a contract with their employer to never say anything with which the employing institution would disagree. That is not free and open academia-that is apologetics, and apologetics is lies.

  • Geisler is just another apologist, and Wilkins if he defends the historicity of Jesus, is not very open minded at all. Boyd looks interesting.

  • Apologetics is the art or science of defending a given philosophical perspective, there is nothing untoward in the practice. Apologetics is used by any number of philosophers in many disciplines to provide a theoretical defense of their position. It is not a dirty word or practice.

  • Stubbornness and deception are neither art nor science. Nor is keeping one’s theological findings and statements to a contractual obligation.

  • Cite your source for goodness and that it deserves to be served. Until then, you are only harassing me.

  • I see, your responses to me are reasoned and logical, mine to you are harassment. That is so…..I can’t even express myself. For my part, this discourse on this thread is at an end.

  • The day of the carnage in Orlando I spent the afternoon at the Hampden Inn praying for the families that were waiting to hear if their loved one was dead or alive. What a heart wrenching experience. And then when the families found out their loved was dead…..the emotion and pain was overwhelming

  • I’m having a difficult time understanding this alternative lifestyle but then again what about the Christian guy I was involved with who was taught by Pat Robinson that guys are just being guys when they allow their urges to rule over morals. He refused to marry but basked in the free flow of love I was making available to him. Needless to say. This mindset and teaching has left a stain and confusion on me and my faith. Then there’s the whole election corruption thing. I have come out of rigid abusive Evangelical fundamentalism. It’s caused me much pain over the years. I love all people but I do know what scripture tells us about alternative lifestyles. My abusive roots could’ve easily left me bisexual but it did not. Being involved with a Christian who practices a no holds bar approach is eye opening to say the least. The massacre in Orlando left me broken hearted for days. I’ll love them the way Jesus loved the adulterer, telling them why I believe what I believe, then leave the rest to God.

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