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Is Every Sin the Same, Regardless of What the Sin Is?

homosexuality is a sin

Christianity, especially in its fundamentalist expressions, teaches that every human is a sinner in need of redemption. Sin is the problem and Jesus is the solution. From Adam and Eve forward, we humans have faced the consequences of sin. Every problem the human race faces can be reduced to our sin against God. Calvinist. Arminian, Mormon, and Catholic, all agree that the stain of sin has ruined the human race and only the blood of Jesus can wash that stain away.

When asked if some sins are worse than other sins, Christians will likely say no. Sin is sin, in God’s eye, they say, but are they really being honest when they say this? Take David Lane, a political activist and founder of the American Renewal Project. In a recent Charisma interview, Lane stated:

“Sin is sin, whether it is homosexuality, adultery or stealing candy bars at the local 7-Eleven. God gave us the recipe in 2 Chronicles 7:14. We as Christians must understand that. He will forgive us and heal our land, but only if we humble ourselves, pray and turn back to Him. I wholeheartedly believe in prayer, and that’s what it’s going to take. Our only hope is in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

According to Lane, “homosexuality, adultery or stealing candy bars at the local 7-Eleven” are all the same in God’s eye. Really? If that is so, why haven’t I heard of any Christian outrage over adultery or stealing candy bars?  I checked out the American Renewal Project website, looking for action alerts, feature articles, or campaigns against the sin of stealing candy bars. I found none.

The truth is, Evangelicals, Mormons, and conservative Catholics, have raised the sin of homosexuality to a sin above all others. In their minds, it is the sin above all sins, the one sin that will destroy the United States and bring the judgment of God. These prophets of God, who seem to be profiting nicely off of America’s sin problem, need to stop with the “sin is sin” schtick. No one is buying it.

Look at the message of the above graphic. When’s the last time you’ve seen a graphic, read an Evangelical news article, or heard a sermon that said:  Stealing a Candy Bar is a Perversion! Repent or Burn, You Choose! I suspect your answer is never or not since Sister Judith’s Sunday school class in 1968.

I spent fifty years in the Christian church. As a child and youth, I never heard one sermon about the sin of homosexuality. Not one. In fact it was well into the 1980’s before I started hearing sermons about fags, queers, and sodomites. Why all the sermons and outrage now? Simple. Homosexuals, as a class, want the same civil protections and rights that heterosexuals have. They want equal protection under the law. They want to be treated fairly and justly. Most of all, they want to love who they want, without the government telling them they can’t.

And it is these demands that have Evangelicals, Mormons, and conservative Catholics upset. Why can’t the homos stay in the closet, they screech. Everything was fine, before THOSE PEOPLE wanted the same rights as everyone else, says the local Baptist preacher, forgetting that his ancestors made similar statements when opposing equal rights for blacks.  Fearing the gay horde, they express their outrage couched in Bible verses and pronouncements from God, but in doing so they unwittingly expose the homophobia and bigotry that lies just under the surface of much of American conservative and fundamentalist Christianity. The problem isn’t sin; it’s homophobia and bigotry. It’s preachers who are afraid to find out how many of their church members are actually gay or bat from both sides of the plate. It’s evangelists and conference speakers who are afraid that their supporters will find out that they have a man in every city. As scandal after scandal has reminded us, those who roar the loudest against a particular sin are often doing that which they condemn.

The next time some lying Evangelical like David Lane tells you “sin is sin, whether it is homosexuality, adultery or stealing candy bars at the local 7-Eleven”, ask them for proof of their claim. From my seat in the atheist pew, all I see is wild eye homophobia and bigotry and lots of candy bar thieves.


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    Excuse me, Bruce. Need to correct you on something: Mormonism shouldn’t be listed with the rest, as they are branches of Christianity & Mormonism is a cult!

    Everyone knows THAT one! WTFF??!!

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    Homosexuality is really the perfect sin to preach about, as the majority of a congregation won’t be guilty of it. This gives them the luxury of siting in judgement content that they are perfect (an opportunity to polish one’s halo.). There is also a certain amount of natural repulsion to the opposite of one’s sexual orientation. I suppose there are preachers who do preach about the things everybody does, but at an innate level everyone’s sin is nobody’s sin.

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    As a Christian, I would have protested that nobody was suggesting the government should endorse stealing candy bars. Your broader point about the purported generality of sin is still made, of course.

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    Expanding on Troy’s comment:

    Gluttony is a sin. But we don’t hear many thundering denunciations from the pulpit of eating too much or obesity. The reason is clear — many in the congregation are fat, and such remarks would hit too close to home, impacting the revenue stream

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    Sin is sin could be strangely comforting yet also disconcerting at the same time. On the one hand, it puts everyone on a level playing field making you feel that your sin is never too big or great… (unless it was the unpardonable sin which every church seems to have a different version of), on the other hand, it does the same in making small sins really big. It just doesn’t make any sense…

    There can be grace for the most horrible people, say serial killers, and your little cookie stealing sin is somehow exactly the same? It comes down to the whole one ink drop in the water bottle idea, I suppose…

    I thought for a while that I had done the unpardonable sin: in our version it was believing that God had been sent by the devil/was evil somehow. And so when I’d read the gospel where the Pharisees say that Jesus was sent by Beelzebub, I imagined myself really believing that (just like them) and agonized about not being saved for ages, repenting over and over again. Later, I heard about other versions of it, including but not limited to: being gay, sex before marriage, rejecting God/Jesus as savior after having been a Christian (this also included going back to Judaism if you were a Jew after you had accepted Jesus as your savior) or suicide. All very diverse things…

    You’d think something so important would be more clear?

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Bruce Gerencser