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Evangelicals Say They Love LGBTQ People, But do They Really?

love gay people

Evangelicals often tout their love for those who are different from them. I love everyone, Evangelicals say. I love unconditionally, just as Jesus does. I hate the sin, but love the sinner! On and on the cheap, worn-out cliches go, with nary a thought given to their truthfulness.

Evangelicals are universally panned as people of hate, people who loathe anyone who fucks in any way or manner other than that which has been approved by God. Much like their God, Evangelicals are obsessed with who does what with whom, where, why, and how, sexually. Violations of “Biblical” morality are met with cease-and-desist orders, and when that fails, people not practicing Evangelical-approved sex are threatened with God’s judgment and eternal punishment in the fire and brimstone of the Lake of Fire. Yet, Evangelicals will still, with a clueless straight face, profess to love everyone. Funny kind of love, I say, a love foreign to those of us who know what it is to love and be loved without strings attached.

evangelicals love LGBTQ people

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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    I think it’s all nonsense. I suspect most people are like me-I love my family and a very few others. So, rest assured, whether you’re gay, straight, whatever-I do not love you.

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      LOL, Lynn, an honest person. 🙂

      I think everyone falls pretty short of loving our neighbors as ourselves.

      But, how do we define love? I know that I care for people, and have compassion for them, but I don’t feel the same way about the casual acquaintance who lives down the street in the same way I care for my husband or kids.

      Probably we do use the word “love” to lightly.

      The current church where I attend has had intense discussions relating to this whole issue of homosexuality. We actually had a three month discussion and book study group last year addressing the whole subject.

      The congregation really could not come to an agreement together. There were some people, like myself, who firmly believe that love requires we fully accept gay and lesbian people into the church, and that their sexual orientation is innate and a gift from God. Others felt that we should be caring and accept gay people, but not move in the direction of encouraging gay blessing or gay union in the church. There were all sorts of opinions in between.

      I do think this issue for even evangelical Christians goes far deeper than just scriptural interpretation. Some of the more conservative heterosexual men in the group really, really struggled with the whole idea that a man could be attracted to another man sexually. It is just so alien to them.

      But, I also think that many of these people were in their own minds very much attempting to understand, and sincerely wanted to do the “right thing.” I didn’t sense so much a hatred as just a confusion, and lack of understanding.

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        What a nice and thoughtful reply, thank you. I think the idea of being commanded to love others is pretty bizarre to begin with. If the idea is to show others respect, that’s a good idea, and I think most people try to do that out of common decency.

        Re your church worrying and studying over homosexuality-it made me wonder if somewhere there’s a group of gays meeting to worry about how much they should be trying to love and understand straight people. lol Hopefully they’re doing something more interesting with their time. Don’t get me wrong-I’m a natural “discusser” myself, but I also have great respect for those who tend to “do” rather than analyze. But I think we all just naturally tend to be one or the other predominately. And I also think that church is the last place on earth you can truly be honest about what you think about anything. It’s commendable that your church takes these subjects seriously; I just think it causes people to keep their true thoughts to themselves for the most part and causes division.

        If I were gay, I’m not sure I’d like it that some people are trying to convince other people to love and accept me. I don’t think I’d enjoy being represented as an eternal victim-I’d want people to naturally like me because of my personality, good character, intelligence, what I give to society, if I’m a good friend, etc. I wouldn’t want to be adult but yet have to have a group of people always advocating for me. I mean, where’s the respect in that? The intentions are good, but the results?

        I think more good gets accomplished by conservative Christians or anybody personally KNOWING gay people that they respect. And as far as any IFB types or other extreme Christians rejecting gays-who gives a shit? Why not simply ignore them? It’s like when you hear someone make a very derogatory comment about another race-you simply feel embarrassed that they’re showing their ignorance.

        Also, I’m beyond sick of hearing about ANYBODY else’s sex life. I don’t want to hear about theirs, and I doubt they want to hear about mine. Is nothing sacred anymore? lol

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          Bruce Gerencser

          One reason to give a shit is that Evangelicals are currently running parts of Federal, State and Local governments; that their beliefs are materially harming people, including those in the LGBTQ community.

          I live in an area where it is impossible to get away from the influence of Evangelicalism. Most locals think everyone is Evangelical, so they act, behave, and make decisions that benefit their tribe’s religion at the expense of people who don’t worship their God. The only way I know to change this is for people like me to live/act in ways that show one need not be a Christian to be a good person. If my goal was just to be right, I could spend the rest of my life legally challenging the unconstitutional preference given to Christianity in local public schools and government. I know I would win every challenge to these practices — from prayers to crèches to the promotion of sectarian religion — but doing so would hinder my greater goal, and that is to put a friendly face on atheism. Thus, loving my neighbor is crucially important.

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            Hi Bruce,

            I’m sincerely asking how evangelicals in government are materially harming people? I’m not sure what “materially harming” means. I myself live in a very politically-correct, liberal college town. My sister (who is gay) lives in a very conservative small town in the South. If anybody there has materially harmed her, I’ve never heard about it. She and I remark on the heavy IFB presence there sometimes (they occasionally street-preach,) but as far as I know, she’s happy living there.

            What decisions do your locals make that benefit their tribe’s religion at the expense of those who don’t believe as they do?

            You mentioned unconstitutional preference given to Christianity in local schools-what is that exactly? To me, people are generally somewhat different in different areas. I wouldn’t go to the middle of NYC and expect IFB stuff-I’d expect Jewish stuff.

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            Bruce Gerencser

            At the Federal level, it is Evangelicals who are driving the dismantling of the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency. It is Evangelicals who are pushing for the repeal of the Johnson Amendment and who want to destroy separation of church and state. It is Evangelicals (and Catholics and Mormons) who have passed HUNDREDS of anti-abortion state laws over the past decade as they attempt to outlaw abortion. It is Evangelicals clamoring for schools to “teach the controversy” on matters of science. Religious beliefs matter, and we are seeing how much so when with the Trump Administrations concentration of Evangelical office holders/judges. Trump, the idiot that he is, was a gift to Evangelicals, a man not smart enough to see that he is being manipulated and used. The latest tax cut bill is case in point. Countless tax deductions were done away with, but not the one for charitable deductions. Evangelical churches — who are not, in any way, charities — greatly benefit from members being allowed to deduct their contributions.

            Schools are secular institutions meant for the public education of American children. The courts have repeatedly ruled that sectarian religion has no place in public schools. The Freedom from Religion Foundation, along with American Atheists, the American Humanist Association, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the ACLU deal with hundreds of violations annually. Locally, it is primarily the playing of sectarian songs during sporting events, prayers, and church related materials made available to students.

            We are a nation of laws, Lynn, not a country where majority rules. Just because a certain religion dominates an area doesn’t mean they have the right to push their religion on others in schools and government agencies. I am a big proponent of the freedom of and from religion. By all means, worship whatever whack-a-doodle deity you want, but leave your God/church out of our laws, government agencies, and schools.

            And on a personal note, after years of trying to find suitable part time work, I have concluded that some local employers will not hire me because I am an outspoken atheist. I am well-known in this area, and I want to believe that local employers wouldn’t deny me unemployment based on religious belief — a violation of federal law — but after applying for dozens and dozens and dozens of jobs, I remain unemployed (and why I started my own business). I suspect my age and disability play a part too, but religion definitely comes into play. Of course, I have no “facts” to back this up. No employer would ever tell me that they didn’t hire me because of my religion. Doing so would result in me immediately suing them. But, having interviewed and employed hundreds of people over the years, I know you can discriminate without ever saying a word (and yes, in the day, I gave Christians preferential treatment).

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            Hooooooooly sizzle sticks Batman!! I just found this site, read this post and couldn’t agree more.

            I had a conversation with someone a few days ago about how my political, philosophical and other -ical ideas are deeply rooted on my religious upbringing (12 years at an all-boys catholic school in a deeply religious Hispanic country and a ) tinged with my current agnostic ideals.

            I practice my religion on my own terms and don’t feel the need to force my thoughts on others in order to “save” them.

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          “I think more good gets accomplished by conservative Christians or anybody personally KNOWING gay people that they respect.”

          I very much agree with this statement. It is huge. Getting to know gay people, some of them Christians, and hearing about the quality of their long term commitments with their partner, over time, certainly made a great impact in my thinking.

          My husband very much appreciates listening to Dave Rubin, of the Rubin Report, a partnered gay man who is also a non theist. He holds to more libertarian, classical liberal kind of views.

          I also can appreciate what you’re saying in terms of treating people as helpless victims, and then advocating for them as if they are unable to advocate or speak from themselves. That is a danger, and something to really consider.

          But, my situation is this, I’ve been able to see how some of the traditional teaching in the Christian church has caused real harm in this area. Families have been split. Some parents are grief stricken concerning their child simply because of sexual orientation. I think even that the suicide rate among gay youth is much higher. So, I”m very much concerned about all this . As a Christian, I also feel as if following Jesus means to work for peace and reconciliation. I want to be part of the solution. Sometimes it can be difficult to know the most appropriate action to take.

          One thing is certain, I think we should never stop talking to each other, and trying to work these issues through together. As far as I’m concerned, the more we dialogue, and honestly try to understand someone else’s point of view, the better.

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            Correct, the teaching in fundamentalist religion in general (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc) has been very much against LBGTQ, basically condemning all the people involved. I personally know people who have been disowned by their families because they came out. I know others who are living a lie – they are terrified to come out because they know that certain family members will disown them. It’s beyond horrible that certain religious groups vilify people just for who they are. Getting to know some gay people totally changed my beliefs away from the traditional evangelical Christian beliefs. My husband was raised Catholic and had the same experience – in college, he was working at a restaurant and became friends with several gay men, and that experience completely changed his views. Unfortunately, a lot of fundamentalist religious people will refuse to get to know someone in the LBGTQ community because they don’t want to consort with “evil people” or “sinners”. There are, of course, many more moderate religious people who are affirming and accepting, but unfortunately the anti-LBGTQ bigots are the loudest.

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    Evangelicals love gay people as an idea in that they need to be saved from the worst sin possible become straight and raise a family, barring that they need to be as celibate as a catholic priest is supposed to be. Its all bogus, they dont really love gay people and when they do and actually say it they get some more christian love(see jen hatmaker and eugene peterson). I believe that christians have so twisted love into something it isn’t they dont know how to love anymore unless it is for political power and control over others lives.

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      Trenton, you hit the nail on the head with my experience with evangelicals and their so-called love for LBGTQ people. The “hate the sin love the sinner” stuff is BS. What they mean is, “My religion teaches that what you are doing is a sin and is bad, and because I am supposed to ‘love’ you, it is my business to meddle in your personal business to get you to stop doing what my religion says is bad so that you don’t go to hell and so I can feel like I’m practicing my religion as my ‘god’ says I am supposed to”.

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    It’s akin to when some Bible pounder addresses a total stranger (usually during one of their abysmal attempts at proselytizing) as “friend.” Doesn’t mean a goddamned thing.

    To presume friendship- a state of being that is earned only by contact and experience- with someone who you’ve never met and have absolutely no history, cheapens the very notion of friendship. Likewise the “we love gays” nonsense. It devalues the very notion of love to deny rights to, denigrate, and demean others, and then claim that you do it out of love merely to dodge the well earned label of hater.

    Like so much about fundies and Evangelicals: it really is one more demonstration of their shallow phoniness.

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      Bruce Gerencser

      Yep. I have written several posts on Evangelicals using “friendship” as a way to evangelize people. I’ve concludes that it is is almost impossible for Evangelicals to genuinely befriend nonbelievers. Doing so would mean then admitting that they are okay with their “friend” perhaps living a life contrary to the Bible and, upon death, going to hell.

      I get frequent requests from Evangelical pastors/church leaders saying they desire to be “friends” with me — no strings attached. I used to accept such requests, but I no longer do. These fake “friendships” always result in them trying to evangelize or psychoanalyze me. Want to piss me off…just start down that road. 🙂

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    Here in the UK, Christians of all stripes have, during my lifetime, actively opposed rights for LGBT people. As in the States, we now have same-sex marriage but it took so long to get here because of the opposition of the Anglican and Catholic churches. In the 1980s it was a criminal offence to ‘promote’ homosexuality (whatever that meant) in schools and colleges, an act of law supported, once again, by the bishops. Even now, evangelicals who claim to be ‘speaking the truth in love’ feel justified in referring to gay people in the vilest of terms. In my own life, I suppressed my own gay feelings because I was a Christian and part of evangelical churches that taught how sinful same-sex attraction was. It was the worst thing I could’ve done to myself. The relief when I left Christianity behind and embraced my true nature was immense.

    The Jesus cult has done nothing for LGBT people and has, from my perspective, caused considerable harm.

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    I guess opinions differ on whether all those things harm people. We all have our various opinions re each of those subjects. Certainly many evangelicals are influenced by their religious beliefs when they go to vote. I assume it’s the same for other religious groups. Although I think people are political first, then pick through their religious stuff to bolster that for the most part.

    We could discuss each thing, but since the post was about Christians loving or hating gays, I was trying to see where Evangelicals in governments were harming gays. I don’t see where they are doing that. And I don’t think we’re gonna go backwards in that regard (taking away gay marriage, etc.) That’s simply not doable in this country at this point, and that’s a good thing.

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      Mike Pence wanted to use state government money to fund ex-gay therapy. Given that conversion therapy is frequently practiced on minors who are in no position to dissent, I’d say that legitimising this therapy and seeking to fund it with public money is an example of evangelical ideals in government causing harm to gay people. Remember Leelah Alcorn.

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    Also re your not getting job offers, I agree your very open atheism is most likely a factor. Is that fair? No. But expecting most people to rise above all that is probably expecting too much of human nature. I worried about that for awhile a couple years ago when I was openly criticizing religion on my Facebook page. I had recently quit a job where I worked in a small office where all were Christians, and the business was run by my former pastor and his wife! I worried that they’d find out somehow about my thoughts on religion and be shocked and reject me. Lots of time has elapsed now, and I no longer worry about it and doubt it’d be an issue if I apply for another job. I guess we take that risk when we go public with our thoughts. But it sure can be fun to actually say what you think sometimes!

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    Bruce, have you thought of trying to look for employment online?. One of my daughters in law has explored tutoring as well as teaching ESL. Most of the organizations do require a college degree, but not necessarily a formal teaching certification.

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    I do not claim in any way to know what you are going through, Bruce. But I will say something upfront: being unemployed sucks. No two ways about it. It sucks royally , and having been through it more than half of my lifetime ago, I still remember the pain of my worst bout of it. And what I am about to say is anecdote, not evidence. But it was my experience, and so it’s a part of my world view. Thus, here goes.

    I put myself through college and law school without any financial help from my parents to speak of. So be it: they had their vision of what I should do with my life, and I had another. Anyway, it was a nine year grind but I finally got through, passed my bar exam, and was admitted to practice.

    My immediate goal was to serve my country as a Marine Corps Deputy Judge Advocate. I wanted the Marines because they were the only branch where lawyers did not receive direct commissions but had to go through Officer Candidate School and The Basic School as did every other Marine Corps officer before pinning on those lieutenant bars . That was important to me: I believed that if I were going to earn the trust of my military personnel clients that I had to share the same pre-commissioning training experience as any other officer who wore the bars. A lawyer needs to be detached and objective, but it also helps that (s)he have some common denominator of background upon which fiduciary trust can be built.

    Youthful idealism and gullibility, as I look back upon it. Problem was that, at the age of 26 I was a lot older than nearly every other officer candidate. And my blood pressure rose a lot easier under stress than it did when I was five years younger. Long story short: after 2 short weeks I was honorably discharged and told that the Marines needed a few good YOUNG men. And thus I was unemployed. The height of the 1982 recession, and not a job offer in sight. All eggs were in the Marine Corps basket, and that basket simply did not have my name on it.

    It was a miserable time in my life. perhaps the most miserable. And the church only made it worse. Now, I didn’t expect my church to act as an employment agency for me, of course. But we did have four or five attorneys who were successful in various specialties of the profession, had numerous contacts, and were church members. None of them ever stepped forward and offered to forward a resume, or to put in a good word on my behalf to those contacts. Ever.

    But the absolute worst part was going to church every Sunday, hoping for a few hours of respite from being unemployed. And every week, without fail, some well meaning boob would step forward and ask how the job search was going. Reopening the wound, and always with the chirpy but meaningless admonition that “God has a plan for you,” or, “God has a job out there for you.” Attempting to uplift my spirits, no doubt, but it was salt on the wound. Nothing less.

    Eventually, a job did come my way. A part time job that became full time, and it turned into a career. Over three decades, and I have to say that it really was a dream job, one from which I have retired and now enjoy a very satisfactory retirement. The guy who hired me was an old time whisky drinking trial lawyer with a vocabulary that would have made a longshoreman blush– but he had a heart of gold and he was a lawyer’s lawyer. To say that I learned from the best is an understatement. As far as finding that job, I cannot say for certain that God did NOT have a hand in any of it, but if the Almighty did have a hand in it, a very pugnacious and profane agent was employed to bring about that end.

    I certainly know that God’s Little Sunbeams in my church had no claim in any of it. I stopped attending that church while I was unemployed: it simply became too painful to have the scab ripped open every week with their inane inquiries. It taught me that for all of the flowery talk about bearing one another’s burdens and such, when the chips were down the church and the Christians in it were the very last ones upon who I could ever depend upon for any real help. And that was a lesson which I’ve never forgot.

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      Bruce Gerencser

      I held my last full-time job in 2004. I was the office manager for Allegro Medical’s Yuma, Arizona office.

      The last decade has been tough for me physically and psychologically. Not being able to work has, to be honest, made me feel less of a man. My wife has a good job that pays a decent wage. She just celebrated 20 years on the job. Through her employment we have medical insurance. It’s costly, $75 a week, with a $3,400 deductible. The company kicks back $65 a month to an HSA. We add $200 a month. For the past ten years, we have paid thousands of dollars in medical costs. Until my wife’s recent problem with atrial defibrillation, she has never been to the emergency room or hospitalized. 99.9% of our medical expenditures is related to my health problems. Fortunately, our daughter with Down Syndrome has secondary medical coverage through Medicaid. There are days, frankly, that I think my wife would be better off if I was dead. (I regularly see a secular counselor to keep such thoughts from becoming reality.)

      I tried doing online work for Amazon. I aced the training, but due to increasing memory problems, I was worried about actually doing the job when I had to deal with customers live. Sure enough, my first two customers were first-rate assholes, and I had a melt down. Try as I might, I couldn’t remember what to do. I have gone through extensive neuropsychological testing to rule out dementia. So far, my doctor thinks my on and off memory problems are related to my other health problems. The more rest I have, the better my mind works. Finding such rest is often hard to find.

      Since then, I have applied for menial jobs that I felt I could do. One such job is working at Goodwill. I have applied there a half dozen times. Each time, they review my resume and then…nothing. I suspect that one problem I face is that my education, managerial work history, and professional skills are viewed as red flags. Why would someone with this resume want to work at Goodwill, right? What’s he trying to hide? One employer — a real estate company who was looking for someone to take photographs — flat told me I was over-qualified, and despite my pleading, they refused to hire me.

      I am a professional photographer. In January, I decided to start a photography business. I see some promise, and I hope 2018 will be the year when everything comes together and Brink’s shows up at my house with a bag of cash. 🙂 I have also taken on a website related job that should provide a decent amount of money at the start, and then a small amount of money monthly. My sister recently bought a small medical training (CNA, phlebotomist, pharmacy tech) school in Phoenix. The website for the school is a mess, and it is my job to un-mess it. 🙂

      Fortunately, donations cover the expenses for this blog, so I don’t have to worry about funding it myself.

      This is probably more information that you wanted to hear. 🙂 Wait until I give you a health rundown. 🙂 I face a lot of health issues, but on most days, when asked how I am doing, I say “fine” — my answer for almost everything. People who know me well usually say, How are you doing, Bruce? and before I can say a word they say, and don’t say fine.

      Now, if you ask Evangelical zealots they will tell you that everything I’ve mentioned in this comment is God punishing me or God trying to get my attention. If this is indeed so, why oh why would I never want to worship such a deity. No thanks.

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    Why does our culture equate self worth with paid employment, no matter what the circumstances. I’m sure this is particularly true for men, but not entirely.

    In a similar vein, I have a young daughter in law who is positively brillant. She graduated with honors from university. She is articulate with a great personality. Yet, she has such a fear of failure that she will not even really apply for the positions where she would be most qualified. It’s as if she fails at a particular job or does not even get hired, that she would consider herself a failure as a person.

    Heck, I’ve shared that I even had to leave jobs where I was not succeeding. I’ve been unemployed. I think what this all means, is that this is not the right placement, the right timing, maybe. There could be all sorts of reasons, not, “I am a failure or less of a person.”

    Bruce, you are doing the best you can. Your passing would leave a hole in the heart of your family, and people that love you forever. I’m entirely certain that God is not punishing you.

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