Evangelicals are widely regarded as people who preach bigotry and hate. Defenders of the One True Faith® say that this is a stereotype; that Evangelicals are people of love — a love for God and love for their fellow man. I contend that this is not a stereotype at all, that evidence found on social media, blogs, Christian news sites, and anecdotal stories amply prove that generally, Evangelicals are hateful bigots; that they are so immersed in Republican politics and fighting the culture war that they are blind to or don’t care how their words and actions are perceived. This is especially true when it comes to homosexuality, LGBTQ people, and same-sex marriage.
A local non-Christian recently told me about a new employee at her place of employment. The new employee is in her late 20s, the wife of a pastor of a nearby mid-sized Evangelical church. This new employee has only been there for a short while, but she is already known for her rants about gays; about how evil homosexuality and same-sex marriage are; about how awful it is that TV programs show gay people in a positive light.
The business is owned by an Evangelical couple, so I am quite sure the new employee “assumes” everyone thinks as she does; that everyone agrees with her about gays and same-sex marriage. When you live in a religious monoculture, such thinking is not uncommon. As an atheist, humanist, and Democratic Socialist, I find it frustrating that family, friends, doctors, nurses, business owners, dog groomers, car salesmen, auto mechanics, and other sundry acquaintances assume that I agree with them on religious, political, and social matters. I don’t. If I responded every time a local Bible thumper spewed bigotry and hate, that’s all I would get done. There are days I feel like I am Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, or Elizabeth Warren at a Ted Nugent or Charlie Daniels concert. Not a comfortable place to be.
Some Evangelicals argue that people such as the new employee are just speaking the “truth” in “love”; that they love the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world so much that they just have to tell them the “truth.” Fine, but perception is everything. And constantly ranting about homo sex, gays on TV programs, LGBTQ people, and same-sex marriage makes you look bad. From my perspective, if it walks, talks, and acts like a hateful bigot, it is one. Don’t want people to think of you this way? Then shut your damn mouth and keep your homophobia to yourself. By all means, when you go to church on Sundays to worship the gay Jesus — he did travel with twelve MEN, you know — let your hate hang out, and let your brethren in the Lord know how oppressed you felt while mingling with the lost. But when you come to work on Monday or go to store or attend your class reunion, please, unless asked, keep your anti-gay preaching to yourself. Want people to think well of you? Then treat everyone with decency and respect, and don’t assume that everyone thinks and believes as you do.
My words, of course, will fall on deaf ears. We live in a day when Evangelicals are drunk with political power, and with this power they intend to undo the social progress of the past one hundred years and force unbelievers to live their lives according to the moral dictates of the Bible. One need only to watch the battle over abortion to see what Evangelicals, along with Mormons and conservative Catholics, have in store for the rest of us. In their minds, the United States was founded according to the principles and teachings of the Christian Bible; that the United States was divinely chosen by God to be a shining light in a dark world; that “others” should be tolerated as long as they understand that the United States is GOD’S country. USA! USA! USA! Don’t think for a moment that Evangelical zealots aren’t working behind the scenes and in courts and legislatures to rollback or eliminate civil rights protections for LGBTQ people. They are, and they won’t rest until Jesus sits on a throne at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, ruling with a rod of iron.
Knowing the unbeliever mentioned above, I suspect that the new employee is going to find out that everyone does not think as she does. Sometimes, bigots and haters just need to be put in their place.
About Bruce Gerencser
Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.
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I am glad not to live in a place where evangelical Christians dominate, but I do run into that when I visit family in the Bible belt. If I lived with that bigotry every day I would constantly be agitated and arguing with bigots.
I try to allow my family to go along as they are, evangelical virus and all, because otherwise my limited relationship with them becomes no relationship. Whenever I engage as a nonbeliever, ranting and raving begins, followed by extended silence.They see me as ‘lost’ you see, lost to atheistic views and secular selfishness. And to me, the viral family of Jesus is lost, have given themselve over to be parrots and sheeple, to not challenge their minds with human concerns that plague we bipeds. Instead, they give it all to Gawd-boss and God-boss makes it just alright to give up. A portion of the income into the offering plate to keep the church locked up tight and sparkly and to send missionaries to harm people all over the world.
So, I try to stay away from ‘religion’ and politics too with my Christian family. There is the garden to speak about, the weather, the kids… My oh my, how to count the loss…
So sorry this is the reality of trying to have a relationship with your family. I feel so lucky to not have grown up this way. People who preach their own take on God and what he really means never understand that their type of preaching is totally ineffective. Why are they like that?
I know enough to not mention my sometimes contrary beliefs to people who are only going to be offended, so why do evangelical Christians not understand this simple thing?
had to back off relationship w/parents due to their belief that people outside their Pentecostal church are unsaved. also the legalistic view of life. glad I found my way out of the mess, unfortunately they are mired deeper than ever. they do not understand why their whole family has backed away. tried to tell them, but they blame us and say we are just selfish, etc. they continue to make poor decisions based on their religious world view. still trying to extricate myself from the last of Christian belief. this has not been easy. thanks for your writings to help and encourage us all.
It never ceases to amaze me that people who claim to possess the key to salvation, know the secret of eternal life, have a relationship with the creator of the universe and think their sins are all forgiven, have nothing better to do than spend their time slagging off LGBT folk.
A quick, admittedly non-scientific, survey of Christian blog and web-sites suggests that at least a third are attacks on those fortunate enough to be gay.
Maybe all that other stuff just isn’t as marvellous as they like to think it is.
I am losing patience with the constant stream of evangelical blather from people around me. Our police cars now have “In God We Trust” on them. It seems almost impossible to have a conversation without someone bringing up religion. People on Facebook gleefully brag about offending Muslims with their Jesus posts. I am about to lose my cool and go off on every one of them. I am tired of trying to be polite and change the subject. I am tired of trying to be nice.
It so grieves me the path the Christian Church has taken. I have been a “born again” Christian since 1975, and am aghast at the Church and how they have departed from the true teachings of Jesus Christ, which was to “love God with all your heart and soul and love one another as yourself”.
If you are annoyed and angered at these people, mine is a THOUSAND TIMES MORE, as they have turned from basic Christian principles of love and tolerance and replaced it with anger, hatred, discrimination, bigotry, hypocrisy, self-righteousness, etc. — all of the things Jesus taught against.
The Church., although never perfect throughout the ages, made a drastic turn in the 80’s to Jerry Falwell and The Moral Majority, when they aligned themselves with politics and left behind the real Church in pursuit of political power to fight against two issues: homosexuality and abortion. Things Jesus never mentioned. Sad!!.
I have left the church, but never Jesus Christ. And please, you all, don’t just Christians because of the stupid people that you have described. We’re not all like that. I pray always we’ll return to the fundamental teaching of our faith and stop judging one another!!!
Janice, I understand what you are saying and your observations are accurate. I do disagree on one point, the idea of “not all Christians”.
Christianity in general is viewed by many as a religion of bigotry and hate that seeks power to force everyone to live by rules the powerful Christians define. Simplistically states, , is she Christians as three types of people, those who are hateful bigots who want to impose their rules on others and control government; those who are not so bigoted but ignore the bigotry of the Christians in power, because they believe Christians in power creates a god fearing country, and they can sacrifice a few morals and ethics to that end; and Christians who are accepting and caring, who are less judge, but do not stand up to loudly fight the bigotry and hate is their religion.
If you truly believe what you say, then it is up to you and others like you to stand up, loudly, publicly, against these bigots and stop them from spreading hate I. The name of your religion. Saying “not all of us are like that” only allows you to put space between hou and the bigot,it doesn’t fix the problem. You have to call these haters out. You have to stand up,in their church and shout their hate down. You have to stand outside their church and protest the hate in their church. You have to go,to their meetings, blogs, and social media and stop their hate.
If you truly mean what you say, it is on you and others like,you to stop this problem. No Christian will listen to me, After all, I am a “freak” blinded by evil urges who seeks hedonistic pleasure without concern for others. I get judged as evil by just showing up. I suspect that if I walked into a church, you would see people scurrying into rooms and closing doors, and when I opened the doors to go into,the sanctuary, the music would suddenly stop and everyone would turn and look at me with fear as silence filled the room. Yeah, I am that ‘evil.”
The only hope for christianity is that it is fixed from the inside.
And for,the record, I will continue to judge hateful christians until they stop. I am the target of their hate, so it is not my job to be nonjudgemental and forgive them. These people actually want to eliminate my existence, so I,will always judge them and stand against them to make sure I can be treated as equal, not as less than.
Thank you for commenting.
Most people deconvert for evidentiary reasons, not because of the bad behavior of believers. That said, most people become Christians for emotional reasons, so why is it wrong for some Christians to leave Christianity due to how their fellow believers behave towards them and others?
I’ve received thousands of emails, blog comments, and social media messages from Evangelicals over the past fourteen years. The overwhelming majority of these interactions have been negative; many of which are personal attacks and character assassinations. Ugly stuff. Based on a large sample size, I’ve concluded that Evangelical Christianity is a bankrupt religion; that it doesn’t practices what it preaches. If the Holy Spirit lives inside of Christians, she is fast asleep.