“In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad trees bear bad fruit.” Matthew 7:17
In the discussion of the rights and lives of LGBTQ people, the “Christian” voice is bearing bad fruit and bad news. In the run up to this week’s Supreme Court hearing on the constitutionality of a law banning same-sex marriage, this bad fruit has been on full display. Some “Christians” claim marriage equality will increase abortions. One “Christian” pundit says that marriage equality is a scheme of Satan. Others swear they will die to end “gay marriage slavery.” A man who is likely to run for president likens marriage equality to the fight against Isis. Many claim that marriage equality will force pastors to marry same-sex couples or forbid preachers from saying what they believe. Some “Christians” almost seem strangely eager for marriage equality, suggesting it will usher in the end times. This is bad fruit and bad news. There is no gospel here.
What is the message? The message is that LGBTQ people are inherently evil, disgusting, and deserving of the hatred of people and God. One can disagree with my reading of the message all they want, but they’d be wrong and the fruit of the message shows the truth. The truth is that lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide, and 1 in 2 transgender youth consider suicide. In one of our local high schools 3 LGBTQ identified teens have taken their own lives in the last few years. This is not because LGBTQ kids are inherently more likely to be suicidal; it is because of the seemingly endless and entirely overwhelming rejection and shame heaped upon them by “Christians.” This is the fruit of the “Christian” campaign against LGBTQ people. In March a Charlotte pastor yelled at a transgender teen, calling her a pervert. Later that same month a Charlotte teen transman took his own life after being bullied. This is the fruit of the “Christian” campaign against LGBTQ people. The truth is that 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. The truth is that 82% report being bullied at school for their sexual orientation in the past year. This is the fruit of the “Christian” campaign against LGBTQ people. This is bad, stinking fruit and bad news. There is no gospel here.
Despite the heaps of rotting evidence that the “Christian” campaign against LGBTQ people is producing bad fruit, they continue their lies and hatred. At this past weekend’s National Organization for Marriage rally on the steps of the Supreme Court, “Christians” held signs perpetuating lies against LGBTQ people. False claims about links to cancer and reduced life expectancy, disgusting lies about gay men abusing children, and lies about God hating LGBTQ people plastered on the sides of vans and on boards held by “Christians.” They blemish the name of God, bruise the Bible, and spoil the appellation “Christian.” It can feel like those who oppose the rights and lives of LGBTQ persons are playing a game. They want to win their sinful game of pride and self-righteousness so badly that they will defend their worldview at any cost, they will lie and they will kill so long as they win. This is bad, moldy fruit and bad news. There is no gospel here.
It might be easy to think that this isn’t your cause to worry about. This is work for Page, Jessica, and Liam to do; this is the work for Kaleidoscope and its members. But you’d be wrong. This is work we must all do because the cost of not doing it is too great. Our kids are killing themselves. People are leaving the church in droves. God’s precious name is being used to defend hatred. All because we are allowing “Christians” with lies and messages of hate to define the terms of Christian discourse on the lives of LGBTQ persons. Unless you are explicit in saying that you stand for the full acceptance and support of LGBTQ folks, it will be assumed that you are anti-gay. Why? Because the church has a reputation of being anti-gay and you are a representative of the church. We are not yet to the time in history when the word “Christian” is synonymous with love and acceptance of LGBTQ persons. Until that day comes we must work tirelessly to do good work that bears good, healthy, delicious fruit for our children. Let us give them good news.