A few months ago, a then-unheard-of Christian hardcore band put out a song calling those with “twisted sexuality” an “abomination.” After all the popular metal and hardcore blogs crucified them for it (and made them popular in the process), they released a statement saying they weren’t specifically speaking about anyone who identifies as LGBTQ.
Regardless of the actual target of the lyrics, anyone in America knows those are Evangelical code words for “gay.”
This month, another popular Christian hardcore band released a song that, for all intents and purposes, was an angry response to them, with a namecalling title. Shortly thereafter, the speculation and statements and snarky comments came out, most making the claim for the band. Once again, Christians are made to look like dysfunctional idiots, leading lives that consist of nothing more than arguing over a stance on something.
This isn’t about a theological stance. This is about the real lives of real people.
A few days ago, an hour and a half from my house, a transgender teen named Leelah wrote a suicide note on Tumblr. After being essentially disowned by her Evangelical parents, she went incredibly in depth about her struggles with feeling stuck, lost and completely hopeless.
She posted it, and then she jumped in front of an 18-wheeler.
We can argue all we want about our theology. We can vehemently debate the translations and interpretations of the six verses in the Bible that mention same-sex acts. We can write and record songs responding to other songs we disagree with. But while we sit in our club and get angry with each other, actual people are experience very real hurt.
Scripture calls us to defend the orphan. Leelah was spiritually and emotionally abandoned by her family — she was an orphan. We learn that the poor in spirit are blessed; Leelah’s incredibly passionate yet hopeless note was one of someone who’d come as close as they could to giving up. Poor in spirit. But no one told her how much she was worth before it was too late.
Real people have real worth. When scripture tells us we were created in God’s image, it doesn’t say “except for these few people.” We are born with worth. Regardless of your conservative or liberal interpretation of same-sex verses, we’re called to love and care for all, regardless of disagreement. People are not concepts to argue over.
We need to retire “love the sinner, hate the sin” as our catchphrase for treating the LGBTQ community. To someone who believes they were born with an innate attraction, “hating the sin” comes across as hating them at their core being. I understand that many in the more conservative camp might not believe someone who is gay is born that way (I do), but your personal opinion on what is or isn’t sinful has no bearing on the way someone feels deeply in their own heart.
Especially in Leelah’s case. But if you insist that you will not stand for sin and that as long as someone is living that “lifestyle” they are hopeless, Jesus implores you to go ahead and cast the first stone.
Although I understand those two bands’ passions and I know they both have good intentions, it still doesn’t come across to anyone outside of a Christian club as anything but dysfunctional.
But this is hardcore music. Let’s channel that passion and energy towards the things that matter. Let’s be angry — there are entire classes of people being viewed as less than human. Let’s be outraged — there are people who feel like they are outside of God’s love because of the way they were born. Let’s be as vocal as possible — we will not stand to see another teenager take their own life because of our own holy book.
Let’s stop spending all of our time publicly calling each other out, and, instead, do what we’re actually called to do: love those who are hurting.