Since 2016, the discrimination and hatred towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) persons in the United States has risen dramatically. The LGBTQ community is estimated by Gallup to comprise 4.5 percent of the U.S. population. However, a report released in late 2018 by the FBI indicates that more than 16 percent of federally reported hate crimes target those who identify as part of the LGBTQ community. Worse, the rise in violence towards the LGBTQ community is driven and encouraged primarily by fundamentalist Christians. How has this happened? Doesn’t this contradict the heart of Christ’s teaching?
The damage that these religious beliefs cause to the LGBTQ community is widespread. Exclusionary policies lead to mental health issues, suicides, hate crimes, homelessness, and more. The minority Fundamentalist Christian sect has succeeded in perpetuating hate and harm to both Christian and non-Christian people who are LGBTQ. These Fundamentalist groups also provide fuel for non-Christian groups to commit hate-crimes. Hate begets hate.
What purpose, then, does the Fundamentalist Christian faith serve? Presumably, it is to do as Jesus said when giving his new commandment and “love one another.” An overarching commandment that appears primarily ignored by the Fundamentalist Christian community.
Fundamentalists argue that they do love everyone; they simply cannot allow immoral or areligious behavior. They are fond of saying, “Love the sinner, not the sin.” While it may sound pretty, in the case of the LGBTQ community, it’s a hateful, exclusionary, and deadly phrase. It is a weak excuse to exercise control over those that you believe are “less than” you. It is a path taken when someone thinks they have a right to judge. You remove them when you want to cure something for them that isn’t an illness. You seek to “save” them rather than face your iniquities.
“Control is the purpose of organized religion.” History proves this succinctly. The Inquisitions, the Crusades, the more recent Ku Klux Klan movements, racism, as well as other wars waged in the name of God, all demonstrate the desire to control and conquer in the name of Jesus. They reduce their healing Savior to a figurehead for harm.
Those in power of these functional cults know what to do. Pull people in fast, show them what to believe. Give them worth and value with the caveat that they follow every rule, or they have failed God. These factors make a Fundamentalist Christian somewhat challenging to engage with rational debate. Frank Schaeffer author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back, explains this fundamentalist mindset in a piece for Huffington Post:
The reason they have to hate every “deviation” is simple: At some point in their lives, most fundamentalists do ask questions. At some point, they also grow weary of fighting their own bodies. At some point they have a choice: to listen to their reasonable doubts and follow their questions, and therefore grow and change their minds by admitting the fact of paradox, or deny the reasonable voice of doubt and redouble their efforts to “keep faith.”
Fundamentalists fail to see the Christ who placed love and inclusion at the pinnacle of what he saw as holy. Jesus himself made a prophecy that the Jews would destroy the temple, and he would raise it back up. A Jewish handyman sent to rebuild the heart of humanity. An example most exclusionary Christians fail to see.The argument will always be “this is the word of God.