American culture has adopted a dangerous habit of equating disagreement with hatred. Allegations of hate and bigotry have become tools that people resort to when their facts and logic run dry. The narrative goes like this: If you disagree with someone's worldview, you are thus hateful and bigoted towards them and/or their ideology.
This reckless habit breeds false narratives, and false narratives breed false ideologies– ideologies that sometimes turn violent. In the past year alone we've seen many violent reactions towards opposing views from those who deemed the non-violent individual(s) "hateful."
Most recently we've seen this violent reaction in last week's school shooting in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Devon Erickson and Maya Elizabeth McKinney, both of whom identify within the LGBT community, carried out the school shooting targeting "STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) students" and showed strong detest for Christians.
In a recent post to a now-deleted Facebook account, Erickson wrote:
"You know what I hate? All these Christians who hate gays, yet in the bible, it says in Deuteronomy 17:12-13, if someone doesn't do what their priest tells them to do, they are supposed to die. It has plenty of crazy stuff like that. But all they get out of it is 'ewwwwww gays."
In addition to Erickson's biblical illiteracy, there are two flaws in this quote that are imperative for our culture to understand:
Christians Don't Hate the LGBT Community
Christians hate the sin of the world and how it hurts Christians and non-Christians alike. But this hate for sin fuels a love for the sinner and a desire that they find freedom from sin through Jesus Christ's redemptive work on the cross. Disagreement with the LGBT lifestyle does not equate to hatred. On the contrary, it likens to love.
Christians Aren't Grossed Out by the LGBT Community
Whether Erickson actually believes that Christians think "ewwwwww gays," his remarks demand a response from the Church. Christians do not think the LGBT community is "gross." Christians see the LGBT community the same way we see everyone, including ourselves – broken vessels that will be made whole, with a repentant heart, through Jesus.
But Why Did Erickson and McKinney Feel Hated?
Was it because they were literally shown hate by the Church? The possibility is real, though the possibility that they were deceived into thinking Christians hated them is also real, and likely the actual case. Time and time again Christians and conservative influencers are described as "hateful" simply for their commitment to a biblical position on marriage – a monogamous relationship between a man and a woman. Left-wing media outlets and progressive Christians consistently pin conservatives as bigoted and unloving for this belief.
But the claim that Christians hate the LGBT community is simply false. This false, deceptive narrative fueled by progressives is far more responsible for the relational gap between the Church and the LGBT community than any alleged hate shown by the Church.
Christians submit their lives to the God of the Bible, the same Bible that identifies God in His essence as love, the same sacrificial love that inspired students Brendan Bialy and Kendrick Castillo to put the safety of others before themselves by trying to stop the shooters – heroic actions that cost Castillo his life.
As stated earlier, hate for the sin in the world does not translate to hate towards people. Jesus hated sin; indeed it was sin that separated Christ from His beloved creation and yet He loved His people enough to die for them. Jesus has more reason to hate sin than we do, and yet His love is deeper than any of us are capable.