As a gay man raised in a Christian household, I have witnessed the homophobia that takes place in some, though thankfully not all, church sanctuaries. I grew up listening to entire sermons as to why gay marriage should not have been legalized. My relatives have cited Sodom and Gomorrah - the tale of the Divine destruction of two cities filled with selfish rapists - as undeniable proof that God detests gays. Even guest speakers at church explained to the youth that we should only marry people of the opposite sex, as if our sexualities were a choice. Because I grew up under a rigid set of expectations, I ended up hating myself. It got to the point where my internalized homophobia led me to pray to God daily, begging him to make me straight, to no avail. In short, I thought I was an “abomination,” the same word used in the infamous and mistranslated verse of Leviticus 18:22. I know what it’s like to think your very existence is a crime. Now, I am proud of my sexuality, and I want every member of the LGBTQ+ community to feel the same. I want to assure all queer readers of one thing: God loves you.
First off, let me say that anyone who uses the Bible to justify their homophobia clearly has no understanding of God’s word. The Bible preaches love. Is it not true that in Mark 12:31, God tells his followers to “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Does that not mean that we should treat everyone we meet with kindness and respect, no matter who they are? It’s also important to note that using the Bible to discriminate against queer people directly goes against the third commandment: do not take the Lord’s name in vain. This means that you cannot use the Lord’s name or words in harmful ways. People who twist Bible verses to fit a homophobic narrative are directly harming and invalidating the entire LGBTQ+ community, and therefore breaking one of the ten basic rules of Christianity. The point is, spewing hate isn’t a cute - or godly - look.
Furthermore, there are tons of verses that are LGBTQ+ affirming. My personal favorite one is Galatians 3:28, which says “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” All of us, no matter who we are or who we love, are united through Christ. No one is exempt from that. Queer people - especially those with religious backgrounds - often feel isolated because of the divisive rhetoric used by ignorant people. It’s important for us to realize that in the eyes of God, we are all equals.
Speaking of God’s creations, let’s talk a little bit about Genesis 1:26 - “And God said, ‘let us make man in our image.’” This verse explains that we are all unique human beings who have been made exactly the way God intended us to be. To him, we are all his sacred creations. Part of what makes us sacred in his eyes is our individuality. Everyone is different, and we must embrace our differences and love ourselves in order to stay true to the image God created. By proudly being our authentic selves, we reflect the image of God.
In short, God absolutely loves his LGBTQ+ children, and anyone who thinks differently is anything but a true Christian.