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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Be honest, Christians: You DO hate the sinner

Those fundamentalists who oppose giving rights to LGBTQ people say it's really about hating the sin. But they need to be honest with themselves: Depriving people of their livelihoods is all about hating them too.

By Rodger McDaniel 

As the Cheyenne City Council prepares to debate an ordinance prohibiting employers from discriminating against gays, lesbians, transgender or bisexual people, some are making plans to stir Shakespeare’s cauldron. (Editor's note: It now appears the council will delay action on the matter, pending a U.S. Supreme Court decision from Colorado.)

“Double, double, toil and trouble.” Most of the trouble will come from self-identified Christians.

What is it that causes some Christians to hate LGBTQ people? Please don’t insult our intelligence

with that disingenuous Christian ditty, “We hate the sin but love the sinner.”

Let’s be honest. You hate “the sinner.” You reserve a special hatred for same-sex love and gender identity you don’t understand. You weaponized God’s word for justification and claim your so-called “religious freedom” is at stake in whether they have equal rights under the law. Some of you reject your own daughters and sons when they come out.

You encourage the passage of laws dictating which bathroom they can use and support banning otherwise patriotic Americans from serving our nation in the armed forces. And now, you advocate that they lose their jobs and livelihoods because of the way God made them.

I’m sorry, that’s hating the one you believe to be the “sinner” even more than it is hating the sin.

I’ve heard your justifications. You call it “tough love,” claiming “the Bible tells you so.” You argue that you have to be able to discriminate against them to exercise your religious freedom. You claim you worry about their relationship with your God.

But hate is not that complicated. It has only two components: thought and action. Hate is characterized by extreme ill-will, intense dislike and a passionate aversion to something or someone. But no one cares whether you have extreme ill-will for gays, lesbians, transgender or bisexual people. It’s what you do, not what you think, that makes you a hater.

When you attend a City Council meeting and use your faux-Christian credibility to lobby against nondiscrimination, you cross the line and become a hater. Then you’ve decided to use your beliefs to do damage to the lives of those you deny hating. When you act on your ill-will, you relinquish any plea of innocence to the sin of hating your neighbor.

Anyone of sound moral deportment should agree that no one should lose their job unless the boss has a good reason. That job is all that stands between the worker and poverty and being able to put a roof over the heads of one’s family and food on their dinner table.

There are few legal doctrines in Wyoming as dishonorable as the “at will” doctrine. Created by the Wyoming Supreme Court, not the Legislature, the doctrine allows employers to discharge an employee for no good reason. Regardless of how many years you’ve contributed to the well-being of the employer and his or her business, without a union or personal contract that says otherwise, you can be sent packing with no recourse.

Employees can be fired for no cause, but not an illegal cause. Under the law, illegal causes include discharges based on race, creed, religion and gender. In past debates over nondiscrimination laws, the haters have said no such law is necessary. They asserted that LGBTQ employees are protected under civil rights laws.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions pulled the rug out from under that argument. The case was brought by a gay man who was fired because of his sexual orientation. He told the court civil rights laws prohibit firing employees because of sexual orientation. Sessions says those laws provide no protection to LGBTQ workers.

Thus, Cheyenne City Council’s debate comes down to love and hate. That is always the choice Christians have to make. None of that “we don’t need a new law” or “hate the sin but love the sinner” stuff. Peel back the veneer. See this for what it is.

“Double, double, toil and trouble.” You can either hate LGBTQ people enough to subject them to loss of their livelihoods because of how God created them, or you can love your neighbor as yourself. You can’t do both.

Rodger McDaniel
 is the pastor at Highlands Presbyterian Church in Cheyenne. He resides in Laramie. 

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