Love, hate and Christian stereotypes

On Nov. 15, I attended the Asheville chapter of a national protest against the recently passed Proposition 8 making same-sex marriage illegal in California.

As I approached the Pritchard Park gathering, my stomach churned as I anticipated the opposition of Christian fundamentalists and the hateful signs and words I was sure to encounter. It bothers me to the core when I see followers of a God who represents love and grace, display such bigoted hatred and judgmentalism toward others. I take no issue with their right to believe that homosexuality is a sin, but I have a big problem with anyone who tries to impose their religious judgment on those who don’t share their beliefs.

Despite the setbacks generated by the passing of Proposition 8, the downtown park was filled to capacity with high spirits and hopeful faces. I immediately noticed a large sign held by members of local churches that read “People of Faith for Just Relationships.”

The crowd cheered as the mic was opened up for minds to be spoken and encouragement to be shared. “It’s about the right to love!” proclaimed the first speaker, followed by a roar of applause and excitement. A theme of love was woven throughout the signs and speakers at the protest.

The next speaker was a minister from First Congregational Church. He shared that he has made a vow not to marry another couple until marriage is legal for all, encouraging his audience to “let our love be equal for everyone!”

Another speaker from First Congregational stated that “Love is holy, whether shared between a man and man, a woman and a woman or a man and a woman.” One after another, speakers from the community, many from local Christian congregations, took a stand and encouraged people to continue the fight for equal marriage rights.

As I listened to pastors, ministers, clergymen and clergywomen share messages of love amongst people they have been stereotyped as hating, it caused me to reevaluate my view of Christianity. Rather than the hate-filled opposition I had anticipated, the Christians at this protest were standing as one with the homosexual community and advocating for their rights.

It’s a commonly held perception that the Christian church hates homosexuality and same-sex marriage, and until last weekend, I largely subscribed to this stereotype myself. While it is true that many Christians are opposed to gay marriage and have approached this issue with hatred and anger, we should be careful not to overlook those Christians who have taken a different approach—those who have chosen to show love and compassion and to take a stand for equality and justice.

— Julienne Coyle

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5 thoughts on “Love, hate and Christian stereotypes

  1. Judda C

    Good that you have re-evaluated your stance. Personally, I know many good gay people. But I think “marriage” should be reserved for a man-woman relationship. I think civil unions, which give equal standing to heterosexual couples, is the way to go. The church goers hang on tomtraditions, not out of hate, but because that is what they are used to. But taking on the church for “marriage rights”, gay activists are biting off too big of a chunk. Go for civil unions. It’s the best bet.

  2. Cheshire

    It’s not the church that’s being taken on, it’s the government. Civil unions don’t give equal standing: they may give equal rights at the STATE level (depending on how each state words whatever’s passed through legislation), but they cannot do so at the federal level.

    What’s wrong with being equal in the eyes of the law?

    Leave religion, faith, and such out of the equation: would you be content to join with your significant other in a civil union INSTEAD of being married? Seriously. If not, why not?

  3. dave

    I sympathize with people like “Judda C” (Judacy?) when they talk about “Civil Unions” vs “Marriage”, but it confuses me that they also often seem to think that “marriage” somehow implies that gays will be able to force a church to marry them. This is certainly the disinfo passed on by the likes of Fox and Friends, but I have no idea how a rational mind could think it has any truth to it whatsoever…

    The government has no authority to force a church to marry anyone, gay straight, or arangotang. What would EVER make you think any different?

  4. Zac

    It’s funny what the word “Love” means to some. I am a true Christian. That means that I actually believe the Holy Scriptures I read. I love everyone in any condition but just because you love someone you can’t always agree with them. I will never vote for or against it but I expect the church to stand up for the very principals it was founded on. Tradition is the color of the carpet, the songs on sunday morning but beliefs are something entirely different. In my opinion and the Bible’s for that matter, you cannot even be a Christian and not be a fundamentalist. What will separate me from the idiot with the “God hates fags” poster is the fact that i love my fellow brothers and want to see a change but i will never condone their actions…just wanted to clear up the Love in Christianity and the whole Traditions thing, thanks :)

  5. Daniel

    Government and religion has always had an interesting relationship. And it’s really hard to determine the stance of true christianity from one rally by local churches. It is hard for me to get past the point that the bible consisders homosexuality as a sin. In Romans 1 it talks about how men will exchange natual relations with unnatural ones. People who are caught up in this cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven. Now, this is where the point gets lost. I’m not here to condem anyone, I am not the judge, God is, so i can’t go around saying this person is going to hell. All i can do is show people what God has said in his bible. Jesus says in Matthew 5 that we shoould love our enemies and take care of them. It says to not resist an evil man. Christianity is probably the world most wrongly used word. It means little christ. To be a little Jesus you have to be doing what he is doing. It’s all about be a disciple of Jesus. You can be a disciple of anything, like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Barak Obama. But to be a disciple you must strive to be everything that person was and is. That means more than just believe in him but apply it you your life. The words christian is used in the bible twice. And the word disciple is used over 200 times. Which one is more important? In my opinion, supported by the bible, not one true disciple supports homosexuallity, but loves the person no matter what. Disciples are called to love as Christ loved, period. I’m open to talking about it to anyone. My arguments are from the bible and anything i say is backed with scriptures, but i would love to talk to anyone who is open for it, thanks :)

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