Wednesday, June 15, 2016


In a recent post on the Orlando tragedy I commented in passing that those who were blaming Christians for the actions of an ISIS-inspired hater had to twist themselves into rhetorical pretzels to make that case. I still think that, but it's harder to think so today than it was when I wrote the post. Since yesterday video has come to light of at least two putatively Christian pastors actually telling their congregations that gays deserve to be killed. One can be viewed here.

This is despicable. To be sure, such "pastors" are in a very small minority (At least I hope that's true. The church in this video appeared to be pretty small, but there are other similar videos on youtube that give me pause), and there are few Christians who would feel anything but disgust at their words, but nevertheless their message needs to be publicly condemned.

The mark of a Christian is a desire and effort to model one's life after that of Jesus, and Jesus, as far as I know, never called for anyone's death. So far from relishing punishment for sexual sin, Jesus taught and showed compassion for people who were caught up in it. Indeed, one of the most famous stories in the Gospels was of his intervention on behalf of the woman about to be stoned for adultery and his implication that only the man who had no sin in his own life was qualified to throw a stone.

In any case, to exult in the murders of the victims in Orlando is itself almost as wicked as if he had pulled the trigger himself. It certainly makes him morally complicit in the crime.

We should all be free to argue that homosexual behavior is wrong, that it harms people, that it's sin, just as we should be free to argue against these assertions. But whatever the moral status of homosexual behavior may be the moral status of the one who says he's glad gays and lesbians are hurt, maimed and murdered is far worse. No one who rejoices in the injury, terror or deaths of others is acting in a way that's remotely Christ-like.

It would be gratifying to learn that the good people who attend the churches of these pastors all decided this week that they'd prefer instead to attend a church that was genuinely Christian and left these men to preach to empty pews.