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To some people, that will be an obvious observation; and to others, a hideous lie. Still, it shows up so often that it needs saying. The concept of hating the sin but loving the sinner is a duplicitous crock, a sort of polite doublespeak intended to rationalize and sanitize hateful behavior. It's a transparent endeavor, and yet one that has, surprisingly, remained popular among the religious. Many people say, and some genuinely believe, this tripe. But what truth is there – can there be – to it?

Consider it's application today: largely in relation to gay rights. It shows up now and again with some of the religious right's pet topics, but it's rare to hear people speak of, say, women who've attained, or women and men support women's access to, abortions as being “loved” though the “sin” of abortion is hated. More often that not, terms like “murderer” and “demon” get tossed around. As to the particular reason that the pretense of love can be mustered in relation to some “sins” but not others, I'm not going to speculate here. I will simply use as my primary example gay rights (and, according to some, the mere existence of gay people).

We often hear from anti-gay Christians that they don't hate gay people, but rather love them; it's just the gayness they hate, not the gay. In fact, these Christians love gays so much that they want to rescue them from gayness. As far as this line of reasoning, if it can rightly be called thus, goes, it's possible to deconstruct the entire bit of nonsense with but a single comparison. How would Christians react if someone suggested a similar viewpoint for something like, I donno, Christianity? If holding a belief in the “wrong” faith (a choice, if ever there was one) was the thing to be hated and penalized, if the situation was applied in that context, how would that look?

It's not Christians whom I hate; I love Christians and I want what's best for them. It's just that abomination, the filthy Christian lifestyle, and their disgusting beliefs that I hate. As a matter of fact, I love Christians so much that I want them to renounce and repent their faith to be saved, because if they don't, if they continue to believe in their God and wallow in the filth of their lifestyle, they will surely be (and deserve to be) tortured for all eternity.
I also don't want Christians to be able to marry, adopt or have children, collect benefits for their partners, be teachers, boyscout leaders, or have any contact with children. In fact, I don't think it's healthy to have openly Christian people “out” in society at all. I think that it should be legal to fire Christians because of their faith, and any attempts to punish hate crimes against Christians are clearly just an attempt to push the filthy, Satanic Christian agenda.
But, you know, I love you guys. It's just your sins that I can't stand.
That would ring astonishingly hollow as far as “love” goes to most Christians (and everyone else). Consider for a moment that simply asking that Christian belief not be privileged in the public arena gives some of the good folks at Fox an apoplexy. Heads would explode over there if someone, much less a terrific number of someones, tried to reinforce through law such thought. Step aside, War on Christmas; move over, War on School Prayer; this would be the real deal, and the horror of it all would never end. Of course, the same folks who would screech the loudest about such a “loving” view of Christianity are only too eager to give a platform of promotion to the various facets of this “love” for LGBT folk. (I have it on good authority that their hypocrisy sensors died in shame many eons ago.)

But those attempts to do hateful things while shrugging of charges of being hateful are as transparent when directed against minorities as they would be if directed against majorities. It's a comforting thought, perhaps, that you can you love people and yet still persecute, penalize, ostracize and denounce them as unfit, untrustworthy, immoral, hateful, malicious, dangerous and reprehensible, at least if the mantra of your religion is “forgiveness” and “love”; but it's an absurd one with very few, scattered applications in other facets of life. Where is the advocacy for loving pedophiles but hating pedophilia, for loving murderers but hating murder, for loving Assad but hating chemical warfare? Where is the cry to love tax cheaters but hate tax fraud, to love wall street execs but hate financial ruin (OK, the GOP being the 'exception to the rule' in this instance)? I think it fair to suggest that it is not generally characteristic of human nature to simultaneously hate some significant, defining characteristic of a group, and yet retain love for them, particularly as we lose connection to that group. It may be easier to love a brother who we recognize as an arrogant schmuck, but harder to love arrogant schmucks in general; it may be possible to love a gay relative despite religious intolerance of homosexuality, but harder to do so when the intolerance is strong and there is no close connection to gay people (see: Rob Portman). Certainly, there are exceptions in every which way (there are people with no apparent connection to it who would like to see pedophilia decriminalized, folks who refuse to “tolerate” homosexuality even after learning that a loved one is gay, people who love wall street bankers but have no ties to the Republican party, etc.). But human history provides a pretty good study of what we human beings tend to do to one another, and what feelings manifest, when there's something we don't like – hate – about one another.; and it's almost never loving. There wasn't any love to be found when Catholics hated protestantism, or protestants hated Catholicism, or Christians hated Islam, or Muslims hated Christianity, or Americans hated immigrants being Irish (or Italian, Chinese, etc.), or Nazis hated people being Jewish, gay, handicapped, etc. The list could stretch forever, but it felt right to leave it on a Godwin's note. The point is, we people don't treat each other well when we don't like something about each other. We tend to be particularly nasty when we particularly don't like each other. That's the opposite of love. Which is what makes the whole notion of “loving the sinner but hating the sin” such a crock.

Now, it might be nice to pretend that the hate you're spewing isn't aimed at people, just ideas; it might be nice to act like the hateful things you do don't have a real world impact on people; it might be a good way to convince gullible people in your congregation that you're not simply flouting all that “love noise” in order to further your own bigotries; it might be easy to go with the status quo, to hold onto the ideas that you grew up with without ever questioning them, “because God”, while excusing any liability for the harm they do because they're not harmful at all, just a manifestation of love (which sounds a lot like a rationalization an abuser might make...). I'm sure there are even people who genuinely believe that they do love gay people, along with everyone who knows damned well that they despise and fear them, but don't want to say it out loud because, somehow, it doesn't sound very nice when expressed honestly. But none of it holds up to scrutiny. Telling gay people (or anyone else) that you love them and want what's best for them, but they're vile, damned perverts, a danger to society, predators and frightening meanies who are deliberately making a choice to be gay (or anything else) and therefore do not deserve basic human rights is ludicrous. It's damned near as unloving as you can get without reverting to medieval tactics. And it's markedly, absurdly, cringe-worthily duplicitous.

So let's drop the pretenses. You're not loving gay people as you actively seek to humiliate, punish, ostracize and legally persecute them, any more than Jim Crow laws were manifestations of love for African Americans. You're simply trying to make your hate a little more palatable to modern listeners. And it's not working.

Originally published:
Rachel's Hobbit Hole is also on Facebook:

Originally posted to Rachels Hobbit Hole (on Daily Kos) on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 12:12 PM PDT.

Also republished by Logic and Rhetoric at Daily Kos and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  satanic christian behavior. Me likey. (16+ / 0-)

    you make a very good argument.

    For years, that saying bothered the hell out of me (hating the sin, etc) but I never stopped to think why. You do a nice job of working it all out and making sense of it.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 12:17:02 PM PDT

    •  2 kinds of morality. (5+ / 0-)

      There are two different kinds of morality: ethical and dogmatic. Ethics can be debated, with dogma, you have to take it or leave it.

      I've been watching the Gay Rights debate for 34 years now. I've heard many people say they have moral objections to gayness, but I've never heard them enunciate a moral principles which they uphold consistently, which gays violate. Nothing that I have to respect beyond, "This is something other people believe."

      As for the talk about "loving the sinner," we should ask them,

      What, exactly is the sin?
      Their castigation of people for reasons that they cannot make an ethical argument says more about the quality of their love than any actual sinfulness.

      The furor over Friday's [10.5] job report revealed a political movement that is rooting for American failure, so obsessed with taking down Obama that good news drives its members into a blind rage. -Paul Krugman

      by Judge Moonbox on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:55:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fake Christians, yes (0+ / 0-)

      As if Jesus would have ever had anything to do with them.

      And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

      by Pale Jenova on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 08:18:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well said. (7+ / 0-)

    So many books--so little time. Economic Left/Right -7.88 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian -6.97

    by Louisiana 1976 on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 12:18:11 PM PDT

  •  This Episcopalian approves your message. n/t (13+ / 0-)

    I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

    by commonmass on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 12:24:39 PM PDT

  •  Not all that controversial an opinion. (9+ / 0-)

    You know something is not quite right when someone who has an abortion is referred to by Christianists as "a sinner against God, a murderer, doomed to suffer for eternity in Hell, and someone we love".

  •  I'm sure someone else thought of it first (34+ / 0-)

    but I call this Tara's Rule:

    When you're doing something crappy to another person, it doesn't matter how you feel about it.  It matters that you're doing something crappy to another person.
    When you're trying to take away other people's marriages, it doesn't matter if you're doing it because you "hate" them or not.  What matters is that you're trying to take their marriages away.

    I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his payroll. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

    by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 12:25:59 PM PDT

  •  Tell me about it! (13+ / 0-)

    Show me one of these wholes who classify being transgender as a sin who "loves trans people."

  •  Well done & stone cold true. Those who (8+ / 0-)

    chant this mantra try to deceive themselves. Do they even make a pretence of somehow punishing the so called "sin"? Nope, they punish the so called "sinner".

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 12:46:06 PM PDT

  •  Asdf (16+ / 0-)

    When I hear this inane construct, I always come back with...

    I love you Christians, despite loathing your Christianity.
    Works every time.
  •  Well now, I hate bigotry, but don't (5+ / 0-)

    (seriously) advocate depriving them of basic human rights.  Does this mean I love bigots?

    Or am I merely willing to be satisfied with their apoplexy when they are denied their privilege?

    (I'm gonna go with the latter.  'Cause I'm just not that nice.)

    Socialist? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    by Kimbeaux on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 01:56:58 PM PDT

    •  yes (4+ / 0-)

      basically, that is where it starts. You acknowledge your opponent's humanity - which is a step towards compassion.

      •  Precisely. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheDuckManCometh, cris0000

        The point at which prejudice/bigotry and religion intersect forces us to address another platitude often tossed about without thought, namely:

        "God doesn't make junk."
        Many folks use this phrase without ever contemplating its true meaning.  

        As I see it, my belief in God as Creator compels me to acknolwedge that every living thing carries within it a spark of the Divine.  By extension, then, every person--regardless of any actions, or lack thereof, on their part--is just like me in what I consider the most essential aspect of their existence.  

        It is the failure to accept this notion that drives much of the "it's a sin" and "it's a choice" vitriol hurled at LGBT folks.  If they were to accept the notion (and increasingly strong scientific evidence) that LGBT folks are "born, not made", then they have an immediate conflict between man's bigotry/prejudice and "God doesn't make junk."  They don't want to let go of the bigotry/prejudice, so...there you have it.

        Most of these folks will never attempt to address that conflict unless/until they face it in the context of someone close to them.  (Witness Rob Portman's change of heart when his son came out.)

        The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

        by wesmorgan1 on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 10:51:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "By Their Fruits Shall Ye Know Them" (14+ / 0-)

    If they really love the sinners, then they ought to show that love through their actions.  If their actions are only about their hatred for the sin, then that tells me something about how they really feel.

    This is similar to something my wife has sometimes gotten in religious arguments:  when the other person, usually losing the argument and looking for a way to disengage without resorting to vile names, piously and condescendingly says, "I'll PRAY for you!"

    I am a Christian, but I would never say that to a person unless I thought that person would appreciate it.  It pleases my Mother to know that I think of her and remember her in my prayers, as she does me.  My wife would rather hear me say "I love you".  (Actually, she would like it even better if I would pick up my shoes and leave the toilet seat down occasionally.)

    But using "I'll Pray For You" in the context of an argument cheapens whatever sentiment might underlie it and make it effectively a "Shut Up", a rhetorical weapon that says, "Ha hah, I'm more moral than you, so you lose.  pthhhbb!"

    I would advise my co-religionists that if they feel an urge to pray for someone's soul, that by all means they should do so.  Don't talk about it, just do it.  Prayer is a personal matter between the person praying and his God.  Telling someone you're going to "pray for him" is not going to make him more receptive to your message; it's nothing more than boasting about all the good works you're going to do.

    Which brings me back to what I said in the first place.  "By their fruits shall ye know them".  If you really Love the Sinner, then don't just talk about it; show it.

    Read my webcomic, "Hannibal Tesla Adventure Magazine" at

    by quarkstomper on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 04:25:08 PM PDT

    •  The thing to remember about I'll Pray For You (9+ / 0-)

      is that the rest of the statement is left unsaid.

      It can just as easily be "I'll pray for you [to go home and rethink your life]" or even "I'll pray for you [to have nasty incurable boils in interesting places until you see things my way]" as "I'll pray for you [to have a lovely day]".

      And yes, there are (at least nominally) Christian groups who permit or even promote the 'nasty boils' version.

      •  To be fair... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassandra Waites

        ...the parallel dismissive response from the other side is often along the lines of "I hope you'll think it through" or "I hope you'll become enlightened some day."

        None of us have a monopoly on dismissiveness or condescension; it's a human thing.

        The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

        by wesmorgan1 on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 10:53:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  While this is true (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassandra Waites

          at least in my own experiences, I've almost never heard that one. I hear the other all the time, even from Christians to Christians who are not sufficiently "hardcore" enough. Don't know if that's representative, but it is what I've observed.

          •  Understood - I've heard it too... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...but I'm reminded of my gay coworker who spent a week at our corporate diversity group getting up to speed on our company's support for LGBTO employees.  He came back and fired off an email to our entire group, which he ended by providing links to numerous corporate resources and saying, "Check these out and become enlightened."

            ...and I'm reminded of the folks here who urge religious believers to use the other side of their brain.

            ...and I'm reminded of the guy here who closed a discussion of racism by noting that he had "tried to educate" me.

            It happens - not as loudly or as frequently as what the Christianists spew, to be sure, but it does happen.

            The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

            by wesmorgan1 on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 06:05:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  This reminds me of a story about Woodrow Wilson. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassandra Waites

        After he had a stroke, a Senator with whom he had often tangled politically (possibly Henry Cabot Lodge) came to see him and said, "We're all praying for you, Mr. President."  With a smirk on his face, the President replied, "Which way, Senator?"

        As for the topic at hand I think there are some sins which it is appropriate to hate, but we should always love the person.  Jesus admonished us to love even our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.  Of course homosexuality is not a sin so the line doesn't work on that one.  A sin has to be something you do, not something you are.

  •  What I always used to hate (6+ / 0-)

    is the hypocrisy.

    There was a guy at work that always argued and voted for the most repressive ideas. When things went his way, he would come to me and  "I'm sorry you lost."  What I wanted to say was "No you are not sorry or you would not have argued against me. You might have sought a common ground. You would be much sorrier if you had lost." Later, when more people started agreeing with me, he always stomped off angry and upset.

    Like all everything else, the fundies always twist and pervert a good idea or principle. The whole idea of hating the sin and loving the sinner is to see the person as more than the point of disagreement. It can also be a way of not letting an abuser (of any kind) not control the rest of your life.

    But the fundies see it as a way to twist the knife: "Sorry you are going to hell but I will pray for you until you see my light and agree that I am right." No humility or humanity to their words or actions.

    "I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night." Greg Martin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

    by CorinaR on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 04:55:43 PM PDT

  •  I was just recently thinking the same thing (5+ / 0-)

    albeit in a slightly different context. I was having another awful conversation with another awful "Christian" opponent of marriage equality over at HuffPo, and he kept using all those wonderful loving and compassionate Christian catchphrases like  "deviant and aberrant," "adds no value to the society," "unsavory lifestyle," "society deems it is unacceptable" and even "criminal activity," to refer to gayness and gay people.

    I haven't had the inclination or the opportunity yet, but I was thinking about posing this question to this person:

    What if I decided, on behalf of "society," that having an imaginary friend who lives in the sky, believing that this imaginary sky-man had a son who came to visit earth 2,000 years ago, and going to a special building every Sunday to talk about, listen to stories about, sing songs about, and also talk to, and sing to, this imaginary sky-man and his special earth-son, was a "deviant," "aberrant," "unsavory lifestyle" that "adds no value to the society"?

    Would it make sense, then, not to allow any of these sky-man-believing-special-building-going people to marry one another, and thereby validate, encourage and perpetuate the "deviant," "aberrant," "unsavory lifestyle" of talking and singing to an imaginary sky-man and his special earth-son?

    Even assuming Christianity is a deviant, aberrant and unsavory lifestyle -- who knows, maybe there's an argument to be made that it is -- it has nothing to do with whether Christians can enter into contracts with one another and be designated as "married" "spouses" by the state. One has nothing to do with the other.

    •  Understand that "deviant" and "aberrant"... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheDuckManCometh, Rachel191, vadem165

      ...are code words for "not the way God made them."

      If they EVER acknowledge that sexuality and gender identity are innate, inborn characteristics, their entire view of God and His intentions for human society is called into question.   They've drawn a human box around an infinite, omnipresent, omniscient God - and they don't see the human arrogance in that action.

      The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

      by wesmorgan1 on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 10:57:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As a Buddhist, I have a different view on this (9+ / 0-)

    I grew up in the Christian church. Episcopalian. I make a distinction between the orthodoxy of the established Christian church and the real teachings of Jesus: feed the poor, heal the sick, practice peace, and love thy neighbor. PERIOD!  All that other stuff about virgin birth, ascension into heaven, the trinity, etc you can disregard.

    As a Buddhist, compassion is simply seeing the suffering of others and a) having the aspiration to help people find happiness, and b) doing and saying those things that are beneficial to people being happy.

    I used to hate those self-righteous Christians, who judged and judged and judged. Now I just see a bunch of deluded people, who are trapped in an ideology that is inflexible and rather heartless. Not all Christians are like that, of course. Millions of Christians around the world actually practice the real teachings of Jesus, loving kindness. So please don't let your mind be disturbed by the hate and fear mongers. There are people of all faiths and no faith in particular, who sincerely practice loving kindness. Blessed are the peace makers.

    I abandon the ground of harming others, and cultivate the ground of benefiting others.

    by vlyons on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:36:44 PM PDT

  •  Is it possible to love a gay person, ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexandra Lynch

    and at the same time, hate rainbows?

    Reality occupies a dimly lit corner somewhere on the edge of town. I drive by every now and then on my way to visit mom. That’s where the cookie jar is.

    by glb3 on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:46:36 PM PDT

  •  Jesus said to forgive, not hate (7+ / 0-)

    So they should go STFU.  Jesus disagrees.

    Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

    by yet another liberal on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:47:38 PM PDT

  •  You mistake the practice from the belief (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexandra Lynch

    Hypocrites have always been drawn to religion.

    I absolutely agree with you that most of the religious right only claim to love the sinner and hate the sin, and this is clearest when we look at how they behave with various categories of sin:
    Sins of self-love
    Sins of eros
    Sins of action.

    When it comes to sins of self-love -- pride, envy, gluttony, sloth, you hear little. When it comes to sins of action -- stealing, lying, hoarding, there is perhaps a little more, but very little hating the sin and genuine loving the sinner. Instead, there is a fixation on "sins of attachment" in their view. For them, fornication and same sex attraction are fantastically important, and so is single motherhood or abortion.

    It indicates that they are operating from a non-religious basis, from the basis of personal psychology and personal/social notions of pollution and stability.

    Everyone's innocent of some crime.

    by The Geogre on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:46:56 PM PDT

    •  Indeed...and this is hardly a new problem. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rachel191, The Geogre

      Christ reserved His strongest condemnations not for those whom society labeled the most outrageous of sinners, but rather for the hypocrites and their vanity.

      The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

      by wesmorgan1 on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 11:00:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I know you can defend this, but should you? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Geogre
      You mistake the practice from the belief
      mistake from?

      Your use of the language reflects both skill and affection, so I'm curious about this usage.

      Almost nothing has a name.

      by johanus on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 03:17:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not the worst archaism (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        In this case, I had liked the sound and rhythm of the phrase more than its precision. I had in my mind, like a fuzzy jar of applesauce too long in the refrigerator, an idea such as, "The background field for any action is a system of beliefs, but the actions themselves can be true or false to the systems that generated them."

        I had thought (not said) that, just as an atheist who claims to be certain that there is no supernatural is acting away from the belief system (by being not 'no god' but 'affirming a negative'), so there are people who come out of the wide, wide field of "Christianity" and act in ways false to the grounding.

        You're right, though, it wasn't very justifiable, but English prepositions will drive you nuts if you think about them too long. ("Get on the plane?" Wouldn't you rather get in it? "Get in the car," but get "on" the bus?)

        Everyone's innocent of some crime.

        by The Geogre on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 06:48:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  One of the worst platitudes of our faith. (5+ / 0-)

    It doesn't really stem from Scripture, although some folks try to read between the lines of Psalm 104 and Jude 23 to reverse engineer it; others try to read it into Jesus' actions toward "the woman caught in adultery" in John 8:1-11.

    Personally, I don't buy any of those arguments; I think the earliest distinct use of anything close to that phrase is probably that of St. Augustine, who wrote Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum, which translates roughly as "with love to man and hatred of sin."

    I wish it would disappear, because very, very few people can pull it off.  I'll just say that, as I see it, the love has to come first.  That negates 99% of the instances in which the phrase is ever used.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 09:20:07 PM PDT

  •  Basically I don't give a shit what they say. I (3+ / 0-)

    refuse to waste energy on trying to convince them.  It's as pointless as them trying to convert gays.  Why is so much effort and energy spent on worrying about and trying to convince them?  The tide is clearly turning.  Fuck the bigots.  I don't need their approval.

    Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    by thestructureguy on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 09:39:34 PM PDT

  •  I had it explained to me once (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexandra Lynch, Rachel191

    By a young and very energetically homophobic "Christian". He was honest enough to admit that it was really just an excuse to have nothing to do with the "sinners" you supposedly didn't hate, but not quite honest enough to let that stop him from buying into it.

    I'm happy to report that guy has since outgrown his homophobia. Too bad that doesn't happen more often!

    Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

    by RamblinDave on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 12:28:49 AM PDT

  •  your argument is completely colored ... (4+ / 0-)

    ... by the gay debate.

    The basic gist of this slogan is that you shall not hate people - even if they do something you disapprove.

    I wholeheartedly support that. Hatred is s strong negative emotion, and one that rearely guides you to a good place.  "love the sinner" is therefore a special case of "love thy neighbor".

    Every human, by virtue of his humanity, is worthy of a basic level of our respect, and our compassion. That also applies if he has committed major crimes or violated our sense of rightness. That even applies if he hates himself.

    You shall not hate.

    The message of love is never a crock - even if you see hypocrites throwing it around.

    •  Oh puhleeez...that is not what they mean and we (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Farlfoto, Alexandra Lynch, BPARTR

      know very, very well that is not what they mean.

    •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alexandra Lynch, cris0000

      The saying was not meant to disguise blatant prejudices, but it has been hijacked by those who do. I believe the original meaning was to remember not to hate a person. It is unfortunate that the saying has been so altered as to necessitate this diary (which seems to garner a lot of hate in and of itself)

      "I got a rock"-Charlie Brown

      by eashep on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 05:29:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My argument is colored by the application (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and, you're right, that very often is the gay debate. I think in general it's an untenable position, however. There are very, very few people who come close to truly living up to this. If the concept was actually applied in a positive way -- to chasten homophobes, bigots, etc., to tell them, "hey, this hate is not Christlike" -- that would change things. I suspect, however, it would very soon fall out of favor, because it would be a criticism of the bigot's position, as opposed to a tacit approval/rationalization of their bigotry.

      •  If it were well and truly applied... (0+ / 0-) would inform and affect belivers' positions on many things - LGBT issues, animal cruelty, the death penalty...but we humans tend to be selective, worrying only about those issues closest to us.

        The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

        by wesmorgan1 on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 11:04:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I see it used on issues that have little (0+ / 0-)

          application to their own lives. It seems to me (having grown up a part of t) that the religious right's greatest outrage is reserved for things that have nothing to do with them, the vitriol focused on the "other." Judging, gossiping, cheating, lying, backstabbing, etc., are features of religious right communities, but people never complained about those things (unless they were personally, negatively affecting us). It was other people, people unlike the good (gossipy, backbitey Christians), gays and atheists and feminists, who were so terribly evil. I mean, you did have the cheating pastors who railed about cheating, and so on, but the vast majority of the vitriol seemed to be focused on "others" (and even when it was directed against things that people in the community were doing, it was always "secret sins").

          •  This behavior isn't limited to the religious... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cris0000, Rachel191
            It seems to me (having grown up a part of t) that the religious right's greatest outrage is reserved for things that have nothing to do with them, the vitriol focused on the "other."
            Everyone has a desire to feel superior to someone else.  It's human nature.  When one lives in a hierarchical society, there is always an "other."

            Sometimes it's just a passing thoughtl; parents see a news report of a juvenile criminal/delinquent and think, "thank goodness my kid isn't like that."   Sometimes it's blatant and consistent; reality TV, in many ways, offers us the opportunity to pity others and, subconsciously at least, feel superior to them.  How many of us have watched these shows WITHOUT thinking "Dang, I'm glad I'm not like that?"  (Yes, laughing at them is pretty much the same thing.)

            It's how we handle that desire that marks our differences.  Sadly, religious belief can either minimize or exacerbate it.

            The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

            by wesmorgan1 on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 05:15:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for an excellent, well-written article! (4+ / 0-)

    You've put into words much of what I myself feel about this subject, and I'm going to bookmark your article for future reference.

    I might be able to give some credence to these churches that expouse the "hate the sin, love the sinner" argument if I saw them doing anything to help gay people: such as outreach services to gay homeless youth but their values seem to end as soon as the words leave their lips.

    And yet I don't hate these people: I loathe them. Because I've found that hating anyone just twists your own soul as well, and I'd rather not go there.

  •  Ku Klux Kristians Aren't Christians (4+ / 0-)

    Conservatism and Christianity are philosophically incompatible.

    Jesus preached social and economic justice for the poor and disenfranchised, not social and economic advantage for the rich and privileged and contempt for and hatred of the poor.

    Jesus' teachings can only be found in the New Testamnet while ultraconservative political ideologues professing to be "Christian" love the Old Testament because they can use it to justify their bigotry, mean-spirittedness, and hatefulnerss.

    Jesus preached love and tolerance while right-wing political ideologues cowering behind the respectability of religion preach hatred, and intolerance.

    Jesus questioned authority (riotously) and trashed the Temple when the moneychangers were desecrating it, something for which the modern day, authoritarian-brained conservatives/moneychangers called Republicans would demand his execution because they would never dream of questioning authority.

    Ultraconservative televangelist Joel Osteen's self-serving false prophecy of "Prosperity Theology" states that GOD rewards his loyal servants with wealth and power and punishes sinners with poverty.

    Jesus was Jewish and is portrayed as having straight, long, blonde hair, light skin, and blue eyes when he is described in the Bible as having hair like the wool of a lamb and most likely had dark skin, dark hair, and brown eyes.

    •  Of course they are (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Whether they know and adhere to his (alleged) teachings is irrelevant. They profess to believe that he (A) lived and (B) was the true son of god. Therefore they are Christians by definition, just like the fine folks over at Westboro and all Christians, fairly or unfairly, are tarred with that brush. You can't decide who is and who is not truly Christian because you aren't the arbiter of that. Is the Pope a Christian? Because he virulently hates loves LGBT people too. You can't just say that this group or that group makes Christianity look bad, therefore they aren't Christian. It doesn't work that way. Christians need to own it or do something about it.

      "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

      by MargaretPOA on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 10:14:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Christians Must Walk the Walk, NOT Just Talk the (0+ / 0-)


        Congresspeople, state legislators, and "judges" call themselves "Honorable" and delusionally believe they are "Honorable", but that doesn't make them Honorable.

        Employers call themselves "Equal Opportunity Employers" and may believe that p.r. bullsh*t, but it doesn't make it so.

    •  I wouldn't say he questioned authority... (0+ / 0-)

      ...after all, He did counsel us to "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's", yes?

      I'd say that he questioned hypocrisy and vanity, especially when cloaked in God's name.

      The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

      by wesmorgan1 on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 11:05:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I get what you're saying (0+ / 0-)

      but you come dangerously close to the "true Scotsman" fallacy here. It is very possible that they are misapplying the teachings of Christ, as many "radicals" do. However, it is also true that most radicals believe most sincerely that they are not only good Christians/Muslims/Jews/etc., but the best. It is also true that most religious books are full of unpleasantness that, short of some mitigating agent, can support some versions of "fundamentalism". Many US Christians, for instance, believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God, exact and literal. Therefore advocating stoning of homosexuals, non-virgins, etc., from that perspective, would actually be an accurate reading of scriptures. Of course, it also requires discounting or neutering all Jesus' teachings about love. I think we all, to some extent, are guilty of "cherry picking" though. Some people choose to highlight the kindly pieces of scripture, others choose to highlight the darker ones (and, of course, those tend to be the ones who insist that they're NOT cherry picking the scripture at all, whilst they happily ignore the verses condemning all the stuff they don't do to focus on the few that condemn the "others").

      Not meaning to offend you with any of the above, just stating things as I see them. :)

      •  False Prophets Like Ultraconservative (0+ / 0-)

        televangelsit Joel Osteen and his false, self-serving prophecy "Prosperity Theology", just fabricate lies and mix in Old Testament crap to justify fleecing the flock.
        Osteen is the world's most popular televangelist.

        Former head of the Evangelical Christians of America and Denver megachurch Pastor Ted Haggard preached hatred of and contempt for druggies and gays, and it turned out that he was a self-loathing meth head and patron of a male prostitute.   Haggart tried unsuccessfully to lie his way out of the scandal and enlisted his wife to do the same for him to no avail because the evidence was damning.

        Dr. George Rebers, disgraced and banished co-founder of the ultraconservative Family Research Council, preached hatred of and contempt for gays.  When he got caught going to Europe with a RentBoy male prostitute, he tried to lie his way out of the scandal to no avail.

  •  "Righteous anger towards destructive behavior, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexandra Lynch

    Love towards the one trapped in it. Never forget the 'love people' part."

    That expression more accurately captures the intent of the source. The full scripture follows:

     "Try to help those who argue against you. Be merciful to those who doubt. Save some by snatching them as from the very flames of hell itself. And as for others, help them to find the Lord by being kind to them, but be careful that you yourselves aren't pulled along into their sins. Hate every trace of their sin while being merciful to them as sinners."

    I applaud Christians who live by the intent of these words. I don't follow their faith, and I don't agree with all of their teachings, but I can agree with this intent. On the other hand, I have nothing positive to say about the 'Christianists' who hide behind religion, twisting its words and intent to provide cover for their selfish, spiteful, and malicious souls and deeds. We have more 'Christianists' in today's world than thoughtful Christians.

    Less "WAAAAH!", more progress.

    by IndyGlenn on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 06:34:55 AM PDT

    •  I was with you until your last sentence. (0+ / 0-)
      We have more 'Christianists' in today's world than thoughtful Christians.
      There are millions of Christians in the US who are simply living their lives in accordance with the teachings of Christ.

      Now, they aren't activist about it, and they tend to take public stands only when a particular issue affects them directly, but that a human characteristic that also applies to issues outside the scope of religion.  How many folks don't care about an issue until they have to say NIMBY?  To step outside religion for a moment,  I know quite a few folks who don't care one bit about Keystone XL but are up in arms about a natural gas pipeline slated to come through our county.

      Given that our entire culture feeds on controversy and outrage, I'll certainly agree that the Christianists get more attention (and media coverage).  In raw numbers, however, I don't think they hold a majority.

      The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

      by wesmorgan1 on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 11:14:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sure, that statement is debatable. (0+ / 0-)

        I really don't know how many Christians there are as opposed to Christianists. It certainly feels like there are more of the Christianists.
        To make a rhetorical point, there could indeed be millions of Christians in the US, outnumbered by the tens of millions or more Christianists. I casually opine that most of the people professing to worship Christ have little to no idea of how to actually go about it.

        Less "WAAAAH!", more progress.

        by IndyGlenn on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 08:23:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, many know how, way down deep... (0+ / 0-)

          ...but they don't relish spending the time and effort it requires.

          The instructions are simple--almost ridiculously so--but the practice is not.

          The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

          by wesmorgan1 on Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 09:18:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  First of all I have never liked ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexandra Lynch, Rachel191

    the condescension in the statement. For one thing it is totally un-Christian as it denies the teachings of Jesus "Judge not, lest ye be judged," and for another the vary statement reeks of superiority.

    I am agnostic, but I agree with Gandhi that I like the Christ (at least most of his ascribed sayings), but don't always find many Christians all that wonderful.

  •  As a Christian. . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexandra Lynch, Rachel191, vadem165

    I haven't had very good luck or support here self-identifying as a Christian. That's fine because I realize the there has been a divorce between what it means to call oneself a Christian in this country and what I regard as the most important lessons of Jesus for me.

    Let me outline where I take issue with Christianity:

    1. The books of Paul have no business in the NT. The NT should have consisted exclusively of the books written by those who walked and learned from Jesus firsthand. They all wrote books and I regard the reported "loss" of those books with great suspicion.

    2. The main theme of Jesus was pacifism and self-sacrifice. He taught us to act against our inherent bestial natures.

    3. Choosing to live a good life with God as our guide is not a lesson that is exclusive to Christians. When Jesus said "only through me" can man enter Heaven, he wasn't speaking of the Christian faith, but as the incarnation of God. The OT referred to grace as "walking with God." This option is not the exclusive province of Christianity.

    So I'll agree that "hate the sin, love the sinner" is nonsense, but I don't blame Jesus for it: I blame theology and human traditions for it. Hate of any kind runs contrary to what I regard as God's lessons to me for my life. As liberals, we need to distinguish between God's lessons and what the Church (of whatever denomination) says are God's lessons.

    In this age of literacy, there is little excuse for taking the word of the church's priorities over what we should be reading for ourselves. "Judge not" leaves no room for "hate" of a sin, and greed and wrath are the main sins of our age.

    The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

    by Pacifist on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 07:05:24 AM PDT

    •  The core of Protestantism... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      In this age of literacy, there is little excuse for taking the word of the church's priorities over what we should be reading for ourselves.
      That covers everything from delivering the Bible in the language of the common man to the Baptist distinctive known as the "priesthood of the believer."

      The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

      by wesmorgan1 on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 11:25:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm non-denominational. . . (0+ / 0-)

        Despite this, Martin Luther's work was much-needed at the time.

        The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

        by Pacifist on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 11:51:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wars of the Reformation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexandra Lynch, Rachel191

    This statement:  

    If holding a belief in the “wrong” faith (a choice, if ever there was one) was the thing to be hated and penalized...
    isn't a supposition. It accurately describes the wars between Protestant and Catholic that tore Europe apart for years and cost thousands of people their lives, either through the battles themselves or via the righteous punishment of burning at the stake - meant to convince the sinner (or their compatriots) to choose the "right" faith.

    In fact, if you replace the word "Christian" in your example text with Protestant, you get the Catholic view during those Wars and vice versa. The great thing about our Founding Fathers was that they recognized the inherent impossibility of enforcing religious orthodoxy on a people and the inherent instability to society of trying. That is why they created the rights to religious worship in the various colonies, which led to the First Amendment.

    It is ironic that the very voices on the Right that claim we are a "Christian" nation would be unable to make that statement if it weren't for the efforts of those Founding Fathers. The idea of a generic "Christianity" not tied to any specific branch of theology would not be possible if not for the respect for religious freedom that was baked into our national culture. All the current day "Christians" are trying to do is revert back to the narrow-mindedness of our European forebearers, thereby undermining the civic contract under which the US has succeeded for more than 2 centuries.

    Boycott Russian vodka, Russian caviar and all things Russian. LGBT oppression cannot be allowed to stand.

    by CPT Doom on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 07:22:02 AM PDT

  •  They hate the sinner just as much (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In fact, their actions speak SO much louder than their words do.

    A bunch of hateful folks..... who hide behind Jesus, a man who preached love.

    But their hatred is there - just turn on FOX Spews and you will see it (if you aren't immune to it all yet).

    -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

    by MarciaJ720 on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 07:45:30 AM PDT

  •  In the context you describe, I agree (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vadem165, Rachel191

    but ask any parent whose had to tackle a problem involving bad behaviour on the part of his/her child, and they'll tell you it makes perfect sense.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 09:28:34 AM PDT

  •  May I presume to make a slight correction? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Wonderful post and so true but I'd like to make the tiniest of corrections:

    (I have it on good authority that their hypocrisy sensors died in of shame many eons ago.)
    Thank you.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 10:04:55 AM PDT

  •  Hate the skin, love the skinner (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That's the motto of vegan women who marry trappers.

  •  Filthy Christian lifestyle. (0+ / 0-)

    I actually do make it a point when Christians bring up religion to put forth that their religion is not just stupid, but evil.

    Because from a secular, sane, human-loving point of view, it is.

    I mean, seriously. Do they even read the Bible? That shit is fucked up.

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