“God hates gays” said on the front of the hateful bright yellow t-shirt. The girl wearing it didn’t look much older than my son. She could have been a high school student or someone in her early twenties. Two days ago as I walked by the corner where protesters of the Lady Gaga show stood on the streets of Nashville, I couldn’t help but notice the scene. For some reason this young woman was further away from the rest of the angry pack. I felt compelled to talk to her, but our exchange broke my heart.
I didn’t want to shout or call attention to us and attract the rest of her angry clan, so I quietly walked up to hear and said, “My dear, God hates sin, but He Loves people. He cannot hate gay people. He died for them.” She jumped to attention as if not expecting my words and mumbled something that sounded like misquoted Scriptures. I tried again to reason with her: “We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. He loves us no matter where we are or have been.” She stop making eye contact and walked away from me mumbling something I didn’t understand.
Can we hate, antagonize, shame, or ridicule people into belief in God? Can an angry-filled protest drive those who need hope the most into the arms of a hateful god? Of course not. It broke my heart to see and hear Christianity being represented by hatred. That’s not the God I worship nor the gospel message I’ve read in the Bible, but somehow it was the only message on that busy street corner.
I’m not sure what the answer is, but should those of us who worship a loving God have protested the protester by wearing a “God Loves Gay People” t-shirt? Is that the answer?
Too often hatred speaks out while love watches silently.
We must do something about that. While I try to figure out my responsibility in this dilemma, I know one thing for sure: hatred will never lead anyone to faith in God.
What should our responsibility be, if any, to the hateful protests in the name of Christianity?