Thursday, January 10, 2008

"Love the sinner, hate the sin"

On the email list for the Episcopal House of Bishops and Deputies, someone brought up the non-Christian tired old chestnut that we are "love the sin, hate the sinner." The origin of this phrase is not Biblical, nor is it Christian. Gandhi thought it up and it is is consistent with the mind/body dualism that is common among the Eastern religions, much so called New Age spirituality and even among Christians. But dualism is not Christian and this phrase is destructive. IMO.

I wrote this to the House of Bishops and Deputies. I repost it here.

Having been a kibitzer on this list for years now, having participated
on other world-wide Anglican email lists for even longer, IMO all of
you are missing the real issue in this discussion of "love the sinner,
hate the sin". For one thing, it is asking us to compartmentalize
ourselves in a way that is very non-Christian. The Bible does not
teach us to separate who we are from what we do but to regard
ourselves as a whole.

The real issue as I see it, is that those who use this non-Christian
concept do not actually and in fact love the sinner. As far as I can
tell from what it is written here and on other email lists, is that
GLBT Episcopalians are actually and in fact hated.

"Love the sinner, hate the sin" is just another disguise for
homophobia. I am not gay, but I recognized bigotry and prejudice when
I see it. Were we to substitute "negroes" for "homosexual" we would
find the language that tried to keep black Americans at the back of
the bus, in separate restaurants and using different water fountains.

While it is true that we are all hypocrites along with St. Paul
struggling to do good but doing evil instead, some of us have the
honesty to acknowledge that we are hypocrites. We do not wrap it up
in pious sounding phrase or proof-texting Biblical verses.

On the whole, we Episcopalians are too nice to call a spade a spade.
I have never been called a nice person in my life as I am much too
blunt spoken. And I have no intention of being anything but blunt
here. I have been and shall continue to be astonished at the
forbearance, tolerance and love shown by the GLBT individuals in TEC
to those who would kick them out.

It is not those on this list who would excuse their behavior as loving
the sinner, hating the sin who demonstrate what it is to love. Quite
the opposite, I fear, is what has been demonstrated.

The demonstration of love is is to be found among those who have been
identified as the sinners, the unwanted, the outcasts. Just where
Jesus said it would be found.


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