It's been a longstanding complaint of mine that many evangelicals in America often express little respect or tolerance for homosexuals in society at large.
I'm thinking specifically here of a friend who casually uses the word "abomination" when he's discussing homosexuality, without regard for the people he's talking about. I'm thinking specifically of the parents of another friend who nearly disowned her after they learned she was a lesbian. Her mother actually tried -- she was going to repossess my friend's car, cancel her credit cards, and cut off her financial support at the dawn of her third year in college, all in the name of "tough love." I'm thinking of others who, through no choice of their own, have been driven from their churches, their families and their communities, all because they're gay.
Lost somewhere amid the rhetoric of "hating the sin but loving the sinner" is the character of Christ, who extends friendship not only to gays and lesbians, but to abortionists, prostitutes, and even sinners like me. Too often the message the church sends to gays and lesbians is "Stop being gay, then we'll love you."
No one is going to hell because they're gay. People go to hell because of sin. If you think someone is going to hell because of something you consider a sin, you don't change their course by yelling at them, passing laws and getting judicial rulings that you intend to stop behavior you consider sinful. You do it by introducing people to Christ, and letting him change their hearts -- which he can do, even if the behavior is as odious as demonizing an entire group of people over their sexual orientation.
I see from an article in Christianity Today that this view is beginning to catch on. Thank God. I've had enough of culture wars and seeing innocent people get gunned down in the crossfire.
I've had the good fortune to worship alongside believers who are gay. My prayer is that I be made worthy to come to the Communion table with them, and that I not shame them with my company.