I don’t know Kirk Masden, but today he posted a comment on my
January 2008 blogpost,
“Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin,”
in which I railed against that temporizing
tagline. He wrote:
My basic argument is that saying
"Hate the sin, love the sinner" in regard to gay marriage is no less
offensive than saying "Hate the delusion, love the deluded person" in
regard to those who oppose gay marriage for religious reasons.
He directed me to his further comment
at his Facebook page
. There, he writes:
It is of offensive in the same way that
gratuitously calling a person's religious belief a "delusion" would
be offensive. I think, though, that the argument that the religious beliefs
that undergird opposition to gay marriage are a form of "delusion" is
at least as strong as the argument that maintaining a same-sex relationship is
a kind of "sin." Here's psychiatrist and philosopher Karl Jaspers'
three-part definition of "delusion": 1) certainty (held with absolute
conviction); 2) incorrigibility (not changeable by compelling counterargument
or proof to the contrary); 3) impossibility or falsity of content (implausible,
bizarre or patently untrue). I'm not so sure about the third criterion but the
first two seem to fit pretty neatly. My intent in writing this is not to offend
my religious friends and relatives (though I'm afraid some will take offense).
Rather, I would like to encourage those who use the phrase "hate the sin,
love the sinner" as they denigrate same-sex relationships to think twice
about it. How "loved" would they feel if they were constantly
confronted with "hate the delusion, love the deluded person" in
reference to their faith?
His comment helped me get in touch
with some other analogies. How would you
feel if you heard some of these comments from supposed people of faith?
“Hate Judaism, but love the Jew.”
“Hate African-Americans, but love
the African American.”
“Hate Mexicans, but love Juanita.”
I know people like that. They declare their “hatred” of a whole class
of despised people, but then declare their affection for a particular subset or
maybe a particular person.
Didn’t we see that in the bad old
days of racism? Racists spewed hate against “niggers,” while they vowed
fondness toward their laundress or gardener or baby-sitter who was black.
Hate is hate. And God did not tell us to hate anyone or
anything in God’s created order. And love is love. And God is love.
“Love the Christians. Hate the
“Love the Bible. Hate the
Looking at today’s Pharisees within
Christianity, I could as easily say I “hate their sin, but love them anyway.”
But God calls me to love them all
and to hate none of them. Of course,
sometimes that’s a challenge. But it’s what Christ calls me to do.
That’s the problem with the “hate
the sin” crowd. God did not give any of
us permission to hate anyone else. My
Bible tells me that anyone who hates is not of the Spirit. My Bible tells me God is going to judge us all
eventually. God’s going to separate the wheat from the weeds, the sheep from
the goats. Many parables remind me that it’s not my job to decide who – if anyone
– God hates or loves. I think the people who spew “Hate the sin, but love the
sinner” should stand trembling … as they make the judgment that God reserves as
God’s own judgment to make.
In all of Scripture, I can’t find
an instance where God smiled upon people who hate. I find many instances in which God showed
mercy upon those who were hated. So the
haters should probably take a bit of care.