Hate the Sin, Not the Sinner – The Pope & LGBT

Robin Wells

In light of Pope Francis’ statement advocating not judging gay people, many people have expressed hope that the Catholic Church might slowly be changing its homophobic tune. I’ll admit, I was one of those people who, upon seeing a Pope say “Who am I to judge gay people?” was hopeful that this might mark the start of a positive change in the Catholic Church.

However, upon reading further into the Pope’s statement, it seems to be, once again, disappointingly conditional on two things: the person being Christian, and being celibate.

Because, as we all know, it’s not a sin to BE gay, rather to have gay sex. You know, sex, that icky thing that the Church has had problems even talking about for centuries?

This attitude is one which has spawned what has to be my all-time least favourite phrase with regards to ‘dealing’ with homosexuality: “Hate the sin, not the sinner!

In sixth form, I sat next to a lovely girl, who also happened to be a Christian. When I was coming out, her way of conveying that she was fine with my being gay was that exact phrase: “It’s fine, Rob! Hate the sin, not the sinner, y’know!” She obviously thought that was meant to comfort me that she had deigned me with her acceptance, but in fact it was insulting and degrading.

Sex is a fun, enjoyable thing, and can be very meaningful with the right person. It’s not something that should be treated as dirty or sinful. I know that my little 500-word view won’t single-handedly deconstruct the centuries of misogynistic heteropatriarchal indoctrination present in Catholicism and society in general, so I’m not going to dwell too much on this point, however salient it may be.

Pope Francis also commented on the issue of child abuse within the Church, calling it a crime, but adding that “one can sin and then convert, and the Lord both forgives and forgets.” Hang on, why does that not also apply to LGBT people, then? Does the Lord only forgive you if you’re a high-ranking cardinal? Surely that goes against the idea of us all being equal in the eyes of God, right?

He also mentions that Saint Paul “committed one of the greatest sins, denying Christ, and yet that made him Pope! Think about that!” I have, Your Holiness, and about the previous comment, and they both tell me that the sins that someone has committed apparently go out of the window when it suits the Catholic Church’s needs, like how the Lord “forgives” those priests who abused children, yet tell me that when I’m intimate with my other half I am going to Hell.

It is hypocrisy in the highest form, especially considering the fact that these same people preach that Jesus died for our sins, washing them away and allowing us to indeed be forgiven and enter into Heaven. But wait a minute, if I’m already forgiven for my sins, and am able to get into the afterlife, why the heck are people kicking up a fuss about it in the first place?

Hate the sin, not the sinner” is simply a phrase uttered by those too lazy to actually do some hard thinking and reconcile their religious teachings with the mountain of evidence indicating same-sex attraction and practice to be nothing ‘evil’ or ‘sinful’. Or it’s just a more tactful way of saying “I don’t approve, but you’ll come around/repent in the end” – incidentally also something that another fellow pupil at school once said to me – and that is just pure snobbishness.

It’s sad how many practising Christians are only too eager to practise Mark 12:30 – “And you shall love the Lord your god with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength” – often to the point of ramming down non-Christians’ throats, whilst at the same time and with the same breath ignoring the next verse, Mark 12:31 – “you shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.

No other commandment, Your Holiness.

About Robin Wells

Robin is an actor and a languages enthusiast, freshly-graduated from the University of London. He spends a fair amount of time in the YouTube community, and recently made the documentary 'Coming Out, Going On' for National Coming Out Day 2012.