On the Lutherans And Their Lies: How I was cheated into studying the doctrine of an Anti-Semite

 

ImageIt’s Halloween, and as I sit in Starbucks with my Styrofoam cup of orange and honey tea (because I flatly refuse to capitulate to the American love affair with coffee) it couldn’t be more evident. Orange lights are dangling from the ceiling, the bright leaves are tumbling off the trees like a crimson rainfall, and ghouls and hags and the odd Captain America are walking about outside with carved pumpkins and woolen scarves. I love Halloween. I loved it back in my homeland when we called it Samhain. We’d light bonfires and stay up late into the night telling ghost stories as we ate goat cheese and candied apples. I love that my gay friends in America refer to Halloween as ‘gay Christmas.’ I love the elaborate costumes, the bite in the air before winter arrives, haunted houses around Chicago. Even an atheist can appreciate that some days, there’s just magic in the air.

On my Facebook feed, it’s a different story.

I have a number of Lutheran friends, and even more Lutheran acquaintances. Several are training to be pastors and teachers in the Lutheran tradition, and even those who aren’t are often very vocal about their appreciation for their religious denomination and especially their revered founder, Martin Luther. For those who are unfamiliar with the German monk turned reformer, Luther was a devout Catholic who was never quite satisfied with his faith. His own study of the Christian Bible convinced him that the Catholic Church was filled with corruption and error. The final straw came when a man named John Tetzel came through Wittenberg, where Luther taught at university. Tetzel was selling indulgences – pieces of paper guaranteeing the forgiveness of sins – to the peasants, using their hard-earned pennies to build the ostentatious throne of the papacy that is today called St. Peter’s basilica. In order to counter Tetzel, Luther nailed ninety-five arguments against indulgences and the church on the door of the Wittenberg church. This act launched what became the Reformation and the formation of the Protestant branch of Christianity. The Catholic Church rebuked Luther and later excommunicated him. Luther’s life from that point on mainly consisted of writing works like the Book of Concord and the Large and Small Catechism. He also translated the Bible into German (the first true vernacular translation), taught and preached, and aided the German princes who protected him against the Holy Roman Empire.

The date that Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the church door, 31 October 1517, is hailed by Lutherans and Protestants in general as “Reformation Day.”

Which means that my Facebook wall is overwhelmed with pictures of a 500 year old monk and quotes from the Bible about how we’re saved by Grace, not by works. And more Luther quotes than I care to count.

It is tempting, oh so tempting, to respond with some of Martin Luther’s most anti-Semitic quotes and create a firestorm of Facebook controversy and condemnation.

Oh, by the way, Luther hated Jews.

I mean, oh-my-god-I-don’t-believe-in, did Martin Luther ever hate the Jews.

But in order to explain why I despise Martin Luther so much, I need to back up and relay some personal history.

I had just turned fifteen when I immigrated to America from Ireland. Already, I was an apostate in the Catholic faith, essentially an atheist although I wasn’t really developed mentally enough to understand what that meant fully. I just didn’t care much about God, and after fifteen years in the shadow of the Troubles I loathed organised Christianity of any kind. After leaving a nation where Christianity had managed to permeate nearly every facet of life, I thought coming to the United States would be a much-needed breath of fresh air.

How wrong I was.

My Belfast-born, Protestant mother had been involved in the Lutheran tradition before I was born. She had acquiesced to my grandparents raising me to be loosely Catholic, but she now insisted that I attend a parochial Lutheran high school so I could receive a good, sound Protestant work ethic. And so the indoctrination began again. There are several different branches, or ‘synods’ of Lutheranism, and the one that ran my high school was among the most conservative. Religious classes and instruction were held every day, including chapel services were pastors from around the area would come and guest lecture. I quickly went from being vaguely aware that Lutherans existed to studying the Lutheran doctrines on a regular basis with my classmates, including two of my sisters. And from knowing Luther as a historical figure whose influence I generally understood, I grew to know him as the patron saint of Lutheranism, the true vicar of Christ on earth, who is held in equal – if not greater – status to Christ himself.

Seriously, no matter what a Lutheran may tell you, they venerate Luther as heavily as Catholics do the Holy Virgin. You can find him in their paintings, in church art, on the cover of their books. I took classes on Luther’s life, took tests on his works. I read the Catechisms, the Book of Concord, and several others. Even World History II spent two weeks dedicated to the effect that Martin Luther had on the development of the world after the Renaissance. Even as an apostate Catholic/atheist, I had to think to myself ‘Wow, that man did quite a bit. He changed the world!’ I could recite Luther’s most famous quotes with the best of them, rattle off the major events of his life at speed, sing “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” in a clear tenor with the hundreds of Lutheran warriors around me. Of course, internally I was rolling my eyes. But even though I never took his theological views seriously, Luther was the thorn in the side of the Catholic Church. After seeing a car bomb in the Omagh market set off by Catholic militants, that sounded fine to me.

Again, how wrong I was.

It wasn’t until the second half of my last year that I learned the truth. I was working on a brief history report on the Righteous Gentiles, the men and women who saved so many victims from the Nazi death machine back during the War. One of the books I was using made a passing reference to Martin Luther. My interest piqued, I read the few paragraphs that detailed the effects of an essay by Luther that I had never heard of. It was called On the Jews and Their Lies.

I read the paragraphs. And then I read everything about the essay I could find in other books. And then I searched for it in all the books of Lutheran theology and essays found in the vast library my high school kept. It was nowhere to be found. So in the end I downloaded it off the internet and spent two hours at home perusing Luther’s opinions and admonishments towards the Jewish people.

And it made me sick. Physically ill.

I felt cheated. Filthy. Degraded. And above all, deceived. Deceived by men claiming to be righteous into venerating a man who became the cornerstone of the Holocaust. Studying the works of a man who ended up contributing to the deaths of millions of people. Treating a monster like a god. Speaking good of evil. Luther’s hatred was nothing new. I had seen it before. But this time it had been carefully hidden away from me and the rest of my classmates. How had I been almost four years at a school dedicated to Luther and never heard of this? I realised that it had been covered up and brushed under the rug. Another dirty little Christian secret.

Luther didn’t start out by hating the Jews. Quite the contrary, after he broke away from the Catholic Church Luther was very optimistic about the potential to convert the Jewish people to ‘true’ Christianity. He even told his followers to treat them gently and with kindness, so that the Jews might see the truth of the Lutheran teachings. I’ll bet apples to gold that you can guess what happened. The Jews rebuffed this 467th attempt to convert them to Christianity. And quicker than a Connemara pony, Luther turned on them.

Overnight his treatment of the Jews became more hateful, and increasingly more bizarre. Many of Luther’s colleagues begged him to see sense, to keep his ramblings on the Jews to himself and leave them alone. Luther didn’t listen. “Now just behold these miserable, blind, and senseless people,” he said. “We are at fault for not slaying them.” His anti-Semitic rhetoric reached a peak when he published On the Jews and Their Lies in 1543, and it is now the most well-known example of the long history of Anti-Semitism found in Late-Renaissance Germany and Lutheranism.

One of the most important parts of On the Jews and Their Lies outlined the seven points of ‘sharp mercy’ that Luther called for when dealing with the Jewish people. They included:

-Burning their schools and synagogues

-Transfering Jews to community settlements

-Confiscating all Jewish literature, which was blasphemous

-Prohibiting rabbis to teach, on pain of death

-Denying Jews safe-conduct, so as to prevent the spread of Judaism

-Appropriating their wealth and using it to support converts and to prevent the lewd practice of usury

-Assigning Jews to manual labor as a form of penance.

So let’s summarise. Burn down their synagogues and schools, rob them, kill their leaders, destroy their books, enslave them to forced hard labour, and essentially using any means necessary to destroy their communities. This should sound familiar to anyone remotely familiar with the history of Western Europe in the 1930’s and 40’s.

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Here are some more tasty tidbits from Luther’s work:

If we wish to wash our hands of the Jews’ blasphemy and not share in their guilt, we have to part company with them. They must be driven from our country.

…they remain our daily murderers and bloodthirsty foes in their hearts. Their prayers and curses furnish evidence of that, as do the many stories which relate their torturing of children and all sorts of crimes for which they have often been burned at the stake or banished.

If I had power over the Jews, as our princes and cities have, I would deal severely with their lying mouth.

And it’s not a coincidence that Luther’s advice was fulfilled so dramatically during the Nazi Holocaust. Germans revered Martin Luther for hundreds of years after his death. His anti-Semitic works were kept in print and widely circulated. Several Nazi leaders praised him, as did Lutheran bishops. Hitler himself mentioned his influence in Mine Kampf. And on 10 November 1938, Luther’s prophecy fulfilled itself when the Nazis throughout Germany laid waste to German businesses, burned synagogues, humiliated Jewish men, women and children,  killed hundreds and deported thousands to the slave labour camps. Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, was held on Luther’s birthday to honour him and the fulfillment of his sharp mercy.

The revered historian William Shirer, who wrote the epic and comprehensive work The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, directly linked Luther’s anti-Semitism to the ease of which the Nazis were able to get the general population on their side.

“It is difficult to understand the behavior of most German Protestants in the first Nazi years unless one is aware of two things: their history and the influence of Martin Luther. The great founder of Protestantism was both a passionate anti-Semite and a ferocious believer in absolute obedience to political authority. He wanted Germany rid of the Jews. Luther’s advice was literally followed four centuries later by Hitler, Goering and Himmler”

It absolutely cannot be denied that Luther contributed heavily to the Nazi Holocaust four hundred years after his death. Luther had both influence and power and he used them to lay the foundations for what is arguably the greatest evil the world has ever seen.

And the Lutherans still follow him. And even worse, they try to justify him and excuse him.

After learning about Luther’s vile crimes, I marched into the offices of several pastors who taught at my high school and demanded an explanation. The responses I received were…less than satisfactory. Luther was a product of his time, I was told. The Jews said hateful things about Christians too. While he did some regrettable things, Luther did much good and served the Lord well. He was an imperfect being like all of us.

No, I said. I am imperfect, but I am nothing like Martin Luther. And I marched out of those offices, my back turned on Luther and Lutherans and Protestantism forever.

I still feel a great amount of anger for the three and a half years that I was forced to study Luther without knowing who he truly was. Even today I get into passionate debates with Luther-apologists, like this one. The pastor I was debating told me straight out that I was being confrontational (I was), that I was a novice in Luther (I’m not) and that he wouldn’t apologise for Luther being ‘the master of hyperbole.’ In other words, Luther was exaggerating. He denied that Luther really wanted the Jews dead. I told him that he might as well deny that there were gas chambers.

What Luther did was horrific and indefensible, but what is also indefensible is the level that people still venerate him, especially in conservative areas of the United States. And the biggest excuse is that people just don’t know who Martin Luther was. Rachel Held Evans, a prominent Christian writer, wrote a blog post three years ago detailing the shock and horror she felt. And we’re not the only ones. The Lutheran Church has symbolically blown up the crematoriums of their faith in order to hide the skeletons in the closet of their Founder. And as a result, people today are on Facebook not only talking about him and praising him, but celebrating him.

This is what religion does. This is one of its crimes. It encourages you to defend evil. To honour a psychopath. To celebrate the cornerstone of the Holocaust.

The Lutherans and Their Lies. These are things that we cannot tolerate. Things that cannot be defended. It is absolutely essential that we drag these secrets out into the sun so that they’re well-known. Only then will the common view that these evil men were saints wither in the sunlight and die.

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Today in Christian Love: God loves you, you fag.

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The past few months has seen a good hash of people writing insensitive, cruel, or just plain stupid messages on restaurant receipts and refusing to tip. As the story usually goes, the server who gets the shaft will post the message on a social media site, and then the wonderful world of the internet will convene to unleash a powerful and vengeful storm of righteous amusement on the newest social pariah. All good fun and games.

But the latest instance of pure, unadulterated Christian Love is already threatening to outstrip them all.

Down in Overland Park Kansas, that paradise of love and Christian virtue, a young waiter, a kid really, was serving a Christian couple in Carrabba’s Italian Grill. When they handed him the receipt after their meal, he found this personal and inspirational message left for him. As WTVM reports:

“Thank you for your service, it was excellent. That being said, we cannot in good conscience tip you, for your homosexual lifestyle is an affront to GOD. Fags do not share in the wealth of GOD, and you will not share in ours. We hope you will see the tip your faggot choices made you lose out on, and plan accordingly. It is never too late for GOD’s love, but none shall be spared for fags. May GOD have mercy on you.”

Such grace. Such love.

I think what angers me the most out of this is that the server in question is a twenty year old man. Basically, he’s still a kid. I’m only a few years older than that, but I’m sure that most of you remember what that age was like, if only vaguely. You’re a couple years out of high school. You’re at university or you’ve been in the work force for a couple years. You’ve finally made it out into the real world and discovered that, while there are nasty and cruel people out there, the world is in general a more accepting and tolerable place than high school made it out to be.

And then two adults come along with a mature and reasoned ‘Nah nah, we’re not going to tip you, faggot. Because Jesus.’

ImageI love you so much I died for you. Fag.

Understandably, many in the community and around the area are rallying to this young man’s defense, determined to balance out one act of hatred with a thousand of kindness. Good for them. It’s good to see that Kansas does in fact have people with class, and quite a few of them. But do you know what? That doesn’t take the sting away. Not at all. It doesn’t take away the hurt that those words caused. It doesn’t erase the knowledge that there are people out there who hate you – intrinsically hate you – just because of who you are and whom you love. That stays. It’s the piece of shrapnel that lodges in Tony Stark’s chest, and even though he turns it into a source of strength, the fact that it’s a wound will never go away.

And for this young man, the hatred he faced that night will never go away. Every time he sees a cross the message will come back to him. Every time he passes a church building, he will know that it’s filled with people who see him as subhuman and not even worthy of the basics of human decency. He will continue with his life knowing that the beast could rear its head at any time. That’s the world he lives in. That’s the world we live in. Where anything is not only tolerable in the name of Christian Love, but seen as righteous.

We’ve all heard the saying uttered piously by Christians that we should ‘love the sinner but hate the sin.’ Usually it’s said right before saying something incredibly hateful, bigoted, or racist. It’s sort of a catch-all, a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card that a Christian can use in order to say whatever hurtful, demeaning things they want. Does anyone really believe that Christianity is about love? Did anyone see the love in what these two individuals did? It simply wasn’t there. It was a cold, calculated attempt to harass, mock, and shame a young man who did nothing but offer excellent service. In fact, the quality of his service was something that the Christian couple admitted to right off, as if tearing open the wound so that they could better salt it.

I’ve now written two articles in rather quick succession about gay rights and the treatment of LGBT people by Christians in America. And I’m sure there are more to come. Because despite what Fox News or Breitbart.com will tell you about the radical homosexual agenda, it’s painfully obvious to anyone with eyes that LGBT people are still on the wrong side of the walls of Jericho in this nation. They’re not the only ones of course. But I don’t think that any other demographic of individuals has to deal with the stinking, vile hatred that comes out of the Christian community masquerading as ‘love.’

In the extremely unlikely event that the two individuals in question see this, I offer my sincere thanks. You are doing more for atheism – and by extension civility and acceptance – than you could have imagined.

To the individuals rallying behind this young man, I offer my sincere thanks. It’s acts of kindess and tenderness and compassion and love that change the world. Not self-righteous prayers on the back of a receipt. Any one can show love. But only a Christian is capable of such a vile definition of ‘love.’

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things Part 2: Boy Scout Edition

 

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This looks expensive and important. Let’s knock it down!

Amidst the shutdown, the AFA website meltdown, the recent Nevada school shooting, and the growing political tension between the Tea Party and the rest of the GOP, one news story this past week has beaten all of them for sheer knuckle-headed, idiotic, malicious, and just completely mind-boggling stupidity. And it’s none of the above listed.

Well, maybe it doesn’t quite compare. But the Irish Atheist doesn’t blog about important things. He blogs about things that allow him to giggle unkindly.

Last week, a video featuring three men at Goblin Valley State Park in Utah went viral. Here’s a link to the video if you haven’t already seen it.

For those with a bad internet connection or who are just too lazy to watch the video (I admit I am often one of those), the video features two men, Dave Hall and Glenn Taylor, as well as Taylor’s son Dylan. These three paragons of manly virtue come across one of the ‘Goblins’ that the state park is known for and that people come from hundreds of miles to see and enjoy. After taking a look at it, they decide that the best possible course to prove their manliness is to push the rock over and destroy the formation.

And so, with Hall and Taylor Jr. cheering him on and singing a gods-awful version of ‘Wiggle It’, Glenn Taylor braces himself behind the stone, wheezes like a bull elephant, and topples a unique natural formation that had stood for 170 million years. They congratulate themselves with hand slaps, hoots of joy, and many masculine grunts.

And to complete this festival of celebratory vandalism, the perpetrators proceeded to upload the video onto Facebook. Where people tended to take notice.

After being faced with near-universal ridicule and condemnation, the trio backtracked by claiming that they were just trying to save lives. Taylor and Hall claimed that the 170 million year old formation was unstable and was liable to collapse at any time, potentially crushing scores of innocent wailing children. Which, I suppose, is a fair point. After all, if there is one thing that rocks are known for, it’s leaping from where they have lain for millions of years to crush helpless youngsters in their rocky embrace.

Hall and Taylor are potentially facing felony charges and Goblin Valley has launched a criminal investigation.

Now normally, I would have registered this as a story about three idiots who made a bad decision and have to pay the high, high bill that idiocy presents. But then one of the details of the story jumped out at me and made me take a second look. And that’s when the real anger began.

Hall and Taylor weren’t at Goblin Valley on a lark. They were there with a Boy Scout excursion. They were troop leaders. Not only that, they are members of a youth leadership group for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

And this, my friends is why we cannot have nice things.

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This looks important and expensive. Let’s knock it down!

It’s not because Taylor and Hall are representative of all Christians, or Christianity in general. Despite Christianity’s long and proud history of destruction and cultural vandalism – as the Library at Alexandria and the entire city of Constantinople can ardently attest to – the Enlightenment and modern society has done an admirable job at reigning in Christianity’s more destructive tendencies. No, I am talking about the LDS’s more recent history concerning the Boy Scouts and the standard that they hold their Scout Leaders to.

Remember that? The LSD was one of the most ardent supporters of not allowing gay individuals into the Boy Scouts. They still fight very hard to keep gay men and women from being Scout Leaders. Because they are afraid of the moral decay that might occur and the terrible influence that gay people have on the integrity of their Scouts.

Meanwhile, their straight, Christian leaders proceed to vandalise ancient formations.

The Boy Scouts, after facing the outpouring of contempt, jumped on the band wagon as soon as they saw the direction the wind was blowing and issued a statement of condemnation, calling the act ‘reprehensible.’ The most recent development is that Taylor and Hall have been removed from their positions as Scout Leaders. Which I suppose is admirable, although it’s not like they had much of a choice once the evidence of Scouting values went viral.

But this should be a wake-up call for the LSD. This should remind everyone that good people and complete ass-hats exist among all demographics. White, black, gay, straight, fat, thin, Christian, atheist, Mormon, whatever. Stupidity and maliciousness and all-out bad behaviour is a constant and it’s up to us as individuals to keep it at bay and preserve the integrity and beauty of the world we live in. Never before has the idiocy of keeping a certain group of people out of youth leadership simply because of who they fall in love with is a black mark on any organisation, secular or religious. It’s hatred, bigotry, and stupidity, pure and simple. The fruit of hypocrisy on the LDS tree has grown so heavy that all one needs to do is reach up and pluck one to have a dozen more fall at his feet.

Think the LSD will take the lesson? I doubt it. If anything, it will reinforce their archaic views. The LSD believes that gay people are of naturally moral inferior content, like Hall and Taylor are. So we can’t expect anything to change from them. Instead, we sit here and shake our heads and go on with our lives.

And this is why we can’t have nice things. And it’s wonders like Goblin Valley State Park that have to pay the price.

An Open Letter to American Christians on Behalf of my LGBT Brothers and Sisters

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Today is the fifteenth anniversary of the kidnapping, robbery, and torture of Matthew Shepard. To commemorate what happened to this twenty-one year old gay man, I am offering an open letter to the people in America who still routinely harass, mock, shame, brutalise, and yes even kill LGBT people around the country and the world.

To American Christians,

It seems like every day I log onto the internet, catch the news sites I follow, and run across a new example of Christian love towards the LGBT community. Whether it’s telling millions of people that they’re on par with paedophiles or claiming that gays use special rings to give people HIV, it seems as though homosexuals and their naughty, filthy lifestyle are constantly on the forefront of the Christian mind. And yet, even more astounding than their obsession with homosexuality is that after decades of brutality towards LGBT people Christians still believe that their opinions are somehow still relevant on the issue. Here’s a big spoiler for all of you. They’re not. They haven’t been for a while.

One of the problems that the Christian church has – and doesn’t seem to realise that it has – is that it’s lost all authority to speak to the LGBT community from any sort of moral high ground. Christians delight in pointing out how gays are trying to push their sinful lifestyle on to good, decent, normal people, as if some dreadful crime or indoctrinating was going on. But then they completely ignore the history of the Christian church’s interaction with the LGBT community over the past few decades alone. But let’s take a stroll through history and look back over some of the brighter moments, shall we?

We can start by stepping back to 2012. Not too long ago, is it? Remember how Pastor Sean Harris told his congregation that if their children acted too gay, he would give them ‘special dispensation’ to ‘crack their wrists’ and punch them in order to man them up? Ah, child abuse, the Christian response to the gay agenda. Remember how Pastor Charles Worley gave a sermon in which he advocated rounding up homosexuals, putting them in concentration camps and dropping food in occasionally? Remember how the evangelical Christian government of Uganda passed a bill in which ‘aggravated homosexuality’ (two or more offenses) was punishable by death? American Pastor Scott Lively was partially responsible for that bill, as he worked closely with Ugandan lawmakers concerning how to handle the homosexual menace in Uganda. The US Congress passed a resolution to denounce the bill, which was blocked by lobbying by the Christian group the Family Research Counsel, headed by Tony Perkins.  They objected on the grounds that it portrayed homosexuality as a human right and that denouncing the murder of innocent gay people would make people think that ‘gay is okay.’ Yes, 2012 was a good year for Christian love towards the LGBT community.

I’ll brush over the immense work the Christian Church has done to deny gays the right to a civil marriage to the consenting adult of their choice. That debate is all over the blogosphere and I can’t imagine I’d have any new arguments that you haven’t heard already. I will address how the Christian church has lobbied in the political arena to deny gays the right to serve their nation with dignity and honour. To work for employers without fear of being fired for their sexual orientation (which is still legal in about 30 states.) Even their private sexual lives were politically demonised by conservative Christians until Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, despite the overwhelming Christian effort to legislate their own brand of morality in the political forums.

Now lets step back to the 80′s, during the AIDS crises. It was a terrible time to be gay in America. HIV was a new, unknown disease that ravaged individuals and destroyed thousands of lives. And what was the Christian response? Christian hospitals refused to treat those with AIDS. The funerals of AIDS victims were picketed by Christian organisations (ever wonder where the Wesboro Baptist Church got their tactics from?). Hospitals and hospices that did treat AIDS victims were picketed as well. Federal aid to AIDS research and support was blocked by Christian organisations and politicians. Pastor Jerry Falwell told his flock that AIDS was God’s punishment on a nation that tolerated homosexuality. Hundreds of pastors followed suit. Because, in the end, what’s a few more dead gays?

Do you understand what I am saying? Or do I need to continue? Should I take you through a tour of the internet, where the LGBT community is frequently called the vilest of names? How many times have you heard a Christian call gay men and women f-gs? How many times have you heard them referred to as abominations? How many times has someone mention in your hearing that the Bible issued the death penalty for gays and it’s a shame we don’t follow it so closely anymore?

You, the Christians of America, have labeled gays as less than human. F-gs. Abominations. Deviants. Your organisations, like the FRC and the AFA frequently refer to gays as potential pedophiles. You mock and slander them. You harass and despise them. You throw them out of your homes. Why do you think 40% of homeless youth are LGBT? You fight to deny them the opportunity to live life as they choose, demanding that they live life as you choose. You have beaten them on the streets in the name of your God. You have tortured them in camps designed to cure them, often with documented cases of electroshock therapy and ammonia aversion.

And you have killed them. The names are branded into any conversation about the Christian church’s relationship with the LGBT community. Charlie Howard. Rebecca Wight. Matthew Shepard. Marc Carson. And so many more. Men and women, killed by church-going, Christ-confessing Christians.

And after all of this, after decades of mockery and harassment and persecution and torture and murder, you dare, you DARE to tell gay people that ‘only we can cure you. Only we can save you. It is only through us that you can come to live a truly happy and content life. The religion that we have used to build a foundation of your misery is the only thing that can lead you away from your unhappiness. We are the reason you are so lost and alone and despairing, and now we can give you the love and acceptance you so crave. And if you don’t like the cure, we will make your life hell.’

That is why your ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ creed (which does not appear in the Bible) is treated with such disdain. That is why there is so much vehemence and anger and bitterness from LGBT people towards the Christian Church. It’s because Christians have earned it, and earned it again tenfold. So go to your churches, sing your liturgy, listen to your homilies. But we are begging, pleading with you. Just leave LGBT people alone. Leave them alone to live their lives in dignity. Let them find happiness with each other and their children. Let them build lives of meaning and search for truth in their own way. Just stay the hell out of their lives and walk away. Because any one who has eyes to see and ears to hear knows one thing. Your kind has done enough.

-The Irish Atheist

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The proposed Christian monument to Matthew Shepard, commemorating the day he ‘went to hell.’