'I Love You, But You're Going To Hell' Is Abusive B*llshit

by Kristen Mae
Originally Published: 
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Seventy years ago, if you were a Catholic and got divorced, your church could tell you that, despite God’s love for all his children, the fact that you got divorced meant you had sinned against God and were going to hell. They could excommunicate you from the church. My grandmother, who divorced her violently abusive husband to save her life and the lives of her three children, experienced exactly this. I’m sure the church leader who broke the news to her wholeheartedly believed he was adhering to God’s Truth. He may even have felt terrible turning a devout woman away. He may have done his best to let her down gently. The experience shattered my grandmother’s heart though, and she never attended church again.

I recently came across a Facebook post in which a popular Christian mom blogger noted that if any of her children ever came out to her as gay, she would love them, she would not reject them, but she would tell them the “truth.” She said that as a follower of Christ, it was her obligation, her duty, to tell them the truth, even if it was hard. She didn’t specify what “the truth” meant, but it was easy enough to infer that she meant she’d tell her kid that homosexuality is a sin. That if they acted on their feelings, they would be committing a sin and risking burning in hell for all eternity.

This kind of bigotry — the “I love you but you are definitely going to hell” bullshit — is absolutely the worst kind of bigotry. Personally, I’d rather you just tell me you hate me. Just tell us queers you think butt sex is nasty, ladies going down on each other is icky, and that you think we’re freaks and wish we didn’t exist. At least there’s honesty in that message. At least it’s clear. There’s no contradiction there for us to untangle, no cognitive dissonance for our brains to struggle to rationalize. It’s easier to be hated by someone who isn’t confused or hypocritical in how they feel.

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When you tell me you love me but add a footnote that the way I love is a sin, when you spout this bullshit as you donate to the poor and bake casserole dishes for your sick congregation members, I question the motives for your kindness. Are you trying to be a good person for the sake of being a good person, or are you collecting points for your ticket to waltz through the pearly gates? “You’re going to hell, but I’m not, because even though the Bible says you’re a sinner, I still love you. Look how good and virtuous I am!” If all you’re doing is trying to impress Jesus by pointing out people’s sins to them, sorry, but your heart ain’t pure.

I also question your intelligence. I question how much you’ve really analyzed the system of morality you claim to hold so dear. Think about this for a second: you are saying that, because of who I love, I am literally — literally — going to burn in hell for all of eternity. As in, engulfed by flames, my sizzling flesh melting off my bones as I wail in agony… for all of eternity. Burning. Forever. Because I love a body that has the same genitals as I do. Because of love. You believe this wholeheartedly, and yet you’re able to tell me with a beatific smile on your face that (even though I’ll roast on a spit in hell for infinity) you love me.

This is the most narcissistic bullshit I have ever heard in my fucking life. I know God is supposed to be a mystery and unknowable and stuff, and Christianity tells you not to question his laws or to attempt to understand his motives and all that, but like… if you believe that, you also believe in creation. You believe God endowed us with brains capable of questioning and analysis. What kind of psychopath would deliberately be like, “So, I’ll give them the ability to recognize contradiction and hypocrisy and cruelty, but then I’ll demand they unquestioningly adhere to this book that is full of contradiction and hypocrisy and cruelty, and the test of their faith will be to see how committed they remain to pretending they don’t see all that contradiction and hypocrisy and cruelty.”

There are a hundred rules in the Bible that people break every single day. The second half of the Bible basically says, “Oh, oops, actually, ignore most of the first half, ha ha.” The Bible speaks of spousal abuse, rape, polygamy, and slave ownership as if they are normal and expected parts of society. Pro-slavery folks around the time of the Civil War used the same argument in favor of slavery that present-day love-you-but-you’re-a-sinner bigots use to defend their intolerance of queers. The Bible said this is how it is, so we must follow its law. Clearly, we’ve thrown out the pro-slavery part of the Bible. And the Catholic Church no longer automatically excommunicates members for divorce. The truth is, Christians have always happily tossed aside whatever parts no longer suit them.

Therefore, I have to conclude that the only reason anyone would continue to hold onto the part of the Bible that condemns homosexuality is because they’re making an active choice to do so. And if that’s how you look at religion — if you’re able to keep the parts you like and throw out the parts you don’t — then when you tell me you love me but hate my “sin,” you tell me you are making a choice about that specific part of the Bible. You like that part. You want to keep that part. You’re choosing to keep that part.

But religion isn’t a buffet, and your little pact to tell your hypothetically-gay child the “truth” is not love. It’s arrogance and hypocrisy in the extreme. My faith in my love for my partner is as pure as, and as deserving of respect as, your faith in your god. You don’t get to decide how God perceives people. The Bible tells you that, too, by the way, several times.

As big and wondrous as the universe is, as impossibly miraculous as it is that life exists at all, you have the breathtaking audacity to hang eternity on this one trifling detail of humanity. You have convinced yourself that the hypocrisy inherent in your statement of loving a person but not loving who they are is something that a loving God would be in favor of. You have decided that you know what God cares about most, and that this — who a person loves — is it.

You fucking hubristic turd.

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