From Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s profile of some hipster megachurch pastor that NYC-types and NBAers are into:
And here I have to say out loud how much I like Carl. I say it here because I still felt it after this conversation. I like him even though he is ideologically opposed to things that are important to me. I somehow could not fault Carl for his beliefs, because they torment him. I couldn’t fault him for them even though his influence is so vast and all it would take was a word from him to heal the suffering of so many people who feel like they’re without a tether. I could dislike Carl because in the end his belief is an organism outside reason. It’s Carl who will take my jokes about how Christianity seems to much easier than Judaism and follow them up with 200-word texts in which he tries to use this toehold to tell me his Good News. He is so worried for my soul, and this should annoy me, but instead it touches me, because maybe I’m worried about my soul, too, and Carl wants so badly for me to enjoy heaven with him. How can I fault someone who is so sincere about this one thing than I have ever been about anything in my life? But on the other hand, if there’s one thing that’s true about Christianity, it’s that no matter what couture it’s wearing, no matter what Selena Gomez hymnal it’s singing, it’s still afraid for your soul, it still thinks you’re in for a reckoning. It’s still Christianity. Christianity’s whole jam is remaining Christian.
The bullshit lies in B-A’s thinking, bolded above. That beliefs (in this Carl’s case: Jesus hates homosexuality and abortion, despite his obligation to love gays and women who control their own pregnancies) torment the believer, that the believer feels them sincerely are not reasons to excuse them. I trust that any number of Trump supporters are sincerely tormented by our president’s mixed race, and I will die faulting them for this wrong belief.
I’m glad for a lot of things after having done the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius last year, but foremost among them was meeting my spiritual director, a gay priest. When you come to know Jesus very well, it’s so easy to see not only that he loves gay people, but that sex between men is as holy and Godful as sex between straights. This assuredly rich straight pastor has made a choice to exclude gays from heaven, and that choice has come not from Jesus, but from his own learned hatred of gay people.
Any time a straight person claims to want to enjoy heaven with you, one thing is clear: they’re worried about themselves. Not you.