COLUMN: Being Christian is not an excuse for acts of hatred

I have been a Christian for my entire life. 

Because of my religious beliefs and the stereotypes surrounding Christianity, many assume I am adamantly against abortion or that I believe homosexuality or transgenderism is inherently wrong. 

Even though I am Christian, these are not my beliefs nor was I ever told to adopt this mindset in the church.

But because some people who call themselves “Christian” choose to hide behind their faith to justify acts of hate toward certain groups, I am continuously forced to justify my own faith due to views of a select few. 

It is for that same reason that many people have a negative perception of the Christian faith. It is for that same reason I have to explain myself whenever I tell people I am Christian. It is why my best friend was afraid to tell me her stance on abortion or my closest childhood friend was afraid I would judge her when she came out as bisexual. 

That’s why, after reading the post from Vessel, an on-campus Christian group facing backlash  stating they are non-affirming of the LGBTQ+ lifestyle, I was angry that a group at DePaul that stands behind the Christian faith would outwardly express their prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community. 

I am still angry that after The DePaulia reached out for comment, part of the group’s response was that they want to “peacefully coexist with those who disagree with the tenets of our faith.” 

What Vessel claims is a tenet of “our faith” is a false statement made on behalf of the entire Christian community. The prejudiced views of 15 to 20 people cannot be attributed to all Christians.

To justify the group’s non-affirming stance toward the LGBTQ+ lifestyle, they cited the book of Romans and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. In the new international version (NIV) of the Bible, this verse translates to, “Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

I recognize my experience is not the same as many others, including some of my closest friends who have felt ostracized by the church and those that hid behind their faith to justify their own prejudices and biases toward others. Yet, it is those same people who call themselves “Christian” but outwardly advocate against the LGBTQ+ community or claim having an abortion is an unforgivable sin, that use their faith to ostracize people that are different from themselves. 

The full Bible including the old and new testaments was written about 2,000 years ago. Since then, the Christian faith has drastically evolved to cater to the modern society we live in today. 

My freshman year at DePaul, I took a class on the intersection of science and religion. I learned that while the Bible has valuable lessons about humanity, no one should adopt a literal interpretation of the text because it was written by people close to 2,000 years ago, when women’s rights were nonexistent and religious freedom was a foreign concept, always dictated by those in power. 

In America, we are fortunate to have the freedom to outwardly practice whatever religion we choose, but some still choose to use their religious freedoms to express prejudice and hatred towards those they deem different. 

How can we preach the message that “God loves all people” when our actions continuously show otherwise? 

I am tired of having to explain myself because I am Christian. I should not have to tell my best friend I would stand by her side if she chooses to get an abortion. I should not have to feel guilty when another one of my friends tells me she was scared to disclose that she’s bisexual, solely because of my faith.

I don’t want to explain myself anymore. As Christians, and as decent human beings, we all need to do better to not let the hypocrisy of a few individuals taint an entire faith.