Hating the Sin

Tolerating a gay friend by purporting to “hate the sin but love the sinner,” treating his or her experience of love and attraction as a wrong comparable to stealing or lying, may be a minimal requirement of civility, but it’s not love or friendship.

Erick Erickson, proprietor of redstate, commentator on CNN, and self-proclaimed expert on the sexual habits of former Supreme Court justices, gives us an example. Asked whether he was just concern trolling the gay rights movement when he in fact thinks gay sex is evil, he replied: “Dude, I'm a sinner and a pretty big one at that.”

Imagine if your “friends” only tolerated, but thought evil and sinful, your love for your spouse, your job, your Christianity, or any other aspect of yourself that you hold dear and believe shapes you. In an alternate reality, friends of Erickson would tolerate their Christian friend but find his beliefs and practices abhorrent, his earthly company a temporary pleasure, maybe even a bit concerned about the eternity of torture he will endure upon death. Erickson, though, admits he enjoys knowing that people whose beliefs don’t align with his will be condemned:

Personally, I’ve always taken comfort in the idea of hell fire — that God truly is just and the unrepentant will be in for a smiting.

How could you take “comfort” in that? How old are you if you have mental fantasies of a superhero burning forever people who disagree with you? How about this: if you “hate the sin” that is fundamental to the meaning a friend finds in life, don’t bother calling yourself a friend. You aren’t.