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This is from CNN’s Belief Blog:
Two out of three Americans believe gay people commit suicide at least partly because of messages coming out of churches and other places of worship, a survey released Thursday found.
More than four out of 10 Americans say the message coming out of churches about gay people is negative, and about the same number say those messages contribute “a lot” to negative perceptions of gay and lesbian people.
Catholics were the most critical of their own churches’ messages on homosexuality, while white evangelical Christians gave their churches the highest grades, the survey found.
The Public Religion Research Institute asked 1,017 Americans their views on religion and homosexuality between October 14 and 17, in the wake of a highly publicized rash of suicides by gay people.
Gay rights campaigner Dan Savage said the idea that churches send out an anti-gay message “totally jibes with my experience and that of millions of other gay and lesbian people.”
He cited Joel Burns, a Forth Worth, Texas, city councilman whose emotional tale of being bullied as a young gay man went viral on the internet.
“He remembers being told to go home and commit suicide and that he was going to hell,” Savage said, adding that the source of such attitudes “wasn’t in algebra.”
Leaders of the Christian right “have redefined Christianity so that it is about being anti-gay,” he said.
And he cited other poll findings that suggest more Americans than ever before define themselves as having no religion.
Have we “redefined Christianity so that it is about being anti-gay?” I think we have at some point. In fact, I know that I’m sometimes really careful of the crowd I’m with and couch my words carefully so that I’m not dismissed as “being anti-gay” without someone getting to know me and getting to see how Scripture, and reason, and tradition, and experience shape by understanding of this issue and a Christian response. I hope that I’m not that easily classified and not that easily dismissed. I hope that, as we deal with issues of bullying homosexuals I will be found on the side of compassion and love and that nothing I have said or done would have contributed to that bullying.
I’m not sure I can say that same for some of my brothers and sisters in Christ.