But whose fault is it that people might conclude that Christians are judgmental, especially of gay people?
Let’s review: Whether it’s mega-pastor Rick Warren having to apologize for comparing homosexuality to pedophilia or Pope Benedict writing that homosexuality was “ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil,” people rightly see frequent judgment emanating from Christian leaders. In arguing against same-sex marriage, Cardinal Timothy Dolan raised the specter of incest, saying, “I love my mom, but I don’t have the right to marry her.” This month, when asked whether it’s OK to “like” pictures of gay couples on Facebook, Pat Robertson responded, “I would punch ‘vomit,’ not ‘like’.”
Baptist pastor Ron Baity, who received the influential Family Research Council’s highest pro-family award in 2012, has called gays “worse than sick.” He has claimed that accepting gay people would make society “more filthy” and compared them to maggots. In addition to honoring this hateful bigot, FRC President Tony Perkins has announced that gays “face eternal damnation.”
None of these people is a fringe actor in the Christian community. With this backdrop, it’s easy to see why Francis’ statement created such excitement, even among non-Catholics like myself.