Timothy Kincaid's piece at Box Turtle Bulletin about how conservative Christians "don't get it" (h/t: Evan Hurst at Truth Wins Out) notes that while their "love the sinner, hate the sin" tactics have failed, a "new face of conservative Christianity is arising calling for more tolerance and seeking to share a loving God with their gay neighbors, to welcome them and love them rather than loudly condemn them:"
And almost without exception, they get it entirely, completely, and miserably wrong.
Rather than see gay people as people, we are seen as a mission field, lost and desperate sinners trapped in a sinful and dangerous lifestyle hopelessly searching for acceptance and grace. And they come into the discussion with the assumption that their understanding of Scripture is not only true, but universally accepted.
As churches from the Unitarian-Universalists to the United Church of Christ to the Metropolitan Community Church demonstrate, a gay-positive theology is possible; Christian writers such as Bishop John Shelby Spong (Episcopal) have isolated the strains of fundamentalism and literalism that cause homophobia, but conservative church hierarchies seem resistant to the vaccine of critical thinking. Thus, they continue to insult the LGBT community that they claim to be trying to "save." Here's the conclusion of Kincaid's message to conservative Christians:
...for as long as you continue to be part of the movement to deny civil equalities, you will never, ever "reach gay people for Christ". If your Christ compels you to take away my health insurance, then your Christ is my enemy. If His message of love is to take my children away from me, then I'll do without that kind of love, thanks.
If your position on my personal freedoms is exactly the same as that of the Phelps family, then you really have nothing to share with me or my community. If your voting pattern is identical to Peter LaBarbera, then your gospel is nothing but a sounding brass or tinkling cymbal.
Don't get me wrong. I do appreciate that you aren't calling us abominations and perverts. I really do. Setting aside the language of condemnation and revulsion is a step in the right direction.
But it isn't as big a step as you think it is.
And as long as you come to us with the message that God wants us to live a love-less life of aloneness and think that we are going to see this as good news, don't be surprised that we are not impressed. [...] And until you come up with a theology that reveals God as something other than a bigot or a bully, you can be sure that your "mission to the homosexuals" will not be fruitful.