I was raised at church. I spent Sunday mornings there, as well as a few days during the week for youth programs and the like. I consider the people from my church to be my extended family. They are good people. And, in fact, I consider many—probably most—Christians to be good people with good hearts. But some of them are anti-gay or anti-gay marriage (which, in my opinion, is anti-gay). People often assume it’s because these Christians think being gay is “icky” or they claim these people are just secretly gay themselves. No one seems to be talking about the real reason:
Anti-gay Christians are scared.
Being raised at church means I learned about Noah, Jesus and the Ten Commandments at the same time I learned how to spell and count. All of these things were taught to me by adults I revered, because you revere just about every adult as a child. This reverence translated to inherently trusting everything adults were telling me without question. 1+1=2, cat is spelled C-A-T, and God created the Earth. Fact, fact, fact.
One thing I was taught as a child was that God was spelled with a capital G. I’m not sure if an adult told me this was important or if I surmised it myself, but I became very afraid of accidentally spelling God with a lowercase g. Not afraid that I would be hit by a bolt of lightening, but afraid that I’d go to Hell. Spelling God with a lowercase g meant I had sinned. And because I was also taught that every sin was equal in God’s eyes, I knew that spelling it g-o-d was as good as murder to the Lord. I lived in perpetual capitalization terror.
Some Christians are taught from babyhood that the Bible is inerrant, that it is 100% true and free from error of any kind because God oversaw the writing of the Bible (some even believe he took over the authors’ hands and wrote it Himself). It’s very hard to let go of that idea when it has been taught to you as fact since the time you were learning nursery rhymes, and were also told that it was a sin to question this fact.
So if these people start believing that homosexuality is not a sin, it forces them to admit the Bible may have mistakes, which means either God made a mistake, or God didn’t oversee the Bible. (There is another option here, which is to learn about historical context of seemingly anti-gay passages, but some Christians are either opposed to learning historical context [yes really] or their leaders have neglected to share this context with them). You see the problem: if the Bible has mistakes, how do we know what to follow? Which parts are the mistakes and which are correct? How do we ever know if we’re doing the right thing? What if there’s no Heaven? What if there’s no God? Things can spiral out of control pretty quickly if you let it.
This is a terrifying idea. Some Christians are afraid, like my God/god fear, that one misstep will be enough to land them in Hell. Since God knows what you’re thinking, He’ll know you’ve sinned if your mind strays just the tiniest bit from what (you’ve been told) is correct. He’ll know you are questioning the Bible and therefore you are questioning God. Basically, you’re done for.
There are plenty of other reasons people may be anti-gay. But for some anti-gay Christians, it has nothing to do with “ickiness” or “secretly being gay themselves.” It has everything to do with being terrified of going to Hell if they admit that being gay is okay and the Bible may be wrong.