Hi James,

I really appreciate the comment and the honest criticism. I feel your pain and feel even worse that my article caused it — but I can’t change what I believe but hope to clarify in a thoughtful and respectful way.

The official position of the Bible is that we are all sinners saved by grace. No one is an exception. That includes all human beings, from white evangelical conservatives, Trump voters, people of color, and yes, LGBTQ people as well. We are all sinners in need of love.

Sin is a very strong word but there are very worse than any sexual act that we all do in our everyday lives. When we don’t give to a homeless person in need, that’s a sin of greed and not loving our neighbor. When we gossip about others, that’s also not loving our neighbor. When we judge another person when we ourselves are flawed, it is a sin of self-righteousness as well.

I can’t edit the article to say that LGBTQ people aren’t sinners because I believe everyone is a sinner. I will say, though, my sin means I am in no position to judge others. Christians should always, always have knowledge of how they fall short and be aware of their sins. I don’t believe myself in a position where I can judge anyone for a sin because of the sins I make daily, from judging a drug addict I pass by on the street to having one too many drinks at a part to being greedy by spending my Medium earnings on material things.

These are parts of my daily realities and beliefs that put me in no place to judge another person, not someone who has sex before marriage (which most people I know have) or has an abortion. Just because someone else sins doesn’t mean that love shouldn’t be greater, always. That applies to someone who cursed in frustration as much as it does someone who doesn’t give to the homeless.

This is a difficult conversation to have but I do not live in an insulated bubble — I know how the world works. I know a lot of people and a lot of Christians have used the Bible and Gospel to defend prejudice. I know Christians have used the Bible to defend slavery. And, in the context of our conversation, I know Christians have, for centuries and even today, used the Bible to defend the suppression of rights and freedoms of the LGBTQ community.

And just because something is a sin and because someone is a sinner doesn’t mean that you have to get a pitchfork and make them feel like they don’t belong in this world. If that was what it meant to be a Christian, the first person we would have to crucify is ourselves.

I hope it makes sense. It pains me that you had such a visceral reaction to the sentence, but I would be lying if it wasn’t what I believed after consulting a lot of trusted ministers and doing my own interpretation of the text. In the Christian world, a lot of people would strongly disagree with me that mere temptation wasn’t a sin either. I have had to fight on that stance towards other Christians.

What I will say is that I haven’t had the same conversation with many of my friends in the LGBTQ+ community. The defense of “I have a lot of gay friends” is no cop out because I haven’t had this conversation with them before. Sin is a very visceral term, and anyone would feel attacked by being told they were sinners, and yet I do believe every person in the world is a sinner, especially myself. We’re all human beings.

So I hope this makes things clear. I apologize about the way the sentence was construed but it doesn’t reflect the full portrait of the beliefs.

Believer, Baltimore City special ed teacher, and 2:40 marathon runner. Diehard fan of “The Wire.” Email: ryanfan17@gmail.com. Support me: ko-fi.com/ryanfan