I am a liberal christian, also known as a progressive christian, and I believe that the love of Christ compels his followers to accept and support people from the whole spectrum of gender identities and sexual orientations. I’m going to set that aside for a minute, however, and channel the fundamentalist evangelical faith of my upbringing. There’s a statement by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins that was recently brought to my attention, and there’s something about it I need to point out. Even in the context of conservative evangelical christian belief, this makes no sense.
American liberals are upset that Ugandan Pres is leading his nation in repentance–afraid of a modern example of a nation prospered by God?
— Tony Perkins (@tperkins) November 26, 2012
Quick context note in case you haven’t been following the news: Uganda’s parliament is pushing through legislation that would sentence gay people to death. Uganda’s president has referred to the bill as a “Christmas gift” for his country.
What makes no sense is Perkins’ claim that Uganda is being led in repentance. Even if he believes homosexuality is sinful, even if he believes it should be criminalized, advocating for the death penalty goes against the evangelical mandate to lead people into relationship with Christ. From this perspective, killing someone while they are in their sin puts them irrevocably beyond any chance for repentance. It is the exact opposite of what an evangelical christian should want. By supporting this measure in Uganda’s parliament, Perkins is revealing that he does not actually care for the commands of Jesus as much as he wants to be vindictive and punish those who disagree with him.