He wore a sign on his chest that read: “God hates fags.” He paced the sidewalk, waving a Bible like it was a firearm.
The street-preacher zeroed in on me. He fired several ugly words in my direction. And true to his sandwich-sign, he was downright hateful.
I told him God didn’t hate anybody.
He told me to go to Hell.
From the looks of it, he was leading the way.
The first thing you should know is that I was raised in church. My people are the rural kind who believe in covered dishes, homecomings, and canned-food drives at Christmas.
The truth is, I don’t talk religion. I remember the words of Grandaddy, who said: “Don’t talk politics or religion in mixed company—and always carry toilet paper in your glovebox.”
Even so, I cannot abide rudeness. My people have come too far to be represented by Eddie the Evangelical in a plywood jumpsuit.
Besides, he’s got it all wrong. And it’s not fair to let him tinkle in our tea.
It’s not fair to Anne Miller—a seventy-year-old widow who adopted a teenage prostitute, then raised her crack-addicted baby.
It dishonors the legacy of Terry Johnson—with his weekly barbecues for fatherless boys. Who taught hundreds how to throw footballs, crank fishing reels, and swing Louisville Sluggers.
I don’t care what the hand-painted sign says. This kid’s never met Sister Caroline—a lesbian nun who started a women’s halfway house in an auto garage.
Or: Penny Dugan—mother of three. Whose husband said he’d been cheating on her with a man. He explained he was HIV positive. Penny nursed him until his death, then she cared for his dying boyfriend—and thousands more AIDS victims thereafter.
Dammit, this isn’t religion. This is my heritage you’re lifting your leg on. And as a card-carrying member of the Little Brown Church in the Vale, I’m obliged to tell you:
God isn’t hate.
He’s not that kind of fella. He cares for preachers the same as he does serial killers, fisherman, bloodhounds, and Barney Fife.
He even loves rapists; the man who murdered his wife and kids; the man who robbed the Tom Thumb; the alcoholic bleeding to death on the kitchen floor; the kid I met in Birmingham who lives under a bridge. He loves divorcees, baseball fanatics, orphans, those who mourn, veterans, non-voters, LSU fans, and the big-nosed dummy writing this.
Now take off that sign before you get a splinter in you hindparts. God loves you, kid. And even though you’re breaking His heart…
So do I.
Brent - November 3, 2016 2:22 pm
P.S. I’m restocking my glove box with toilet paper today!
Maggie Perez - November 3, 2016 3:41 pm
Please do not NOT ever quit writing. You speak to the soul. Thank you for your gift. I am one of those women that get up and read their Bibles and pray to start my day. Now I have added reading your writing for a feel good or reality common sense check. Keep doing whay=t you are doing!
Maureen - November 3, 2016 6:37 pm
absolutely – well said!
Reba - November 3, 2016 6:40 pm
Sometimes we preach it. Sometimes we teach it. Either way, let us all speak it. Love wins.
Vaunda Noerenberg - November 4, 2016 3:24 am
I believe the verse seriously; that starts with “God loved the world so that he gave…” which includes all creation and its offspring. No exclusions were mentioned. I read that He wants to include all of them in his plan of redemption.
Vaunda Noerenberg - November 4, 2016 3:39 am
That being said, “Yes, I am a Lutheran!” and we enjoy your priceless insights and your transparency. Your posts have had a huge impact on my perspective. Our son-in-law’s suicide in January dashed us into turbulent waters. Your blogs have given us hope when we pray desperately, “What will happen to the children?” I look forward to meeting you some day.
Carol Wilkinson - January 25, 2017 4:28 pm
As always Sean, you lift my heart.
Xan - January 25, 2017 9:20 pm
I agree with everything you said except the part about the LSU fans. 😉
Amy - January 26, 2017 12:41 am
God never stops loving you.
Alice - February 1, 2017 12:31 am
Yes, God loves ALL – Jesus paid the sin debt for ALL – Unfortunately ALL do not choose to accept this priceless gift of freedom & choose, instead, to live in the bondage of sin
Jamie - March 2, 2017 5:31 pm
This is lovely. Let’s remember, in light of how many “sign guys” there are on facebook lately, that a lot of the anger towards Christians is kinda warranted right now. Because posts on social media are a lot easier to see than the acts of the wonderful people referenced here- and a lot easier to see that the people we all know in our daily lives who are walking their Christian walk well. Our job hasn’t changed. Please, let’s be gentle to all the people who are angry at Christians right now- that’s the only way to change their minds. In the age of social media, it’s going to take a lot of actions to speak louder than these printed words. God even loves that guy the other night that accused you of being a Christian angrily. I think I know what he sees- and it’s not the ice cream and the good deeds and the love you grew up with. It’s the sign guys. Please keep writing. <3
donnalee - March 2, 2017 9:18 pm
It’s about what you do, not what you say. How do you treat others– the widows, the orphans, the imprisoned and sick. Can you hug the smelly, and sit with the dirty. Can you give the coat off your back to a stranger. Screaming condemnations will never work. Love God, love others. It’s pretty simple. Keep telling us the stories. They keep hope, and love, alive.
Kevin Pulliam - June 15, 2018 2:42 am
Wow. So brave. So edgy.
You’ll never be able to face the truth – God is hate.
Barry - January 29, 2023 4:15 am
God’s divine righteousness demands just punishment for sin. We are all worthy for Hell. However, to further His glory, He selected a remnant of a remnant who will live with him in Glory. The vast majority will burn forever in everlasting conscious torment. Sorry if you don’t like it, but what I am saying is the Scriptural Truth. The Lord your God is Sovereign, and, given the drivel of your sin-abetting words, most likely hates you. Amen.