I believe it was my countryman Oscar Wilde who said
There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Well, I know people, particularly some Christadelphians, talk about me. Most of this blog is actually reasonably personal, and it would be profoundly disappointing if nobody was talking about it. That is why I publish it.
The other day, a friend forwarded me an email thread about me and something I had written. Rather than referring to me by name, one of the authors of the email called me the “abominable man”. I don’t think this was supposed to be a compliment, but I actually quite like the phrase. It makes me sound like I am large and hairy, but bereft of snow. It makes me think of Knox’s monstrous regiment.
As I think should be obvious from what I have written, I’m not upset or distressed by being called an abominable man. I have been called much worse. That being said, I do want to draw attention to something very sinister about the phrase.
I was called an abominable man because of what I believe the Bible says about same-sex relationships, and because I am gay, and married to another man.
Very often socially-conservative Christians use the mantra “love the sinner, hate the sin”. That is a problematic position to take (it seems to violate Matthew 7:3-5 for one thing) but at least it is based in love.
Think about the other ways I could have been described, such as “a man who has abominable beliefs,” or “a man who has done abominable things”. Neither of those is particularly nice, but they separate the abominable beliefs or actions from the man. The phrase “abominable man” makes the man himself abominable. That doesn’t have the fig leaf of love that “love the sinner, hate the sin” has. It is not a phrase that is based in love.