By Willow (

Love the sinners, hate the sin?

March 24, 2023

Earlier this month, conservative talking head Michael Knowles ignited a controversy over his statement, both on his TV show and at the CPAC 2023, that called for an "eradication of transgenderism."

Knowles then accused the media outlets that reported his speech as a call for genocide, of a "libel" and demanded retractions.

Many trans advocates see this as a silly semantic distinction that is meaningless. Legislative researcher Erin Reed told Rolling Stone magazine that one could not eradicate transgenderism without destroying transgender people.

I have seen this before, back in the 1990s. The Christian Right was busy trying to prevent local and state legislatures from instituting laws protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination. They were even against schools from creating anti-bullying programs. When Hawai`i introduced a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, they quickly jumped into action and lobbied Congress to pass the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA).

These Christians insisted that they "loved homosexuals," but they did not approve of their sinful proclivities and wanted to protect the nation from the gay social contagion, and especially to protect "innocent" and "impressionable" children from learning that gay people existed.

In short, their favorite slogan went like this: Love the sinners, hate the sin.

It quickly became a cliche, just like their other favorite slogan, "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve."

The same conservatives, however, accuse the Chinese Communist Party of committing genocide in Tibet and East Turkestan.

The regime of Xi Jinping of course has claimed that the Chinese government is not committing genocide against Uighurs or Tibetans, that they are merely combating "separatists" and "religious extremists."

In other words, China is trying to "eradicate Islam" in Xinjiang but not the Uighurs whose culture is steeped in Islam. And to "eradicate the Dalai Lama cult" in Tibet but not the Tibetans whose culture venerates the Dalai Lama and traditional Tibetan Buddhism.

In reality, it is the Uighurs and Tibetans who are constantly surveilled, harassed, and rounded up by the Chinese police and are being kidnapped and taken to the so-called "vocational training centers." The CCP has been systematically destroying the Uighur and Tibetan cultures, languages, and ways of life, by forcing them to live with and marry Han Chinese, denying their children education in their own languages, and prohibiting clothing and cultural practices related to Islam and Buddhism.

China sure loves the Tibetan and Uighur people, just that China hates the sins against Chinese nationalism and against Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.

Yet, the international community, including the United States government during the Trump Administration, rightfully called this a "genocide and crime against humanity" (and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo even made that statement on the final full day of the Trump presidency).

Whenever the likes of Knowles call for an "eradication of transgenderism," we must take such statements seriously and not explain them away.

Even if one does not necessarily agree with people who transition to other genders, when elected politicians think this is acceptable, then it will establish a disturbing precedent for the future. What if conservatives eventually lose their seats in legislative chambers across America, and socialists and ultra-progressives with anti-Christian sentiments gained majorities? They could easily make the same arguments about conservative Christians that the Christian Nationalists are now making about drag queens and LGBTQ+ people: that Christian Nationalists "indoctrinate impressionable children to hate"; force kids to make religious commitments before they are old enough to make rational choice; and the pastors and youth leaders molest and rape children. Then they might even call for an "eradication of Christianity."

One cannot eradicate Christianity without eliminating Christians, either.

And when other countries do this, conservative Christians call that persecution and genocide, which rightfully is so.

"The next time you are inclined to say, 'Hate the sin, love the sinner,' you might ask yourself several questions. First, am I using this slogan only for L.G.B.T.Q. people? Second, where do their lives express not sin, but love? And finally, what can I learn about God from the people I am calling sinners?" -- James Martin, S.J.
"For this aged history major, it always comes back to 'what would Abraham Lincoln do?' In 1864, the President wrote in a letter to an editor in Frankfort that 'if slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.' If codified discrimination against gay people/transgender children is not wrong, nothing is wrong. Whether a lawmaker is drafting a local, state or federal law, she should always ask herself, 'Would I want this law to apply to my own family?' Will it treat any one affected by it 'with malice toward none, with charity for all?'" -- Bob Heleringer, former Kentucky legislator


Opinion: What the CPAC speaker meant when he said ‘transgenderism must be eradicated’

What is genocide?

UN hate speech strategy

"Can you really hate the sin and love the sinner?" James Martin, S.J.

Bob Heleringer: I am a Kentucky Republican calling out my party's war against LGBTQ people

What the Bible say about trans people


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