At times, the Internet can be an information wonderland. At others, it is more like a landfill where people go to dump their poorly crafted opinions labeled as fact. Take this quote for example:
"It's a fact that gay teenagers are about thirty percent more likely than straight teenagers to take their own lives. It's a fact that the vast majority of Christians believe that being gay is a profound moral failing, a foul aberration, a repelling, unnatural offense against God that fully warrants as punishment an eternity spent in hell. Asserting that those two facts have no relationship cannot possibly be anything but intellectually dishonest."
This quote comes from the personal blog of John Shore, contributor to the Huffington Post, which linked to the entry in question. He writes primarily on Christianity and operates under the mantra "Trying God's patience since 1958."
His statements are pretty compelling to the uncritical reader. Unfortunately for Shore, he is the one being "intellectually dishonest." His argument is built upon false premises. Just because two aspects have a common bond does not necessarily translate into a causal relation.
Shore observes that an increased number of homosexuals are committing suicide. He also observes that Christianity does not support a homosexual lifestyle. Shore puts two and two together to determine that Christians are the cause of an increase in the number of homosexuals who commit suicide. However, the equation is not that simple.
Readers are supposed to accept Shore's implication that Christian beliefs about homosexuality contributed to or spurred on the bullying from peers that has allegedly resulted in the recent suicides of four gay teens. This gives religion far too much credit for influencing the behavior of teenagers. And it could just as easily be argued that said bullying resulted from a failure to follow Christianity. "Do unto others" is clearly not at work in any bullying situation. Mean kids do mean things everyday, and they aren't informed by Christianity.
Further, to suggest that most Christians consider homosexuality "a profound moral failing, a foul aberration, a repelling, unnatural offense against God that fully warrants as punishment an eternity spent in hell," is to oversimplify to the point of meaninglessness. The Catholic Church and many of the mainline Protestant churches that haven't already fully embraced homosexuality, teach that being homosexual isn't a sin - acting on it is.
That may seem a small distinction, but if Shore's point is that gay teens kill themselves because of their own Christian upbringing, the distinction becomes crucial.
A self-proclaimed believer, Shore states "I love being Christian." He later continues, "But let's not insult ourselves and anyone listening to us by saying that we don't understand the relationship between the gay teen suicide rate, and the common, absolute Christian condemnation of gays."
What's more insulting is that Shore did not take the time to think through the complexities of his subject before scape-goating Christians.