WARNING: discussion of suicide
A pastor based in Nashville Tennessee made inflammatory remarks about the LGBTQ+ community. Last week, Kent Christmas claimed that the high suicide rate among the community was because they felt guilty.
Christmas spoke to his congregation and the video was picked up by Right Wing Watch, a group dedicated to monitoring and exposing activities of the far right.
And far right is exactly what this take by Christmas is.
Right Wing Watch often reports on and shares videos of evidence of right-wing extremists sharing their bigoted views. This ensures they cannot hide and pretend like they don't believe these things.
In the video above, Christmas starts talking about homosexuality like this:
"Can I tell you how my heart goes out to the homosexual community because there are so many of them. Suicide amongst the homosexual community is one of the highest rates of suicide of anything in the earth."
"And part, it is because of the guilt: They know that it's not right, but they are bound and they hate doing it."
The ridiculous implication that Christmas said made for joke fodder online.
On one hand, Christmas is right that the LGBTQ+ community experiences high rates of suicide. But the idea that they secretly feel guilty in the eyes of God is more than a little disingenuous.
A recent study found that 30 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual cis gendered respondents between the ages of 18 to 25 have attempted suicide. In transgender adults, this statistic increases dramatically.
Studies show that this isn't because of some secret, in-born guilt. Rather, it comes down to how they are treated by the rest of society.
When they receive love, support, and acceptance by their friends, family, and wider community instances of suicide for LGBTQ+ people drop dramatically.
So maybe instead of preaching about how children are being taken over by a demon when they become homosexual, Christmas could help by preaching acceptance.
What makes this even worse, is that Christmas advocates for conversion therapy, a degrading treatment that more than doubles the rates of suicide in gay and bisexual adults who go through it.
But Christmas also claimed that God told him Donald Trump would win re-election in 2020, but that ended up being a dud, so maybe people could just stop listening to him altogether.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
LGBTQ+ Youth can get help through:
- TrevorChat — 24/7/365 at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/get-help-now/#services
- TrevorLifeline — phone service available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386
- TrevorText — Text "START" to 678678. Available 24/7/365.
- TrevorSpace — online international peer-to-peer community for LGBTQ young people and their friends at https://www.trevorspace.org/
- Trevor Support Center — LGBTQ youth & allies can find answers to FAQs and explore resources at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/trevor-support-center/#sm.0000121hx9lvicotqs52mb1saenel
Transgender people can get help through theTrans Lifeline at https://www.translifeline.org/ or call US: 877-565-8860 Canada: 877-330-6366