Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

When Christians are their own worst enemies

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
July 24, 2012 -- Updated 1817 GMT (0217 HKT)
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, right, said the theater slaughter is related to
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, right, said the theater slaughter is related to "ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs."
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • LZ Granderson: People who call themselves Christians can hurt the faith the most
  • LZ: Falwell blamed ACLU for 9/11; a pastor said gay parade caused Hurricane Katrina
  • Now, evangelical said some who died in theater shooting were going to hell, LZ writes
  • LZ: This kind of rhetoric violates Christ's commandment to love and simple logic

Editor's note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and is a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter: @locs_n_laughs

(CNN) -- For all of the rhetoric about Christianity being under attack in this country, oftentimes it feels no one does a better job of hurting Christianity than the people who call themselves Christians. Especially after a national tragedy.

For example, after the September 11 terror attacks, Jerry Falwell blamed the ACLU, as well as feminists, gays and lesbians, for lifting God's veil of protection.

After Hurricane Katrina, Pastor John Hagee said he believed God caused the largest natural disaster in U.S. history to stop a gay pride parade in New Orleans.

Bodies were still being recovered from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti when Pat Robertson said the country was struck because it made a "pact to the devil."

LZ Granderson
LZ Granderson

And just this weekend, as the nation is trying to heal from the theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado, Jerry Newcombe, a spokesman for the evangelical group Truth in Action, took time out of his day to inform mourners that some of their loved ones were going to hell.

His comments were made after U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, said he believed the shootings happened because Christianity is under attack.

He then wondered why "you know, with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying? That could have stopped this guy more quickly?" Carrying a gun, of course.

That's right -- a congressman who sits on the House Judiciary Committee is talking about a shootout in a dark room filled with tear gas and panicked, innocent people. And we ask ourselves why Congress is so dysfunctional.

This past winter,Sen. Rick Santorum, a devout Roman Catholic who made his faith central to his presidential bid, blamed higher education for the declining number of young people who identify as Christians. This might have struck young people looking at Santorum's three degrees as ... curious.

Dare I say, hypocritical? Hysterical? Dumb?

As in ignoring that Haiti sits on two seismic fault lines, but choosing to go with the pact-with-the-devil-to-explain-the-earthquake kind of dumb.

Of course, people of various faiths, agnostics and atheists make questionable statements all the time. The difference is this mantra of an "attack on religious freedom" is most often repeated by politicians and religious leaders of the Christian faith, usually when a political discussion about marriage or women's reproductive health is taking place.

I'm fine with that.

But I have a problem when a disaster claims innocent victims or causes a great deal of pain and loss, and instead of showing compassion, these so-called leaders of faith say the gays did it. Or the liberals. Or that gem Falwell served up -- the ACLU. That kind of rhetoric not only violates Christ's greatest commandment -- to love -- but is completely illogical.

As a Christian, I understand the importance of faith. But Jesus did not say you have to be illogical or inhumane to be a person of faith. Newcombe and others like him would remember that, I doubt he would have chosen the day after the Aurora shooting to tell mourners their loved ones are burning in hell.

Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter.

Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of LZ Granderson.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 21, 2014 -- Updated 1750 GMT (0150 HKT)
John Sutter boarded a leaky oyster boat in Connecticut with a captain who can't swim as he set off to get world leaders to act on climate change
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 2322 GMT (0722 HKT)
Is ballet dying? CNN spoke with Isabella Boylston, a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, about the future of the art form.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 2147 GMT (0547 HKT)
Sally Kohn says it's time we take climate change as seriously as we do warfare in the Middle East
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1302 GMT (2102 HKT)
Dean Obeidallah says an Oklahoma state representative's hateful remarks were rightfully condemned by religious leaders..
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1922 GMT (0322 HKT)
No matter how much planning has gone into U.S. military plans to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Arab public isn't convinced that anything will change, says Geneive Abdo
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1544 GMT (2344 HKT)
President Obama's strategy for destroying ISIS seems to depend on a volley of air strikes. That won't be enough, says Haider Mullick.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
Paul Begala says Hillary Clinton has plenty of good reasons not to jump into the 2016 race now
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1501 GMT (2301 HKT)
Scotland decided to trust its 16-year-olds to vote in the biggest question in its history. Americans, in contrast, don't even trust theirs to help pick the county sheriff. Who's right?
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0157 GMT (0957 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says spanking is an acceptable form of disciplining a child, as long as you follow the rules.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1547 GMT (2347 HKT)
Frida Ghitis says the foiled Australian plot shows ISIS is working diligently to taunt the U.S. and its allies.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1958 GMT (0358 HKT)
Young U.S. voters by and large just do not see the midterm elections offering legitimate choices because, in their eyes, Congress has proven to be largely ineffectual, and worse uncaring, argues John Della Volpe
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0158 GMT (0958 HKT)
Steven Holmes says spanking, a practice that is ingrained in our culture, accomplishes nothing positive and causes harm.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1831 GMT (0231 HKT)
Sally Kohn says America tried "Cowboy Adventurism" as a foreign policy strategy; it failed. So why try it again?
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1427 GMT (2227 HKT)
Van Jones says the video of John Crawford III, who was shot by a police officer in Walmart, should be released.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1448 GMT (2248 HKT)
NASA will need to embrace new entrants and promote a lot more competition in future, argues Newt Gingrich.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 2315 GMT (0715 HKT)
If U.S. wants to see real change in Iraq and Syria, it will have to empower moderate forces, says Fouad Siniora.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0034 GMT (0834 HKT)
Mark O'Mara says there are basic rules to follow when interacting with law enforcement: respect their authority.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
LZ Granderson says Congress has rebuked the NFL on domestic violence issue, but why not a federal judge?
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1149 GMT (1949 HKT)
Mel Robbins says the only person you can legally hit in the United States is a child. That's wrong.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1723 GMT (0123 HKT)
Eric Liu says seeing many friends fight so hard for same-sex marriage rights made him appreciate marriage.
ADVERTISEMENT