Gary Chapman’s Hate Language: Homophobia

Loving the sinner and hating the sin isn’t love.

Valentine Wiggin

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The sun framed by hands in the shape of a heart
Source: Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Today, I learned that Gary Chapman, the creator of the five love languages, told the parent of a gay son to love him but disapprove of his “lifestyle”. This happened in 2013. He tried to justify this by saying that men and women were “made for each other” and that any sort of variation in sexuality is “outside the primary design of God”. He also encouraged this parent to show their disappointment and lack of understanding.

This was not an isolated incident. In 2014 after receiving several iterations of the question from parents of gay children, he gave the same advice in a post called “Understanding Homosexuality”. Chapman cites Jesus as an example of someone who loves someone despite disapproving of their lifestyle. However, what Chapman fails to understand is that disapproving of this so-called “lifestyle” isn’t just that. It’s disapproving of an intrinsic part of that child that’s as arbitrary as handedness. Disapproving of such a personal aspect of a person’s being is disapproving of them regardless of how appealing this compromise may seem.

The one thing I will give Chapman credit for is emphasizing the importance of parental love. Coming out puts people like me in a position of vulnerability that most of us wouldn’t show otherwise. Some of us may even expect to be dogpiled, dismissed, or even physically threatened when we come out. A parent’s love is one of the most important things we can have, especially when we can potentially shatter their perceptions of who we are. However, if my parents did this, I would not feel reassured at all. Instead, I would wonder which other uncontrollable aspects of mine have earned their covert disdain.

Many couples, including same-gender couples, have used the love languages to enhance their relationships and promote open communication. It may come as a surprise that the creator of a tool intended to help others love better has such a hateful approach to understanding variations in sexual or romantic attraction. Even when he admitted that he does not understand where these variations come from, he still sees them as less-than, sinful, and a deviation from God’s path.

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Valentine Wiggin

Death-positive, sex-positive, and LGBTQ-affirming Christian. Gen Z. I hate onions. She/her