“Evangelicals don’t dislike our gay and lesbian neighbors, and we don’t mean them harm.” -Russell Moore
Except they do. They want to deny gay people the civil institution of marriage. Who cares if they don’t want the ceremonies to be performed in their churches anyway? A civil marriage is a civil marriage. It comes with certain tax benefits, inheritance assumptions, health proxies, and respect. When the conservatives talked about “civil unions” and explained they’d be the same as marriage, they were merely parsing words. They were trying to tell gay people that they were, and would remain second class citizens.
Evangelicals like to claim that they “love” their gay neighbors, but when they go to church, their preachers teach them hatred. They like to perfume it up with “oh we hate the sin but love the sinner” and that is just not true. They hate people different from themselves. They despair diversity. You can hear them saying things like “If I hear one more person say ‘coexist’ I will scream!” I know. I’ve heard them say it.
They resent that America is doing what America has always done- changed. They espouse politicians that say “bring back our America” with a hint of their own naked hypocrisy. They claim to want to make America great again, but they’re unwilling to see the truths in history that we can learn from. They rewrite events, such as Sarah Palin famously did with Paul Revere’s ride, and think that the Constitution should remain as static as their own literalistic religion. There’s no room for growth and understanding, just a set of boundaries and parameters that they refuse to change. In ways they exhibit behaviors that are like children that don’t want to grow up. They understand things as they were and don’t want that understanding to be clouding by complexities that they don’t seem to desire to even think about for fear that they may have some unintended results from actually considering other ways of looking at things. Look at how they cling to the “unchanging word of God.” Except interpretations of the Bible have changed throughout the ages, and they are always the ones that want to cling to the past as if that is going to guarantee them some sort of edge in gaining immortality after death.
So yes, the conservative evangelicals do actually want to cause gay people harm. They want to continue lambasting gay rights and thinking “well, that doesn’t have anything to do with them personally and how I treat them” except that it does. Creating hostile atmospheres, accusing gay or marriage equality of causing great plagues, disasters, and blasphemy is a way of keeping the homosexual community in perpetual otherness. It diminishes gays while allowing conservatives to have some sort of perceived moral superiority.
Don’t let them fool you with this rhetoric. When they finally grow in their understanding, when they finally give up the last gasps of homophobia, they won’t have to fight so hard or pretend to justify themselves any longer.