The second thing was yesterday morning. A young guy added me as a friend a while back who is in a Facebook group I am also in for guys dealing with same-sex attractions. By his recent posts on his Facebook page, it is obvious he has gone back to living the gay lifestyle. He posted a picture of him and his boyfriend, and got some very nasty comments. "eww, faggots", "burn in hell", etc. I commented and said even if you disagree with him, that doesn't mean you should make un-Christian and ignorant comments. (And no, I am not supporting him in his sin.)
The word homophobia gets thrown around a lot and overused like racism does. If you're against gay marriage, you're homophobic. If you say homosexuality is a sin, you're homophobic. If you are against men using the women's bathroom, you're homophobic. It has become a word used to shame anyone who dares disagree with or oppose gay people in any way.
Even though the word gets used in the wrong ways and people are falsely accused of being homophobic, homophobia does exist. In the simplest terms, it is a fear of gay people, hence the "phobia" part of it. Sadly, it exists one place where it should definitively never exist: in the church.
I have personally seen homophobia from Christians, fortunately not aimed at me:
1) Bible college. Christians need to be careful about what they joke about and what they say about sins and issues. We never know who around us might be dealing with what we are joking about and treating with such disdain and judgement. There were many times I cringed and was hurt by jokes and comments made around me in the dorm of a Bible college, where guys were training to be ministers, missionaries, or other Christian ministries. They had no clue they were sharing a dorm with a guy who was dealing with the very thing they were laughing about and making rude comments about.
2) My church. Several years back, there was a single guy close my age who I talked to a lot at church and who I attended a few concerts with. He was sitting behind me in church when someone who was speaking up front briefly mentioned something pertaining to gay people. This friend leaned up to me and said "they just need to round up all of those perverts and hang them." Ouch. He had no clue how deeply he had just hurt me.
3) Sunday School class. I've mentioned it on here before, but it fits here. About 8 years ago, we were doing a series of lessons in Sunday School class on different issues of the day. This one Sunday the issue was homosexuality. This was at a time when not many people knew that I dealt with same-sex attractions, and I was still afraid for people to find out. There were two men in particular who had some very mean comments "Perverts" got thrown around a lot, and one of them - possibly both of them - said he'd rather his kids be around a murderer than one of those "perverts".
Those three incidents are examples of homophobia. And here is one more that isn't personal, and is another I have shared before:
A young man attended a church where he played the guitar in the worship band. He went to his pastor and confessed that he was attracted to other guys and wanted prayer. The pastor promised to pray for him, and he left. At the next church service, the pastor told the whole congregation about the young man, turned around to where the guy was standing with his guitar, and told him they didn't want his kind in the church, to leave, and never come back.
Christians need to do a better job of understanding this issue and learn to treat it and the people involved in it in a Christ-like manner. No, we can't go the way of the liberal/progressive Christians and toss out what the Bible says and encourage people to be gay and Christian, but we need to change.