AN AMERICAN Christian visiting the Sunshine Coast says the evangelical church is partly to blame for the Orlando massacre.
Susan Cottrell, author of the popular book Mom, I'm Gay, was invited to speak at last night's Cotton Tree vigil for victims of the nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida.
Ms Cottrell said she would share Jesus' message we need to "love each other".
She left the evangelical Texas church she had been involved with for 25 years not long after her 20-year-old daughter told her she was gay. That was six years ago.
However, she hasn't lost her faith in God and still describes herself as a Christian.
"My faith has changed. I still have it, but I see things differently," she said.
"I feel closer to God than I was before and closer to my family."
But she find herself in "less agreement with church teaching".
"I still call myself a Christian, but I have to explain to people what that means," she said.
She planned to tell people at the vigil that "God loves every single one of us".
"God loves lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people, there is nothing wrong with them," she said.
"A parent's job is to love and embrace their kid full stop.
"A church's job is to love, period."
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Ms Cottrell left the church after comments were made about her two daughters who are both gay and the need for them to repent their sin.
"I still go to church in America, but it is very progressive," she said.
"I don't go to evangelical churches any more, the majority are non-affirming."
She was "horrified" as she watched events unfold in Orlando as reports came through of a mass shooting in a gay nightclub.
"I feel so sad for the families that have lost loved ones," she said.
"Hateful thoughts lead to hateful actions.
"The church in America is partly to blame as they have not been preaching and teaching unconditional love and acceptance.
"This fuels hatred."
Ms Cottrell said more and more churches were accepting LBTIQ people, but were afraid to say so.
"I talk to pastors who would love to be affirming, but fear they would lose the church and lose the congregation.
"Parents want to embrace their kid. They are taught to be afraid God will be mad with them.
"We need to give them permission to love their kids."
She said the Bible was "not explicit on homosexuality".
"It has been contextually misread," she said.
"The word didn't exist until 1800 and wasn't added till 1946.
"People who think it is need to do themselves a favour and study it.
"Jesus taught us to love each other and love God. That is the main commandment, everything else fits into this.
"If something doesn't fit, back off. Loving is the primary command."
Ms Cottrell will speak to various church leaders across Australia during her month-long trip.
None of them are listed as evangelical churches.
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