Susan Campbell (opinion): Jenna Ellis does not speak for me. Nor does she speak for Jesus.

Dallas Dutka of Broomfield, Colo., prays by a makeshift memorial, Nov. 22, 2022, for the victims of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo. Dutka's cousin, Daniel Aston, was killed in the shooting.

Dallas Dutka of Broomfield, Colo., prays by a makeshift memorial, Nov. 22, 2022, for the victims of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo. Dutka's cousin, Daniel Aston, was killed in the shooting.

David Zalubowski/Associated Press

A couple of days after a gunman rained hell onto the patrons of Club Q in Colorado Springs, Jenna Ellis, a member of the former president’s legal team and a self-professed evangelical Christian, took to her podcast to remind other evangelicals why the world hates us.

In her soliloquy, after Ellis rightfully condemned the shooting (in which five people died and multiple people were injured), she agreed with her pastor-partner, John K. Amanchukwu, when he called homosexuality a “death-style,” as opposed to a lifestyle. There was talk about grooming, and transgender women who wear too much makeup.

There’s already plenty to unpack there, but then Ellis opined, at about the 38-minute mark of her nearly hour-long podcast, that the shooter’s victims are right now burning in hell, because we assume they were not baptized at the time of their murder.

And there it was, exactly why people cannot stand us, why post-pandemic believers aren’t finding their way back into the pews, and why the rest of us evangelicals — who read our Bibles and linger on the verses about love (of which there are many) — have spent decades banging our head against the wall over evangelical declarations that range from ridiculous to cruel. This, then, is the public face of our big-tent religion, a big guy sweating so much he shorts out the microphone as he sends you, and you and you to hell. Or it’s a well-dressed, multi-degreed woman spouting a cool kind of hatred that bores itself into the brain until it gives fruit to more attacks on communities that shouldn’t be vulnerable, but very much are.

Ellis’ commentary would be utterly dismiss-able (it’s Jenna Ellis; who cares?) but we saw the same muddying of the waters here in Connecticut, before our state Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality. You had some highly placed religious leaders pushing for equality, and other highly placed religious leaders pulling against it. In the latter group were representatives from religions not known to socialize with one another, much less lobby together but on this one topic, they could agree. What Ellis and others may not understand (or maybe they do) is that when you serve up religious exclusivity with a side order of homophobia, you chart the path to the next hate crime. You don’t have to hold up nasty signs for Westboro Baptist Church (which is neither Baptist nor a church) to get that particular ball rolling. It’s poised at the top of the hill, ready for the slightest push.

On the surface, Ellis’ podcast — and I have scriptural reference — was our latest opportunity to watch someone strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. (Matthew 23:24). But it is worse than that. This ignorant condemnation comes from an ancient need to find a culprit for our cultural ills, so historically, the lesser-read evangelical points to gays, feminists, and/or a lack of public prayer. Before he stepped back from the microphone, Pat Robertson was a big one for this, but the difference between Brother Robertson’s heyday and today is that now, we have more guns with which to settle the score.

Oh, for a nickel for every time I’ve heard “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?” As a matter of fact, I did, and nowhere in my Bible do I find justification for pouring salt into an open wound by tut-tutting over someone’s baptismal record (I Cor. 3:16). Isn’t that for God to judge? Are there other things about which we can concern ourselves? Hunger, maybe? Homelessness? Inequality? Ellis’s God sounds like a celestial being who’s keeping a naughty and nice list. She’s confused God with Santa. Big difference. Huge.

Does Ellis really think that in the horror of that night, God made note of who sat in what pew (I Cor. 3:16)? I cannot answer the question of why God let this happen. I only know that these mass shootings will keep happening, though we have the power to stop them, but that will take more than thoughts, prayers and faith. We need works (James 2:17). Until we take action and ban assault-style weapons, we will continue to be held hostage by our lethal guns —  all of us, no matter whom we love and where we worship.

Finally (and in closing), Ellis does not speak for me, a baptized believer. More to the point, she does not speak for Jesus, who offered a radical welcome to members of his society’s vulnerable populations. Ellis and others could learn from that, rather than spread hate, which leaves it to the rest of us to clean up their mess by spreading love, a concept for which you will find scriptural backing (I John 4:8). So for all who’ve been hurt by the Ellises and Robertsons and Amanchukwus of the world: Jesus loves you, and so do I. I remain on the fence about the Ellises and Robertsons and Amanchukwus.

Susan Campbell is the author of “Frog Hollow: Stories from an American Neighborhood,” “Tempest-Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker” and “Dating Jesus: A Story of Fundamentalism, Feminism and the American Girl.” She is Distinguished Lecturer at the University of New Haven, where she teaches journalism .