Criticism ≠ Bigotry

CNN continues its track record of reporting No Shit Sherlock stories in which they give a large, national platform to some right wing bigot to spout the same crap they always say as if it were something revolutionary. This time it’s a bunch of evangelicals whining about how they’re the new persecuted minority because their bigotry leads to people calling them bigots, which is JUST LIKE what has been done to minorities.

When Peter Sprigg speaks publicly about his opposition to homosexuality, something odd often happens.

During his speeches, people raise their hands to challenge his assertions that the Bible condemns homosexuality, but no Christians speak out to defend him.

“But after it is over, they will come over to talk to me and whisper in my ear, ‘I agree with everything you said,’” says Sprigg, a spokesman for The Family Research Council, a powerful, conservative Christian lobbying group.

We’ve heard of the “down-low” gay person who keeps his or her sexual identity secret for fear of public scorn. But Sprigg and other evangelicals say changing attitudes toward homosexuality have created a new victim: closeted Christians who believe the Bible condemns homosexuality but will not say so publicly for fear of being labeled a hateful bigot.

Waaaaaah! We can’t spout bigotry without being called bigots! We’re the real victims here!

Bryan Litfin, a theology professor at Moody Bible Institute in Illinois, says Christians should be able to publicly say that God designed sex to take place within a marriage between a man and a woman.

“That isn’t so outrageous,” Litfin says. “Nobody is expressing hate toward homosexuals by saying that. Since when is disagreement the same as hate?”

Since when is disagreement the same as denying people marriage rights, allowing businesses to fire people for being gay, opposing anti-gay bullying laws for schools, and other forms of oppression which are clearly not merely disagreement?

But quoting the Bible doesn’t inoculate anyone from becoming a bigot or hater, some scholars say. There’s a point at which a Christian’s opposition to homosexuality can become bigotry, and even hate speech, they say.

Crossing such a line has happened many times in history.

A literal reading of the Bible was used to justify all sorts of hatred: slavery, the subjugation of women and anti-Semitism, scholars and pastors say.

“Truly damaging speech cannot be excused just because it expresses genuine religious belief,” says Mark D. Jordan, author of “Recruiting Young Love: How Christians Talk about Homosexuality.”

“Some religious beliefs, sincerely held, are detestable. They cannot be spoken without disrupting social peace,” says Jordan, a professor at the John Danforth Center on Religion & Politics at Washington University in St. Louis.

First sensible thing anyone in this article has said so far. Now, let’s get back to the stupid.

A blogger at The American Dream asked in one essay:

“Are evangelical Christians rapidly becoming one of the most hated minorities in America?”

The reluctance of evangelicals to speak out against homosexuality is often cited as proof they are being forced into the closet.

Or maybe it’s proof that some of them are starting to realize how idiotic it is to attack someone for something that has no effect on them or anyone else.  Maybe some part of their tiny, reptilian brain stems somehow managed to avoid getting completely fried by religious dogma and whispers to them, “You sound really, really stupid and mean-spirited when you attack gays. Maybe you shouldn’t do it…”

Joe Carter, editor for The Gospel Coalition, an online evangelical magazine, wrote a blog post entitled “Debatable: Is the Christian Church a ‘Hate Group’?” He warned that young people will abandon “orthodox” Christian churches that teach that homosexuality is a sin for fear of being called haters.

“Faux civility, embarrassment, prudishness and a fear of expressing an unpopular opinion has caused many Christians to refrain from explaining how homosexual conduct destroys lives,” Carter wrote.

Or again, maybe they’re not able to repress the cognitive dissonance that arises in the brain of any non-insane person who hears a phrase like, “homosexual conduct destroys lives.” I’ve met quite a few gay people in my life. They all seemed to be doing just fine. In fact, the only recurring problem was that if they openly said they were gay, they faced a flood of anti-gay Christian “love” which sought to deny them rights that everyone else enjoys.

And, seriously, you’re accusing the non-Christians of prudishness? That’s fucking rich.

Some Christians fear that opposing homosexuality could cause them to lose their jobs and “haunt them forever,” Carter says.

You’d think that would make them a little more empathetic to the many gay people who have lost their jobs for being gay. But then again, you’d think.  They don’t. That’s why they’re evangelicals.

Edward Johnson, a communication professor at Campbell University in North Carolina, says we are now living in a “postmodern” era where everything is relative and there is no universally accepted truth. It’s an environment in which anyone who says “this is right” and “that is wrong” is labeled intolerant, he says.

There was a time when a person could publicly say homosexuality was wrong and people could consider the statement without anger, he says. Today, people have reverted to an intellectual tribalism where they are only willing to consider the perspective of their own tribe.

Whereas god-humpers are well known for their open-mindedness and willingness to consider other people’s viewpoints.

“They are incapable of comprehending that someone may have a view different than theirs,” Johnson says. “For them anyone who dares to question the dogma of the tribe can only be doing so out of hatred.”

Oh, yes. When we say, “Treat gay people like humans and stop being such a busybody,” that’s intellectual tribalism and dogma because we can’t understand anyone else’s point of view but our own. Now, let’s have a conversation about that whole “Even people who don’t agree with us must follow our Holy Book” horseshit that you guys keep spouting.

Ed Johnson is spouting some weapons grade level of lack of self awareness here. He clearly has no comprehension of what the actual pro gay rights side has to say. And he clearly gives no truck to any point of view that doesn’t line up with his own dogmatic and ignorant reading of the Bible. And he’s projecting his own dogmatic bigotry and inability to comprehend those who are different (gays) onto the very people he dogmatically condemns without comprehending.

Slaveholders in 19th century America justified slavery through a literal reading of the Bible, quoting Titus 2:9-10 – “Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything. …” And anti-Semitism was justified by the claims that Jews killed Jesus, such as Matthew 27: 25-26 – “Let his blood be on us and on our children.”

Litfin, from Moody Bible Institute, acknowledged that the Bible once sanctioned slavery, but he said that practice was a “cultural expression” that changed over time. Evangelicals who oppose same-sex marriage by citing the Bible are on more solid ground, he says.

“Marriage is a universal and timeless institution that God set up for maximum human flourishing. He set it up in the first book of the Bible with the story of Adam and Eve. It is consistent throughout the whole Bible. … Marriage is in a different category than those cultural things.”

19th century slaveholders made the exact same argument about slavery, you fucking goon. And no, marriage is not consistent throughout the Bible. The Bible in some parts is perfectly fine with forcing a child into marriage or a man taking multiple wives which he treats like property. There is nothing universal or timeless about the account of marriage in the Bible.

Public jousts over the Bible’s stance on homosexuality rarely change people’s minds.

I guess it depends on what they’re jousting with…

Until the debate over homosexuality is settled – if it ever is – there may be plenty of evangelical Christians who feel as if they are now being forced to stay in the closet.

Carter, the evangelical blogger, says he foresees a day when any church that preaches against homosexuality will be marginalized. Just as many churches now accept divorce, they will accept sexual practices once considered sinful.

“It’s getting to the point,” he says, “where churches are not going to say that any sexual activity is wrong.”

No. There will come a point when they don’t say that homosexuality is wrong (and that point can’t come soon enough). But there’s nothing stopping them from saying rape or pedophilia is wrong.

The fact that evangelicals constantly confound consensual homosexuality with non-consensual forms of sex is revealing of their authoritarian mindset. The notion of an individual consenting means little to them. Sex is good or bad depending on whether or not the authorities tell you it’s good or bad. Whether you consent or not is irrelevant. That’s why you hear some evangelicals attacking consenting gays but defending the brazen rapists in Steubenville. It’s not about consent or personal freedom to them. It’s not about your personal identity or your right to a private life. It’s about God Says So, which always translates to We Say So. It’s about control and power over others for evangelicals. And that’s why they need to be opposed at every turn.

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4 responses to “Criticism ≠ Bigotry

  1. “It’s getting to the point,” he says, “where churches are not going to say that any sexual activity is wrong.”

    Actually, it would be pretty nice if the churches would stop being prudes and telling people they’ll go to hell for consensual sexual activity. Maybe if the churches did that, I wouldn’t feel the need to constantly criticize them, have you ever thought of that? Here’s my message to the church…

    I don’t care if you believe in god, I don’t care if you think praying to a deity will solve your problems, I don’t care if you think Jesus is the son of god, because even though I don’t believe that to be true, your beliefs are not affecting my life. What I do care about, is that your religion insists on infringing upon human freedom. You tell children they’ll go to hell if they aren’t Christian, you discriminate against gay people and try to prevent them from achieving happiness, you try to pass laws that will end a woman’s choice to have an abortion, and even try to pass laws that will restrict access to contraception (despite the fact that easy access to contraception lowers the number of abortions). You always wonder why non-religious people dislike religion or feel the need to criticize it, this is why. Your beliefs are infringing on human happiness and until you reform your church to stop the practices I mentioned, attendance will continue to decline, more people will leave the religion entirely, and the criticism levied against you will grow more and more intense with every year.

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