I feel I’ve made it pretty clear where I stand on the issue of LGBTQ rights and marriage equality. I also think I’ve established pretty strongly that the objections to gay rights are almost wholly religiously motivated. As I’ve mentioned in another blog post, I’ve often asked for a reasonable and secular reason to oppose gay rights; I’ve never gotten a satisfactory answer. If it weren’t because god hates it, there’d be no reason for anyone else to hate it either.
As much as we fight against it, though, gay persecution is real and disturbingly common. But even as gay kids are bullied to the point where they commit suicide, anti-gay religious conservatives try to block the implementation of school policy intended to stop bullying. Even in the face of dead teens, the opponents to gay rights try to claim that it’s some “homosexual agenda” which victimizes Christians.
And this is the most mind-boggling tactic that anti-gay christians pull: they claim that they’re the persecuted ones, that they’re under attack. The mental gymnastics necessary for this to make sense is baffling. How blind to the world must someone be to think that their right to slander and bully an entire group of people is more important that the lives of those people?
The perfect example of this happened recently when star of the reality show Duck Dynasty, Phil Robertson, said some pretty stupid and hateful things about gays. After A&E suspended him, there was an uproar from religious people in his defense. Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal idiotically claimed that his freedom of speech was infringed (I guess they think A&E is supposed to be a government body, maybe?). Others claim that objecting to Robertson making intolerant remarks is intolerance itself.
Where does this victim mentality come from? Why is it that Christians can hold a significant popular majority in this country, control both political parties, and hold almost every seat in every branch of government, yet still believe their the ones under attack? It’s not new that Christians consider themselves to be persecuted. Christians tell stories of being thrown to the lions in the Colosseum, and want to act as if they still regularly face grave danger because of their beliefs. They see a perfect continuity between those early Christians who gave their lives for their beliefs, and themselves standing up against the “gay agenda.”
Funny thing about those Christians who were thrown to the lions in the Colosseum, they didn’t actually exist. In fact, the entire narrative that early Christians lived in constant fear of the brutal Roman Empire is largely fiction. As historian Candida Moss wrote, ““Christians were never the victims of sustained, targeted persecution.”
“I never persecuted a Christian. Did you ever persecute a Christian?”
But for those Christians who see marriage equality as an “attack on traditional values,” their knowledge of history is as shallow and incomplete as their knowledge of the law. You will never convince them that they are not the underdog, about to be snuffed out by those big bad atheists and leftists.
Other people have written this far better than I could, so let me put this simply:
One final note. Last time I wrote about this subject, I got called out by my uncle Rob – who is not only a pastor, but also an all around great guy – pointed out, quite fairly, that there are plenty of Christians (including his church) who actively support gay rights. So I do want to give a shout out to the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Episcopal Church, as well as groups like Mormons for Equality. They are all doing their part to make this world better for everyone, and that’s worth celebrating.