Thursday, February 27, 2014

Don't Call It Religious Freedom; It's Bigotry, Period!

Now that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has vetoed that state's "anti-gay" bill, I thought I would chime in with my nickel's worth of wisdom on the matter.

If you thought the feud between conservative and liberal Christians during the last few years on economics and how best to deal with the poor was titanic, the divide over gay marriage is enough to make the Grand Canyon look like a pot hole.

Even some Christians who otherwise would be sympathetic to liberal positions on most issues, go practically ballistic when the topic is brought up. Out come the Scriptural references - all seven of them, if my math is correct - along with shouts that their religious freedoms are being taken away. Any and all attempts at "discussion" are thoroughly dismissed. The Bible, they say, is quite clear: homosexuality is an abomination. 

To sum up, the Arizona bill, had it become law, would've allowed businesses to deny services to gay people on the grounds of "deeply-held religious beliefs." That the state already has a law that protects the rights of churches and other religious institutions - the Religious Freedom Restoration Act - is beside the point to defenders of the bill. They cite examples such as a photographer in New Mexico and a baker in Oregon who were sued because they refused to cater to gay couples.

While such cases are indeed unfortunate, they are also quite the exception. The idea that homosexuals are lining up to take their revenge against the heterosexual community for centuries of oppression is not only an unlikely scenario, it smacks of the rankest form of paranoia. Though ironically, if ever a group had a right to exact revenge, next to African Americans and the indigenous population (I refuse to call them native Americans), it would be the gay community. If you think terms like nigger or redskin are offensive, try faggot or dyke on for size.

No, the more I think about it, this has absolutely nothing to do with religious freedom any more than separate but equal had anything to do with states' rights. This is nothing more than a group with a persecution complex - that would be the Christian Right - hiding behind the Constitution to defend their bigotry. Signs that read "No gays allowed" are an anathema to the teachings of Jesus, who commanded his followers to love all people, even our "enemies." Note, there are no exceptions to that command.

I have heard and had enough of this group mouthing off on nonsensical issues like the "war on Christmas" and decrying the end of Christendom every time a Mosque goes up in one of their precious communities. They are quite adept at stating what they're against (gay marriage, abortion, contraception, global warming, government assistance to the poor), yet, when it comes to proclaiming the love of Christ, they are more often than not MIA.

Of course when they aren't moaning about the imagined loss of their hegemony, they're busy rewriting American history to suit their myopic and warped interests. And some of these "geniuses" actually wonder why people leave the Church or prefer not to join in the first place. Rachel Held Evans summed up the "plight" of these Christians perfectly:

Evangelical Christians in America enjoy incredible religious freedom, perhaps more than any other group in this country. Christians remain the religious majority in the U.S. Every American president has identified himself as a Christian, and Christians make up the overwhelming majority in both the House of Representatives and Senate. If you are a white evangelical Christian in the U.S. you are unlikely to be “randomly” screened by the T.S.A. every time you try to board an airplane.  It is unlikely that you will face protests and governmental obstruction when you attempt to build a new place of worship, which is a reality faced by many of our Muslim citizens. 

For the life of me, I cannot understand the mindset of these Christians who actually believe that just because gays and lesbians now have the right to live as equal human beings among us in this country that all of a sudden their faith is threatened. How small must their God be for that to happen? But then I still can't wrap my head around the ridiculous notion that just because a few white people once in a while lose out to a minority for a job promotion they thought was theirs, that that automatically means the only racism in America is reverse racism. When white men are found swinging from a tree with a rope around their necks, I'll believe that drivel.

Until then, let me just say to all my white Christian friends who are having a rough time of it in this ever-changing, multicultural country:



1 comment:

Grung_e_Gene said...

But, it is about Religious Freedom!

The Religious Freedom of conservatives to be bigots. The Religious Freedom of conservatives to impose their Religion upon you.

That is what conservatives think Religious Freedom means...