It’s got to be rough being a conservative Christian. After all, there are attacks coming from all sides: Wars on Christmas. Wars on Easter. Unmarried people who don’t practice abstinence. Naughty words on television. Schools that dare to teach evolution. Gay people walking about in polite society without scarlet letters stitched over their sinful hearts.
Their ranks may include important politicians leading all the way up to the President, their faith may be practiced to some degree by a huge majority of Americans, but why should that stop some Christian conservatives from feeling persecuted?
(I expect an answer for that once Christian jokes overtake Jew jokes as a source of good old-fashioned American humor. As in, probably never.)
The latest news item from the Christian battlefronts:
Ruth Malhotra went to court last month for the right to be intolerant.
Malhotra says her Christian faith compels her to speak out against homosexuality. But the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she’s a senior, bans speech that puts down others because of their sexual orientation.
Malhotra sees that as an unacceptable infringement on her right to religious expression. So she’s demanding that Georgia Tech revoke its tolerance policy.
With her lawsuit, the 22-year-old student joins a growing campaign to force public schools, state colleges and private workplaces to eliminate policies protecting gays and lesbians from harassment. The religious right aims to overturn a broad range of common tolerance programs: diversity training that promotes acceptance of gays and lesbians, speech codes that ban harsh words against homosexuality, anti-discrimination policies that require college clubs to open their membership to all.
For people like Malhotra, they feel marginalized if they are denied the right to marginalize others, and they are mad as hell about the situation. They may never talk to an actual gay person, and they may never come closer to gay culture than a re-run of Will and Grace, but their great struggle is to retain the ability to target homosexuals both professionally and socially. And if you think that’s a little over-dramatic, read the following:
The Rev. Rick Scarborough, a leading evangelical, frames the movement as the civil rights struggle of the 21st century. “Christians,” he said, “are going to have to take a stand for the right to be Christian.”
Now, I’m not Christian andâ€”as suchâ€”I may not be privy to their great hardships, but I know for certain that: 1) They haven’t been denied the right to vote because of their religion; 2) They don’t have to use special “Christian Only” bathrooms and water fountains; 3) They’ve never had firehoses sprayed on them as they walked to church; and 4) They can sit on the bus in any damn spot they choose. Instead, people like Scarborough are the bus driver, the segregationist, the politician blocking the doors of a school so blacks can’t enter. In this twisted interpretation of the Civil Rights movement, they play the other sideâ€”it’s their God-given right to deny equal treatment for gays, target them with impunity and call them “faggot” whenever they feel like.
Certainly, not all Christians feel the same way as Malhotra and Scarborough and their ilk. But it’s the evangelicals who reliably have their hand on the megaphone and have the means to push through the lawsuits, and they will not be denied the right to put homosexuals in their proper place. Cast off those shackles of opression! Viva freedom! We shall overcome!
(PREVIOUS: The Opposite of Tolerance, by Matt)