A writer to Dan Savage‘s Savage Love advice column voiced what seems to be a more and more popular sentiment, that although bullying and harassing gay teens until they break down and kill themselves is clearly a bad thing, it’s at least as bad to “bully” Christians by telling them that they and their unwarranted beliefs had any part in that process.
If your message is that we should not judge people based on their sexual preference, how do you justify judging entire groups of people for any other reason (including their faith)? There is no part of me that took any pleasure in what happened to that young man.
Lydia Statz, a junior at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, got quite a bit of publicity for her opinion piece in her campus paper in support of that letter-writer. (Emphasis mine.)
Savage, who is openly gay and the founder of the “It Gets Better” campaign against youth bullying, made a remark during an NPR interview that asserted his belief that the church perpetuates the discrimination. A Christian listener wrote in to tell him he was offended by the comment, and stated that he and many others were deeply saddened to hear of the recent suicides. The letter was well-written, polite, and simply pointed out the hypocrisy of preaching against discriminating based on sexual preference while simultaneously discriminating against people of faith.
Savage’s reply, on the other hand, was a blatant attack on the writer and their faith, complete with references to their “magic sky-friend Jesus,” and expressions like “dehumanizing bigotries” and even, I’m sad to say, a “Fuck you.” While I fully expected him to respond in typical Savage fashion to the listener’s complaint, his full-blown attack on Christianity as a whole displayed just as much disrespect and ignorance as the people he fights against.
Townhall columnist Mike Adams expresses the same point of view on a different topic, in a discussion of his lawsuits against queer student resource centers at public universities. He’s attempting to get them to be more “viewpoint neutral” — that is, give equal amounts of time to people who want to offer help and a welcoming community to queer students, and those who want to tell them to suppress their identities or go to hell. (Again, emphasis mine.)
I would urge everyone – especially those who trumpet the importance of “context” – to read the entire Sermon on the Mount. When they do, they will realize that Jesus also said that those who are persecuted in His name will be richly blessed. The tallest blade of grass is the one that gets cut first. Similarly, the Christian who stands tallest is the one that gets persecuted first. …
Argument for passivity: Doesn’t the Bible tell us to abide by laws and submit to the authority of government?
Response: It sure does. And the First Amendment is the law of the land. When it is violated, we should protest by using the First Amendment. If our protests are ignored we should use civil litigation to uphold the laws that lawless secular humanists seek to destroy.
These are just a few examples of what I’ve heard many times from many sources, and I have to say something about how misguided it is. First of all, nobody was saying that literally every single Christian out there is a bigot. What they are saying is that Christianity as an institution is a very strong force for bigotry in our society. That’s true, and it’s getting harder to hide that truth from people. Beyond that, though, these offended Christians seem to have no grasp of what discrimination really is — what being discriminated against would actually look like or feel like.
If I’m standing outside on a sunny day with my friend, and she says, “I can’t believe it’s still raining! I really wish the rain would let up,” am I discriminating against her by pointing out that there is, in fact, no rain?
If my little cousin keeps chasing his family’s cat around, trying to step on its tail, and getting disappointed every time the cat screeches and darts away from him, am I discriminating against him by pointing out that his actions are injuring the cat and by asking that he stop?
If I notice that an engineer doing reliability calculations for a bridge has got her order of operations mixed up so her arithmetic is coming out wrong, am I discriminating against her by pointing out her math errors and reminding her that people’s lives depend on her accuracy?
Look. When we talk about “discrimination” in our society, we’re talking about unfair treatment of a group of people based on some irrelevant characteristic. It’s discriminatory to ban black people from eating at your diner. It’s discriminatory to pay women lower salaries than men doing the same jobs. I’ll talk more about this in my next post, but for now it suffices to say that what people are saying to Christians is not anti-Christian discrimination. Saying, “I disagree with your opinion,” has never been discrimination. Saying, “I think you are wrong about the facts,” has never been discrimination. Saying, “The actions you take have clear, direct impacts on the world,” has never been discrimination.
It’s amazing to me that (some) Christians feel they are being persecuted when there is any discussion about the veracity of their beliefs, any challenge to their assumptions, or any indication that they are not as loving and perfect as they claim. Really, it’s a measure of how highly they are privileged in everyday life, that they would overreact so strongly.