Thursday, April 26, 2012

Calling out the hypocrisy in the conservative Christian opposition to marriage equality

As we've discussed, lots of writers are dealing with issues facing Christianity in the current era. Andrew Sullivan wrote a provocative piece on Christianity in Crisis, that places much of the blame on rigid conservative views. Contrasting this, the conservative writer and Roman Catholic Ross Douthat has written a book called "Bad Religion" , that apparently calls for a return to more traditionalist discipline. (I haven't read it, I've only seen reviews.)

Douthat is engaged in a conversation with writer Will Saletan, at Slate. Their back-and-forth is worth reading, if only to watch Douthat's contortions to justify certain traditionalist views; as Saletan says, about DOuthat's view of gays,
"I’m watching an intelligent, compassionate writer torture his intellect and his values to fit a dogma that can no longer be justified by anything outside itself.

Your argument requires you to believe that God’s natural order inflicts on hundreds of millions of people a sexual orientation they can never consummate or solemnize in a way that would honor His purposes. ”

Andrew Sullivan also takes on Douthat by pointing out the most glaring hypocrisy in Douthat's argument against gay people. And it's one that we need to point out frequently.
Let me use an obvious analogy which really gets to the heart of the unfairness at the center of this.

Modern America is full of divorced couples. Unlike homosexuality, Jesus spoke unequivocally about divorce. Does Ross insist that our civil laws return to banning divorce on all grounds? No. Does he back a constitutional amendment to ban civil divorce? No. His reason would be to say that it simply cannot be done democratically. But that precisely reveals the church's discriminatory position on gay people. Unlike divorcees, the gays' position is not a choice. But unlike divorcees, they alone are the target of a massive campaign by Christianists to deny them any right to marry at all - not just twice but ever! This is where the current hierarchy is.

Notice too how they are not threatening to shut down services for the poor and homeless because one of their civil employees might be re-married or divorced (and thereby violating church doctrine). And yet they apply that standard to gay people - who have not chosen any lifestyle, but are guilty purely of being as God made them. They do it because we are few in number and they can deploy the power of religion to demonize us.

This deliberate tolerance of heterosexuals and deliberate intolerance of homosexuals on the same issue is on its face discriminatory…..What else can this be rooted in but animus? And total panic.
If the "religious freedom" of the Roman Catholic bishops requires that secular employers who are Roman Catholic can interfere in the most personal decision of a woman's health care, and deny benefits to gay couples, then they should also expect those employers to deny coverage of divorced-and-remarried spouses as well. Or is it just the women and the gays who are to be victims of "religious freedom"?

1 comment:

Paul (A.) said...

Or the women who seek IVF treatment, as contrasted with their divorced principals.