Sunday, December 05, 2010

But, I'm no bigot!

But I’m no bigot!

I was reading a column by libertarian-leaning columnist Steve Chapman entitled “Up from Homophobia,” where he explained why he abandoned the anti-gay attitudes that his church and culture had taught him.

Of course, as usual with any article like this, the Christian Right comes in and screams and hollers. All they offer are the same old tired arguments: they speak for God, God revealed to them that he doesn’t like gays, so gay people should have a lesser set of rights from everyone else. And then, they so often, end it with the sad refrain, “But I’m no bigot.” Or, “I’m not prejudiced.” Some even try the sad justification: “Some of my best friends are gay, so I can’t be bigoted.”

Of course I have real problems with their logic. And to illustrate my point let me turn things around a bit. Instead of discussing the rights of gay people let me discuss the rights of born-again Christians, fundamentalists, or whatever other label you may use for them. Allow me to use their typical arguments.

Since this is an exercise in Religious Right logic please do not assume the logic display below is my own. I am channels my inner fundamentalist.

I know that many born-again Christians want to marry, just like normal people. But I don’t think they should be allowed. As for having them in the military, well would you want to bunk with someone who is constantly preaching Jesus and trying to recruit you?

Of course, we know how these Christians are always trying to recruit children. They even send out buses to pick them up and try to convert them. So clearly we can’t have people like this around kids. I guess we can’t stop them from reproducing on their own, but we sure don’t have to let them adopt, act as foster parents or teach kids. And don’t forget the Scouts, we can’t have people like that around impressionable children.

And really, many of us simply aren’t ready to explain the fundamentalist to our own kids. They might not be old enough to handle this topic. So having these Christians flaunting their lifestyle and throwing their religion in our faces is just too much. We can’t tolerate public displays of fundamentalism. What they do in private is their own business but do they have to say grace in public restaurants? And have you noticed how they throw their religion in our faces on television, at all hours of the day, where impressionable youngsters can see these things?

And the Christian Agenda is just too much for any reasonable person. They want laws that force people to hire them. You can’t discriminate on the basis of religion anymore, not like you used to. You have to rent to these people. Hotels have to admit them just like normal people.

Now look, I’m no bigot. I believe in live and let live just as long as they aren’t forcing me to see them in public or deal with them. And look how they are forcing me to accept them by demanding the right to marry. Some of my best friends are Christians, so I can’t be bigoted. I just don’t think we should treat these people as if they are normal.

Okay, I’m finished. Now tell me, if you really heard that view on Christians from someone would you really believe that individual was not a bigot? I wouldn’t. And I don’t believe it when Christians do this about gay people either.

In simple terms, if you want to deny equality of rights to one group of people because of some shared trait, and not because they have actually violated the rights of others, then you are a bigot toward that group.

Surely it would be bigoted for one to deny equality of rights to people because they are black. So why not gays? Ah, say the fundies, black is a trait and gays “choose” to be perverted (their word, not mine). Well, no one with a lick of sense actually believes that being gay is a choice, but let us assume that it is. Would that make a difference? The Christians say it does. But isn’t Christianity a choice? Far more so than sexual orientation.

No one goes door to door asking people to change their sexual orientation. But every day of the year some Christian sect or another is pounding the pavement urging people to change their religion. Religion clearly is a choice. Christians say it is a choice. It is more of a choice than sexual orientation. Yet, if the state denied equality of rights to born-again Christians it would be an outrage.

It would be an outrage just like the anti-equality positions of the Christian Right are an outrage, and for the same reason.

Labels: ,