Via Think Progress…
As the Supreme Court weighs the merits of allowing gay and lesbian Americans the freedom to marry, right-wing anti-equality advocates are cranking the fearmongering up to 11, claiming that a world of marriage equality is one that would functionally ban Christians from practicing their religion.
Two Fox News contributors, independently and in other outlets, made dire predictions along these lines. Todd Starnes, speaking on American Family Radio, argued that “persecution [of Christians] like we have never seen it” had “already started” as a consequence of the marriage equality movement:
STARNES: You know, it’s as if we’re second-class citizens now because we support the traditional, Biblical definition of marriage, or perhaps we are pro-life, and that means we’re somehow second-class citizens who don’t deserve to be in the public marketplace of ideas.
RIOS (HOST): Absolutely. In fact, it’ll be worse than that. You know there’s going to be punishment. There will be tremendous punishment. If gay marriage is embraced by the country, if the Supreme Court goes south this week in its hearings, we are in for – of course, we’re not going to hear about it until June – but we are in for persecution like we have never seen it.
STARNES: Well, it’s already started.
As the article points out, there are religious exemptions in place in every piece of gay marriage legislation. Churches will not be forced to marry same sex couples.
However, they will start losing parishioners to churches that will perform those services.
Another Fox News contributor, Erick Erickson, went further. Writing on RedState, a conservative blog that’s commonly read by Republican legislators, Erickson fantasized about a world where the United States government — with a Congress that is roughly 80 percent Christian — began terrorizing Christian institutions, shuttering Christian businesses for opposing marriage equality, and labeling Christians themselves criminals:
Any Christian who refuses to recognize that man wants to upend God’s order will have to be driven from the national conversation. They will be labeled bigots and ultimately criminals…Once the world decides that real marriage is something other than natural or Godly, those who would point it out must be silenced and, if not, punished. The state must be used to do this. Consequently, the libertarian pipe dream of getting government out of marriage can never ever be possible.
Within a year or two we will see Christian schools attacked for refusing to admit students whose parents are gay. We will see churches suffer the loss of their tax exempt status for refusing to hold gay weddings. We will see private businesses shut down because they refuse to treat as legitimate that which perverts God’s own established plan. In some places this is already happening.
So essentially, aside from the gay wedding thing that we dealt with above, what’s cheesing Erickson off is that the institutions above will not be allowed to actively discriminate against gay people.
So in effect, the basic complaint that the religious right seems to be making that not being allowed to persecute gay people persecute them.
Let’s make this clear. You don’t believe in same sex marriage? No one is forcing you to marry someone of the same sex. No one is forcing your church to perfume wedding ceremonies for same sex couples.
So the last part of the argument that makes any sense is that if gay marriage is legalized, you can’t say gay marriage is wrong without being labeled a bigot.
My response is this. I don’t like being called a goat fucker. Do you know how I avoid getting hit with that label? BY NOT FUCKING GOATS!!!
Mind you, someone can still call me a goat fucker but it will have no basis in fact.
However, if you still try to deny gay people marriage rights and all the benefits that come with them. (Life insurance, hospital visits, etc.) then you will be called a bigot because you are indeed committing a bigoted act. And therefore, the label will stick.
BECAUSE YOU ARE ACTING LIKE BIGOTS!!!!
You see how that works?
And the thing is that while you’ve been yelling and screaming about how evil the Gays are for wanting committed love and all that jazz, you’ve failed to notice the very real problem that afflicting you.
Your God is dying.
From the article “Religion may not survive the Internet.” by Valerie Tarico. Posted in Salon.com on January 13, 2013.
In October of 2012 the Pew Research Center announced that for the first time ever Protestant Christians had fallen below 50 percent of the American population. Atheists cheered and evangelicals beat their breasts and lamented the end of the world as we know it. Historian of religion, Molly Worthen, has since offered big picture insights that may dampen the most extreme hopes and fears. Anthropologist Jennifer James, on the other hand, has called fundamentalism the “death rattle” of the Abrahamic traditions.
In all of the frenzy, few seem to give any recognition to the player that I see as the primary hero, or, if you prefer, culprit—and I’m not talking about science populizer and atheist superstar Neil deGrasse Tyson. Then again, maybe Iam talking about Tyson in a sense, because in his various viral guises—as a talk show host and tweeter and as the face on scores of smartass Facebook memes—Tyson is an incarnation of the biggest threat that organized religion has ever faced: the internet.
A traditional religion, one built on “right belief,” requires a closed information system. That is why the Catholic Church put an official seal of approval on some ancient texts and banned or burned others. It is why some Bible-believing Christians are forbidden to marry nonbelievers. It is why Quiverfull moms home school their kids from carefully screened text books. It is why, when you get sucked into conversations with your fundamentalist uncle George from Florida, you sometimes wonder if he has some superpower that allows him to magically close down all avenues into his mind. (He does!)
And yes, you should read the whole thing.
Harlan Ellison once said “When belief in a god dies, the god dies.”. And that means the God of Abraham, the God of your forefathers is dying a slow and protracted death.
And every time guys like Starnes and Erickson open their big bazoos, their God dies a little quicker because someone, somewhere decides that their God is a dick and unworthy of worship.
And they turn elsewhere.
To the Buddha.
To the Unitarians.
To other Sects that stress the loving over the smiting.
And some like me just say, “Screw it” and chuck the whole God concept and focus on what’s in front of their face.
And the God of Starnes and Erickson’s dies of neglect like an old man in a rest home.
And when he passes, he will join Zeus and Odin in the land of forgotten Gods and he will ask What happened to my children?.
And Zeus will smile ruefuly and reply.
What happens to all children.
They grow up.