Saturday, February 23, 2013

Far Right Christians Play the Victim While Persecuting Others

Over the close to 20 years that I have been closely following Christian Right and "family values" years, beginning in my days in the Republican Party when the Christofascists began to take over the Republican Party of Virginia, my contempt for many of these people has grown geometrically.  Simply put, many are not nice people and if one isn't a white evangelical/fundamentalist Christian their attitude towards these "others" is one of hate and bigotry.  Worse yet, while they whine about freedom of religion and liberty under the U.S. Constitution, they see those rights as belonging only to themselves.  No one else has any rights and when you stand up to them and demand  your own equal rights the Christofascist claim that you are persecuting them.  Bottom line, they are some of the most dishonest, selfish and hypocrisy filled individuals one is likely to ever encounter.  Here in Virginia the situation is particularly egregious with The Family Foundation, a hate group in all but formal designation, playing puppet master to the Republican Party of Virginia.  The Family Foundation constantly claims that "Christians" are being persecuted:

The right of conscience and the right to practice faith according to personal beliefs are sacred and should not be infringed or denied. In the birthplace of religious freedom, state police chaplains should not be censored; students should be allowed to share their faith at graduations; Christian run businesses should not be forced to hire people whose lifestyle is contradictory to their faith; pastors should not fear reprisal for speaking against lifestyles contrary to their beliefs. Yet in Virginia today, all those scenarios have either happened or could happen in the very near future if we don’t reestablish our First Freedom.

Yet in reality, they are the ones actively persecuting others, particularly LGBT individuals who they view with a hatred not too far removed from that of the Nazis towards the Jews in the 1930's.  A piece in Metro Weekly looks at this sickening state of affairs.  Here are highlights:

One thing about living in Virginia is that it makes you sensitive to small victories. While my friends in D.C. and Maryland enjoy the local legal benefits of getting gay married, my husband and I are simply happy that we can be on the same health insurance policy. While much remains to be done in D.C. for transgender Washingtonians, the city is bounds ahead of most of the country and Maryland is on a path to catch up. Transgender Virginians may enjoy some minor local protections and accommodations, as long the state government doesn't decide to step in and put a stop to it.  So the bar for success is set low on this side of the Potomac.

The latest example is Virginia's upcoming anti-bullying law that could in theory provide protections for LGBT students who are victims of sustained harassment. I say ''in theory'' because the whole reason that the bill is poised to pass with strong support is that it was neutered to avoid directly addressing LGBT youth and to provide more protections for the ''real'' victims of bullying: Christians.

We've gotten used to anti-gay churches playing victim over the past few years as they've come to realize they're on the losing side of their culture war. That's why we keep seeing flare-ups of idiocy, like the group of concerned Christian parents in Indiana who decided they wanted a fag-free prom — that's what ''traditional prom'' means in their context — because the simple act of seeing the existence of gay people is bullying to them.

Things like the Virginia anti-bullying legislation aren't as flamboyant as small-town fights over proms, but they capitulate to the exact same fantasy that somehow Christians are losing their rights when we gain ours. Their relentless focus on being able to clothe their children in anti-gay slogans and spout Bible verses at any moment of their choosing continues to show their inability to understand that a right to free speech doesn't come with a right to force others to listen to it. Telling high-school hallway proselytizers to leave LGBT kids alone isn't bullying, it's the commonsense way to make sure all of them, Christians too, enjoy their right not to listen.

The only thing that matters to these self-appointed moral guardians is maintaining special status for their own children, no matter the damage their hate causes LGBT youth or that their indifference causes youth who are the wrong kind of Christian. I may be distant from my own church upbringing at this point in life, but I did pick up a lesson from Sunday school that should be universal:  Selfishness in the face of suffering and injustice is an affront to God or the universe, whichever you happen to prioritize. It's as un-Christian an act as they come.

In truth, these foul people are not followers of Christ despite their application of the Christian label to themselves.  They utterly ignore the Gospel message and selectively focus on Old Testament passages that they use to condemn others while making the Pharisees of the New Testament look like paragons of Christian virtue. We must do all we can to cause the larger public to see them for the horrible liars and hypocrites that they are in fact.  Am I being too harsh?  I think not.  Here's what Matthew 23:13-15, 23-28 has to say about these types of people:

13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye shut the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye enter not in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering in to enter.  14 (Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, even while for a pretence ye make long prayers: therefore ye shall receive greater condemnation.) 15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is become so, ye make him twofold more a son of hell than yourselves.  23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye tithe mint and anise and cummin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law, justice, and mercy, and faith: but these ye ought to have done, and not to have left the other undone.

No comments: