Friday, March 29, 2013

Harsh scrutiny

Conservative Christians make one claim that cannot be allowed to stand: That they’re “victims” because of their religious beliefs. Their assertion isn’t just wrong or stupid, it’s offensive.

Rightwing Christians have been using this ploy for years in somewhat different contexts. However, the one thing that remains consistent is their outrageous claim that they’re somehow being “oppressed” because they’re losing the culture wars.

Writing for MaddowBlog, Steve Benen put it really well:
As much as I hate to break up a good pity party, it's worth noting that conservative evangelicals are not actually oppressed, at least not in this country. They're losing public debates—failing to persuade the American mainstream is not the same thing as persecution—but no one has proposed stopping social conservatives from getting married, or adopting, or serving in the military. When conservative evangelicals get elected to Congress, it's not a historic breakthrough. When social conservatives look for equality, they don't wait patiently for a Supreme Court ruling to decide whether they'll get it.

They're eager to make others second-class citizens, but as these efforts stumble, conservative evangelicals have convinced themselves that they're the real second-class citizens. [emphasis in the original]
Exactly! Their losing doesn’t turn them into “victims” because they’re not experiencing what they do to LGBT people. Benen adds:
It appears social conservatives just don't take criticism well. I'll gladly concede that a growing number of Americans find the religious right's views offensive and narrow-minded, and, conservative evangelicals occasionally find themselves the subject of criticism.

But that's not oppression or discrimination; it's the result of a spirited public discourse. These conservatives have presented their vision to the public, and increasingly, the public is responding with disapproval.
And that’s at the heart of this and my last two posts: Religion itself is not an enemy, but political opinions based on religious views are NOT exempt from being criticised simply because they’re based on religious beliefs. When one’s political opinions are criticised, one is not a “victim”; instead, one is merely a participant in a vibrant democratic process.

I would hope that all sides in any public debate would stick to verifiable facts and keep mocking and dismissiveness to a minimum. When the debate veers into the false or irrelevant, then strong criticism is and should be the result.

But when considering who is a victim, look at who presently has political power and who is trying to deny the human rights—the very humanity—of their opponents. It’s not conservative Christians who are the victims in that equation, and they never will be.

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