There is a great deal of chatter in the blog-o-sphere today about one of our favorite topics, mostly generated by this article at The WeeK written by Damon Linker. Mr. Linker attempts to answer the question of Is opposing gay marriage the moral equivalent of being a racist? He says no, but immediately gets into the weeds by bringing up contraception as mandated in the Affordable Care Act, and what this has to do with marriage equality is anyone’s guess.
As we’ve noted before: the world has a great need for editors.
Linker finally gets to his topic six (!) paragraphs in:
As for gay marriage and anti-discrimination, Chotiner appears not to recognize that his own flippant views — which are very widely held among secular liberals — pose a very real threat to the religious freedom of millions of his fellow citizens. As countless liberals have done before him, Chotiner breezily equates those believers who once appealed to Scripture in defense of racism and those who currently reject gay marriage. The first position has been socially, morally, and legally marginalized with no negative consequences for faith, Chotiner asserts, and the same will soon be true about the second. So what’s the big deal?
The big deal is that strictures against homosexuality are rooted far more deeply in the Judeo-Christian tradition than racism ever was. Yes, slavery is found throughout the Scriptures and comes in for criticism only, at best, by implication. But race-based slavery — and the racism that made it possible and continues to infect ideas and institutions throughout the West to this day — receives no explicit endorsement from the Bible.
I’m not a Biblical scholar, but even I know that this is not true; from the stain of Cain and Able (the basis of “dark races” being inferior) through many other places in the Old Testament, there are plenty of examples of how to acquire slaves. I also know that The New Testament—the part with Jesus in it—has no mention at all about homosexuality. None. Zip. Jesus did not have a thing to say.
The same cannot be said about the normative teaching on human sexuality contained within the Judeo-Christian scriptures — and even more so, within the interpretative and theological traditions that grow out of them. In dismissing this teaching so casually, Chotiner ends up implying that traditionalist churches and religious communities are the moral equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan.
It’s a shame that he did not have an editor here to help out here; I cannot think of any proficient editor allowing Imply in a published work.The verb To Imply is tricky as it has at its basis a fact never established. Linker is asserting that this is Chotiner’s belief, so this whole thesis for the post is Mr. Linker attacking a position that is never made. Imply is always a “tell” that there is no sound basis for the argument.
Anyway, he concludes thusly:
If that’s an accurate evaluation of their moral status, then we can expect that before long traditionalist religious views will be denied legitimacy by the courts, denigrated in the public schools, and thoroughly marginalized in our public life. (For a sober but concerned exploration of how the social and legal persecution of traditionalist belief might unfold over the coming years, see Rod Dreher’s recent cover story in The American Conservative.)
Chotiner and his fellow secular liberals may well be right that traditionalist views of sexuality are bound to evolve, with nearly everyone destined to accept and affirm the dignity of homosexual relationships. But given the commitments of these same liberals to personal freedom, shouldn’t they also insist that the evolution take place at its own pace, without being forcibly imposed by the coercive powers of the state?
OK, so specious arguments about a theoretical future event aside, this is more of what we see with the fundamentalist Christians. They want you to follow their beliefs. Your refusal to do so oppresses them.
I do not care what anyone believes or would ever try to dissuade them from their beliefs, but that is not a luxury that Fundies offer anyone else.
The difference which Mr. Linker avoids mentioning is that the Fundamentalists are trying to codify their beliefs in law, in essence making a theocracy out of a democracy. And of course, the irony here is that they are trying to breach the wall separating church and state.