12 March 2014

Magnanimity in victory?

Ross Douthat's column "The Terms of Our Surrender" exemplifies a new line of argument for the Christianist struggle against gay rights.  Basically, he declares defeat and demands that we be magnanimous in victory.  He warns that the pro-gay-equality viewpoint has now become dominant in American society and that Christians who want to continue to discriminate against gays and reject the validity of gay marriage will face "constant pressure" and "procedural harassment" (he explicitly rejects the word "persecution", but other Christians have laid claim to it).  He wails that gays and their supporters are insisting on unconditional surrender rather than a negotiated settlement -- Arizona's recently-vetoed SB1062 being an example of an effort at the latter, which would have "accept[ed] same-sex marriage’s inevitability while carving out protections for dissent".

Note, by the way, the dishonesty of that phrasing.  Dissent, the right to express differing views, has never been under threat here -- the First Amendment protects the right to express hostility to gays, blacks, Jews, or anyone else.  SB1062 was about carving out protections for discrimination in business.

Andrew Sullivan, long a leading proponent of gay marriage, has addressed these issues several times in a spirit of offering concessions (he responds here to another, angrier screed by Rod Dreher).  But while Sullivan's voice has long been a valuable one on these matters, as a Christian (Catholic) and a self-described conservative (though I doubt many conservatives would accept him as one), he's not the best person to represent the rest of us in a "negotiation" that many do indeed believe should not be happening at all.

I say "the rest of us" because the gay community narrowly-defined is not the only party on our side in this conflict, nor is gay marriage the only issue.  The fight for gay rights is part of a far vaster struggle to roll back the oppressive dominance of Christianity (or Islam, depending on the country) and its taboo system over the broader culture.  Gay rights, abortion, birth control (!), evolution in the schools, prayer or religious symbols in official contexts, a whole panoply of norms for sexual behavior -- the religionists view all these issues as fronts of one single cultural war, and they're right.

Other bloggers such as Amanda Marcotte and Gin and Tacos have fisked Douthat far more thoroughly, while ThinkProgress does a good job of dismantling the "our anti-gay discrimination isn't as bad as lunch-counter owners refusing to serve blacks" arguments the religionists keep trotting out.  Those three links say most of what I think needs to be said on the subject.  But there's one more point that needs to be made, to all the religionists who whine that we "pagans" aren't being magnanimous in victory.

What the hell makes you think you deserve any magnanimity in your defeat?  You've had the upper hand for centuries, and what did you do with it?  To this day, Christianists relentlessly smear, defame, and attack gays, atheists, sexually-active single women, biological scientists, and anyone else whose behavior or thinking doesn't conform to the primitive taboo system of your barbaric and ridiculous religion.  Not an atom of magnanimity there.  American Christianist spokesmen cheer on and encourage brutal Christian thugs in the governments of Russia, Uganda, and Nigeria when they enact outrageous laws to enable hideous persecution.  You're still fighting to deny gay people the right to marry in the states where they haven't yet won it, and before Lawrence v. Texas swept away the last laws against homosexuality itself, you supported those, too.  You still smear Darwin as a progenitor of the Nazi regime, which actually banned his writings.  You supported and defended racist subjugation of black Americans, the very racism you now claim should not be compared to your hostility to gays.  What magnanimity did you show Alan Turing or Oscar Wilde?  What magnanimity did you show Galileo or Bruno?  Or Hypatia?  You wrecked our entire fucking civilization and plunged it into a thousand wasted years of stagnation and backwardness, and then fought against rebirth every step of the way.  And you guys don't change.  The only reason you aren't still brutalizing and terrorizing the rest of us is that you've lost the power to do it -- the majority of "Christians" in the Western world now only "believe" in a superficial and almost meaningless sense, and would recoil in healthy repulsion at the ghastly human costs of actually enforcing the taboo system.  You true believers are back in the minority now, and it's going to stay that way.

So stop whining about some baker being told he has to follow the same laws that apply to everyone else, and be grateful that you will never suffer even one-millionth of what you dished out when you had the power.


Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

It's so sad, isn't it, how the religionists whine and pout over not being able to force gay Americans into second-class citizenship anymore. And the whiners and pouters frame that loss in the most dishonest way, as if their inability to humiliate, mock, scorn, and devalue millions of Americans were a "God-given" right.


12 March, 2014 11:10  
Anonymous Racer X said...

It's simple: "Christians who want to continue to discriminate against gays" are not Christians. Therefore their whole argument is moot.

13 March, 2014 05:35  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Shaw: Yes, it's sad that we have millions of adults for whom "You're bad because my imaginary friend doesn't like you" is an imperative that trumps everything else.

Racer: That doesn't really work. The Bible says they're supposed to hate and kill gays. It's the ones who don't hate gays who aren't real Christians.

13 March, 2014 05:42  
Blogger I fought the lawn. And the lawn won. said...

My late father said it best:

"Isn't it odd that the only part of the Bible that's never taken literally is the Golden Rule?"

13 March, 2014 06:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should also read Cerberus at Sadly,No.

13 March, 2014 08:20  
Anonymous bbkf said...

You've had the upper hand for centuries, and what did you do with it?

c'mon...they were nice: they loved the sinner but hated the sin!*

*and yes, this is sarcasm...

13 March, 2014 08:27  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I fought: I'm not sure most of them even read that part.

Anon: It's a good one!

Bbkf: Considering what they did to Bruno and Hypatia and a few zillion witches, I'll pass on the "love", I think.

13 March, 2014 08:57  
Blogger Pupienus Maximus said...

Once again they conflate loss of hegemony with persecution. But you know what's really going on here - they're scared shitless that they will be treated exactly as they have treated us. Hence the plea for magnanimity. They never got that golden rule thing and now they're engaging in ITS ALWAYS PROJECTION.

13 March, 2014 09:10  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Pupienus: If they think they might get treated as they've treated others, I can see why they're in such a panic.

14 March, 2014 02:22  

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