The ‘I’m Not a Bigot, I’m a Christian’ Argument

Mike Huckabee continues his tour of the right wing fever swamps to promote his new book and inevitable campaign for the Republican nomination for president and the arguments and claims are just getting more and more absurd. On Jim Bakker’s show, he tried the “I’m not a bigot, I’m a Christian” argument.

Huckabee, who once called homosexuality “an aberrant, unnatural and sinful lifestyle” and demanded that the government quarantine people with HIV/AIDS, said he is offended that anyone thinks he is homophobic.

“The way that we’ve allowed words like tolerance, bigotry — what has happened to us, we allow ourselves to be called homophobic or bigoted, we’re not,” Huckabee told Bakker in the latest segment of their interview recent interview to be posted online. “We are just people who believe that there is a standard that was not ours, it was God’s, it was given to us and for us to change it we have to get his permission.”

About 10 months ago, the KKK began distributing fliers in Virginia and leaders made a virtually identical claim:

“We don’t hate people because of their race, I mean, we’re a Christian organization,” Frank Ancona, the group’s Imperial Wizard, told Virginia’s NBC 12 on Thursday.

But what does one have to do with the other? Being a Christian has no bearing at all on whether one is a bigot or not. One can be both a bigot and a Christian, and lots of them are both. They might as well have said, “We’re not bigots, we like hang gliding.” Bigotry that one thinks is ordered by God is still bigotry.

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  • eric

    Bigotry that one thinks is ordered by God is still bigotry.

    Well…I can kinda see what they’re trying to say. Their argument is crap, but that’s because it doesn’t apply to their circumstances, not because it never applies. If there is some rational reason to treat people differently, then its not necessarily bigotry or personal animus to do so. I don’t think 6 year olds should be allowed to vote; does that make me ageist? Does that mean I hate 6 year olds? No.

    Where they run into problems is thinking that “God told me to act this way” sounds like a rational reason to treat people differently. It certainly doesn’t to nontheists or people of a different religion. Even other Christians recognize that people pull that one out to excuse personal animus much of the time. So many people have played the ‘God told me to’ card throughout history, to justify horrific and in some cases just silly things, that even people who believe in God typically suspect that proclamations like that are just an excuse for some ulterior motive.

  • Sastra

    “We are just people who believe that there is a standard that was not ours, it was God’s, it was given to us and for us to change it we have to get his permission.”

    Oh, okay then. You’re not bigots; you follow a God who is a bigot. You have a nasty, vile, disgusting, bigoted religion — and you’re as nice as you can be, under the circumstances.

    That’s actually a criticism which is much more reasonably focused, when you think about it. After all, would it have made sense to argue against Nazism by constantly agreeing that the system was fine but its just that Hans and Fritz and Berta have personal anger issues? We’ll go after Christianity itself — or, at least, this version of it. And faith, and the idea that people are minions who need “to ask permission” to act like a normal human being.

    So it’s nothing personal. That should eliminate the hard feelings.

  • wreck

    “We are just people who believe that there is a standard that was not ours, it was God’s, it was given to us and for us to change it we have to get his permission.”

    So live your own life according to whatever standard you want. Just don’t expect me or anyone else to agree to your standard, and don’t insist on forcing it on us with legislation.

  • birgerjohansson

    Going off on a tangent, where was their god when this system was created, 11 billion years ago?

    “Ancient star system reveals Earth-sized planets forming near start of universe” http://phys.org/news/2015-01-astro-archaeological-discovery-dawn.html

    These planets are too hot to have water, but the interesting thing is the great age of the system.

    They seem to pre-date the date set by Bishop Ussher by quite a lot.

  • eric

    @2 and @3: particularly today, the “I’m not a bigot, I’m just following orders” excuse rings hollow.

    And it begs the question: okay Huck and co., let’s say you didn’t have to follow that order. Let’s say, hypothetically, God was silent on the matter. What would be your own choice in the matter? IOW, are you following God because you personally share in his moral judgment or despite not sharing it?

  • gshelley

    “I’m not a bigot, God is”

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Look, I’m not a bigot for advocating that The Gays, with their aberrant, unnatural and sinful lifestyle, be treated as second class citizens, penned up or jailed. God’s the one who is advocating that. He’s the bigot.

    No, wait. That sounded bad when it came out. Let me start over…

  • scienceavenger

    Where they run into problems is thinking that “God told me to act this way” sounds like a rational reason to treat people differently. It certainly doesn’t to nontheists or people of a different religion. Even other Christians recognize that people pull that one out to excuse personal animus much of the time.

    IOW, its a problem as a justification because others cannot evaluate it. At least when you reference logic or evidence, others can check and see if it indeed leads to the conclusion you’ve drawn. “God told me” is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.

    Obama touched on this brilliantly, saying that personal decisions can be made on what only you see, but debate in the public square over public policy has to be had over what we can all see.

  • Alverant

    It looks like they’re trying to get a free pass for their bigotry by passing it off on god like it’s some version of “I was only following orders.” Of course they forget about people who think God is not prejudiced against homosexuals.

  • cptdoom

    Of course they forget about people who think God is not prejudiced against homosexuals.

    They also forget about the times – and they aren’t too far in the past – when people thought God was prejudiced against people like them. After all, it was the persecution by state religions against the Baptists that led to Thomas Jefferson’s famous “separation of church and state” letter. Even after the Baptists achieved respectability, there was still prejudice – my Southern Baptist uncle was not allowed to be my father’s best man at my parents Catholic wedding because of his heretical “lifestyle choice.”

    What they also forget is how easy it would be, in certain circumstances and among the right people, to stir that prejudice right back up.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    cptdoom “Even after the Baptists achieved respectability, there was still prejudice – my Southern Baptist uncle was not allowed to be my father’s best man at my parents Catholic wedding because of his heretical ‘lifestyle choice.'”

    I can’t stand prejudice.

    On an unrelated note, why didn’t your good uncle cut your father out of the family? I mean, I certainly wouldn’t allow my family to associate with papists!

  • Al Dente

    When someone claims to know what God is thinking, it becomes obvious that God has exactly the same opinions, biases and prejudices as his mouthpiece.

  • caseloweraz

    Back about 1968, the Mitchell Trio did a live album called Alive. It was all satirical songs and patter about politics (and contained “The John Birch Society.”)

    One bit, as I remember, went like this:

    “Just remember: I’m an American first, and a politician second.”

    “Spoken like a true American politician.”

    Seems as if “Christian” and “bigot” could fit with just a little alteration of the wording.

  • matty1

    Bigot, from the medieval French term meaning a religious hypocrite. Possibly related to the English phrase “by God”. Incompatible with Christian?

  • D. C. Sessions

    So it sounds like they’re making excuses for ISIS, Al Qa’eda, and the NRA — all of whom are really nice people who, despite their own inclinations, have no choice but to follow the harsh dictates of given to them by God.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Oops. NRA IRA. Of course, NRA works too — just a different object of worship.

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    @cptdoom

    What they also forget is how easy it would be, in certain circumstances and among the right people, to stir that prejudice right back up.

    They don’t forget that fact. They’ve got the arrogance of their faith that allows them to ignore it. They have the absolute conviction that they are in the right, so that any alternative is impossible for them to consider.

  • LightningRose

    I’m not a bigot, and I am a hang glider pilot.

  • LightningRose

    ignore this.

  • justsomeguy

    In other words, they admit to having not a single original thought. They’re not bigots, they’re puppets. Or parrots. Or parrot-shaped puppets.

  • raven

    Which gods anyway?

    There are thousands at least. Billions if you count sockpuppet gods.

    All I ever get from Bast is…open another can of cat food. And then let me out so you can let me in 15 minutes later.

  • aziraphale

    @4, continuing your tangent, that’s a fascinating discovery. It raises the Fermi paradox in an even more acute form, though. If any kind of living beings could have formed so long ago, why haven’t they evolved far beyond us and colonized the entire galaxy? Maybe they did, and got bored with it all. Maybe they became gods.

    I don’t think it will impress the more ignorant sort of Christian, though. For them, 4 billion years is already much too long to believe.

  • eric

    @17:

    What they also forget is how easy it would be, in certain circumstances and among the right people, to stir that prejudice right back up.

    As Art says, they don’t forget that fact. I think they look forward to it. Specifically, once they dispose of secular government and create some sort of generic theocracy, the long knives will really come out and there will be blood in the pews over which theology the country should follow. This doesn’t bother the ‘big tent’ allies at this time simply because each sect in the tent believes it will win that fight.

  • thebookofdave

    We are just people who believe that there is a standard that was not ours, it was God’s, it was given to us and for us to change it we have to get his permission. [emphasis mine]

    Had you ever even thought of asking for it?

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    “We are just people who believe that there is a standard that was not ours, it was God’s, it was given to us and for us to change it we have to get his permission.”

    What the fuck does that have to do with the law? Does he think everything that doesn’t conform to his notion of God’s standards should be prohibited by law? Jail for adultery. Jail for idol worship. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. When did Americans get God’s permission to deny loans?

  • matty1

    @16 While the IRS certainly used Catholic identity as a recruitment tool I don’t think they were religious in the same way as your other examples. Their ideology was about Ireland as a nation not the will of God.

  • matty1

    Gah, bloody predictive text. Maybe the IRS, NRA and IRA can form some kind of acronyms league.