The Christian Right Gift of Psychological Projection

Charismatic Christians love to talk about the “gifts of the spirit” (healing, discernment, etc). I think I’ve discovered a new one: psychological projection. John Zmirak, editor of TV evangelist James Robison’s new site, The Stream, puts this “gift” on display in spades.

If you have been following mass media over the past few days, you will have learned from an economist at the U.S. Department of Labor that defenders of religious freedom are “Nazis.” Take a moment to ponder that assertion. Roll it around in your head for a while. You’ll be hearing a lot more fighting words as we enter the next phase of Christian life in America.

Sample the hate that has been spewed at the state of Indiana in the past week, and faithful Christians in recent years, by gay activists and their allies. We are “bigots,” “Neanderthals” and “haters,” whose views must be ritually rejected by anyone hoping to keep a job in today’s America — even in a Catholic high school. Where will this end? Is there a logical stopping point for this aggression, where Christians are left in peace?

History teaches that mass vilification rarely stops short of spilling blood. The French Jacobins who spent the 1780s slandering the clergy in pornographic pamphlets went on in the 1790s to slaughter Christians by the hundreds of thousands. The Turks paved the way for killing a million Armenian Christians with a wave of propaganda. The Bolsheviks followed their “anti-God” crusade of the 1920s with starvation camps and firing squads. The Communist governments of Eastern Europe obeyed the same script, as scholar Anne Applebaum documents in her sobering study The Iron Curtain. The Hutu government of Rwanda prepared for its assault on the once-powerful Tutsis by incessantly describing them as “cockroaches” on radio broadcasts, which triggered a genocide.

Here’s why I find this argument so ridiculous. He cites one person calling Christian bigots “Nazis” and goes off on this rant about how vilifying people leads to genocide. So why has he never made this argument about his fellow anti-gay bigots, who have been demonizing gay people and those who think they should have equal rights every day for as long as anyone can remember? Here’s a sample from one single day, Wednesday, from prominent Christian right leaders. Here’s what they called supporters of equal rights:

Tucker Carlson: “jihadis.”

Pat Robertson: “totalitarian dictators.”

Mat Staver: “terrorists” who are “demonic.”

Here’s what others said would happen if gays get equal rights:

Bryan Fischer says equal rights for gay people will lead to slavery.

Alan Keyes says it will cause the extinction of the human race.

Matthew Hagee says the same thing.

That was one fucking day, and I’m sure I could find a lot more from that day alone. Every single day your partners-in-hate call them the “Gaystapo” and “homofascists.” Every single day they call gay people demon-possessed and blame earthquakes and floods and hurricanes on them. Every single day they declare that God is going to destroy this country if we don’t rid ourselves of The Gay. You want to complain about vilification? Start with your own bed first, asshole.

If these zealots succeed, they will tear up the civil peace in this country, forcing millions of Americans to choose between church and state. If laws or government policies beggar Christian businesses, close Christian colleges and schools and force faithful Christians into third-class citizenship — making us virtual dhimmis, like the Christian Copts in Egypt — what should we do? What should be our response now that we know what they want to do, and are overplaying their hand, but before they complete their coup d’etat?

We need to ask ourselves some brutal questions: How should the faithful in the U.S. military respond? What about those in the state and local police? City, state and federal employees? What about religious shareholders in corporations led by anti-Christians, such as Apple?

Should we engage in large-scale, non-violent civil disobedience, as black Americans once did in the face of Jim Crow laws?

Pssst. John…you’re the one advocating for Jim Crow laws, only for gay people instead of black people. What those civil rights protesters were protesting against, among other things, was the fact that businesses routinely discriminated against black people, refusing them service or jobs. And every single argument you’re now making about the inevitable horrors to come were made by those who opposed non-discrimination laws. Lurid fantasies were spun about how this would lead to blacks murdering business owners if they were given their way.

This ability to project their own worst traits on their opponents and to imagine themselves to be the oppressed rather than the oppressors is truly astonishing.

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  • grumpyoldfart

    John Zmirak will read your post as say, “See, didn’t I tell you that’s how they would carry on.”

    They’ve got god on their side so they must always be right and you must always be wrong.

  • http://www.facebook.com/den.wilson d.c.wilson

    I still don’t understand what they plan on doing as “civil disobedience.” Are they still imaginary that pastors are going to be dragged out of the pulpit at gunpoint if they don’t perform gay marriages?

  • moarscienceplz

    It appears that John Zmirak’s Stream is strong and continuous, so I guess that means his prostate is healthy.

  • Michael Heath

    Ed writes:

    This ability to project their own worst traits on their opponents and to imagine themselves to be the oppressed rather than the oppressors is truly astonishing.

    Ed, you regularly under-describe the wrong here. Conservative Christians don’t merely project their own worst traits on to others. They project their own worst traits on to other groups that do not demonstrate this condemned behavior.

  • caseloweraz

    Moarscienceplz: It appears that John Zmirak’s Stream is strong and continuous, so I guess that means his prostate is healthy.

    Heh.

    On the other hand, his HTML stream does not validate — at least on the main page (46 errors, 17 warnings.) Really, I find it impossible to understand why so many sites are put together by people who can’t avoid the most basic errors, like duplicate ID values on one page.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    The French Jacobins who spent the 1780s slandering the clergy in pornographic pamphlets went on in the 1790s to slaughter Christians by the hundreds of thousands.

    Best estimates of the casualty count from the “Reign of Terror” come to about 10,000, many of whom were Jacobins and other revolutionaries with strong anti-clerical ideologies whom Robison, if he actually knew much about them, would with good reason consider not-Christians. His (only) given number is thus off by well over an order of magnitude – which, given Robison’s record, represents a major improvement in accuracy.

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

    the next phase of Christian life in America.

    Now he’s just being ridiculous. It’s only got one phase. Gaseous.

     

    This ability to project their own worst traits on their opponents and to imagine themselves to be the oppressed rather than the oppressors is truly astonishing.”

    Wrong. When his opponents call him bad things, they’re trying to rally their brown shirts to drag him through Jerusalem and hang him by firing squad at the guillotine. When he or those on his side do it to their opponents, however, they’re just stating a fact.

  • Sastra

    And every single argument you’re now making about the inevitable horrors to come were made by those who opposed non-discrimination laws. Lurid fantasies were spun about how this would lead to blacks murdering business owners if they were given their way.

    The most lurid fantasies though were of a dystopian society where black people intermingled so freely with white people that barriers fell down: they dated, mated, and … gasp … produced offspring. The horror scenario with gay marriage is perhaps equal parts fear that their children will become gay and fear that their children won’t remain True Christian.

    That first one, not so much. As for the second horn of that devilish dilemma — hey, just keep up the whining and watch what happens.

  • theguy

    If you want to talk about vilification leading to violence, we could talk about how the anti-gay hate and lies have led to anti-gay hate crimes. We could talk about how the Nazis persecuted gay people. I’m guessing that Zmirak wouldn’t give a shit.

    “How should the faithful in the U.S. military respond?”

    Gee, I dunno. Stop forcing proselytization onto other soldiers?

    “What about those in the state and local police?”

    Stop disproportionately arresting minorities?

    “City, state and federal employees?”

    Hand out the damn marriage certificates, which is their job. And stop pretending it’s equivalent to persecution.

    “What about religious shareholders in corporations led by anti-Christians, such as Apple?”

    Oh no, Apple wants to treat their gay employees and customers equally. How anti-Christian!

  • felidae

    Same shit these assholes were pouring out when the illegality of interracial marriage was being challenged

  • davek23

    Start with your own bed first

    Say, didn’t someone once say something about dealing with the beam in one’s own eye before worrying about the mote in one’s brother’s?

  • macallan

    They’ve got god on their side so they must always be right and you must always be wrong.

    And still they’re losing.

  • D. C. Sessions

    He does have a point, though, with the stockholder thing. True Christian™ should divest themselves of all stock in any company that has LGBT rights policies and especially those that have lobbied for legal recognition of LGBT rights.

    Plus, of course, any mutual funds etc. that include such corporations.