It seems that almost no one thinks that “our side” has lost. It’s only a matter of time until same sex marriage has become the new normal.
But, many conservatives are making another argument in response to this impending change: “Christians” will be persecuted for their beliefs.
Is this true?
Well, one problem with this argument is that it assumes that all Christians are the same. Using a statement like “Christians think…” makes almost no sense. Christians have differing opinions about almost everything. So, it might be the case that some Christians will be persecuted for their opposition to homosexuality and same sex marriage. But, there are a growing number of Christians who actually support these changes.
Beyond that, though, what might it actually look like for those Christians who are on the losing side of this debate to be persecuted?
My problem with the framing of this argument is that persecution, here, seems to be defined as: having the wrong opinion, in opposition to the consensus, and being disallowed from acting upon that opinion.
If there is a case to be made that being a Christian or following Jesus will necessarily bring about persecution, is this really what Jesus and the early church were even talking about? I doubt it.
But, according to the conservative argument, what persecution will look like is, potentially: anti-gay speech being perceived as hate speech; “Christian” businesses not being allowed to discriminate against gay people; churches not being able to “speak out” about their opposition to homosexuality; and so on.
I’ve come to agree with many who see the gay rights movement as a continuation of the broader civil rights movement. So, let’s put this into that perspective:
Should racist speech be perceived as hate speech? Should businesses be allowed to discriminate racially? Should churches be able to “speak out” about their opposition to racial equality?
To an extent, I think that people and groups can and should be able to say and do whatever they want. But, in another sense, there are certain things people and groups cannot and should not be able to say and do: i.e. there are good reasons to think that yelling fire in a building should be illegal. Where to exactly draw these lines gets tricky.
Of course, I – nor anyone else I know who supports equality – want anyone to be physically harmed for their beliefs. But, that is not what is being proposed by the hetero-normalizers as their possible future. I just don’t see those kinds of things happening in response to this.
But, if the extent of the effects of the widespread acceptance of same sex families as the new normal against those who oppose it are the kinds of things described above, then…
Let’s bring the persecution. Let’s use every (non-violent) tool at our disposal to call out the bigots, with our words and with our laws. Maybe some methods will be more effective than others, but I don’t see any of the methods currently being used as inherently “wrong.”
The minority who still oppose the arc that is bending toward justice is growing smaller every day. If we have the power to negatively cause the climate to change, we can and should actively participate in this cultural evolution.
This is a repost from my personal blog.