“Coming Out Christian” Is Not A Thing

Fellow Patheos blogger Adrian Warnock has responded to my piece arguing that Christians are not persecuted and hated in the UK. The title of his post is “Coming out: Is “Evangelical” the new “Homosexual”?” I am tempted to respond to with a simple “no”. And, perhaps, “don’t be silly”. It’s an absurd and insulting suggestion, frankly.

When I walk down the street holding my boyfriend’s hand I am not worried that someone will write a strongly-worded article mocking my choice in partner – I am afraid that someone will shout vile epithets, follow us with violent abuse, attack us, kill us.

When gay people come out at work, in much of the world, they aren’t so bothered at finding a offensive cartoon depicting them in the local newspaper. They are much more afraid of being dismissed summarily from their position just because they are gay (which can still happen in many US states).

When kids come out to conservative parents they may not be so concerned with their response being incredulity and bafflement – they are terrified of being disavowed, being thrown onto the street being beaten up, their bones and teeth broken.

The conditions faced by contemporary Evangelical Christians – even in the most secular parts of the UK – are not remotely similar to the conditions faced by gay and transgender people. Even today so much of our culture screams in favor of heterosexuality and norms of sex and gender, and gay and trans kids often still struggle through torment at school and at home in the fight to accept themselves.

Even if you’re lucky enough to live in one of the truly accepting bubbles of society, coming out queer affects profound changes on your life. It immediately puts you in the position of second-class citizen, stripping you of the equal protection of the law. It makes you less safe on the street. It affects one of the most significant areas of our lives – our romantic relationships – in dramatic way. You cut your dating pool down, making it harder to find someone to build a relationship with. You may become nervous to hold hands and kiss in public. You have to worry about finding “gay friendly” hotels and neighborhoods.

To equate “coming out Evangelical” with coming out queer is to diminish the experiences of queer people and to claim a level of discrimination which Evangelicals do not face. It shows a startling lack of empathy, compassion, and understanding of the struggle of queer people.

Adrian claims that he is “afraid to tell people I meet that [he is] a practicing Christian”. Adrian also works on the leadership team of a prominent Christian church, writes a blog from an explicitly evangelical perspective on Patheos, has a website dedicated to spreading his Christian faith, engages in public debates with other Christians which he promotes on that website, and has written a book titled Raised With Christ.

He will, I hope, will forgive me if I raise an eyebrow in skepticism regarding his fear of identifying himself publicly as Christian.

Sure, I can imagine a certain level of reticence, when speaking with people he hasn’t met before, to reveal this important part of his identity. I still, sometimes, feel a little nervous to out myself as gay, even after two years of speaking and writing publicly on the topic. But 1) I almost always decide to do so, because I consider it my duty to be as out as possible in order to help any others who are struggling with their sexual identity, and 2) I judge my reasons for reticence (fear of physical harm, disgust, abuse) to be more compelling than the ones Adrian offers (criticism, mockery, ridicule).

So much for that.

Adrian’s other points fare little better:

“people are strongly encouraged to keep their faith out of their workplaces and out of the public square”

I’m not sure this is really true. Certainly, the open avowal of religious faith is met with more puzzlement in the UK than it is in the USA. The USA, despite its secular constitution, is more culturally religious, and religion plays a much more forceful role in public life. Nonetheless, I do not believe it true that Christians in the UK are “strongly encouraged” to be silent about their faith. Sure, they are expected not to proselytize or to let their faith interfere with their work, but I don’t think the simple statement that one is a Christian – even an evangelical – carries much threat of negative response.

“I think we are at a tipping point, or possibly beyond it on both sides of the Atlantic, where what was once the majority perspective and unfortunately did oppress others, is no longer in that privileged position. For sure nominal Christianity may still be privileged, but if you dare to put your head above the parapet these days you will be admonished pretty quickly.”

Let’s assume this is true. Notice how Adrian’s claim has diminished significantly in comparison with his previous post: Christians are no longer hated and persecuted, but in danger of being “admonished pretty quickly”. Big deal. Adults living in a civil society must be ready to receive admonition of their views. I say again, criticism and disagreement are not persecution.

“It does seem likely to me that unless we can somehow get to the point where we can all get along without forcing people to agree, then the group that once did the oppressing, will itself be genuinely oppressed.”

I suppose it’s possible, but I think it unlikely. Religious freedom is an extremely important part of our political makeup. Even in the US, among the most committed atheist groups, I frequently hear strong defenses of religious liberty. Those who criticize the church do not wish to see it genuinely persecuted. Even those who wish to end religion wish to do so through persuasion, not persecution.

Adrian then raises the interesting question of what concessions should be offered to religious individuals who feel they cannot perform some aspect of their job due to their religious commitments. That question merits a whole post, but essentially my view is that non-religious and religious people should be treated absolutely equally in these matters. If non-religious people are able to get an exemption from some task due to their beliefs then, broadly speaking, religious people should be able to get an exemption too. But, too often, what is requested are special exemptions for religious belief only. And this is clearly unfair.

A further question is whether the job in question is supported by the state or a purely private practice. If you are taking taxpayers’ money you must not discriminate against any person or group or refuse any service you are obliged to provide. That strikes me as a basic requirement of any public servant.

To conclude: it is increasingly common for Christian groups to claim they are being marginalized and persecuted when what is in fact occurring is the mere loss of illegitimate privilege. It is incumbent on those who have for too long clung on to privilege to find the grace to let go gently, so that the rest of us can share the cultural stage as equals.

About James Croft

James Croft is the Leader in Training at the Ethical Culture Society of St. Louis - one of the largest Humanist congregations in the world. He is a graduate of the Universities of Cambridge and Harvard, and is currently writing his Doctoral dissertation as a student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is an in-demand public speaker, an engaging teacher, and a passionate activist for human rights. James was raised on Shakespeare, Sagan and Star Trek, and is a proud, gay Humanist. His upcoming book "The Godless Congregation", co-authored with New York Times bestselling author Greg Epstein, is being published by Simon & Schuster.

  • http://nonprophetstatus.com Vlad Chituc

    Great piece, James. I can’t help but draw a parallel, though.

    Suppose instead you wrote:

    >To equate “coming out as an atheist” with coming out queer is to diminish the experiences of queer people and to claim a level of discrimination which atheists do not face. It shows a startling lack of empathy, compassion, and understanding of the struggle of queer people.

    Because it’s one I’ve noticed myself. Do you think that’s a fair comparison for atheists to be making? I suspect it’s not, but if you do, would a use like that be potentially more appropriate for an evangelical to make?

    • James Croft

      Basically I think you’re right. When atheists seek to equate coming out atheist with coming out gay I get very uncomfortable – and I’ve said so in the past.

      However, not all analogies and parallels are equations. And some atheists in the USA do face comparable experiences (Damon Fowler, Jessica Ahlquist). Adrian explicitly sought to equate the two with his title and his use of the terms “hatred” and “persecution” to describe the experience of evangelicals in the UK. And I think that explicit equation is illegitimate and wrong.

      • http://nonprophetstatus.com Vlad Chituc

        Not to minimize what happened to Damon and Jessica, but the extremes of what atheists experience–literally 2 out of how many highschool students?–is actually pretty mild insofar as anti-gay discrimination goes. I don’t even feel comfortable calling that comparable–they’re being ostracized for uprooting tradition and going against the group, not for their identity. I can guarantee you any christian making the same protests would have been treated exactly the same.

        But that’s entirely fair, and I obviously agree. I just roll my eyes any time an atheist talks about “coming out.” I understand it’s an important and occasionally difficult talk to have, particularly with deeply religious family, but I do find the comparison extremely distasteful.

        • Baal

          In general, I agree that being LGBT is much more socially burdensome than being an ‘out’ atheist. There are exceptions, however. My work place has several thousand employees and a number of out (gay) managers. My gay workmates are all more or less out, it’s a big thing but they don’t hide either. I can’t say the same for my atheist coworkers. They (and I) are somewhat careful about being out to our managers. We fear (may be wrongly but it’s hard to know) that the xtians among them will marginalize us (poor performance reviews, fewer opportunities for wins). The manager tier is usually good but when they do slip, it’s pro-god stuff. I don’t see the xtians coworkers giving a second though to their views. The manly men of planet right wing do moderate their views (kind of ugly ones) when not in their in group. They are also not favored or disfavored from what I can tell.

  • http://janitorialmusings.wordpress.com The Janitor

    You say: “When I walk down the street holding my boyfriend’s hand I am not worried that someone will write a strongly-worded article mocking my choice in partner – I am afraid that someone will shout vile epithets, follow us with violent abuse, attack us, kill us.”

    Interesting. Let’s do an expirment. Walk down the street holding your boyfriend’s hand a bunch of times and lets see if this happens. Of course finding a few news stories of this happening isn’t sufficient to justify your fear of this happening to you. I can find stories of people being struck by lightning while outside. Doesn’t justify walking around afraid of being struck by lightning.

    Now lets have someone walk down the street wearing a shirt with a quote from a Bible verse about homosexuality.

    I’d like to compare how often one person over the other recieves shouts of vile epithets or is followed with “violent abuse” (not sure how you define the term).

    You say: “When gay people come out at work, in much of the world,[...]They are much more afraid of being dismissed summarily from their position just because they are gay (which can still happen in many US states).”

    I thought we were talking about the UK?? I can find examples of Christians being fired in the workplace for their Christian beliefs if you want to broaden the scope to the whole world!

    You say: “He will, I hope, will forgive me if I raise an eyebrow in skepticism regarding his fear of identifying himself publicly as Christian.”

    You then give two reasons that could be applied to Adrian’s case that would undercut your skepticism: (1) Adrian could fear revealing his identity, but decide to do so, because he consider it his duty to be as out as possible in order to help any others and (2) he judges his reasons for reticence (fear of physical harm, disgust, abuse) to be more compelling than you judge them.

    Seems obvious enough…

    You say: “Nonetheless, I do not believe it true that Christians in the UK are “strongly encouraged” to be silent about their faith. Sure, they are expected not to proselytize or to let their faith interfere with their work, but I don’t think the simple statement that one is a Christian – even an evangelical – carries much threat of negative response.”

    Seems like a game of semantics. Let’s say I run an imaginary company called Chick-Phil-A. We specialize in producing janitorial widgets. At my company, you can make a simple statement that you’re gay. But if you talk about being gay or your gay relationship or causes that promote gay rights then there is going to be trouble. You might be fired if you refuse to comply.

    Would you qualify that as being strongly encouraged to be silent about your homosexuality? If you have any objection, I’ll just point out that you are allowed to make a simple statement that you’re gay. You’re just not allowed to let your gayness interefere with the workplace. Sound good?

    You say: “Notice how Adrian’s claim has diminished significantly in comparison with his previous post: Christians are no longer hated and persecuted, but in danger of being “admonished pretty quickly”.”

    How is that a diminished claim? Being “admonished pretty quickly” can be a result of being an object of hate. In my Chick-Phil-A example, you would be admonished pretty quickly and then, if you continued to break the rules, you’d be fired. Is there any doubt that this would be labeled as hate by the majority of homosexual activists? Would you disagree with them?

    You say: “Religious freedom is an extremely important part of our political makeup.”

    That’s not the issue. The issue is how “religious freedom” is defined. If the society begins to seel certain religious teaching as harmful and hateful, then are you seriously trying to suggest that Great Britian’s political makeup would protect that?? And isn’t this part of the homosexual activist’s argument: that certain religious teachings are harmful and hateful?

    So in virtue of the way the debate has been framed, your observation that “Religious freedom is an extremely important part of our political makeup” looks out of place and should do nothing to assure us that what Adrian said is unlikely.

    You say: “If non-religious people are able to get an exemption from some task due to their beliefs then, broadly speaking, religious people should be able to get an exemption too. But, too often, what is requested are special exemptions for religious belief only.”

    Can you give me an example of what you have in mind?

    You say: “If you are taking taxpayers’ money you must not discriminate against any person or group or refuse any service you are obliged to provide. That strikes me as a basic requirement of any public servant.”

    So, for example, if you are a counselor (and you happen to be gay) and a Christian teenager comes to you wanting you to give him counseling to overcome his gay feelings he is struggling with, you would be obliged to give such counseling?

    You say: “To conclude: it is increasingly common for Christian groups to claim they are being marginalized and persecuted when what is in fact occurring is the mere loss of illegitimate privilege.”

    Sorry, but I missed your argument for that conclusion. Maybe you could lay it out more clearly with some marked premises or something?

    • James Croft

      I’m afraid I myself have been threatened with death for being gay, even when walking without a partner. A man once said he “wished he hadn’t left his rifle at home”, and mimed shooting me across the street. I have, while walking with my hand intertwined with my partner’s, been followed by a group of men mocking and deriding us, making us feel unsafe. And I have been yelled at on the street more than once – in Massachusetts. Merely for existing. In London, I was called a “fucking faggot” while waiting for a taxi in Richmond, and interrogated about my sex life after being accosted on the street outside a cafe in Soho.

      How’s that?

      My personal experience is supported by the data: queer people are at greater risk of violence than straight people. They are at greater risk of being bullied in school, including being threatened with a weapon. The social pressure results in higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse, depression, and suicide. This is the world we have created. How about YOU do the experiment, for a year, and get back to me. Perhaps you’ll have a similar conversion experience to Timothy Kurek:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/13/bible-belt-conservative-year-gay

      Your suggested comparison is of course not analogous – indeed most of your arguments rest on false analogies which reveal deep prejudice. I am certain that if I went down the street wearing clothes denigrating any minority group: people of color, disabled people, gay people – I would be criticized by other members of society. I certainly hope I would, because I would be making a statement, through my choice of dress, that I consider it a priority in my life to demean and disparage other human beings. Obviously violence and threats would be completely unacceptable, but strongly-worded criticism seems appropriate in such a case.

      Walking down the street with a partner is not the same. It does not affect or address anyone except the individuals involved. It doesn’t demean or derogate anyone. It is merely a part of expressing oneself as a queer person. And so it is difficult to see why it should be subject to abuse.

      You note that I refer to the situation in the US. I do this to make it very clear what sort of struggles queer people still face, even in wealthy western nations. True, the UK is generally more liberal. But it is still completely absurd to suggest, as Adrian does, that Christian values are “hated” in the UK.

      It may be, too, that Adrian judges the chance of a hateful responses to the revelation (!) that he is an Evangelical Christian higher than I judge it. My argument remains the same: he is wrong to do so, for the reasons I outline. His fear is not matched by reality. Mine is.

      Your point regarding “Chik-Phil-A” is another poor analogy. Are you seriously saying that talking about my boyfriend or husband at work is equivalent to encouraging someone to join my religion at work? I see no meaningful comparison there. Or that talking about our deepest relationships somehow constitutes an interference with one’s duties? If I were soliciting someone for sex at work, obviously that’s a problem whether I’m gay or straight. But “talking about my gayness” – i.e. loving my life – is equivalent to badgering someone to come to my church. No.

      You then ask a good question: “If the society begins to seel certain religious teaching as harmful and hateful, then are you seriously trying to suggest that Great Britian’s political makeup would protect that??”

      Simply put, yes. I feel some practices currently engaged in by religious groups are hurtful and hateful – and I think they should still be legally allowed to perform them. Satisfied?

      An example of secular people getting the same treatment as religious people: if a Christian is going to be allowed to wear a cross around their neck in contradiction of an explicit policy of their employer, then a non-religious person should be allowed to wear, say, a locket with a photo of their mother in it.

      “So, for example, if you are a counselor (and you happen to be gay) and a Christian teenager comes to you wanting you to give him counseling to overcome his gay feelings he is struggling with, you would be obliged to give such counseling?”

      No – you are obliged to give counseling, and to help them get well. We don’t generally let patients diagnose themselves. In this case the patient does not know what he really needs – and that’s part of the illness a homophobic society has festered within him.

      • The Janitor

        James,

        In response to my suggested experiement you give me your personal anectdotes. Sorry, but I do have a hard time taking those seriously. For instance, Rupert Everret, a homosexual, received death threats for not supporting homosexual parenting. Mitt Romney recieved death threats after the presidential debate, Rep. Andy Gipson recieved death threats for not supporting gay marriage, etc.

        How’s that?

        You say: “My personal experience is supported by the data: queer people are at greater risk of violence than straight people.”

        Where is the data?

        You say: “Your suggested comparison is of course not analogous – indeed most of your arguments rest on false analogies which reveal deep prejudice. I am certain that if I went down the street wearing clothes denigrating any minority group: people of color, disabled people, gay people – I would be criticized by other members of society.”

        In fact, your own statement here reveals your own deep prejudice. Believing that quoting what the Bible says about homosexuality is “denigrating” is just preaching to your choir, those who already believe there is nothing wrong with homosexual practice.

        But it seems like you admit that a Christian who holds to what the Bible teaches will be treated badly (or maybe you just think it’s deserved) walking down the street.

        You say: “I certainly hope I would, because I would be making a statement, through my choice of dress, that I consider it a priority in my life to demean and disparage other human beings.”

        So, to be clear, it is your position that so long as Christians maintain the biblical position on homosexuality, we are demeaning and disparaging human beings?

        You say: “Obviously violence and threats would be completely unacceptable, but strongly-worded criticism seems appropriate in such a case.”

        But I didn’t ask if they would be acceptable. I asked if they would occur. That would be the relevant issue given the topic of discussion, right?

        You say: “Walking down the street with a partner is not the same. It does not affect or address anyone except the individuals involved. It doesn’t demean or derogate anyone. It is merely a part of expressing oneself as a queer person. And so it is difficult to see why it should be subject to abuse.”

        Well “abuse” is question begging, right? Now I don’t think homosexuals should be abused verbally or physically, but apparently you think that what the Bible says about homosexuals is itself abusive… assuming that you would agree that to “demean and disparage” a person is abusive.

        Whether a homosexual couple walking down the street is the same as a Christian wearing a shirt that quotes the Bible are the “same” isn’t obviously relevant. The question is whether one will receive significantly worse treatment than the other. You’ve tried to argue that Adrian is wrong because homosexuals receive much worse treatment than Christians. Well, that’s what we would be testing (roughly).

        You said: “You note that I refer to the situation in the US. I do this to make it very clear what sort of struggles queer people still face, even in wealthy western nations.”

        And look at the sort of struggles Christians still face, even in wealthy western nations…

        You say: “True, the UK is generally more liberal. But it is still completely absurd to suggest, as Adrian does, that Christian values are “hated” in the UK.”

        Well that’s the point of dispute, isn’t it?

        You say: “My argument remains the same: he is wrong to do so, for the reasons I outline. His fear is not matched by reality. Mine is.”

        The “reasons” you outline are just assertions that homosexuals are treated worse.

        You say: “Your point regarding “Chik-Phil-A” is another poor analogy. Are you seriously saying that talking about my boyfriend or husband at work is equivalent to encouraging someone to join my religion at work? I see no meaningful comparison there. Or that talking about our deepest relationships somehow constitutes an interference with one’s duties? If I were soliciting someone for sex at work, obviously that’s a problem whether I’m gay or straight. But “talking about my gayness” – i.e. loving my life – is equivalent to badgering someone to come to my church. No.”

        Sorry, but that looks like a big red-herring. You haven’t spelled out the *relevant* difference as to why such a comparison doesn’t show that Christians are “hated” in the public sphere. If that sort of behavior constitutes hate against homosexuals, please spell out the relevant difference as to why that sort of behavior would not constitute hate against Christians.

        You say: “Simply put, yes. I feel some practices currently engaged in by religious groups are hurtful and hateful – and I think they should still be legally allowed to perform them. Satisfied?”

        Well I’m glad you feel that way. In the context of this discussion, we are speaking of culture generally though. Perhaps I wasn’t clear in my statement, but what I meant was not whether you, James, thought hurtful and hateful religious groups should be allowed to perform hurtful and hateful actions… rather, I was asking whether you seriously thought society as a whole would be okay with that. Now you can say “yes” to that again, but at that point, I guess my question is probably rhetorical, since I’m really expressing my incredulity at the suggestion. What reason do I have to think that?

        You say: “No – you are obliged to give counseling, and to help them get well. We don’t generally let patients diagnose themselves. In this case the patient does not know what he really needs – and that’s part of the illness a homophobic society has festered within him.”

        That’s question begging again. I could just give the opposite answer, reasoning that the counselor (who believes homosexuality to be normal and healthy) doesn’t know what the patient really needs. If the teenager has good reasons for their Christian beliefs then it seems they have good reasons for their beliefs about their homosexuality. Now you may say they have no such good reasons, but then that just brings us full circle to other debates. Clearly, we have major worldview differences at play here.

        • http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/ Stephanie Zvan

          In response to my suggested experiement you give me your personal anectdotes. Sorry, but I do have a hard time taking those seriously. For instance, Rupert Everret, a homosexual, received death threats for not supporting homosexual parenting. Mitt Romney recieved death threats after the presidential debate, Rep. Andy Gipson recieved death threats for not supporting gay marriage, etc.

          None of those people received threats for sharing physical affection with their partner. None of them received threats for existing. James has received threats for both of those. Just for being a gay man.

          Where is the data?

          There’s a good bit of data on LGBT hate crimes available here: http://www.outfront.org/news?module=news&showitem=227 Note that nothing about being part of a group targeted for hate crimes exempts you from all the other sort of crime affecting people in your demographic.

          Violence is an important issue. Crime motivated by bias is a real, daily risk to queer people of all sorts that you don’t have to worry about. Don’t diminish that or try to play games with it. Doing so is both transparent and astoundingly ugly.

          • The Janitor

            Stephanie,

            You’ve pointed out that none of those persons recieved threats for the same reasons gay people recieved threats. Thanks, Cpt. Obvious :) (I jest), but I’m not sure why you think that defeats my point.

            Thanks for the link. Though, to be honest, I must “raise an eyebrow of skepticism,” as Mr. Croft might say, to the anecdotal data most of this is based on. Unfortunately, there have been reports in the past of gay people getting beat up and harassed that later turned out to be fake (e.g., Joseph Baken, Charlie Rogers). Why would some people make up stories about being victims of hate against homosexuality? I don’t know. Maybe because homosexual activists have staked out their entire apologetic as the oppressed minority, the David fighting the Goliath. It’s unfortunate that some would lie because it casts doubt upon those people who are legitimate victims (and I *do* believer there are such victims).

          • http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/ Stephanie Zvan

            I would point out that you have not the first clue what “anecdotal data” or reasonable data collection practices are, but that would simply be obscuring the fact that you asked for data, then dismissed it as lies for no other reason than you don’t want to admit queer people face a higher burden of violence. You’re a nasty, dishonest piece of work, you are.

          • The Janitor

            Stephanie,

            I asked for data regarding James’ claim that gay people are at a greater risk of violence than straight people. The study your provide didn’t provide data for such a comparison. And I didn’t dismiss the data you provided as lies, rather I said I raise an eyebrow of skepticism to it. Do you think “raising an eyebrow of skepticism” is dismissing it as a lie? In that case, I suppose you think James Croft accused Adrian of being a liar? Hardly.

            And then you sink to name-calling after misrepresenting the facts of the situation on those two accounts. Nice.

          • B-Lar

            Janitor, Look closer. Stephanie wasnt insulting you. She was describing you.

            To complain about being called out as a nasty, dishonest piece of work for goalpost moving, cherry picking, and general bigotry when you have shown your capacity for all the above is quite shocking, and only adds to your shame.

        • Baal

          Janitor – have you see the statistics on suicide rates? Suicide is most common in folks who are told by society that they should not exist or who have depression (incidentally common in folks who are told they should not exist). When the religious have suicide rates on par with LGBT folks, you may have point. Until then you’re being willfully blind.

    • Steven

      You’re moving the goalpost here. Wearing an anti-homosexuality shirt is not simply identifying as Christian. It’s identifying as Christian AND spreading a specific message of intolerance. A more exact example would be if you were wearing a shirt with a large cross on it, or that said “This is What a Christian Looks Like”. Compare that to walking down the street holding hands, and you have a fair comparison.

    • chris buchholz

      Holy crap, I am straight and even I have been threatened by “macho” types, because I was dressed wrong, or near a gay neighborhood. It still happens. thankfully less than it used to, at least with adults, but it’s there.

      And such an experiment would be unethical, you can’t ask people to put themselves in danger just to prove a point. We pay damages now to people we did that to in the past.

      Yes yes anecdotes are not data, but how many stories do I have to hear from gay friends, or even my wife telling me about her gay friend in high school that was killed by his own brother, do we have to hear before we start believing there is still hatred and violence out there?

      The demand for more and more evidence and moving goalposts is not really skepticism. It is refusing to see what is out there right in front of us.

      • The Janitor

        Chris,

        You seem to think I’m questioning whether gay people receive hate and/or violence. I’m not questioning that. Rather, I’m questioning whether homosexuality is significantly more disliked by society at large than Christian values.

        • http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/ Stephanie Zvan
          • The Janitor

            Stephanie,

            The link you give shows that on “An analysis of data for victims of single-bias hate crime incidents” religious reasons are actually slightly higher than sexual orientation.

          • RobMcCune

            Only 3.0% religious hate crimes were directed against protestants and 4.2% against catholics. It seems anti-semitism is responsible for the majority “anti-religious” hate crimes Violence anti-gay bigotry far exceeds any based so called anti-christian sentiment. You seem to be conflating general disapproval with the attitudes of fundamentalists, as well as a decline in privilege, with actual hatred and bigotry.

  • http://www.brandanrobertson.com B.J.R

    brandanrobertson.com/blog1/2012/10/18/are-western-christians-being-persecuted.html

    I am an Evangelical and I wholeheartedly agree with you!

  • Pingback: Coming out: Is “Evangelical” the new “Homosexual”?

  • http://patheos.com/blogs/adrianwarnock Adrian Warnock

    Thanks James. To be honest you have single-handedly disproved one of my preconceptions (no, not this one entirely, as I still disagree with you, though accept that maybe I over-egged the pudding a little!). Rather, you have proven I am wrong to suppose that someone from my tribe and your tribe can’t disagree agreeably. I hope and pray that the tone of this interaction will inspire others from both our camps to treat one another with more respect. I suspect that is something we can both agree on! I have responded briefly in an UPDATE to my post.

    I trust we will interact again in the future, and I genuinely look forward to that.

  • Steven

    You can’t judge Christians for being who they are, because they were born-again that way! (haha)

  • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

    This is still remarkably insulting on the part of Warnock. He still compares not being given favored treatment to fearing for one’s life. Perhaps it’s because he envisions the world as defaulting to a place where criticism doesn’t exist. But, of course, it does, and all ideas are open to it, even religious ones. It seems that this sense of being persecuted comes from the rather unexpected realization that people will not automatically give deference to beliefs either in terms of law or socially, and that can prove disorienting. However, it remains difficult to take seriously the argument that it is oppression that conservative evangelicals can no longer vilify the LGBT community and safely hide behind their holy book (i.e. “I’m just saying what I believe the Bible tells me”) without people being very rightly upset by it.

    • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

      Also, I always find it disturbing when a fact claim is made and not linked. I wonder if Adrian would be so kind as to provide citations to claims like, “the numbers of adoptions in the UK has plummeted” instead of just putting them in bold lettering.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/adrianwarnock Adrian Warnock

        Sorry for not linking: here is an example article on this point, and for sure there is not necessarily a direct link, but I cant help but wonder if the closure of so many adoption agencies contributed: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2043144/Adoption-falls-10-yr-low-potential-parents-suspicion-paedophilia.html (NB, in the article I made an alternative suggestion that they could have done, allowed catholic agencies to continue to screen adoptive parents, and fund new agencies dedicated to those parents Catholic agencies didn’t want to screen)

        • James Croft

          Something important to remember here: the Catholic adoption agencies CHOSE to close down their services. They were not FORCED to do so. They decided they could not continue to operate their services and obey the law, and so they decided to close.

          Think about that for a moment: they put their desire to discriminate above the needs of children to find loving homes. It’s hard to find a more self-serving, mean, and downright uncharitable decision than that.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/adrianwarnock Adrian Warnock

      BTW, just to be clear I am OPPOSED to all forms of violence and persecution of everybody.

      • James Croft

        And yet ALSO opposed to my right to marry the guy I love, I would think? ;)

  • chris buchholz

    I think these people should read Cross in the Closet, they may believe him since he was one of them. I don’t think any christians throw up before admitting they are a christian, because they are so afraid everyone will hate them.

    When I was very religious I also had a persecution complex. And at times people made fun of me for being christian. Though a lot more people were angry with me for conservative political views. But still, having known gay people, even back then I knew for sure that nothing I experienced at all was anything like being gay.

    Sure on tv gay characters are more accepted. And in theater was one place I felt very much on the outside. but no one in theater wanted to beat me up, but I have been threatened just for not being macho enough.

    Having people make fun of you is not like having people hate and be disgusted by you everywhere you go, wanting to harm you or even kill you. but that is still the reality in some places even in the US.

    Anyway, besides my disgust with these whiners complaining they have it just as bad, really they should read that book, The Cross in the Closet. I’m halfway through it, and while it is not the most amazingly written book (he was in his early 20s, and did not really study writing) it is powerful. Especially the coming out part that I just finished.

  • Ranmore

    Agree wholeheartedly with the article. On the question of atheists “coming out” it may be true that they do not face the same risks as gay people and atheism is a choice not an intrinisic orientation. However, atheists still face persecution in many parts of the world and it is key to their acceptance that they come out and show their numbers and pride in their identity. However, no atheist would want special a protections or feel persecuted in a society which permits rigorous debate of faith issues. My impression of evangelicals is they fear that debate.

  • Pingback: Brandan Robertson on Christian Persecution


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