Why the New Zealand church supporting gay marriage bugs me.

Hemant had a post the other day about a New Zealand church that is pushing a marriage equality bill through congress and that is currently running this billboard.

To be sure, it’s a pleasant departure from the “Turn or burn!” billboards that litter American highways.  And I even like that they’re supporting gay rights.  So why do they bug me?

Because I see a future where gays have achieved equality, and it will be an equality that was pried from the selfish hands of religion with a tremendous amount of sweat and sacrifice.  Sure, some Christians are now on the side of compassion, but virtually every single person who opposes equal rights for gays has Jesus flowing through their veins, and they all oppose it for the same reason: the contents of the bible.  Show me someone hostile to gay rights in the United States and I’ll show you a Christian.  We all know this.  Look at who rushed to Chick-Fil-A to dump money into that cause.

This has been a historical pattern for the supposedly most loving religion.  Scripture was repeatedly cited in the Antebellum South to defend the morality of slavery.  Likewise, it was Christians trying to chain everybody to their religion’s fondness for patriarchy in the early 20th century.  But once modernity revealed slavery to be a moral evil, those Christians changed (even if the scriptures didn’t).  And after they changed they crowed about how Christianity abhorred slavery – how it was the solution to a mindset that disregarded the well-being of minorities, and not the problem.  Ditto with suffrage.

And I see that in the wake of the fight for equality for LGBT people.  Once the anti-gay bigot is universally considered to be as congenial as the racist, I suspect Christians will pat themselves on the back and tell us how we couldn’t have done it without Jesus.

So I support what this church is doing.  It’s certainly a step in the right direction and I’m glad to have them on board.  But I will do everything in my power to make sure that the Christians of the future don’t get away with that lie.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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