Are Christians Just Reacting to Loss of Privilege?

Are Christians Just Reacting to Loss of Privilege? March 12, 2019

Often when I talk about Christianophobia, I receive indignant attitudes from those who do not believe that it is a problem. I know they have not read my work documenting that the level of animosity towards conservative Christians matches the level of animosity towards Muslims and that those with this animosity are more culturally powerful than those who hate Muslims. Nor do I think they have read my work illustrating that academics openly state that they are willing to engage in religious discrimination against conservative Protestants. No, I assume that rather than investigate this issue, such individuals have merely accepted the latest meme they heard on the subject and are regurgitating it.

So let us try to take a more measured examination at the claim that all Christians are doing is losing privilege. A good illustration of the argument is to conceptualize what happened when southern whites were no longer able to have black slaves. Not having slaves cut into their profit margin and impacted them financially. They were merely losing their “privilege” of having slaves. But no one feels sorry for those who no longer enslave others based on skin color. If, however, these white slaveowners were made slaves themselves, then that is a different matter. No matter how one may feel about poetic justices, trading one set of slaves for another does not morally move our society forward. Their complaints about the changing nature of society would carry a great deal more legitimacy.

So are Christians merely those who have lost their ability to abuse others or have they themselves been placed in situations of unfairness? Well both are true. Many individuals are uncomfortable with nuanced answers, but this is a situation that calls for nuance. Clearly there were historical advantages to being a Christian that have been lost. The loss of such advantages is not an unfair burden on Christians and indeed is necessary if we want a society where we treat people of all faiths, and nonfaiths, equally. But it is also true that Christianophobia exists and there is unfair treatment of Christians that has to be taken into account.

Before I make my case, I have a couple of caveats. First, you get no argument from me that some Christians exaggerate the problem of Christianophobia. Some talk of persecution, and I have addressed the problems with doing so in a past blog. But the fact that some talk about discrimination in ways that are unhealthy does not mean that this discrimination does not exist. If it does, then we have to jettison talk of racism and homophobia due to the actions of Jussie Smollett.

Second, I have blogged about the concept of privilege in the past, acknowledging its reality but asking for a more deliberate approach to this topic. To this end, one of my arguments is some of what we often contend is privilege are really rights. They are rights we should want for everyone rather than privileges to be taken away from some. For example, in this list of Christian privileges, one of them is “You can worship freely, without fear of violence or threats.” I would hope that we all can agree that we want those of all faiths to worship without fear of violence or threats. That would be preferable to making everything “fair” by having Christians worship with fear of violence and threats. Often what people call privilege are really rights that we all should have.

When I look at the serious complaints of Christians in society, there is a certain theme that comes up, which I will identify after looking at some examples of Christianophobia. I have already pointed out that my research shows that conservative Protestants are likely to be mistreated if they attempt to land an academic job. If academics find out that they are conservative Protestants, then they are less likely to be hired simply for their religious beliefs. This level of rejection is not expressed towards non-Christian or secular individuals.

We recently observed the final dropping of the case against Masterpiece Cakeshop by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The Supreme Court found that statements made by the commissioners indicated anti-Christian animosity. They also found that the commission did not treat the Christian owner in a fair manner as they allowed other cake businesses to turn down work that they found objectionable. Given that other commissioners, even after the Supreme Court decision, have doubled down on the Christianophobic statements, why would a conservative Christian ever feel that he or she would get a fair hearing from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission?

We are also seeing the truth being revealed in so-called “All-Comers” policies. These are policies mandating that student organizations cannot have religious, among other, requirements for leadership. Many of us were skeptical of these policies as we only saw them being enforced on Christians. But the University of Iowa finally got caught clearly enforcing the policy on Christian organizations but not on Muslim organizations. This confirmed our suspicion that these policies were intended for Christian and not other student groups.

We also see religious tests being used by our government officials. Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, and Kamala Harris have all engaged in a dangerous game of trying to use the theological beliefs of Christians to disqualify them from governmental positions. Perhaps there are recent cases of such tests being applied to Jews, atheists, or Muslims and if there are, then please link me to them in the comments. I want to be as fair as possible. But until I see those cases, then how can I not believe that Christians are being subjected to a religious requirement that escapes others.

Finally, I come to the case of Eric Walsh, the lay pastor who was fired from his position with Georgia due to his sermon in his church. When I surveyed cultural progressive activists, I was often told that Christians can have their beliefs as long as they kept their beliefs in their churches and in their homes. I guess that was not true after all. We now see that Christians can be fired for what they say in their churches. Are there cases of non-Christian individuals losing government positions due to their statements inside their places of worship? I have not heard of any recent cases, and I suspect that if a Muslim lost a government position due to Islamophobia directed at actions inside his or her mosque that it would make the news.

Do you see what all of this has in common? First it is clear that Christians are being punished for their beliefs in ways that is not happening with non-Christians. But moreover, with the possible exception of the Masterpiece Cakeshop, the punishment is not based on any actions Christians have taken except the expression of their beliefs in their own churches and organizations. This is not a situation where we are asking Christians to stop taking rights away from others. Instead we are asking Christians to give up their own rights of religious freedom and consciences. And we are reserving those rights for non-Christians.

I suspect that many find the losing privilege argument comfortable because it allows them to put Christians in a stereotypical box. Christians are a bunch of whiners, and we can ignore their concerns. Such cognitive tricks are often used when we want to dehumanize those in our outgroups. And, as a friend recently reminded me, dehumanization is generally the first step towards treating our fellow human beings in a truly horrific manner. It is true that Christians are not being persecuted today. But we cannot allow that fact to fool us into thinking that persecution cannot happen in the future. Overconfidence in the ability of modern progressives to avoid mistreatment of others has not been inspired in me when I consider the events I outlined earlier in this blog.

This is not about losing privilege. This is about losing the rights that we want for others. Christians should speak out for the rights of the marginalized. I have called my Christian brothers and sisters to fight for the religious freedom of all, including non-Christians. But we also have every right to fight for our own rights as well. That is not a reaction to losing privilege. That is an acknowledgment of human nature and the reality that Christianophobia is real. It is a sickness that should be addressed. I fear if it is not, then we will look back at this period of time and wonder why we did not stop this type of anti-religious bigotry when we still had the chance to do so.

Update: I am deleting comments that are unnecessarily rude and add nothing to the discussion. I would not tolerate Islamophobic comments so why should I tolerate Christianophobic ones? I will also delete comments that are just about insulting me. Sorry but you would not tolerate that so why should I. I am not deleting comments that are arguments against my position even if they are silly arguments. But if you do not know how to make an argument without being unnecessarily rude then there are other places where your comments will be welcomed. But not here.

"The AIDS crisis. Reagan's administration literally told the CDC to do as little as it ..."

What is Persecution?
"Which health crisis was ignored due to the primary victims? And who are these homeless ..."

What is Persecution?
"In fact, we did! We Germans invited "to our house" not only "10 or so ..."

Why I am not Voting in ..."
"You live in Germany. Did you open your house to 10 or so illegal migrants? ..."

Why I am not Voting in ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Evangelical
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Al Cruise

    “It is true that Christians are not being persecuted today.” I agree. However I think the real battle is going on in the area of education with new insights coming from science and historical studies and protestant conservative Christians are seeing that as persecution because they have no logical defense to it. Young people are reading Peter Enns, Richard Rohr and others and thinking more critical than ever before. I see this a a good thing , educating something out of existence should always be the chosen path , letting things just fade away in a complete non-violent way.

  • Ron Swaren

    I think it can depend a great deal on the temporal culture that Christians live in. I live in a temporal culture that has the lowest church attendance, of any denomination, in the entire US. Plus I worked in a construction job, that also happened to be very poorly regulated by state authorities ( Some trades, such as electricians, are very highly regulated, by contrast.) Within my unregulated trade, anyone could get in, so there never was any fairness of any sort. Never a state-imposed standard that one might pass, while the unqualified would fail. The cynical observation by many was that, even though it was unionized the members tended to be F.B.I—friends, brothers and in-laws. If you work in an enterprise where good work is required and where good workers are protected by rules (such as government, or medicine) you can’t imagine how chaotic—and therefore worrisome and stressful—it is to be where those standards don’t apply.

    What I observed then was that Christians would adopt much of the same standards—to avoid being ostracized. In other words, HYPOCRISY. But Christianity preaches against hypocrisy—so the sincere Christian is in a terrible, no-win situation. Trust me this is real. But if you live in a region of the country where Christianity tends to dominate, you might get more respect. And now that our society is, en masse, turning against Christianity there may in fact be a loss of privilege in those areas. But if you lived in a society that was already highly secularized it is just more of the same.

    I will say that discrimination against Christians in the academic world might not be so bad either. I have come to see Christianity as a “cultural adaptation”—as opposed to a literal interpretation of writings that were written thousands of years ago among people that were vastly different from modern homo sapiens. And it is a cultural adaptation that has adapted even further. For example, Christians for the last two or three centuries have supported marriage based upon consensual interest, as opposed to family dictates and purposes as in the preceding centuries. So, if a Christian insists upon certain viewpoints that conflict with known science then maybe they should experience being shut out. But in things like politics and moral standards there is no “settled science” and the freedom to hold views, contrary to the majority, should be allowed. To a degree, anyway.

  • Clifford Ishii

    Biblical Christians will not shut up nor will we stop evangelizing.

    • otrotierra

      Shockingly, Jesus never said a single word about “Biblical Christians.” Today is a great day for you to begin asking why. Seek and you will find.

    • Josh Renfrey

      true

    • Barb Cooper-Humphrey

      Let me add…

      Until they stop being Christians. Many will not get up to attend church on Sunday, due to evangelical practices & beliefs.

  • David Brown

    “Methinks thou dost protest too much.” For the overwhelming part, Christians, of the Evangelical sort, are, indeed, just reacting to loss of privilege. They once ruled the roost; now they don’t. And they don’t like that feeling. True, I haven’t thoroughly read your book about academic bias (although if I were a professor in the social science field I, too, might question the scientific bona fides of an Evangelical). True, there are some examples of “religious discrimination against conservative Protestants,” as your blog illustrates. But only some examples. And in citing these anecdotal examples you jump to broad conclusions to assert the conspiracy of “Christianophobia.”
    Given the anti-science bias of many conservatives, it is not surprising that Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, and Kamala Harris, as examples, would drill down on religious issues for potential Trump appointees. It’s interesting that you link to very rightwing websites, full of outrage, to support your assertion. If one’s religious beliefs are the basis for making political policy decisions then, yes, their religious views should be questioned. I mean, it’s not like we might get a person to be head of the EPA who doesn’t believe in the established science of evolution and climate change because God…. Oh, right, we did with Scott Pruitt!
    And then your example of a lay pastor getting fired for preaching controversial sermons goes back five years. One example. And yet you generalize, “we now see that Christians can be fired for what they say in their churches.”
    Yes, in a highly partisan, divided culture, there will continue to be examples of discrimination from all sides. But, please, let’s not pretend Christians, by and large, are being persecuted.
    For the record, I am a Christian minister.

    • georgeyancey

      My research which I linked in this blog shows systematic prejudice against conservative Christians and not just anecdotal examples. Interestingly your assumption that evangelicals are anti-science does play into a Christianophobic stereotype. I guess I should just turn in my doctorate degree.

      • Al Cruise

        Does Ken Ham’s Creation Museum play into a Christianophobic stereotype ? Or would say that’s an example of good science?

        • georgeyancey

          Talk about using anecdotal evidence. lol

          • Al Cruise

            That’s all you got for a defense ? Use the word “anecdotal” whenever backed into a corner. Lol. The Ham museum is one component of a huge anti-science juggernaut that defines the anti-science bias of evangelicals. The museum cost over a 100 million dollars to build and claims to have up to a 1 million visitors a year, that’s not anecdotal . Every Sunday this anti-science bias is being taught to 4-5 year old children at Sunday School in every conservative evangelical Church. Education is what will eradicate conservative evangelical thinking and practice. Authors like Peter Enns and Richard Rohr are being picked up by young people at an unprecedented rate, and are making the change.

          • georgeyancey

            You decide to judge all of Christdom on thee follys of one guy? Why should I take that seriously. There are plenty of smart brilliant Christian scholars. Why not use them instead of Ham. Oh yeah. It is because you hate Christians.
            I also do not take your comments about education seriously either. Yes many Christians go to college lose their faith. About the same percentage lose their faith who do not go to college. Looking at secularization and the challenges it poses to Christians is a task that requires care and nuance. Not a conversation to have for someone who throws around Ham as a rhetorical tool.

          • Al Cruise

            Think before you speak. Ham is not anecdotal, he is one of the results of decades of conservative evangelical teaching and practice beginning with with small children in Sunday school. He knew he would have a following among-st conservative evangelicals and he was right. You have no legitimate argument to fact that conservative evangelicalism is failing and everyone can see it in the bitterness of your comments. I view Peter Enns and Richard Rohr in high regard as Christians. People are not rejecting Christianity, their rejecting conservative evangelicalism, especially the American version.

          • georgeyancey

            Seriously? Ham is a joke to most Christians. And what you detect is not bitterness. It is amusement at your failing attempt to make Ham relevant when most of us see him for what he is.

          • Al Cruise

            If Ham is a joke why is Ham’s museum getting up to a million visitors a year? I can tell you the answer , it’s because he found a way to capitalize on the anti-science bias of conservative evangelicals in general. This is not about Ham per say , it’s about exposing the failings of conservative evangelism and why it’s being rejected. What your really upset about , Dan Brown summed it up very well in his comment. ” They once ruled the roost; now they don’t. And they don’t like that feeling.” I see your book Hostile Environment , is ranked, Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #887,898 and only 6 reviews.

          • georgeyancey

            One million out of how many Christians? Yeah he is popular. And thanks for reading my mind and telling me what makes me angry. I like reasonable conservations that I had with Brown. You are a lost cause and have shown yourself as such. Have the last word. I am sure it will not be meaningful.

          • Al Cruise

            What is meaningful is your argument and book is what is anecdotal. You have proven that with your comments.

          • Ron Swaren

            It depends upon which sciences you are thinking about. I have been around the evangelical world all of my life; and first of all they are not generally backward at all. This happens to be a politically expedient caricature, utilized by those who take opposing political viewpoints.

            There are many evangelicals who are outstanding in the sciences of: Law, Medicine, Business, Finances, Administration, Real Estate, Education…….Some evangelicals may not know much about anthropology or geology…but let’s not make generalizations that actually have a political intent. And further, if we find that ‘evangelicals’ tend to oppose some social change by higher percentages than “mainline” or “secular” Americans—-that does not necessarily mean that such opposition stems from their illiteracy in some other area.

            In other words you can’t always argue the causation that you might like to. Now, if the real discussion here is about whether certain Trump appointees should be rejected because they have associated with certain other people—-let’s not hastily conclude guilt by association. And I have stated above what I think about the Privilege issue.

          • Al Cruise

            I have been around the evangelical world all my life also , I am 64, and participated in it in my earlier years for 30+ years. You ask ” which sciences”? You can’t pick and choose when it comes to science, that really demonstrates bias. Just like cherry picking bible verses to justify a bias . Evangelicals are fine with science that doesn’t rock the boat to much and is easy for them to justify within the confines of conservative evangelicalism even when the justification often shouts hypocrisy [ ie.Finances] . I am talking about conservative evangelism in general and what will go on this Sunday morning in Sunday School with small children being taught an anti-science bias. I speak from first hand experience and still have curriculum in my house that my wife taught and was taught to my children. Let’s not talk about Ham anymore , let’s talk about pre-K and K to 3 Sunday School curriculum that is taught in conservative evangelical churches. It’s hard core anti-science.

          • Ron Swaren

            Exactly how does that have anything to do with “privilege?” Way off the subject, Al, and I don’t know why I can’t pick and choose about sciences. OK, maybe there is a new ethical maxim here: Anyone who opens their mouth must know everything there is to know about all sciences, otherwise they are not qualified to say anything or have anything to do with the subject of their particular interest.

            Did I get that about right?

            “Evangelicals are fine with science that doesn’t rock the boat”
            One could substitute any other group for “evangelicals.” I don’t know anyone who knows completely everything about all sciences.

          • Al Cruise

            Let’s address what conservative evangelicals teach children in their churches and private schools. They teach an anti-science bias and want the privilege of not being doubted.

          • Ron Swaren

            There are probably biases in any private school system. Should students ‘doubt’ their teachers? I think it depends upon the outcome and the way they do it. Sure, I am enlightened, and if Ken Ham were my teacher I would openly confront him because it is nonsense. However, should I doubt the teacher if he/she says ” we don’t want you lying. And you can’t steal, or cuss either.” Seems OK to me. Look at this latest flap with USC and Hollywood celebs. Somebody sure went off the moral deep end. AND the public is going to be spending millions of $$ to get this case through the courts and incarceration. So, yes, there are practical consequences to un-Christian conduct.

            And FYI I don’t believe Christian kids should be sent out of public schools anyway. In our city religious groups are a very tiny minority. Yet I like to think that my schoolmates might have found something good in me. I never tried to bully the handicapped kids, for example.

        • dermasse

          You keep using the phrase “anti-science” but provide no evidence that Christians are. As a devout Christian with a doctoral degree in the biological sciences, I use science every day as a tool to discover the world God created. Evolutionists use various presuppositions to promote their philosophy. One of these is that processes measured today have not changed over time. If we use that same presupposition, then it is impossible for the planet earth to have existed over 6000 years ago based upon the rate of the moon’s movement away from the earth. I dare you to read the findings of scientists at the Institute for Creation Research (icr.org) with an open mind. The science is overwhelmingly in favor of a young earth.

          • Al Cruise

            So you’re in agreement with the Ken Ham Museum as truth?

          • Ron Swaren

            Can you elaborate on that “processes measured today have not changed over time” or direct me to something that explains it? I would not support a young earth view because…..the geological formations that we find, point to a very long term, developing history. For example, a host of data will point to the view that the early earth’s crust—before there was life on it—tended to be predominately red in color. Then, when there was life in the seas, these organisms left whitish deposits (calcium carbonate), at least where there were actual seas. Later forms of life left other deposits—such as petroleum or coal. It was in the late 1700’s that the English excavator,William Smith, first discovered the process by which layers of earth’s crust evidenced consistent sequential processes. These sequences helped scientists understand the ways in which Earth’s life forms changed over time. Plus, the exceptions to the typical sequential order are also explained by known geological processes.

            In other words it’s a 3-D puzzle that is only explained by evolution over very long time periods, as in hundreds of millions of years for the life forms, and billions for the geological formations.

            So you are saying that when the moon was closer to the earth, life could not have existed? The age of the moon is still the subject of speculation—-and we don’t have a heckuva lot of evidence to go on. Like trying to find out why a chariot crashed 2000 years ago.

          • Al Cruise

            Does this mean you see Ken Ham’s museum as truth?

          • dermasse

            I haven’t been there nor researched it, so I can’t comment on it. However I have studied the scientific research behind a young earth, and the science is overwhelmingly in support of that paradigm. No other comes close to explaining what we know to be true.

          • Al Cruise

            The museum is founded on the basis that young earth creationism is truth….//creationmuseum.org/creation-science/…. Yourself as a devout christian with a doctoral degree in biological sciences , makes George Yancey’s arguments anecdotal.

      • David Brown

        First of all, I said, “given the anti-science bias of many conservatives,” I didn’t say all conservatives. The theological scrutiny of administration appointees, which is what I was referring to, who will be making policy decisions is not a Christianophobic stereotype.
        Second, if an Evangelical wants to work in a scientific field there is a certain level of buying into the scientific method that is required, outside of one’s faith perspective. There are many faith-oriented qualities that a Christian can bring to that work, like ethics, morals, compassion, grace, justice. But if an Evangelical who, say, believes in a young-earth creationist view of the world and insists that their view be just as respected as evolutionary science, or denies climate change because the Bible says God is in charge, or believes in a binary view of sexuality because Genesis says God created them male and female, denying the biological truth that there is a wide range of sexuality in nature and humans, then their “anti-science” stance will be heavily scrutinized and questioned. If a person brings a faith perspective to their work in the public arena then an exploration of how that faith perspective might play out is entirely appropriate.
        Third, you may have documented bias in other writings. I’m just saying I did not find this article convincing of widespread “Christianophobia.”

        • georgeyancey

          First, if we do this same scrutiny on everyone’s theology then fine. But why not say that progressives are anti-science because they are the ones who tend to not vaccinate their kids and to be up in arms about GM food. Is it not because of anti-Christian stereotypes that we can put Christians under unfair scrutiny. Would this be acceptable for Muslims or atheists? I do not think so. Second, you are using a stereotypical image of a Christian to justify occupational discrimination. I fail to see how that furthers your argument. I could say if a Muslims wants to impose Sharia law then why would I want them to be able to join the military. Is that Islamophobic? Perhaps now you can see the problem in our example. Third, I will grant you that you cannot have read my books. But if the examples used above were applied to any other religious group I have my doubts you would be so casual about the bigotry being conducted by government and university officials. But I could be wrong about that.

          • David Brown

            I’m enjoying the conversation. Let me push back some more. Actually Pew Research Center’s polling shows that anti-vaxxers are a tiny percentage of the population (9%) and that Republicans are only slightly less than Democrats and Independents to be anti-vaxxers. Ironically, it is the wife of Bill Shine, former bigwig at Fox News and the Trump administration, who made news recently saying that measles is good for you and we should bring back childhood diseases because they fight cancer! I do not agree that progressives are anti-science because there are some who are anti-vaxxers. That phenomenon appears to be an equal opportunity scam. On the other had almost 40% of Americans believe in a young-earth creation (less than 10,000 years ago). Again Pew Research Center’s polling shows that out of all demographic groups white Evangelicals are by far the most likely to believe in a young-earth creation (64%), even significantly more than non-white Evangelicals. I suppose you could say that it would only be fair that all progressives or non-Christians be asked about their views on vaccinations if Evangelicals are going to be asked about their views on evolution. But I don’t think so. By the way, I disagree that my examples are stereotypical and justify occupational discrimination. Questions about one’s world view is not discrimination. Could such questioning lead to not getting the professorship? Yes, possibly. I’ll grant you that. It is not a fair world after all. And, yes it should be.

          • georgeyancey

            Since you granted that it is not a fair world and that Christian may be facing discrimination I will grant that anti-vaxxers tend to come from both sides. I looked up some research. However there are other anti-science position in GMO and fracking that is more attributed to leftists. My major point is that you can find anti-science attitudes in all groups. That is why the stereotype of the Christian as anti-science is unfair.
            We will have to agree to disagree on the use of a religious test. If I am hiring a professor I should only care if he or she can get the job done as a teacher or researcher. I am not a young earth creationist. But if someone is producing work that is accepted in the best sociological journals and is a young earth creationist then why should I care? The only way that should matter is in the relevant field and if that person is pushing a scientifically unsustainable idea specifically due to having a young earth creation stance. I think we should all admit that we have unscientific ideas in some areas of our lives (heck, I am still a San Diego Padres fan. You cannot get more unscientific than that) but as long as we do science in our work, we should be judged on that.

          • David Brown

            I came out of a fundamentalist/Evangelical tradition (I’m now a “liberal” minister). I have good friends who, like you, are Evangelical scholars with doctorates. In our many conversations over the years they often lament the state of Evangelicalism today, wondering if they have a home there. They tend to blame media for their expression of Evangelicalism being ignored. However, I tell them I think the media merely goes for what’s easy, those with the loudest voices – Falwell, Jr., Jeffries, Graham and the like. They take up all the attention. Thoughtful scholars, like yourself, get lost in the noise. In a fair world, the nuanced differences of the various types of Evangelicals would be dealt with, well, fairly. But I’m afraid that is not the case. All Evangelicals will probably be painted with broad strokes, which isn’t fair. When those loud voices claim they are being persecuted for all kinds of nonsense reasons, any claims of unfair treatment (like yours) might not be well received.

          • georgeyancey

            I cannot disagree with you. If you check out some of my other posts you will see my antipathy for evangelicals who support Trump. I find myself in the middle often. Do not like some of the priorities by certain “loud” evangelicals and do not like the excesses and hypocrisy on the left. But I think in the middle and not taking sides is where God would like me to be. Blessings to you and have a good weekend.

          • jhampl

            It wasn’t anti-Christian stereotyping that prompted Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to ask judicial nominees about their “religious beliefs.”

            It was the nominees’ very own deep-seated ideology expressed in writings, speeches, and affiliations that rightfully led Democratic senators to ask for an explanation of how these nominees could be fair judges, given their very public declarations of what they found (find?) abhorrent.

            For example, Brian Buescher, nominated to be a judge for the District of Nebraska, had publicly said, “I am an avidly pro-life person. And I will not compromise on that issue. That’s just simply my moral fabric.

            And that was a problem. Buescher knew that abortion is a constitutional right. He didn’t care. The Democratic senators had an obligation to question him about this “religious belief” because the Federalist Society-members-only playbook is to declare, ridiculously, that nominees would never let personal views influence judicial rulings. Why anyone believes that is a mystery because it’s simply not true.

            Gorsuch and Kavanaugh gave the same line, but look at the facts. Gorsuch wrote separately in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. CCRC to say Jack Phillips, the baker, hadn’t discriminated against the gay couple who wanted to order a wedding cake (never mind the many gay and lesbian couples he had discriminated against previously), which is preposterous. Refusing to provide a service to gays that is readily provided to heteros is, obviously, illegal discrimination in Colorado. In Pavan v. Smith, Gorsuch completely altered the facts of the case to dog whistle to state judges and employees how to manipulate policy to deny gays their constitutional rights.

            In his dissent in June Medical Services v. Gee, Kavanaugh utterly ignored the Supreme Court precedent decided in 2016 and wrote that abortion providers should be forced to take action, already ruled to be unconstitutional undue burden, and let an unconstitutional law take effect and harm the providers before the injunction to block the law should be sought.

            This is judicial activism. And the Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee know it and are compelled to explore ideologue’s beliefs to at least expose their biases up front since the Republican senators rubber-stamp all of them.

          • georgeyancey

            One can ask judges about legal principles without inquiring about their personal religious beliefs. And strange how this type of questioning is only done to Christians. I guess humanists, Muslims and Jews do not have values that may influence their decisions.

        • dermasse

          Are you familiar with the Dissent From Darwin list? Over 1,000 PhDs from various disciplines around the world have finally come together to reject the teachings of Darwinian evolution as being scientific valid. Also the scientific evidence for a young earth is much greater than that of an old earth. The orbit of the moon alone provides scientific proof against a universe greater than 6,000 years, and there are dozens more. All old earth philosophies are based upon an interpretation of data, not the scientific method. There is also ample scientific evidence against the claims of climate change proponents.
          I’m curious what “biological truth” is there for more than one biological sex? Yes, hermaphrodites exist, but even they represent the two sexes created by God.
          These so-called “anti-science” Christians are anything but anti-science. Those who espouse the beliefs you hold up as scientific are simply using their scientific degrees as a badge of authority to promote their anti-Christian philosophy while using very little true science.

          • David Brown

            After 18 years(!) the Discovery Institute has finally got a 1000 PhD’s to sign its vague and misleading statement about “Darwinism” (not a term evolutionary scientists use these days). And of those 1000 only a tiny number (2-3%) might be competent to scientifically evaluate evolutionary science. And none of those have provided scientific, peer-reviewable evidence to bolster their assertions. MD’s or engineers or even chemists might be really good at what they do but they are not qualified to assert scientific “truths” outside of their field. But even if one were to grant that these 1000 PhD’s are legit, they would only make up a tiny, tiny percentage of scientists. There were an estimated 6.9 million scientists and engineers in the US as of 2016. That’s 0.014%! Or another report says that there are about 2.9 million physical and biological scientists in the US. That’s 0.034%! Hardly a growing consensus. The DI is a joke!
            And the “moon moving away from the earth” theory to prove that the earth can’t be that old falls apart under the simplest of scrutiny. Using junk science to try to prove young-earth creationism is embarrassing.

          • dermasse

            Are you speaking as a liberal minister or a scientist with a PhD? It’s easy to throw out opinions that do not support your political/social agenda, but where’s your proof that the Discovery Institute (which I never mentioned, so I don’t know why you’re bringing it up) is a joke, and where is your proof that the latter idea uses “junk science” to prove it?

          • David Brown

            A minister who reads a lot. The 1000 PhD’s on the “Dissent from Darwinism” list is a product of the Discovery Institute, a religious organization (although it tries to hide that fact) that seeks to influence public and educational policy (such the “Teach the Controversy” initiative) by asserting that Intelligent Design (ID) is a valid scientific theory. However, it is not a scientific organization. It refuses to publish in peer-reviewed scientific journals research articles that purport to validate its claims. Publishing in peer-reviewed scientific journals is how scientists get their work validated. DI doesn’t. For that reason they are not seriously regarded as scientists.

      • Dhammarato

        If the PhD is in Computer Science, Math, Engineering, or other HARD science, then go ahead and keep it, it is of value. If the PhD is in any kind of Religion, I’ll help you burn it and then help you cry over the many years of lost time and wasted efforts.

        • georgeyancey

          Tell me when you get a PH.D for anything. Then we can talk.

          • Dhammarato

            with a MSEE and a PhD in psychology, I’m good, but why would I want to talk to you? What can you possibly offer that would be worthwhile, now you are just an angry old fart, full of fury that signifies nothing. The MSEE was far more work and far more profitable, but I had to learn that lesson the hard way. So, out of curiosity, what do you want to talk about that will not result in me catapulting a dead cow over the wall in ridicule for all you stand for.

  • Tom Hering

    If conservative Protestant Christians are losing their privileged position in American society, then I believe that can only be a good thing for the Church. Who will listen to the Gospel if it’s proclaimed by a privileged (resented) group? Better that we return to the sort of situation that the early Church found itself in. “For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).

  • ClanSutherland

    “No, I assume that rather than investigate this issue, such individuals have merely accepted the latest meme they heard on the subject and are regurgitating it.”
    Translation: “I am so much smarter than the people I’m talking about.”

  • Mondomanda

    Of course everyone should be free to worship and believe in ways that are meaningful to them. But to bring up the Masterpiece situation brings this into different territory. Let’s say you, Dr. Yancey, encounter a Christian who believes that his Christianity requires him to refuse public accommodations to people of color. First, would that be acceptable to you? I certainly both assume not and hope not. Second, do you think the sincerity of his beliefs affords him the right in this country to discriminate on the basis of race? Again, I both assume not and hope not. Now, while the history of anti-Black racism and the history of heterosexism/homophobia are of course wildly different in their particulars (and even separating them conceptually ignores the many Black LGBTQ people out there), the sociology of inequality, in terms of structural, cultural, interpersonal and intrapersonal processes, is surprisingly similarly between these two forms of inequality, and similar as well to sexism and other forms of inequality. I have a doctorate in sociology with a focus on social inequality so I do know whereof I speak here. Jack Phillips can devalue me as much as he wants, but if he is serving the public he is under obligation to treat me just as well as he would treat you or any other Evangelical Christian. None of us LGBTQ folks chose our gender or sexual identity any more than you chose to be heterosexual, so treating us badly in a public accommodations context is no less problematic than it would be if Mr. Phillips refused to make you a cake because of your race. It does not oppress people to refuse them the legal freedom to discriminate against others. And I am honestly very disappointed that you disagree. The horrors that have happened to you as a Black professor are the epitome of immorality. I only wish you could see that Phillips’ actions in this case are morally equivalent to what you have faced, however different the specifics. Devaluing anyone and blocking anyone from flourishing is a moral failure. Restricting people from causing others to suffer is not a case of devaluing them. It is a case of recognizing that Mr. Phillips and the men who visited him are equal citizens in our society and should be treated as such.

  • Alan Drake

    Two side comments.

    Politicans still need to be nominally religious (see current POTUS) as atheists or agnostics cannot be elected in most jurisdictions today. Much the same holds for federal judges (when did a judge get sworn in on a copy of the Constitution ?). So privilege & persecution vary by sector of society. Being a Conservative Protestant helps in some sectors and hurts in others.

    Coming from a Southern Baptist upbringing, I anticipated loss of privilege when I became convinced to become a Quaker. Instead, I have been surprised by how warm & encouraging the reaction has been from so many. Outside of Conservative Protestants, being a Quaker is seen by the balance of society as being a good thing. (Mormons see us as a fellow persecuted sect, despite other differences).

    It may help that the stereotype for Quakers matches my personality & character, and this convinces people that their first impression of me is who I really am.

  • Dhammarato

    Biblical Christians will not shut up nor stop evangelizing even now as the tired old message falls on the deaf ears of the whole world. Christianity is a spent force, we can only hope that it takes Islam down the same toilet. It is amassing that Humanity took this long to wake up to see that it is all a pack of lies, designed to keep power. Yet the bad sexual behavior of both the Catholic Church and the white church in America, shows just how hollow the teachings are. The anti-abortion stance is a clear sign that Christianity is in its death throws, may it stop throwing its evangelizing and child rape, and just die quietly, and rest in peace. But NO, Christianity will go out with a bang, lets hope that happens in 2020 with the downfall of Christianity’s biggest lie and smelliest turd, the trump. Big bang please, Knock your selves out, seriously,

  • billwald

    Whatever happened to “Sticks and stones . . . ?” My dad was raised in a non-practicing Jewish family and once mentioned being chased by Catholic kids every Easter – in Brooklyn, NYC. I never heard him bad-mouth any race or religion or political party.

    • Ron Swaren

      This is the age of the SJW denomination. That’s what has happened.

      • wullaj

        Nope, it’s the age of Trump. He asked for it, you deal with it.

  • jhampl

    Regarding academics, as a career professor, I’ve worked with colleagues who are Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, Mormon, agnostic, atheist, and so on, and this is at one of the largest public universities in America. My own experience is that a bias against the religious in higher ed is overstated.

    But as to why people might have concerns about fundamentalist Christians being hired into a tenure-track or tenured position, I don’t fault those who question institutional fit. Alliance Defending Freedom has an ever-expanding list of client-professors who are suing their university employers for violating their “religious liberty.”

    ADF and the Christian supremacists it represents believe that being rude, indecent, disrespectful, and inconsiderate are religious practices and/or values protected by the Free Exercise clause. The context, often, is Christian professors who have decided that their own religious beliefs about the creation of Adam and Eve and their progeny are accepted fact and they will not tolerate transgender students’ “radical beliefs” being imposed on them by using the pronouns they use to refer to themselves.

    Transgender students should not tolerate faculty members purposeful dismissal of who they are. What makes these many situations even more bizarre is that transgender students dress, style their hair, and accessorize in accordance with the gender they identify with. It’s simply Christian supremacy to tell a student who looks like a woman, “I will not refer to you as ‘she’ because I’ve know you for years and know you’re a man.” The arrogance!

    These situations (and others) are not common to all Christian faculty, but Alliance Defending Freedom is a PR machine so their cases get a lot of media attention, which is why hesitation among search-committee members understandably arises.

  • swbarnes2

    Emanuel, Tree of Life, now Christchurch…yeah, that list sure makes it look like white conservative Christians have it tough.

  • dermasse

    While I appreciate the intent of your article, it is not true that Christians are not being persecuted today. Our brothers and sisters are being persecuted and murdered around the globe every day.

  • John Gills

    But, but this would mean that I have to do unto others as I would have them do unto me! What a revolutionary concept….

  • Matthew White

    You say: “This is not a situation where we are asking Christians to stop taking
    rights away from others. Instead we are asking Christians to give up
    their own rights of religious freedom and consciences. And we are
    reserving those rights for non-Christians.”

    This may be true for you, personally – and from what I have read of your writing, I genuinely believe it is – but among Evangelicals broadly, there is a both deep and wide strain of “religious freedom for me, but not for thee”. Many, myself included, are indeed asking these Christians to stop taking rights away from others. In so many complaints of “persecution” from conservative Christians today, there’s more than a whiff of, “how dare you treat me the way I’ve treated you”.

    Cases like Jack Phillips and Baronelle Stutzman are instructive, though difficult to deal with. On the one hand, I agree that independent business people, generally, should have the right to turn away business they don’t want to do. On the other hand, I find both of them to be complete and utter vermin. I don’t see them as vermin because they are Christians; rather what I find deeply disturbing is that they would be willing to so humiliate another human being under any circumstances. And let’s face it, it’s hard to believe that conservative Christians so treated as Mr. Phillips and Ms. Stutzman treated their gay customers, wouldn’t be screaming, “persecution” to the rafters.

    And that’s the rub. It would be one thing if conservative Christians were willing to absorb some consequences of turning away gays/non-christians/not-the-right-kind-of-christians/etc. in response to their actions, but it’s clear many if not most aren’t. Again, “how dare you treat me the way I treat you”.

    As you sow, so shall you reap.

  • Brian K

    “They also found that the commission did not treat the Christian owner in a fair manner as they allowed other cake businesses to turn down work that they found objectionable.”

    This is just not an honest summary. The other business owners in question refused to produce an item with a specific message, but would have sold them other items. The Masterpiece owners refused to do business with a customer in toto. There is a difference.

  • Robert Conner

    Not to worry, Brother Yancey! No need to panic.

    Fundagelicals have their own special parallel universe with its Ark Exhibits, Creation Museums, End Times prophets, Armageddon food buckets, their own Bible colleges and pseudiversities that accept home schooled graduates who can name all the apostles. They’ve been assured by the Holy Ghost whispering in their temporal lobe that they’re smarter than smart, wiser than wise and the Divine Light of Salvation basically shines out their ass. Why would any sane person think fundagelicals are terminally stupid, or pompous frauds, or certifiably insane? They should have the right to have their idiocy go unquestioned, their deliberate ignorance go unchallenged, and their hate preaching pass as normal discourse because they’re The Elect.

    The rest of us totally get it. Fundagelicals are special, chosen, Jesus’ best ever children and anyone who doesn’t agree is of the Devil and a sign of The End.