I'm not certain if anyone has noticed, but recently a new member has been invited into the ranks of 'hated minorities': homophobic bigots! According to the barrel of wacky wingnuts at the Family Research Council, Christians who believe that homosexuality is sinful -- and say as much -- are running scared from the flaming liberals intent on oppressing their every word.
Let's ignore the fact that the Family Research Council itself has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Let's also skip past the nomenclature problems where a group that makes up 77% of America somehow magically becomes a minority. Not to mention the fact that electing a non-Christian president would make a the election of the first black President look fairly easy by comparison (if "not true! Kennedy was a Catholic!" just popped into your mind, please get off the internet here. This is your stop). Let's get straight into the FRC's argument and nip this nonsense in the bud.
Here's Peter Sprigg from the FRC talking toCNN:
We've heard of the "down-low" gay person who keeps his or her sexual identity secret for fear of public scorn. But Sprigg and other evangelicals say changing attitudes toward homosexuality have created a new victim: closeted Christians who believe the Bible condemns homosexuality but will not say so publicly for fear of being labeled a hateful bigot.Oh boy! So the breakdown as far as I can see is groups like the Family Research Council really want to have bigoted views and talk about them a lot -- in their case, in the context of advocating for actually damaging, actually discriminatory policy initiatives. They just don't want to be called on it. Fun fact: You can believe whatever you want to believe and advocate for whatever social policies you see fit. However, if those beliefs and social policies are hateful and bigoted, you may in fact be called a hateful bigot. The Bible does not provide a mystic force field that protects you from criticism. You'd think that biblical literalists would have a better understanding of cause and effect. Unfortunately not. But Sprigg continued:
“In the current culture, it takes more courage for someone like Chris Broussard to speak out than for someone like Jason Collins to come out,” says Sprigg, a former pastor. “The media will hail someone who comes out of the closet as gay, but someone who simply expresses their personal religious views about homosexual conduct is attacked.”I've already written about Chris Broussard's views about Jason Collins at length. But suffice it to say, you can't pick which parts of the Bible you decide you want to follow. For example, never saying one word about the morals of an entire sports league notorious for pre-marital and extra-marital sex, but once an athlete comes out as gay, feeling the need to pontificate on what does or doesn't make a "true Christian." But I digress. More importantly, the fact that anyone would think it's easier for Mr. Broussard to "come out" as a person who thinks homosexuality is wrong versus Mr. Collins' actually coming out is laughable.
There's a reason that it's taken so long for a man to step forward as the first openly gay athlete in one of the major sports. There's also a reason why the person who stepped forward is nearing or at the end of his career. Besides the media circus and having millions of strangers suddenly keenly interested in your intimate life, there are downsides like it's still perfectly legal to fire someone in most of the United States for simply being gay (further fun fact: the FRC is predictably adamant in its defense of those laws). And if that weren't enough, there's a real potential for violence. According to the LA Times, hate crimes against LGBT people are on the rose by 13% from 2009-2010. Among that group minorities were even more likely to be targeted. 2011 saw the highest number of anti-gay murders ever reported. Yes, yes, what courage Mr. Broussard had. He should get a medal because by espousing bigoted claims, some think him an asshole. If only he had it as easy as Jason Collins.
If I were a betting man, I would put $0.00 or less on the table for the possibility that facts, reason, logic or actual cudgels could be used effectively to beat any sense into the FRC or their mouth-breathing fanbase. Haters, as the saying goes, gonna hate. The most obnoxious part of this conversation to me is that a major media news outlet not owned by Rupert Murdoch -- CNN, ever the fucking baby-splitter -- is giving wide-eyed, credulous airtime to these ludicrous and offensive claims as if they are a meaningful part of an ongoing social conversation. There are a ton of interesting ways to cover the changing attitudes in America toward homosexuality and what that means for our past, present and future as a nation. But when the team representing the Obviously Wrong Side of History insists on having a little bitchfit about how they're the ones now being oppressed, this is not a reason for raising the alarm and slamming on the brakes for some soulful reflection on empirically idiotic claims. This is the time to play those people a very sad song on the world's tiniest little violin -- and let the rest of us dance into the future.