I’m on something called The Listserve. It’s an email lottery. You sign up and every day you get a message (sometimes two) from one of 23,000+ people. It’s interesting – sometimes the messages are throwaways, some are interesting, and only a few have made me wonder what the hell is wrong with people.
I got one of those the other day.
It was by a self-proclaimed Christian for whom the timing could not be better since the Supreme Court just issued its ruling on marriage equality. The message didn’t really start off well:
The issue I would like to broach is divisive. However, with the recent U.S. Supreme Court hearing on same-sex marriage, this issue needs to be rationally and civilly discussed. In explaining my beliefs, I don’t want anyone to feel personally attacked. Sadly, some Christians and pseudo-Christians have shown hate and intolerance for the gay community. Forgive them. This hypocrisy is 180° polar to what being a Christ follower is all about!
I begin with a sincere moral belief:
As a Christian, I am morally opposed to the practice of homosexuality.
Well, that’s not going to get people’s hairs up right away now is it? He then lists several things we can believe of him if we want to, including that is “ignorant, close[d]-minded, bigoted, homophobic, a hater” and left a blank for us to fill in what we wanted. “Asshat” may have been what I chose to fill in.
“As a Christian” bothered me right from the get-go. He seems to think that he’s a TRUE Christian and thus can speak for all TRUE Christians. Given that I know plenty of Christians who don’t agree with the rest of his sentence, I’m not sure I believe him.
I also take issue with his phraseology – “the practice of homosexuality.” So, gay people are okay as long as they don’t act in accordance with who they truly are? As long as they deny what they are biologically driven to? How the fuck does that work? Is this a variant of the “hate the sin, not the sinner?”
He then goes on to talk about how we all judge – that we judge even when we say “he should be tolerant” and “she shouldn’t judge.”
Then we get these gem paragraphs:
Tolerance also means not forcing others to participate in and affirm our own beliefs. “Don’t like gay marriage? Don’t get gay married.” Point well taken. ” Do like gay marriage?” Don’t force someone against their personal beliefs to directly take part in supporting it. Hate speech, lawsuits or fines for someone not willing to participate as a wedding photographer or cater a gay wedding against a morally held belief is not tolerance. Should a gay print-shop owner be forced to print material teaching against the gay lifestyle?
This is distinctly different from someone being denied service at a restaurant, etc. Gay people are welcome in my life, but I should not be forced to act in violation of deeply held moral beliefs, nor should you be.
I think he’s a bit confused. First, tolerance doesn’t mean what he thinks it does:
tolerance: (noun) a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices, racial or ethnic origins, etc., differ fromone’s own; freedom from bigotry.
Tolerance would not be telling bigoted bakers that they don’t need to make a cake for a marriage of two people of the same sex. It would be those bakers making the cake without offering their opinions about what two people who are unrelated to them are doing.
Second, I still don’t understand how making a cake for a same-sex wedding makes anyone do anything in violation of their deeply held beliefs. When last I checked, if you ask someone to make you a cake for your wedding, they don’t have to have sex with you to get that cake made. If they’re taking pictures at the wedding they aren’t performing the fucking ceremony. Those two things might be making someone act in violation of their deeply held moral beliefs. (For the time being I’m going to go ahead and ignore what I think is the general hypocrisy that many Christians engage in on a somewhat ongoing basis regarding Jesus and judgment and how they pick and chose which parts of the Bible they’re going to hold deeply.)
Third, the problem is that it IS the same as people being denied service at a restaurant. Going into a bakery to get a cake made for what should be one of the most beautiful and memorable days of your life and getting told by a disgusted employee/owner that they will not make the cake is degrading, humiliating, and depressing. In both situations, people are made to feel less than because of something about themselves that they cannot change (and shouldn’t have to).
As I’ve mentioned before, these delightful Christians never stop to think about how it would feel if the tables were turned. They don’t want to provide services to gay people, but they don’t think about the number of times someone who is gay has provided services to them. Gay photographers don’t walk around talking about how they won’t work a church wedding and gay bakers don’t refuse to make a cake for a Christian couple.
Part of the problem is that bigoted Christians can often keep the fact that they’re hateful people to themselves. It’s a bit hard to get a wedding cake made without identifying who the couple is.
Which brings me to another of my favorite points – if the couple knew they were going to be treated like shit at the establishment, they probably wouldn’t go in there in the first place! Most of us don’t knowingly walk into a situation where we know we’re going to be shit on. We would simply take their business elsewhere. The problem comes when we go into places expecting everything to be fine, and then walk out feeling lesser.
He closes his email with these beautiful nuggets:
LET’S JUDGE WHAT IS TRUTH, NOT EACH OTHER
Don’t judge ME or my RIGHT to what I believe. I have the same tolerance for you. Please DO JUDGE my BELIEFS.
I don’t even know where to begin with this shit because I have no idea what the fuck he means.
How do you judge the TRUTH? The only way this makes sense is if he believes he knows the TRUTH and the rest of us who don’t agree with him have it wrong, so we’re judging his TRUTH.
I also don’t know how you judge someone’s RIGHT to what he believes.
I can’t figure out how to separate the belief from the person. If we truly believe something, our actions should be in line with those beliefs. Especially if we’re talking about these deeply held moral beliefs. My deep beliefs are who I am. I believe in equality for everyone. I can’t separate that from who I am. I’m also really PROUD of that so I wouldn’t want it to be separate from who I am.
I also love how he has the same tolerance for me. By which he tolerates me thinking what I think because he knows I’m going to hell for being a non-believer. Again, NOT tolerance.
What it looks like to is that he’s trying to (I NEED TO INTERJECT THAT AN ELTON JOHN SONG JUST CAME ON) say that we shouldn’t judge him for being a bigot.
We’re hearing that a lot these days – so-called Christians running rampant with their judgment, but somehow when other Christians or non-Christians turn around and are like, WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU, judgment is somehow off-limits. So, they can dish it but they can’t take it? Is that what this is?
What’s really disturbing about this is that he clearly has no idea how he’s actually treating the gay people he “welcome[s]” in his life and that he’s as intolerant as the Christians he claims aren’t acting in accord with Jesus’ way. His idea of tolerance seems to be that he doesn’t throw rocks at gay people or set them on fire when he sees them. He seems to want people to hop back in the closet and just stay there as he sits in quiet judgment, knowing in his heart of hearts that everyone who doesn’t agree with him is going to hell. Whatever you are, own it. If you’re a bigot, admit that shit. Stop trying to make me help you feel less guilty about it.
Holy shit – I went on and on. This issue makes me hella ragey and I am beyond sick of the hypocritical bullshit that “Christians” are throwing around these days. If any of that type of Christian is reading this, know that Jesus is frowning on you and your intolerance right now.