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Martyrdom, McCarthyism, and the Problem of Naivete

I said in my Benedict Option talk yesterday that we small-o orthodox Christians could take a lesson from Dante, and allow our exile from the mainstream — both chosen and unchosen — to humble us, to bring us back to fidelity and the life of the Spirit, and renew us. We must try, anyway, because if we are going to hold on to the orthodox Christian faith in this increasingly anti-Christian culture, we are going to have to learn how to endure, and to endure joyfully.

I ran out of time this morning on the stage, but I wanted to talk briefly about how we will have much to learn from the African-American experience. A black friend’s grandmother, encouraging her children in the 1940s not to let their spirits and their dignity be broken by white hatred, counseled, “Don’t be the kind of person they think you are.” That’s great advice for Christians going forward.

That said, I think a lot of us Christians have a problem with naivete on this culture war front. The Evangelical writer Matthew Lee Anderson hits it square on the head in this post. [1] Excerpts:

But there is a wide gap between disliking the fact that the pursuit of LGBT rights makes some people mean (as the unfortunate pizza owners discovered) and providing principled reasons for why, given the logic that the LGBT cause has used to advance its own rights and that sympathizers have adopted, such restrictions and prohibitions should not be pursued.

Such are the stakes of the great dispute that is upon us about how gay rights can co-exist with religious liberty. Which is why it’s curious to read libertarian writers like David Harsanyi [2] or Conor Friedersdorf [3] or Ben Domenech [4] seem surprised by the pervasiveness of the conflict. Friedersdorf thinks that it is only a “faction” of gay marriage proponents that want to exclude those who have objections (religious or otherwise) from meaningful participation in public life. But while he’s right Julian Sanchez persuasively argues our current situation [5] with respect to gay rights is nothing like Jim Crow, the LGBT community has made all of its legal and political gains the past twenty years by arguing that those who object are motivated by animus or bigotry. The one lesson that everyone in the gay marriage dispute should agree on is that the law has a pedagogical function: having been told (now) by the Supreme Court that objectors are motivated by animus, our society is simply starting to believe it. What else would we expect?  It is precisely what conservatives have been arguing about the institution for the past twenty years, and on this they have once again been vindicated.

More:

There is no room for naivety about our current cultural crisis. Only within the evangelical world naivety is the dominant problem. Young evangelicals who are increasingly sympathetic to their cause want to make nice with gay marriage while supporting religious liberty, but until we are given arguments for how they can coexist given our current legal and political history, we have no more reason to think that is possible than that we could unwind marriage from politics altogether (which is the ultimate libertarian fantasyland). The people who are now shouting about “religion-based bigotry [6]” may be outliers now, but if Frank Bruni has his way they’ll be the future of the movement [7]. After all, Rachel Held Evans thinks that conservatives have blood on their hands [8].  If that’s not sufficient reason to do whatever it takes to eradicate such views, I don’t know what is.

So while it’s nice that Jonathan Merritt recognizes Bruni’s “strong-arm tactics” are “deeply troubling,” [9] a careful reader will observe that he does not object to Bruni’s construal of the backwardness of religious conservatives. In fact, Merritt’s main argument against Bruni is that he’s going to embolden conservative evangelicals by framing them as persecuted. Apparently Merritt thinks its better to be nice to us so that none of us say anything, ever. With friends like these

Read the whole thing. [10]

I don’t know the Evangelical world, so I am in no position to determine whether or not Anderson is right or wrong about their supposed naivete. But I do believe that there are very many Christians, including Catholics and Orthodox, who have no idea what’s at stake in all this, and how much they stand to lose. It never seems to touch them, this culture war, so they believe it doesn’t exist, or it’s much ado about nothing. They really do believe the quaint cliche that the marriage of their gay neighbors doesn’t affect them.

But when they start seeing their friends losing their jobs, or having to live in constant fear that somebody in the office will discover that they’re a Christian, they’ll realize how far things have gone. They may hope that the LGBT movement and its allies will satisfy themselves by dismantling non-dhimmi institutions like Gordon College [11], and that if they keep their heads down the bullies will pass their favored schools and institutions by. They’ll find out.

Many Christians have trouble accepting that all their service to the poor and vulnerable will avail them nothing in the world that’s here, and that is coming. The city of Lynn, Mass., tossed Gordon volunteer interns out of the impoverished city’s public schools, which are full of low-income kids. Why? Let’s ask school committee member Charlie Gallo [11], who led the push to evict Gordon:

“Their volunteer involvement was very limited. You have to draw the line somewhere,” Mr. Gallo [12] said. “If the Ku Klux Klan, for example, made the best school lunch in the world, we’re not going to hire them to make the school lunch in the Lynn Public Schools.”

Cross-burning racial terrorists, young Evangelicals volunteering to teach in schools filled with impoverished minority kids — well, gosh, who can tell the difference?

I swear, this must be what McCarthyism was like: the moral panic, the fervor to root out the impure, the fear people who were guilty of nothing had of being suspected of disloyalty.

Anyway, I heard someone here say in conversation that a period of persecution might be good for Christians because we have grown too comfortable. It’s a position that I sometimes think is true, and in any case we are obliged to join our sufferings to Christ’s and try to be strengthened by our trials. Nevertheless, it is also true — and probably more important to think about — that it’s awfully glib to assume that persecution always makes the church stronger. As another person pointed out in that same conversation, the church in Japan never recovered from its persecution. There are other examples.

Optimistic Christians love to quote that line from Tertullian, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church,” but that’s mighty easy to do when it’s not your children’s blood at risk of being spilled. And it’s easy to do when you can’t imagine losing your family business or job over your faith, or imagine what it’s like to live in fear that somebody in the workplace is going to ask you a question, and you answer it honestly instead of lying, and you will be branded a bigot forever. And so forth.

Maybe this kind of thing will make some people’s faith stronger. But we should not be eager to be put to the test. None of us know for sure how we would bear up. As an ardent Catholic, I really did believe that nothing could make me lose my faith in Catholic Christianity. I learned otherwise the hard way.

So, look, you tell me what you’re seeing where you are: do you think Christian conservatives are naive about the nature of the opposition? Examples, if you have them, please.

UPDATE: A reader responds:

“But I do believe that there are very many Christians, including Catholics and Orthodox, who have no idea what’s at stake in all this, and how much they stand to lose. It never seems to touch them, this culture war, so they believe it doesn’t exist, or it’s much ado about nothing. They really do believe the quaint cliche that the marriage of their gay neighbors doesn’t affect them.”

It will touch them even if they have no interest. This was the case for some friends of ours until recently. One of them took his boys out of Boy Scouts because of where he thought the organization was going. He didn’t say anything about allowing gays in to the scoutmaster and this was over a year before those changes were made. Just said that they had other priorities. The scoutmaster berated him for being homophobic as the real reason they were leaving. He started getting threatening calls from another parent about being intolerant. Then he had problems at work because one of the other parents in the troop he works with told co-workers about him leaving scouts, and a gay manager then did everything she could to get him fired. He’s safe for now as a top sales producer but he’s not sure for how long.

Another close friend is a public school teacher. This past summer, they rolled out transgender curriculum for her grade school kids and she has a 7th grader using girl’s restrooms because he identifies as female. She can no longer use terms like “he” or “she” when referring to students. Next year, they will start queer studies. She needs to affirm kids in the classroom and the coursework. She figured a mandate not to use gender terms isn’t actually in the Bible so it wasn’t a big deal but has no idea what to do about teaching the gay coursework. She left working in a Christian school because they could not pay the bills. Now in the public school system she’s the family breadwinner with her husband working as a pastor. If she teaches the curriculum will her husband get fired? Or will the church be tolerant because they need him as a pastor and can’t pay him very much?

Our friends where taken by surprise by this. As in, hit with the proverbial bus. My friend who was in scouts remarked to me how quickly things spiraled out of control when he made what he thought was an insignificant decision to leave Boy Scouts, and this was almost three years ago. What shocked him is that he never even mentioned leaving scouts due to the policy changes. Everyone just assumed that was the reason because they knew he was active in his church. He has no doubt he would no longer be employed if it wasn’t for the amount of revenue he brings in for his company.

UPDATE.2: Reader Smitty:

As an Evangelical, the naivete is quite strong, in two distinct strands.

In the older generation of Evangelicals (I would say, Generation X and earlier), there is a naivete that because the “silent majority” is with them, they will be fine. This generation believes that there is a silent, moral majority that disapproves of homosexuality and that this will be the bulwark that stems the tide. This thinking arises out of the culture wars fights of the 1970s and 1980s, where there really was a moral majority that was sick of the way that the popular culture was headed. These Evangelicals think that this is a similar fight and they will prevail or at least battle to a draw. They really don’t see/understand/realize the stakes or how our side is being demonized. And where I am at, people take a great deal of false comfort in the idea that “We live in the Bible belt. This is something that happens in big coastal cities. But we’ll be safe here.”

Among the Millenial generation, they do have the naivete that there can be peace. They believe that there is a compromise that can be found where they can oppose same sex marriage, have gay friends and not be ostracized. I am a youth leader of a Pentecostal church in the southern U.S. Gay rights and religious liberty isn’t really talked about among my group and I don’t really see it talked about in other youth groups.

I think because there is a naivete that if we don’t talk about it, it pass right over us, like a storm that never quite hits. I’ll admit that I find that line of thought tempting, because this isn’t an issue that is easy to talk about.

And what that generation faces is something far different that our most recent predecessors faced. I commented to someone recently that things are about to completely flip for Evangelical teenagers in public schools, if they haven’t already. When I was in middle school/high school in the 90s, living as an Evangelical Christian meant facing social opprobrium (the fear of every teenager), but the pushback came in the form of “Oh, you think you’re better than us?” By living as a committed Evangelical, you were at risk of being thought of as someone who fancied themselves better, more moral than everyone else. And that attack could be largely thwarted by combining the traits of Christ: being kind, approachable, friendly, etc., with proving yourself to be principled.

But for a teenager today and the coming years, living as a committed Evangelical puts them at risk of being labeled a bigot and a homophobe. So instead of being as someone who has tried to make themselves better than everyone else, they will be seen as beneath everyone else. They will be seen as a denizen of a hateful gutter. And that cannot be easily thwarted. No amount of kindness can overcome being seen as a bigot. The pressures on Evangelical (as well as Orthodox, Catholic, etc.) teenagers to give in will be immense. I am quite fearful for our future.

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177 Comments To "Martyrdom, McCarthyism, and the Problem of Naivete"

#1 Comment By Leslie Fain On April 25, 2015 @ 9:02 pm

“Christians around where I live, Montgomery Alabama, are utterly naive.”

I was church of Christ for most of the time I lived in Montgomery before moving to Louisiana, and I can totally believe what you say here. One of my very good friends still lives there (my RCIA sponsor) and she thinks we are in the end times. Maybe you should branch out and meet some Catholics, unless, of course, that is who you are referring to:-/

#2 Comment By Irene On April 25, 2015 @ 11:42 pm

RD: ““I support gay civil unions, not marriage. I support employment and housing protection for gays and lesbians. Plainly, I am Fred Phelps.”

You fervently opposed civil unions and reluctantly support them now only because you recognize you’ve lost the marriage battle. So let’s not pretend that your support for civil unions arises from a desire to see loving same-sex couples enjoy the same legal benefits as straights. You also favor giving commercial businesses the right to deny service to gays.

You seem to believe that as if as long as you don’t hate gays, your beliefs can’t be harmful to them.

#3 Comment By Irene On April 26, 2015 @ 12:02 am

VikingLS: “See, if you denounce the more aggressive on your side, you are no different from me or even Rod. . . Thanks Irene for your assistance.”

I know you fashion yourself the blog commentariat policeman, but calling Marysue’s comment “aggressive” is really kind of sappy. She was polite, measured and clear in her desire to rid society of ideas that lead to harm. We all desire to do that very same thing. We only differ on what those ideas are.

#4 Comment By Lee On April 26, 2015 @ 1:29 am

The issue you lament came about as a reaction (and inevitably in some cases overreaction) to conservative Christians using their religion as license to dehumanize and mistreat others. If conservative Christians want to complain that they are now being mistreated, they must first own up to their own sin. Unfortunately, one does not need to look far to see self-proclaimed Christians still spouting hate today. Christiantity’s failure to own up to and deal with its own hate-mongers makes its claims of victimhood ring very hollow indeed.

[NFR: It is useful to know that this is all about vengeance for folks like you. There is no amount of apology — none — that will satisfy you. It’s important for Christians to know this, so we suffer no illusions that those who seek to destroy us personally and take our livelihoods can be appeased. You can’t be. I do wish you would quit lying to yourselves about what you want, though, and why you want it. — RD]

#5 Comment By Rob On April 26, 2015 @ 1:49 am

VikingLS: “Now in return for this what will you offer?”

You misunderstand me. I am not trying to make a deal. (As one person, I don’t have that power.) I am trying to explain what I would need to see in order to take complaints about religious liberty seriously. Conservatives who oppose civil recognition of SSM are trying to impose their controversial metaphysical beliefs on others. So their appeal to “religious liberty” doesn’t look sincere. They want liberty only for their own religion, which means they aren’t serious about religious liberty at all.

I would take concerns about religious liberty more seriously from religious people who are not opposed to civil recognition of SSM but who have religious objections to providing services for a same sex wedding. I suspect many other liberals feel similarly.

You also misread my comment about what I would take as evidence of sincerity. I said that if someone says not only that they do not want to use the law to put me in the closet, but also that they think it would be wrong to do so, and why it would be wrong, I would take them at their word.

#6 Comment By creekmama On April 26, 2015 @ 1:49 am

To answer the original question, I was very naive. It was only a couple of years ago that I began to see the writing on the wall. Why was I so naive? I grew up around gay people. My mom was an interior designer, for Pete’s sake. I’ve spent my adult life associated with theatre. Yeah, I’ve known plenty of gay folks, and I have never known any of them to be particularly hostile to Christians, conservative or otherwise. Maybe that’s because we’re all Southern. And having lived in the Southern culture, they may have experienced ugliness at the hands of Christians, but they have probably also experienced the love of Christians. It’s not so cut and dried as some people would like to make it. The big change I’ve seen is among the so-called “allies”. The hostility I see is mostly coming from my old lefty friends. (I’m a GenXer and former liberal who converted to Christianity twenty years ago. I’ve grown steadily more conservative during that time.) My straight “liberal” friends and family members are downright nasty towards anyone who does not share their views. I use quotation marks around the word “liberal” because I have long since failed to see any true liberality in their liberalism. The only freedom they seem to experience is the freedom to be as ugly as they want to Christians and other cultural conservatives, a freedom they do not extend to the other side. I don’t know how to account for this, but if their hearts are anything like mine was back in the day, I suspect it has to do with the irresistible self-righteousness that often accompanies liberalism. “I believe in love. I believe in happiness. I’m a good person. I’m not like that hateful bigot over there.” Except that they are just as hateful and bigoted as the next guy. But that’s the human condition, isn’t it? It’s the same reason the formerly oppressed are becoming the oppressors. A bitter spirit plus a little power and there you go–family businesses being destroyed in the name of love and happiness. We all of us need the grace and peace and love of Christ. I don’t want to cram that down anyone’s throat. I do want to be free to offer them the same gift I was given.

And btw, we’ve had a great experience with Scouts. When the big decision was handed down two years ago, our Cub Scout pack was cut in half. That may sound bad, but the parents handled it with grace and love. My husband and I decided to stick with Scouting because we would never exclude a child who was experiencing same-sex attraction or questioning his sexuality in any way. That child needs love and support. Other parents were concerned that the national organization would go beyond tolerance to promotion of homosexuality, so they decided to pull out. I get that. I’m concerned about that myself, so we’re keeping an eye on the situation. The parent meeting at which these issues were discussed was a model of civility and Christian love. (We live in the small-town South, so yeah, most of us are at least nominal Christians and have been brought up to be polite, Christian or not.) We are proud of our community and our Pack, but to God be the glory. His Holy Spirit was in that meeting.

Grace and peace to all here.

#7 Comment By EngineerScotty On April 26, 2015 @ 2:18 am

Irene: Obviously, Rod’s comment was easily and immediately shown to be weak, but the suggestion by VikingLS, EngineerScotty and Panda that Marysue’s comment is somehow strange, excessively offensive or an outlier is downright bizarre.

Viking: Panda stepped up to the plate enough to admit MarySue was both real and not a radical we can ignore and I give him credit for that. Scotty did what I predicted he would.

Dang, I’m both too tough on marysue, and treating her with kid gloves. I guess I can’t make anyone happy today, can I? 🙂

As for what ideas (and certainly not which people) I think the world would be better off without:

* I have no trouble whatsoever with religious doctrines against gay sex, or extramarital straight sex, or married straight sex while on the Pill, or eating shellfish, cattle, pork, or drinking alcohol, or teaching that the parishioners in the heresy-filled church next door are all apostates who are flying with a one-way ticket to Hell.

* I do take issue with the belief that arbitrary discrimination in commerce by predominantly-secular entities, is either a) a social good, or b) an exercise of religious freedom. And I certainly take grave offense at the idea (promulgated even today by some calling themselves Christians, though certainly not by Rod or the vast majority of commenters here) that gay people (or fornicating straight people, etc.) should be imprisoned or shot, or otherwise mistreated by the law.

* And to be perfectly clear, the same applies to religious believers. I dislike public discrimination against Muslims for no reason other than their faith, and that likewise applies to Christians.

To repeat–I certainly can understand, as Irene apparently dose, where marysue is coming from: many gay people consider certain opinions uttered by the faithful to be a threat, just as some of y’all feel threatened by the conduct and statements of the more obnoxious SJWs. OTOH, marysue’s way of saying this itself sounds like a threat, and flies a bit too close to the sort of eliminationist rhetoric that occasionally leads to violence. It is wrong for Rod to equate this with an actual call to violence–marysue said no such thing–but when you proclaim an idea to be utterly disreputable, then it’s not surprising that those who hold said idea might feel either offended or threatened.

#8 Comment By Fran Macadam On April 26, 2015 @ 2:28 am

“Very sad that you can’t be happy unless dissenters are crushed.”

Even that won’t make them lastingly happy.

As for the late Fred Phelps and family, he suffered no lack of lawyering, precisely because they ARE lawyers and have a “successful” law firm! Now why is the Phelps firm entirely consistent with my view of lawyers? 🙂

#9 Comment By mhornbeam On April 26, 2015 @ 2:34 am

Viking –

I’m sorry, you misunderstand. My side can match your side crazy-pants for crazy-pants. Most of us (I think) don’t personally know these hateful people but we have them all the same.

That’s what I meant about the circle of hate. Not necessarily this board. On another comment thread someone said something to the effect that there are 2 groups on each side, one that is reasonable and one that is not and the reasonable people spend their time being shouted over by the second group.

When I first read marysue’s comment I thought she was talking about stamping out hateful attitudes. When I went back to reread it I can read it the other way where it seems like she may mean that any beliefs have to squashed that disagree with homosexuality. So I really can see both ways.

#10 Comment By JonF On April 26, 2015 @ 7:48 am

Re: We aren’t like the early Christians, we’re like Catholics during the English Reformation.”

Do recall why it was that Catholicism became infamous in late 16th century England. Hint: Her name is “Mary” and she had a penchant for heretic barbecues.

#11 Comment By 476 On April 26, 2015 @ 12:16 pm

Panda: “So, the best you’ve got is a policy that ADDS other pronouns to he and she, not bans using those pronouns. The commenter said something very specific, and the fact your google skills found nothing to suppport his words is rather telling,no?”

Did you read the second article in National Review?

“Don’t use phrases such as ‘boys and girls,’ ‘you guys,’ ‘ladies and gentlemen,’ and similarly gendered expressions to get kids’ attention,” instructs a training document given to middle-school teachers at the Lincoln Public Schools.

Always ask yourself . . . ‘Will this configuration create a gendered space?’” the document says.”

So the word “ban” wasn’t used, but that’s a difference without a very meaningful distinction.

#12 Comment By 476 On April 26, 2015 @ 12:24 pm

JonF:”Do recall why it was that Catholicism became infamous in late 16th century England. Hint: Her name is “Mary” and she had a penchant for heretic barbecues.”

You are aware that Henry VIII broke from the Church over a divorce, and was hanging, drawing, and quartering faithful Catholics before Queen Mary came on the seen, right? That’s not to excuse Queen Mary, but to say she is the reason for the English Reformation is simplistic and false.

#13 Comment By 476 On April 26, 2015 @ 12:27 pm

“*Scene”, not “seen”

#14 Comment By VikingLS On April 26, 2015 @ 2:44 pm

“She was polite, measured and clear in her desire to rid society of ideas that lead to harm. We all desire to do that very same thing. We only differ on what those ideas are.”

But we don’t. I have no desire to annihilate ideas I disagree with. For example I find Ayn Rand’s philosophy not just wrong, but demonic. Yet I feel no desire to burn her books, to shame people for liking her, or even to go to objecivist web sites and troll objectivist bloggers.

We’re not all the same Irene.

#15 Comment By VikingLS On April 26, 2015 @ 3:19 pm

“I tend to believe you when you say you (and many other Christians) don’t want to drive gays into the closet, and try to separate you from the ignoramuses on your side who clearly do (or worse); please extend those of us on the left who actually care about tolerance (rather than merely replacing one hegemony with another) the same courtesy.”

Scotty you seem like a perfectly decent guy and I’m sure that we could have a perfectly pleasant conversation about this or many other issues where we might disagree without it becoming unpleasant.

If the question were, “are liberals all bad people?” then the fact that you are a nice, genuinely tolerant person, and that many other liberals are too would be a significant issue.

I’m sure you’d never try to drive somebody out of business because of their opinion on SSM. It has, however been done by others on your side and the fact that you didn’t participate or even approve really doesn’t amount to very much.

The question is whether in government, academia, and in the media there is a campaign to marginalize, punish, and eliminate dissent. If that is true, and if it is being done by liberals, and we recognize that it is being done by liberals, it still doesn’t mean that all liberals are responsible for it, it doesn’t even take a majority. It is however happening and that courtesy you keep asking for increasingly amounts to a request to stick our heads in the sand so as not to offend the center left.

#16 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 26, 2015 @ 10:49 pm

It’s important for Christians to know this, so we suffer no illusions that those who seek to destroy us personally and take our livelihoods can be appeased.

On the other hand, if I were King of the World, Lee and Rod could both live in a modicum of safety and comfort, however much those with strong opinions would begrudge the fact that they had to put up with all the Erroneous People sharing their turf.

#17 Comment By dominic1955 On April 26, 2015 @ 10:58 pm

JonF,

“Do recall why it was that Catholicism became infamous in late 16th century England. Hint: Her name is “Mary” and she had a penchant for heretic barbecues.”

The only reason we drink “Bloody Marys” and not “Bloody Elizabeths” or hell, even “Bloody Henrys” is because the Prots had a better propaganda campaign. The Church of England, like any revolutionary body, knows that the opposition cannot be gracefully allowed to die out. Catholicism was deeply rooted in England, Protestantism was a top down imposition by a handful of nobles and dissident clerics.

“Bloody” (sic) Mary had about 300 heretics executed compared to the tens of thousands executed or killed in the anti-CofE popular revolts under Henry VIII or the 500 or so Catholics killed for their faith under Elizabeth. The powers that came to be simply could not let Mary, the main monarch who actively sought to reverse the spread of heresy in the British Isles and return to the traditional religion, have a good name. They simply had to vilify her.

#18 Comment By Bluenote123 On April 26, 2015 @ 11:13 pm

I’m late to the party, so I’ll just offer a few thoughts.

First, orthodox Christian travails today do not replicate the experience of blacks under Jim Crow. The entire machinery of the state, in conjunction with a pervasive web of norms and social practices, have not conspired to render you second-class citizens. Moreover, the material harms that an isolated few merchants experience in response to state-based orders NOT to discriminate is distinct from a system where individuals were, e.g., fired for being black, and if the offense was sufficiently grave, he or she might also end up being lynched. Given your beautiful piece on lynching a few months ago, you understand the actual terrorism that enforced the system, Rod. So I’m going to encourage you to take a breath.

Second, I’ve been reading your column and the comments fairly closely lately, and something troubles me. It appears that you or your compatriots can (mostly) accept legal protections for the LGBT community, but based on the stories about the school and the Scouts, you (perhaps?) appear to be troubled by efforts to normalize LGBT identity. It’s like you’re saying, be decent because they’re human, but avoid the message that their expression of love is acceptable. If I’m right about this, I have to push back and note that this approach is unkind. So many people have struggled with and committed suicide because they believed they were fundamentally disordered; normalizing their existence combats this. To be clear, I’m not accusing; I’m asking if this is what you meant. If it is, well, it’s disappointing.

Last, the hysteria over academia is overblown. I work/teach in a public law school. I’m a liberal Christian; one of my colleagues is a conservative Christian. We get along fine and we’re both safe.

#19 Comment By EngineerScotty On April 26, 2015 @ 11:14 pm

The issue you lament came about as a reaction (and inevitably in some cases overreaction) to conservative Christians using their religion as license to dehumanize and mistreat others. If conservative Christians want to complain that they are now being mistreated, they must first own up to their own sin. Unfortunately, one does not need to look far to see self-proclaimed Christians still spouting hate today. Christiantity’s failure to own up to and deal with its own hate-mongers makes its claims of victimhood ring very hollow indeed.

[NFR: It is useful to know that this is all about vengeance for folks like you. There is no amount of apology — none — that will satisfy you. It’s important for Christians to know this, so we suffer no illusions that those who seek to destroy us personally and take our livelihoods can be appeased. You can’t be. I do wish you would quit lying to yourselves about what you want, though, and why you want it. — RD]

Lee said nothing about vengeance, Rod, or about destroying anybody. All he said was something that is true: There is still a hella lotta fire coming from your camp–if you want to sue for peace and talk terms, silence your guns. The battlefield analogy isn’t entirely precise, as neither “army” is under a chain of command that can compel obedience with a cease-fire, but you get the picture.

You do, often times, own up to your own (personal) sin on this issue; and you are certainly someone with whom a compromise could be reached. But when aggrieved comments from the other side are continually used as fodder for “they’re coming to stampede our wimmen and rape our cattle” speeches, it sounds more like an exhortation to keep fighting rather than call to reach a deal.

#20 Comment By Bluenote123 On April 26, 2015 @ 11:24 pm

Actually, let me rephrase an earlier point. I don’t expect a conservative Christian to believe that the expression of love between gay men and lesbians is “acceptable;” rather, it troubles me when they cannot accept, e.g., the age-appropriate acknowledgement of LGBT relationships as being on a neutral plane, for purposes of getting along in society. That’s the actual point I was trying to make and I screwed it up. Your kids will go to school with kids being raised by same-sex parents; they aren’t going to ignore this fact, so they need to be taught a modicum of respect. Why is that such a bad thing?

#21 Comment By VikingLS On April 27, 2015 @ 12:29 am

Rod perhaps you should write a post about the naivete of mainstream liberals? It’s a consistent meme here.

#22 Comment By JonF On April 27, 2015 @ 6:26 am

Re: the 500 or so Catholics killed for their faith under Elizabeth.

No, they were not killed for their faith. They were killed for joining Norfolk’s rebellion or for being involved in plots against the government– both acts of treason. (Yes, some of them may have been innocent people caught in panics.)
Henry VIII was a tyrant, no argument there. It’s worth noting that he considered himself a Catholic until his dying day and in his last year was still executing heretics for espousing Protestant notions (see: Anne Askew).

#23 Comment By JonF On April 27, 2015 @ 6:28 am

Re: You are aware that Henry VIII broke from the Church over a divorce,

Not a divorce, but an annulment. Henry’s break with Rome did not occur over doctrine, only over practical politics.

#24 Comment By Connie On April 27, 2015 @ 10:19 am

Rod perhaps you should write a post about the naivete of mainstream liberals? It’s a consistent meme here.

Yes, Rod should certainly write a post where he peers into the souls of those who disagree with him, and impute motives to them. Only good can come of that.

#25 Comment By panda On April 27, 2015 @ 10:25 am

“When I first read marysue’s comment I thought she was talking about stamping out hateful attitudes. When I went back to reread it I can read it the other way where it seems like she may mean that any beliefs have to squashed that disagree with homosexuality. So I really can see both ways.

Yep. The way I read it, she thinks all traditional attitudes towards ideas about sex need to be crashed- which is just crazy. Plenty of people hold that premarital sex or divorce are immoral, and that’s their right, and no one thinks their existence is danger to divorcees or people who have premarital sex.

#26 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 27, 2015 @ 1:34 pm

Bloody Mary was held up by the bloody reigning Pope as a model for her cousin Mary Queen of Scots, but the latter had the good sense to refrain from butchering her Protestant subjects, who were, as a practical matter, more numerous and more highly placed. Bloody Mary earned her title.

#27 Comment By Brandon On April 28, 2015 @ 3:28 pm

[NFR: I cannot verify the claims of all the anonymous readers who e-mail. How do I know that what you say about the Boy Scout troop locally is true? Why would I take the effort to write to you and ask you to give me your name to verify this claim, and even if you did, what would that tell me? Etc. This is a blog, not a newspaper. If you don’t believe the claim some anonymous person here makes, I don’t blame you. It’s a blog, and people are anonymous. But there’s just no way I can verify every claim readers make in comments. If a reader who makes such a claim wants to send me supporting evidence in a private email message, I can take a look at it and will report back to the rest of the readers in some way that protects the initial commenter’s privacy. — RD]

Nobody was asking that you verify every individual comment in a comment thread. What people were scoffing at and what is much more reasonable of a request is for you to do some basic verification or even a simple sanity check on comments that you consciously choose to promote.