There has been a lot of outrage from radical right wing circles this week, as slobbering fundamentalist bigots in backwards cesspools like Texas and Idaho are finally being called to task for their anti-gay hatred. Conservative Christians are about the only thing we should hate more than bigotry, so it's about time we start cracking down on these cretins.
First, Houston's lesbian mayor attempted to subpoena the sermons of various conservative pastors, alleging that said sermons might contain Christian messages. Now, I have it on good authority that, these days, a sermon is often the last place to look for Biblical content (just ask Joel Osteen), but better safe than sorry. Mayor Parker was reasonably concerned that some Christians in her city were attending Christian worship services and still, by some strange coincidence, encountering Christian doctrine. Specifically, she was worried that her constituents were being exposed to Christian ideas on the subject of homosexuality, so she launched an investigation into the matter.
Predictably, the wingnuts threw a hissyfit. They exploded with indignation and began making feverish and fantastical claims about how "the constitution" allegedly protects freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Apparently, in the bizarro world of the American Right, mandated governmental homily inspections are suddenly considered controversial. These people obviously don't realize that our ancestors originally settled on our shores in order to escape a government that, in their opinion, didn't provide enough supervision over their religious activities.
As usual, the RepubliCAN'T (see what I did there?) whiners got their way and Houston relented from its righteous attempts to squelch Biblically-consistent teachings about marriage and sexuality. Instead, the mayor -- who couldn't possibly be accused of having any kind of personal vendetta -- merely demanded that pastors hand over their speeches.
If you're wondering how a speech differs from a sermon, you need only consult the dictionary:
Speech: a form of communication in spoken language, made by a speaker before an audience for a given purpose.
Sermon: a discourse or exhortation, especially on a moral issue; a speech.
There. Glad I could clear that up.
But the anger over this situation was downright rational compared to how the righties reacted to a wonderful and inspiring story out of Idaho.
Two ordained ministers could potentially face fines and jail time if they refuse to marry gay couples in their chapel. Their town has an ordinance barring places of public accommodation from discriminating against anyone, which would include private for-profit wedding chapels.
To understand what this means, let's again consult the dictionary:
Discrimination: an act or instance of making a distinction.
You see? Business are not allowed to make distinctions. All things must be treated like all other things, lest certain things be revealed as different from other things, and we end up in a nightmarish land where individual citizens are left to discern these matters using their judgment. No, we progressives realize that human beings must be controlled not by their own conscience but by the Public Conscience, i.e. the State. And if the State says that all things should be treated the same, then so it shall be. Long live Big Brother (hallelujah, hallelujah).
So, because these crooks accept monetary compensation for their services, they should not, and likely will not, be allowed to decide who they marry. Even if their religion dictates that man-on-man marriage is inherently impossible, they must still perform the ceremony. And if a lovebird comes in wanting to wed her first cousin or the Eiffel Tower, then they must comply with those wishes as well. This is what it means to live in an enlightened and forward thinking society.
Now, all of this so-called "persecution" of Christians has led a few of them -- the observant ones, anyway -- to fret rather frantically about the possibility that one day even churches will be required to perform same sex weddings. And, once again, we liberals have tried to calm those fears by assuring them that no such thing will ever happen.
But I think it's time we end that particular charade.
Of course churches will soon be required to marry gay couples. Of course. Those wheels have been in motion for many years, and there is no reason why they should slow down now. Not when we're so close.
We all know that discrimination in the pews must eventually be stomped out. Every progressive knows it, wants it, and will celebrate when it happens. We have laid the foundation. The groundwork is in place. We have made all of the arguments that will, sooner rather than later, be applied beyond for-profit chapels and wedding dress shops, and imposed on the churches. The ultimate goal is very much within reach.
Put another way: anyone who accepts the current crop of anti-discrimination and pro-gay marriage laws already accepts the premise that will, in due time, lead to regulating how churches conduct marriage ceremonies.
This has happened in Denmark, where progressive pioneers successfully banned churches from refusing gay marriages, using all of the exact same arguments that we use here to justify anti-discrimination ordinances.
It's going to happen on this side of the Atlantic, too. Governments in the US will pass laws mandating gay marriages in churches, without a doubt. In fact, a version of this has already been proposed in some cities.
I understand the instinct to be coy and secretive about our intentions before our agenda has been fully implemented, but in this case the end result is inevitable. No need to dance around it anymore. Liberals know that churches can't be permitted to remain in such an antiquated and archaic state. One way or another, we will drag them kicking and screaming into the modern age. Or, more accurately, into 1984.
We've already outlawed freedom of religion in many areas of society. If a baker can be compelled to bake cakes for gay weddings, and a photographer can be forced to photograph gay weddings, and t-shirt companies can be legally punished for declining to print t-shirts for gay pride festivals, and chapel owners can be required to perform gay marriage ceremonies, and if none of these private citizens have the right to run their business in accordance with their faiths, and all of these crusades can be justified under the pretense of defeating discrimination, why then should it be any different in a church?
Because a church isn't a public accommodation?
Are you sure about that?
Yes, maybe the law draws a distinction here, but the distinction is arbitrary and certainly amendable. A public accommodation is an entity that's used by the public. It isn't much of a stretch to put churches under that umbrella, considering that they are 1) entities and 2) used by the public.
So what other reason exists for the exception?
Because a church is the only appropriate place for religious expression?
Sure, I like that slogan as much as the next leftist. It scares conservatives into thinking that their freedoms depend on being inside of a certain kind of building, as if some forms of architecture have the mystical power to endow individuals with rights that they don't possess when not on the premises. But this, again, isn't exactly how we progressives really feel.
After all, a Christian might engage in acts of charity and kindness as a form of religious expression, and we usually won't try to stop them (emphasis on 'usually'). For example, if, by some cosmic injustice, I am unable to find a job with my gender studies degree, and I end up on the street panhandling for pocket change, I doubt that I'd scold a Christian who gives me money because his faith commands it. Indeed, I only object to certain religious expressions outside of a church building, but how do I -- how do we -- choose which ones to allow or disallow?
The answer is clear. We object to the baker or the photographer refusing to service gay weddings because we've deemed that expression to be anti-gay. And anti-gay expression is always wrong. Remember what we've said time after time: it has no place in our society. Churches are in our society, aren't they?
We've already established that religious freedom ends where progressive cultural doctrines begin. Sure, we lost the Hobby Lobby battle in the Supreme Court, but in the court of public opinion many, many people agreed with us -- that private employers should be forced by law to buy contraception for women.
Why? What's the compelling reason to strong arm an employer into buying a product against their will? Or providing a service in defiance of their beliefs?
Is any homosexual in danger of starving to death if a baker here or there doesn't want to bake them a wedding cake? Are lesbians having their fundamental human rights infringed upon when a photographer declines to take pictures at their wedding?
Yeah, we might say so, but that's just because "rights" have become a catch-all label to describe our desires, wants, wishes, preferences, pleasures, tastes, dreams, fantasies, and on rare occasion actual rights. In reality, none of the great modern philosophers -- Bill Maher, John Stewart, Lena Dunham, etc. -- can actually defend the proposition that anyone has a real Godgiven "right" to free birth control or wedding photography. Then again, there is no god and we are all evolutionary accidents no more significant or worthwhile than the dirt from which we sprang, so I guess this whole conversation is just like life -- pointless.
Now I'm depressed.
Anyway, look, the point is that this has nothing to do with rights or needs at all.
We force chapels to marry gays and bakers to bake cakes for gay weddings because we find Christianity abhorrent and detest the very thought of anyone attempting to live by its tenets.
That's all. That's it. That's what everything comes down to. Nothing more, nothing less.
If we have banned people from practicing their faith in their private lives because we disagree with it, why wouldn't we try and eradicate the hive itself?
If Christians are barred from running their private businesses according to their religious convictions, then haven't we made a statement about those convictions? They're unwelcome. Illegitimate. There's no place in a civilized society for them.
Moreover, gays can still have their feelings hurt by discrimination in a church setting. Why should they have to endure such injustices just because it came inside of a building with stained glass windows and lots of pretty candles all around?
When a lesbian couple complained to their local human rights commission after a private farm declined to be the venue for their nuptials, one of the persecuted women justified their revenge by saying that 'nobody deserves to have the happiest time of their lives marred by discrimination.' Well, if we're levying financial penalties against business owners for 'marring' someone's 'happy time' then how, exactly, do churches escape reprisal?
They mar happy times. They mar happy times all the time!
And, yes, before you say it: obviously the first step is to rescind a church's tax exempt status if they don't conform to our progressive ideals. As many liberals have pointed out, we already give churches billions of dollars a year, and that's just not fair.
Of course, by 'we give churches billions' we mean 'churches are given money by their congregants, and the government doesn't take enough of it.' In the liberal view of things, not paying a tax is the same as being given money by the government, because the government automatically owns everyone's money and any that you keep is a gift from them. Make sense? It's a very complex equation and difficult to understand for anyone who doesn't read Slate, watch MSNBC, and smoke copious amounts of weed every day.
Regardless, we can start ransoming churches by using their own money, but it can't end there.
Eventually, the time will come and discrimination will be pursued and annihilated at the source. The church will not be allowed off the hook for much longer.
This is inevitable. There is no question about it.
Until then, we trust that conservatives will keep compromising their values, surrendering their rights, and ignoring the real problems for fear of being yelled at by angry liberals.
Then one day they'll wake up to a country that has all but outlawed their precious religion.
Now, at least, they can't say we didn't warn them.