According to Bryan Fischer, Christians are the new blacks. It seems that in his seeking to justify the continued oppression of the LGBTQ community he has sunk to a new, and inaccurate, low but I am sure their will be those who pander to his rhetoric.
In responding to the New Mexico court ruling that it is discrimination for a Christian to refuse advertised services based on a person’s sexuality he claims that it is unconstitutional. After all, discrimination based on religion is wrong in the eyes of the law, and he wonders when the good Christians of this country are going to rise up and start litigation for their rights. Here’s a link to what he says.
His basic assertion is that good Christian folk suffer from the same oppression as that caused by the abhorrent Jim Crow laws. You know the ones, it’s the ones which good, white Christians enacted to keep the African Americans in their place as late as 1965. That would be less than fifty years ago since a black woman had by law to give up her seat to a white man. Mr Fischer sees no difference between a business person who refuses service because of their faith and the wholesale degradation of a race of people because of the colour of their skin. “Christians are the new blacks” is the battle cry and they are being oppressed by a group of people with an agenda to destroy America. I am not even going to comment on the comment he made about the President.
On the face of it, if his audience is uneducated and unable to think for itself, he has a point. Except he doesn’t. In the eyes of the law shopkeepers have rights. If a barman has the right to refuse service to a drunk then shouldn’t the Christian florist have the right to refuse service to a gay couple getting married? The trouble is one is based on an intrinsic idea of wishing the best for a person’s health and well being, and the other is based on the belief that someone else is less that you. The barman wants to ensure his customer is as safe as possible while the florist merely wishes to enforce their belief system onto someone, irrespective of whether they concur to your belief, and view them as a lesser being with less rights.
When it comes to the Christian’s right to discriminate against the LGBTQ community it comes down to your definition of what actually makes a human being and what are defined as the choices which identify them. To be gay is a natural state of being. To be Christian is a life choice. One can after all choose to become a murderer too. Should we protect murderers because the law is slanted against their behaviour?
Science, that old and trustworthy way of reaching a truth, has proven that you can’t take two people with one shade of skin colour, mate them, and produce another colour. This racial identity is an unbreakable truth. The law of the land first chose to identify them as separate but equal, and then finally got its act together and said it was illegal to discriminate on the basis of a naturally occurring phenomenon. The law and society chose to believe and enforce that while it’s true that someone with a dark skin is indeed different, they should not be treated differently by society or the law. I’m sure that the racist bigots in 1965 who were told that they could no longer expect a bus seat as their right, or maintain their racial purity because a drinking fountain was for whites only, used the same argument that Mr Fischer is using now. A group of people were finally recognized as being equal under the law and everyone, Christians included (and there were Christians who fought against the repeal of Jim Crow), were told to shut up or face the courts.
Science has also shown that one can’t choose to be homosexual. It is a natural state of human and not something that is chosen. Despite what Mr Fischer would say it is a natural state, after all who would choose to be vilified by society, to risk the rejection of their family? Who would choose to spend their life working happily for a country paying their taxes, risking their lives (gay soldiers, police, fire fighters), heal society’s sick, only to be treated under the law as a second class citizen? It is the LGBTQ community not the Christians who are subject to being equal but different at the moment. Should I also mention that our taxes pay for your children’s schooling? Perhaps you would like to add that to the list of things we should be exempt from paying for?
On top of all of this if it was a choice conversion therapy would work right? The expelling of the demon of homosexuality would work right? Wrong. All it does is place the person in a mental state where the desire to confirm and the need to be part of the group overrides the more easily controlled behaviours, not the state of being, such choosing to fuck. As someone who has survived this I speak from ground zero. Homosexuality is a natural state, Christianity is a social construct and a choice. I can choose to be celibate but it will never be a woman who causes my heart to do the Charleston.
Christianity unlike homosexuality, however, is not a natural state of being. We are not born Christian, there is no Christian gene, there is no Mendelian table that shows if you breed a Christian with a Christian you get a Christian, a Jew and a Jew does not produce a Jew. All it does is produce an American, an Englishman, or whoever who has the choice of accepting or rejecting the social code his parents follow. The concept of a religion being natural is completely unscientific. In fact it has no base in history either. Being born in England, considered a Christian country, makes me no more a Christian than it does a follower of Weyland or Thor. Birth is not the deciding factor in what faith a person is, that’s geography and parental influence. It can only ever be a personal choice. That personal choice can and is always a state of nurture not one of nature.
So to see Christians and their ability to discriminate as a right given by nature is just plain wrong. Christianity, just like Islam, Judaism and any religion are an unnatural state of being. There are benefits to them sometimes, but they should not be allowed to stand as an absolute truth which laws are based on. The members of any society have the right to evolve, to change, but that has to come from a state of equality not from the personal choice of certain individuals. To say that a Christian should not be discriminated against by the law is fair but not when they seek to discriminate against others.
What do I mean by this? To discriminate against someone because of their beliefs is wrong but so too is to discriminate on the basis of someone’s sexuality. The knotty part comes when you have to decide whether to allow someone to openly discriminate against another group because of a choice they have made or whether you support the person who is in a state of natural being. Do you side with the florist who chose to be a Christian and who discriminated against two gay people? Or do you side with the two gay people seeking their basic human right to be treated as just that, human? If you take out the word florist and insert “white” and the word gay and replace it with the word “black” it becomes blatantly clear which side the court should and did choose.
Christianity is not a human right it’s a choice made by a human, and a just legal system can never allow the denigration of one group by another because they demand the right to denigrate. In refusing the couple the florist didn’t exercise their freedom of speech, or their freedom of religion, instead they actively sought to discriminate and denigrate people who were their equal. They offered a service to the public and that service was denied on the basis of sexuality.
So Mr Fischer and his ilk are faced with a choice. Either they accept and are open about the fact that they are the ones seeking to impose Jim Crow like laws on a section of society, or they keep going and find themselves more and more marginalized. This is a very real choice. The church is slowly dying as more and more people reject the hate it teaches. People are choosing to leave the church not because they are rejecting their own nature but rather because they are choosing not to be a part of something which is destructive to society. The church offers a minority the chance to be equal under God while destroying the lives of others for what God made them.
For myself I like the greeting “namaste”. Roughly translated it means “the spirit in me honours the spirit in you.” I don’t care what religion you are but I recognize and honour you as an individual being. That there is no corresponding phrase in any of the three monotheistic religions is hardly surprising. Instead of choosing to honour each other as humans they have chosen instead to create a state where everyone who disagrees with them is given eternal punishment. The church chose to see the world as dirty and foul and the people in it never as good as the church leaders. To them I say “namaste” but you will never be more than a choice while I will always be a thing of nature. Yours will always be the choice to follow the path of fearful eugenics, segregation and the ghetto, and genocide for just that, a choice.
And my advice to Bryan Fischer? Learn your history, learn your law, and stop seeking to destroy others by pleading your repressed for preaching inequality. After all Stalin and Hitler used very similar arguments to the ones you’re making and history doesn’t look kindly on them.
“I often say now I don’t have any choice whether or not I have Parkinson’s, but surrounding that non-choice is a million other choices that I can make.” – Michael J Fox