Stretching my fisking skills against a bigot

Over at LGBTQ Nation there’s an article about a recent ‘Twitter challenge‘ between progressives and the Christian Right over the principle of religious liberty.  As a gay atheist social justice warrior, one can imagine which side of that argument I fall on. I didn’t participate in the challenge, mostly bc it happened yesterday and I just learned about it today. Well, that and I’m not on Twitter. I’ve been debating back and forth for a while whether or not I’d sign up for it, but between this blog, Facebook, Pharyngula and the five bajillion news and entertainment sites I visit daily, I’d need another 2 hours in the day for Twitter. Not to mention I can be long-winded in my responses, and that 140-character limit cuts into my long-cultivated verbosity. All was not lost however, as I dipped into the comments. I can just imagine readers saying “You did what?!” Yes, I read some of the comments. There was one in particular that I not only read, but felt the need to respond to bc I was in the mood for a game of ‘Fisk the Bigot’. Here is the comment:

Let me say first off that I’m very pleased by the fact that we can have this discussion without any of us slipping into offensive language or personal insults, despite the fact that this subject is so emotionally loaded.

I guess it’s senseless to repeat the fact that this isn’t about hating on the part of Christians since some people just refuse to accept that and continue to claim it anyway.

You’re flattering yourselves by equating your situation with the civil rights movement. This isn’t about civil rights, this is about sin. It’s about insisting upon the right to sin and demanding that Christians participate in that sin by actively supporting it. Simply baking a cake for a gay person- which you seem to forget isn’t the problem here and which nobody is refusing to do, is not asking Christians to support sin. Asking them to bake a cake for an official function celebrating the lifestyle itself is. I say again that gay people can buy anything they want anywhere including Christian businesses, just not when it’s in direct support of an official gay function. Anyone claiming any different can’t be too sure of their cause and wishes to add weight to their argument.
Supporting individual human beings- yes, directly supporting a lifestyle that God says is wrong-no.

This type of situation has come up over and over again in the course of human history: Christians stand up and call sin by name and refuse to participate in it, and the ones involved cry hate and bigotry and attempt to shut them up.

I myself am a man who sometimes struggles with sin and doesn’t always win against it and I hate it when someone stands up and calls my sin by name. Shame makes me want to deny it with all my might and to divert attention from it.

We do not wish for you to drink from seperate water fountains, attend seperate schools or patronize seperate businesses.

We will support you and serve you as fellow human beings in any way we can- we are of no more value than you are in God’s eyes- but we’ll never actively and knowingly support your lifestyle itself. We will pay fines and even go to jail if necessary.

A lot of people have trouble understanding this.

Here is my response (which was very spur of the moment; had I taken longer to compose a response, I’d have tweaked a few things):

Let me say first off that I’m very pleased by the fact that we can have this discussion without any of us slipping into offensive language or personal insults, despite the fact that this subject is so emotionally loaded

Knock it off with the fetishization of civility. It’s easy for you to be civil when your human rights are not being debated. For LGB people, who are affected by the continued denial of our basic humanity (again, where you are not), we can and will decide where and when to deploy so-called offensive language. Myself, I’m a fan of all manner of what religious people call profanity or cursing. I opt not to engage in that here bc I’ve not checked the commenting policy and don’t want to violate it. Plus I try to give people with vile opinions a few chances to show they can be decent people before I verbally eviscerate them.

I guess it’s senseless to repeat the fact that this isn’t about hating on the part of Christians since some people just refuse to accept that and continue to claim it anyway.

I’ve found many Christians have odd definitions of certain terms like love. I’ve heard “God is love” so many times I could puke from the vacuous nature of that comment (along with the inherent contradiction of claiming an imaginary being is an emotion).
My point with that is this: your definition of hate is far too limited. Hating LGB people is more than simply saying “I hate you”, or “I want you to go to die”, or “I hope ISIS chops your head off”. Hate manifests both explicitly, as in “black people are subhuman monstrosities who need to be subjugated by the engine of white supremacy lest the kill us all” and implicitly with opinions, ideas, doctrine, or legislation that has the effect of discriminating against a particular class of people. Blocking LGB people from adopting is one example of hate. No, it’s not an explicit one (sometimes), but beneath the surface, it is borne out of ignorance and anti-LGB beliefs that are at odds with reality.

All of that is to say-yes, when you fight to deny the human rights we’re all supposed to enjoy, the people you seek to victimize can rightly call your actions hateful.

You’re flattering yourselves by equating your situation with the civil rights movement.

We have been kicked out of our homes.
We have been denied housing.
We have been bullied, beaten, viciously injured, and even murdered.
We have been denied the right to express our identity for fear of the dominant group retaliating.
We have been denied the right to adopt, even though there are no sound reason to oppose LGB people adopting (and no, religious belief is not a sound reason).
We have been fired from jobs.
We have been denied jobs.
We have been the subject of verbal and online harassment the demeans and disparages us.
And so much more.
This very much is a civil rights issue. What people like you advocate for is denying us the same rights you enjoy. You try to frame this differently than the plight of African-Americans in the Civil Rights Movement, bc to you sexuality and race/ethnicity are two different things. In that, you demonstrate the depth of your ignorance and height of your religious delusions. Sexuality is part of our identity, just as it is part of your identity. Except unlike you, we are treated as monstrosities to be denied rights that all human beings should have, simply because our sexuality is not that of dominant group.

This isn’t about civil rights, this is about sin.

This is a secular country that is not and never has been a theocracy. Religious beliefs should not enter discussions of policy and law in a country with a government that ostensibly seeks to protect the rights of all its citizens. You are free to believe that homosexuality is sinful, but you are not free to take that religious belief and enshrine it into law so that LGB people are discriminated against. For all that this is how it’s always been is accurate, things should not be like this. Which is why people have been fighting against people like you and your anti-LGB bigotry.

It’s about insisting upon the right to sin and demanding that Christians participate in that sin by actively supporting it.

You have no idea how anti-discrimination laws work, do you? They are designed to protect traditionally marginalized and oppressed people who seek to exist in the public and make use of public goods and services without being discriminated against; and offering them legal recourse if and when they are. While some Christians can scream what you have until they are blue in the face (and many have), the fact is that in some areas of the country, sexual orientation and gender identity are protected classes under state law (unfortunately, not every state has such protections, which is why the battle for LGB rights is far from over).
As for sin, again, that’s a religious concept that has no place in shaping laws for a secular, non-theocratic country. These laws are meant to apply to all without demonstrating a preference for any specific religion. To expect the law to accommodate your belief that sin exists is to expect the law to show preference to Christianity. Which our government is not supposed to do. Granted, things have been that way for a long time, and Christians have long grown accustomed to their beliefs shaping this country, but thankfully that influence is diminishing. Along the way, Christians such as yourself whine and moan and complain about how their beliefs are being challenged and you’re losing the privilege of having society cater to you and your beliefs. Tough.

Simply baking a cake for a gay person- which you seem to forget isn’t the problem here and which nobody is refusing to do, is not asking Christians to support sin. Asking them to bake a cake for an official function celebrating the lifestyle itself is.

With that logic, then when a gun dealer sells a gun to someone who shoots and kills someone with it, the dealer is supporting that murder. Logic: it’s not your strong suit. Try engaging your brain and stop repeating long debunked right-wing and fundamentalist talking points.

I say again that gay people can buy anything they want anywhere including Christian businesses, just not when it’s in direct support of an official gay function.

And I say, again, that thankfully many states are realizing that such a position is bigoted and prevents LGB people from participating in society to the extent that heterosexual people do.

Anyone claiming any different can’t be too sure of their cause and wishes to add weight to their argument.
Supporting individual human beings- yes, directly supporting a lifestyle that God says is wrong-no.

Your deity is silent on same-sex marriage. He does say quite a bit about divorce, and even considers it a sin. Curiously no homophobic cake bakers, florists, wedding planners, or photographers have spoken up to share their stories of turning down a client because they had been divorced. Interestingly, “sincerely held religious beliefs” are only touted when the discussion turns to LGB people.

This type of situation has come up over and over again in the course of human history: Christians stand up and call sin by name and refuse to participate in it, and the ones involved cry hate and bigotry and attempt to shut them up.

Oh, wow. You have a distorted view of history. Christians have often been on the wrong side of history. Christians have often been the ones to perpetuate bigotry, discrimination, and oppression. Yet here you are trying to paint Christians as innocent people who call out sin. No, history shows that Christians often cherry-pick what they’ll stand up in opposition to, and so often, it’s stuff that fits with their agenda. Such as the Christians who argued in favor of slavery in the US (using the Bible as justification). Or the Christians in the South who argued for segregation. Learn your history, bc you’re more than a little ignorant.

I myself am a man who sometimes struggles with sin and doesn’t always win against it and I hate it when someone stands up and calls my sin by name. Shame makes me want to deny it with all my might and to divert attention from it.

I feel sorry for you then. I stopped worrying about sin when I rejected belief in the existence of any deity. When I realized that there was no evidence for your god any more than there is evidence for Loki, Thor, Baldur, Odin, Hephaestus, Dionysus, Demeter, Isis, Osiris, Set, and all the other gods humanity has created, I found there was a lot of baggage I could rid myself of. Thinking about humanity as being sinners was one of the first things to go. There’s absolutely no reason to believe the truth claims in the Bible, and no reason to believe in any deity. Follow the evidence. If the evidence says unicorns exist, then you should believe unicorns exist. Just like your god however, there is no evidence for the existence of unicorns.

We do not wish for you to drink from seperate water fountains, attend seperate schools or patronize seperate businesses.

That’s swell of you. Really. Nice to know your bar for being a decent human being starts at “you can drink from the same water fountains as we can, attend the same schools as we do, and patronize the same businesses we do”. You ought to join more enlightened humans and set your bar higher. Somewhere around “we support your dignity and your right to express yourselves in the manner of your choice, we support and affirm your right to all the benefits and rights possessed by heterosexuals in society without reservation, we do not support, condone, or endorse any form of hatred, oppression, or discrimination against LGB people, and we also recognize that we have to make up for centuries of treating LGB people horribly”. Do that, and I’ll start to think you’re close to the threshold of being a decent human being.

We will support you and serve you as fellow human beings in any way we can- we are of no more value than you are in God’s eyes- but we’ll never actively and knowingly support your lifestyle itself. We will pay fines and even go to jail if necessary.

Again with the god talk. Dude, we’re talking about legislation and laws intended to cover all citizens of the United States. That includes people who are Christian and those who are not. Outside of yourself and your personal beliefs, it doesn’t matter what you think your god says or does, nor what you think your god believes.

Oh, and do quit trying to speak for all Christians. You’re part of a segment of Christianity that is filled to brimming with hateful individuals. Thankfully there are a great many Christians out there-many of them heterosexual-who are not bigots and who have fought alongside LGB people for decades in the fight for equality. Christians are not one big monolith as your comment implies. Many of them recognize that inequality and injustice are wrong. Hopefully, one day you’ll join their ranks.

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Stretching my fisking skills against a bigot
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