When Peter Sprigg speaks publicly about his opposition to homosexuality, something odd often happens.
During his speeches, people raise their hands to challenge his assertions that the Bible condemns homosexuality, but no Christians speak out to defend him.
“But after it is over, they will come over to talk to me and whisper in my ear, ‘I agree with everything you said,’" says Sprigg, a spokesman for The Family Research Council, a powerful, conservative Christian lobbying group.
We’ve heard of the “down-low” gay person who keeps his or her sexual identity secret for fear of public scorn. But Sprigg and other evangelicals say changing attitudes toward homosexuality have created a new victim: closeted Christians who believe the Bible condemns homosexuality but will not say so publicly for fear of being labeled a hateful bigot.
As proof, Sprigg points to the backlash that ESPN commentator Chris Broussard sparked recently. Broussard was called a bigot and a purveyor of hate speech when he said an NBA player who had come out as gay was living in “open rebellion to God.” Broussard said the player, Jason Collins, was “living in unrepentant sin” because the Bible condemns homosexuality.
“In the current culture, it takes more courage for someone like Chris Broussard to speak out than for someone like Jason Collins to come out,” says Sprigg, a former pastor. “The media will hail someone who comes out of the closet as gay, but someone who simply expresses their personal religious views about homosexual conduct is attacked.”
When is disagreement hate?
Bryan Litfin, a theology professor at Moody Bible Institute in Illinois, says Christians should be able to publicly say that God designed sex to take place within a marriage between a man and a woman.
“That isn’t so outrageous,” Litfin says. “Nobody is expressing hate toward homosexuals by saying that. Since when is disagreement the same as hate?”
But quoting the Bible doesn't inoculate anyone from becoming a bigot or hater, some scholars say. There's a point at which a Christian's opposition to homosexuality can become bigotry, and even hate speech, they say.
Read the rest here.
I found this gem on CNN's Belief Blog as I was scanning through it just on a whim ... and it tells me something pretty important: that the bigotry and intolerance for minorities and in general, actions which are prescribed by the bible (and nowhere else!) are beginning to rub people the wrong way. The general populace is starting to recognize that christianity plays favorites and condemns with no rational basis ... and maybe, just maybe, they're getting tired of it. Granted, this mostly applies to the evangelicals and True Believer types...
... but I'm wondering if we're looking at the beginning of a paradigm shift here.
Well I will certainly spend the rest of my life speaking out for what is right. I post it on FB, and most people don't say a word. I post Atheist stuff, nobody says anything (even a few Atheists I have on there.) I refuse to keep my mouth shut. It's too important. I don't care if I end up with just my cats and dog to love me, I will not be quiet! ( I don't have to worry, my kids are Athests :)
keep it up, Mel.
all of this is more Christian persecution complex. "you're taking away my right to free speech!". no, we're using our free speech to call you out on your hateful rhetoric. spew hate all you like, but those who don't agree with you are allowed to call you all the vile names you deserve. fuckers. grrrr!!
Mindy, you get it! You define yourself, according to your own lights, and that is all that matters! The fact that your children share your thoughts, and that many others share your principles, will grow. Even if some call you names, or shun you, or talk behind your back, or yell to your face, you are who you are; declare it.
It is not parents or education, or institutions of church or state that defines you. Your job is to define who you are, to reveal your natural core. You are not born in sin, or doomed to self-sacrifice. You are! That is it! That is enough!
It doesn't matter that states like Texas and Utah resist, or any of the religions that teach and preach hate for people who don't fit their ideal. They are irrelevant! It doesn't matter one iota whether they agree or disagree. The point is, human beings have rights of self-definition and sovereignty, without an imposition of others' values. That is what USA is all about. We don't have to be white, Anglo Saxon, evangelical christian or a land owner to be a citizen. These attributes are irrelevant!
If we believe one value, and submit to the dictates of values held by others, what good are we? It is our thinking, our reasoning, our experiences, based on principles, that matters.
Joan, pardon me for being a wet blanket, but so long as this business operates on the state level, the stupidity of states like Texas and Utah DO matter. This is why the SCOTUS ruling on Prop 8 also matters. The problem is that those cowards are entirely too likely to issue a weak-sister ruling which fails to recognize what is going on socially in the US right now.
Yes, to date, marriage has been adjudicated on the state level ... but (check me on this, please), the ruling which permitted interracial marriage was FEDERAL. So it must be with same-sex marriage. For that to happen, DoMA has to be rejected and rights must be asserted. If the Supreme Court justices can find some cojones, then maybe this business can be put to bed once and for permanent. With the likes of Scalia, Alito and Thomas on that court, though, my sad suspicion is that we're in for a long-ass campaign.
Of course you are correct, Loren, it does matter. I am thinking in terms of should they make a difference in how I respond? If opposition occurs, that doesn't mean silence or acquiescence, or give up; it means I speak, often, and use powerful language. What I do is not dependent on what they do or say, other than to stand on principles that matter to me. You are quite right to call me on my hyperbole.
You and I come from a different place. I doubt you ever gave up on what you believed. I didn't know I had a right to my opinion. Of course, I do have an opinion, now, and am not afraid or shy about speaking.
when you wish for life and pray for death.. egh eghm.. watch what you ask for:
SF, I'm largely liberal / progressive in my politics and I don't blink when I say so. The problem has been how the right has painted liberalism as much as it has been some stupid extremes (political correctness comes to mind) which some liberals have indulged in. To me, that action from the right reminds me a lot of the libel we as atheists get from believers, most of whom have no idea what we're about.
Phil Ochs is amusing ... but in this case, he can go fish for all of me.
Christians are so far from being minority.
As far as having to be "closeted" because of their hate speech, welcome to the club. What goes round, comes round.
As far as I know, no one in support of LGBT equality is saying that everyone has to "gay marry". But plenty of christians are saying that everyone has to live by christian biases. And the ones who claim they are being persecuted, are the biggest perpetrators.
Poor babies. Afraid to express their beliefs because they make them look bigoted! What a shame. Next people will be afraid to admit to being heterosexual in the work place. If they feel picked on now, wait a decade or two when Evangelicals are a truly small minority in an increasingly secular country. Already there are people who laugh when "It's in the Bible!" is given as an argument for some position. The world is changing. About time.
Jerry, your comment reminds me of the old days when parents and grandparents denied ever having sex and communicated their disdain for such "filth". Oh yes, I grew up in the age of sexual denial.
"... changing attitudes toward homosexuality have created a new victim: closeted Christians who believe the Bible condemns homosexuality but will not say so publicly for fear of being labeled a hateful bigot."
~ Sprigg and other evangelicals
Christians who do not condemn homosexuality and say nothing to challenge their fellow religious, reveal a cowardice of conscious that maintains and perpetuates bigotry. It takes courage to stand on principles, especially if the principles grow from ignorance and prejudice.