America prides itself on being a tolerant nation. When Americans see news reports of ethnic or religious hatred in another region of the world, or high handed government oppression, the general thought we have is that it is something that can’t happen here. Unfortunately, America tends to have a huge blind spot in this area and tends to think that because we don’t behave like ISIS or the Soviet Union in dealing with the people who disagree it means we are tolerant and don’t harass anyone at all.
That’s rubbish of course. America does have sanctioned tolerance of hatred of unpopular groups and tolerated behaviors of government high-handedness. The difference between here and the regions of the world that make the news is that in America they deal with their unpopular groups in a (usually) non-violent manner. But America still has her blind spots—the groups mistreated are not seen as mistreated because the targets are either not seen as being important enough to worry about or are considered to deserve the treatment they receive. Because this treatment is not brutal violence, it is argued that this treatment is not harassment at all.
Unpopular Groups are Targeted For Discrimination in America
In America today, the unpopular groups are those Christians who stand up for the traditional Christian sexual mores, especially belief in what makes a marriage—one man and one woman in a lifelong relationship accepting whatever children may come and raising them with the same values. In a world that increasingly rejects all aspects of that belief, reducing such a relationship to whatever may be sexually satisfying, a Christian who takes such a stand is seen as judgmental and intolerant towards those who live in any other way.
This is more serious than the detractors of Christianity realize, because labelling something as “intolerant” is the secular society’s version of the medieval concept of making someone an outlaw—that is, a person deprived of the benefit and protection of the law. In medieval times, the outlaw had no rights and could be targeted by anyone—the person doing the targeting not being subject to legal penalties for doing so.
Holding Christian Beliefs Unpopular Among American Elites Can Deprive One of Protection of the Law
In modern America, a Christian who is willing to compromise and accept the state’s view on abortion, contraception or “same sex marriage” can get along in America just fine. Whatever else they may believe is generally no threat. But the Christian who will not accept the state’s views on these subjects can expect trouble when they publicly state their views. We have had people who funded propositions defending traditional marriage lose their job. We have had people who refuse to provide business services that require them to treat same sex “marriage” as being morally acceptable wind up being sued or prosecuted. We’ve had Church schools successfully sued for enforcing rules that require employees to publicly live in keeping with Church teaching on morality. Catholic schools and hospitals are fighting for their right of religious freedom when it comes to the contraception against unsympathetic courts.
Basically, the situation is one where these behaviors would cause outrage if any other group was involved. Think this is rhetoric? OK, how about if a bakery owned by an African American was successfully sued for refusing to make a cake for a Ku Klux Klan event? Yet the principle would be the same—the business owner being required to do something they found offensive and sued if they would not cooperate.
The False Charge and It’s Refutation
People who try to defend this situation argue that the difference is that race is not changeable while religious beliefs are changeable. In contrast, they argue, that the religious beliefs are based on bigotry. They then equate the defense of these immoral actions with the civil rights movement in opposing racism in America. But that is to introduce a false analogy. The issue is not race. The issue is: shall a person be coerced to do something they think is morally wrong? The entire history of racism in America was not based on the belief that it was immoral to interact with people of other ethnicities. It was based on the fact that proponents of racist systems believed that non-whites were inferior to whites and had to be kept from achieving the same level as whites.
So, the Church teaching that contraception or abortion is wrong or that same-sex acts are wrong does not come from the belief that women or people with same sex attraction are inferior to males or heterosexual people and need to be kept from achieving the same level as males or heterosexual orientation (indeed the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that discrimination or mistreatment of a person with same sex attraction is not to be done). It comes from the belief that certain actions—which one can decide to do or not do—are contrary to God’s will for us and therefore may never be done. A person cannot control his ethnicity and may not be able to control his sexual orientation. But a person can control what actions he chooses to do regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
The Charge of Bigotry is No More Than An Excuse To Silence an Opponent
So the “bigotry” or “sexism” or “homophobia” charges are false, and the proponents of abortion, contraception and same sex marriage are not the stalwart defenders of America against racism. They are ideologues who have a hatred of religious beliefs that call their behavior wrong and want to silence the opponents of what they want to legitimize. Christianity says “You must not do this!” The proponents want the right to do these things. So they must demonize their opponents to make their views seem invalid. Nobody wants to accommodate bigotry (not even Christians). So if they can make this label stick in the minds of people, we will see the defense of Christian belief distorted into appearing to be “hate speech."
In logic, we call this tactic Poisoning The Well. It attempts to turn the audience against a person before he or she can even begin a defense. It works this way: An unfavorable claim is made about a person or group. Therefore, any claim made by that group is not to be trusted. That’s what’s happening here. When Christians are labeled as anti-women and “homophobes,” anything they say is discounted as a defense of bigotry. The more we say in defense of a Christian moral teaching, the more they paint us as being bigoted because we defend this position.
So in this day and age, Christians who refuse to go along with the diktats of the state and the cultural elites are marked for harassment and de facto made outlaws in the sense that they are deprived of the protection of the law. The tactic is to silence us or to make us so hated that we will be ignored and written off as people who hate. Such tactics, however, are only effective to the extent that the listener accepts the claims without asking whether they are actually true.