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Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Anti-homosexuality<>BigotryA basic trick of political discourse is to paint your foe as being like the most disagreeable elements of your half of the spectrum. For instance, Nixon got his Senate seat in part by pointing out his foe’s voting record was near identical to a Communist congressman; you’d get the same effect today of matching a liberal congressman’s record with Bernie Sanders. People outside the mainstream will often hold views that overlap those of the edges of the mainstream. The tag of socialist doesn’t hold as much water in the post-Cold War era. However, the left now has the various tags of intolerance to label the right, especially religious conservatives, with. Expect the left to run this gambit more than once in the months to come, for the gay-rights backers have frequently made parallels to the black Civil Rights Movement and thus equating anti-homosexuality thoughts akin to racism. This Atrios article is one such example, looking to associate Sen. Don Nichols with the white-supremacist Christian Identity move and with the evangelical fringe Reconstructionist groups due to all three being anti-homosexual. First, liberals would like to associate anti-homosexual stands with other bigotries, especially racial ones. While there are pockets of redneck attitudes in evangelical circles, the average evangelical I have encountered over the years is less racist than their unchurched peers. The idea that we’re one in Christ makes bigotry hard to maintain. Yes, churches are still very segregated, but that is more due to housing patterns and different styles of worship than blacks being unwelcome in majority-white churches. For example, my old Vineyard church in Midland had a black praise leader, while the Lakeland Vineyard has a Hispanic worship leader/pastor. The other whacking-stick is the Taliban Hypothesis (saying Reconstructionist (here's a good post of mine on the topic from March) is the more theologically literate version) of Christian conservatives wanting to establish a theocracy. The vast majority of evangelicals don’t want to go back to the Mosaic Law of stoning adulterers and homosexuals (among many things); firstly, Jesus died to free us from that system. Secondly, many of the most ardent Bible-thumpers are dispensationalists, who see that Old Testament law as applying to the Jews of the BC era and not to today. That’s not to say that Christian conservatives will not want to discourage sexual promiscuity (especially of the homosexual variety) and encourage marriage, to want to block abortion and euthanasia and to put in a plug for school vouchers, but such a platform stops well short of the burqa brigades. Most will agree with the First Amendment’s establishment clause, even if they will want to tweak the edges of how we define it. A State Church ain’t likely to be yours. Yes, the Bible comes out against homosexuality. People who promote homosexuality as normal aren’t going to be thought of well by people who take the Bible at face value. Atrios’ example of the Hormel nomination requires a rebuttal; he wasn’t shot down by the Senate simply because he was gay but that he was an over-the-top gay rights activist and not someone even moderate Republicans were comfortable sending to Luxembourg to represent the US. However, trying to lump an orthodox Christian belief in the sinfulness of homosexuality with racial and ethnic bigotry doesn’t hunt. You’re more likely to have unchurched people doing hate crimes or holding racist thoughts than churchgoers. If you want to go after the GOP for not being in favor of same-sex marriage or granting benefits to same-sex couples or for promoting a heterosexist sex ed policy, feel free. However, don’t pull out the redneck brush when you do so. [Update 1:20-Looks like Buchananites are Reconstructionists in Atrios' eyes-he has this factiod at the end of a Council for National Policy piece-"Howard Phillips, of course, is the perennial Christian Reconstructionist wingnut presidential candidate of the Reconstructionist wingnut Constitution Party." I'll buy the wingnut part.] [Update 6:15AM 12/18-It looks like Atrios is right on Phillips-I knew his politics but didn't know that he's been inspired by Reconstructionist guru R.J. Rushdoony. Here's a World magazine piece from '98 on Phillips. Thanks to Evan Donovan in the comments for the heads-up.]

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