5 Most Absurd, Self-Pitying Gripes of the Christian Right
To hear activists on the Christian right tell the story, the conservative Christian American—especially the male conservative Christian American—is the most oppressed, victimized person in the country, and perhaps the history of the world. It’s all utterly disingenuous, of course: painting themselves as victims creates a cover to actually victimize other people, usually by imposing their fanatical religious views. Here’s a rundown of various ways Christian conservatives paint themselves as victims, and who the real victims actually are.
1) The issue: Whether or not states should ban “gay conversion therapy” for minors who cannot, by definition, give their consent.
Who the right claims is being hurt: Christian parents whose supposed “freedom of religion” requires that they be allowed to try to force their kids to be straight. Matt Stave of the Liberty Counsel denounced banning this practice, calling it a “slippery slope of government infringing upon the First Amendment rights of counselors to provide, and patients to receive, counseling consistent with their religious beliefs.”
Who is actually being hurt: LGBT youth, whose actual rights to be themselves are being threatened by parents whose poor parenting decisions are tantamount to child abuse. Gay conversion “therapy” isn’t therapy in any real sense; actual therapy is about helping people become whole and well, which can only be achieved by gay and queer people by learning to accept their sexuality for what it is. These programs don’t actually convert anyone, something that even prominent “ex-gay” organizations finally had to admit. At best, they shove young people into the closet. The American Psychologial Association came out against gay conversion in 2009, and cited its use as a contributing factor to depression and even suicide.
But even if therapists did “convert” young people from gay to straight, that would not justify these programs. Religious freedom is something an individual possesses; if a young person decides to reject her parents’ religious teachings on sexuality, that is her right. Gay conversion non-therapy is not just an assault on young people’s right to wholeness, it’s an assault on their right to determine for themselves what religious beliefs to hold.
2) The issue: The new HHS regulations requiring insurance plans to cover, without a copay, an assorted list of preventive care, including contraception.
3) The issue: Businesses and the government taking an inclusive or even secular approach to the holidays. The right objects to a wide range of inclusive or secular behaviors, from governments sticking to secular expressions of the holidays season (Santa and Christmas trees instead of nativity scenes) and businesses that stick with greetings like “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
4) The issue: Schools leading students in prayer, whether it’s the teachers or the students offering the officially sanctioned prayer. The Supreme Court bans it all.
5) The issue: Gay marriage.