Rod Dreher in Today’s New York Times Op Ed Page…
Waving a Blood-Soaked Rainbow Flag to Scapegoat Christians
Rod Dreher is a senior editor of The American Conservative magazine.
When the Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore reached sympathetically out to the L.G.B.T. community in the wake of Orlando, the gay writer Zack Ford expressed a view often heard this week: that unless conservative Christians change their minds on homosexuality, their post-Orlando expressions of solidarity are worthless.
Attributing religious beliefs on marriage and other rights to hate is a crude and illiberal attempt to suppress dissent.
The Times took a similar line in its lead editorial today, smearing G.O.P. politicians opposed to various L.G.B.T. rights laws with the blood of the Orlando dead.
This escalates the culture war to an openly religious conflict, in the sense that neither side can back down without compromising what it holds sacred. And it turns L.G.B.T. advocates into heretic hunters who persecute thought criminals by demonizing dissent.
In the past, many Christians treated gays cruelly. Sadly, some still do. Christians must repent of this ugly legacy and condemn anti-gay hatred when it emerges. This is basic obedience to the Bible, which tells us that every human being, however broken we all are, is created in the image of God.
Yet that same Bible gives us Christians a particular anthropology, and reveals to us the meaning of sex and marriage within the cosmic order. As unpopular as that view is, we Christians who profess orthodox forms of the faith cannot reject it without doing serious violence to the truth, and to our consciences.
We also believe that a society that loses that vision of sex and marriage courts disaster, and that the advance of L.G.B.T. rights means a corresponding loss of religious liberty — hence our activism and our voting. L.G.B.T. people, of course, oppose us publicly and privately. Our views are irreconcilable, but that doesn’t mean either side is motivated by irrational animus.
But I strongly reject the oft-heard accusations from the Left that opposition to whatever identity-politics goal it pursues can only be based in hate. It’s a crude and illiberal attempt to suppress dissent.
Whatever made the radical Muslim Omar Mateen murder 49 innocents, connecting that atrocity to Christians (and Republicans) is shameless opportunism. It renders reasoned debate impossible, and turns cultural politics into a crusade against infidels.
Waving a blood-soaked rainbow flag to rally anti-Christian scapegoating for political advantage is repulsive and dangerous. But to holy warriors, restraint looks like cowardice and acknowledging moral complexity denies the narcotic pleasures of ardent purity.
This won’t end well. Wars of religion never do.
Make of it what you will.