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08/28/2007

Why couldn't carpentry have been the Limbaugh family trade?

by Jeremy Hooper

You have to almost feel sorry for those whose job it is to defend the religious right. For in the modern "culture war" battle between the team who wants to legislate their evangelical version of morality and the team who wants religion to keep its hand off government, there is only one clear frontrunner in terms of what is fair, decent, and right for America. And no matter how much the social conservatives deny their attempts to foist personal faith views into everyone's lives or the true harm that stems from their frequently short-sighted world views, the truth of the matter will always remain: Their principles at time border on the theocratic. And such principles are simply not justifiable in a land where we all are (ideally) free from religious persecution.

 Images Limbaugh-1Yet despite the fairly cut-and-dry nature of who is really threatening freedom here, conserva-writer/sibling David Limbaugh has written a new WorldNetDaily commentary in which he takes up the difficult task of painting secular liberals as the "intolerant" ones. Below is a sample of passages from Mr. Limbaugh's commentary, which encompass his basic arguments (with specific emphasis on the gay-themed passages):

"It's no longer surprising that those screaming most loudly against Christianity and its influence on public policy in America often employ the same tactics and represent the same dangers they falsely attribute to Christians. Christians have far more to fear from the secular thought police than the other way around."
...
"The secularists' criticism goes beyond decrying the Christian right's alleged hostility to church-state separation. They claim strong religious belief leads to oppression, tyranny and violence."
...
"The secularists demanding the removal of specks from Christians' eyes are oblivious to the planks in their own. Their paranoid predispositions about Christians lead them to the very type of oppressive behavior they wrongly ascribe to Christians. If anyone is guilty of wanting to foreclose debate and impose their values on others, it is these hyperventilating secularists."
...
"They brand as bigots opponents of the societal sanctioning of homosexual marriage. Some even pronounce certain scriptural passages on homosexuality "hate speech" that leads to violence, as if to disapprove of any behavior is to hate it or its practitioners and leads to violence against them."
...
"The secular left condemns traditionalists for "legislating morality" and invading our bedrooms. Their quasi-religious fervor apparently blinds them to their efforts to wield governmental power to impose their own values, whether on homosexual marriage, abortion, wealth redistribution or socialized medicine."
...
"Secularists have every right to advocate the adoption of their values by our society. But they are hypocritical to deny they do so and for castigating Christians for doing the same."

Okay, so basically he's using that tired, tired argument that by lashing out against intolerance, liberals are the ones who are truly tolerant. Which sounds good to those who view this whole "culture war" as a tiff between two sides who simply see the world in different ways, and who should therefore be able to "agree to disagree." However, this sort of outlook completely overlooks the extreme cruelty often lies behind the faith-based community's various condemnations. Since we are a gay site, let's focus specifically on that area:

-The social conservatives militantly push for state and federal marriage bans. In addition to cruelly robbing worthy, tax-paying gay couples of the right to legally protect their unions in the same fashion as their heterosexual peers, they also foster the sort of heterosexist environment that propagates gay bias. They send the message to everyone that gays are innately lesser than straights, and send a message to gay kids that they will never be free to live and love in the same manner as their hetero pals, so they should proceed to live their lives on the margins of society, accepting whatever bits of parity the government and its people will deem allowable.

-The far right faith-based community militantly insists that gays are "choosing" their behavior. This being the case, they tend to support programs that can "change" homosexuals into heterosexuals. Despite what science and research may say and what the vast majority of the gay community will tell them based upon their own life experiences, they boldly insist that they, the heterosexual Christians, no more about what it means to be gay than those who actually desire same-sex sex. They use this as a way to "love the sinner, hate the sin," so that they can hid their biased efforts behind the smokescreen of religious "compassion."

-They refer to any gays who are bold enough to stand up for their freedom as "militant." They claim that by seeking marriage, we are trying to "destroy" that institution. They say be encouraging acceptance at an early age, we are trying to "indoctrinate" or even "recruit" children. They use nothing but hostile terminology when referring to our efforts to make the world a more peaceful place! And hey have the audacity to reframe every single gay debate in terms of how they say it will affect the religious community, as they know this is the way to rally their troops. They deceive their followers into believing the dastardly gays are out to thwart religious freedom, despite the fact that most gay activists respect
true religious freedom far more than anyone else!

-They go after our right to adopt, despite their constant claims to want to "protect children." In doing so, they use the argument that only male-female homes are suitable for child rearing. This is not supposed to be offensive to loving gay couples?! Well excuse us, but we are BEYOND offended by the assertion!

-They fight against legislation that would try and curb both bias-motivate crimes and unfair hiring and firing practices in regards to gay people. And they do so using the arguments that both would attack the rights of religious people to speak out against homosexuality or keep their businesses gay free. Both are flawed arguments, as hate crimes measures have absolutely NOTHING to do with speech, and employment non-discrimination legislation has specific exemptions for religious people (among others). But even if their arguments did have even the slightest degree of merit -- what gives their "freedoms" more precedence than the freedom of gay people to live and work in peace?! They seriously present religious freedom as if it should trump all others!

-They completely try and wash their hands clean of any role their rhetoric may play in gay-related violence. And while it's true that the vast majority of the religious community are STRONGLY opposed to violence, it is beyond absurd to deny the connection between their non-stop condemnations and the frightening incidents that still very realistically occur against the LGBT community. They work day and night to foster a society that is unwelcoming to gay people. Why wouldn't others, who
do posses violent or even homicidal tendencies, internalize these messages?! And just like the faith-based community rationalizes their gay rights opposition behind the veil of faith, some of those who perpetuate violence against LGBT people do the same! The message is out there that gays are immoral, unworthy, somehow flawed, and "an abomination." While again, most people of faith can hold these beliefs and yet hold no desire to come to fisticuffs with any and every gay they see, there is undeniably a sect of the population who justify their savage acts with Leviticus and Romans 1.

And there are of course many, many more arguments that could be made. For while it's convenient strategy for Limbaugh's team to make it seem as if this is a battle between who can most readily inject their personal faith into the constitution, such arguments simply do not hold p under scrutiiny. In terms of Capitol Hill, the White House, public institutions, and human lives, our faith is based in the Constitution and in democratic principles. That is where all matters of American governance should be based, no matter where, how, and towards whom you choose to employ the religious freedom guarantee!

Secularists behave as they claim Christians do [WND]

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Your thoughts

It is extremism. It's fun to watch (reality shows, talk shows, wrestling, celebrity downward spirals, and the rest). It's fun to participate in whether it be culture wars, race wars, real wars, but then to quote Ani "the clowns will take off their makeup and the people will go home." That just it too. The majority of people I believe are pretty much mellow, but we can get easily riled in a particular direction from moment to moment, until we get bored, or we realize our energy is being wasted on whatever movement grabbed us in the first place.
In my own life I know many of my opinions, and viewpoints are extreme however, and although I do think I have the right to express them, to argue and exchange ideas with others, I would generally not push what I view to be morally right onto the rest of society.
The Religious Right needs to really earn some humility before I would consider anything they said. It's been my experience though that humble people really don't have a whole lot to say about or to the Wickedly WORLDLY World.

Posted by: Matthew | Aug 28, 2007 11:23:44 AM

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