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07/02/2011

Pilgrim's Regress: As gay-inclusive seeds sprout, some fear tolerance may flower

by Jeremy Hooper

So how does Focus on the Family celebrate our American heritage on this most patriotic of weekends? Well, the gay-shunning, ban-happy, equality-opposing Colorado Springs mega-org gets analyst Bruce Hausknecht to write a piece pushing the idea that gays are the ones taking away freedom in America and abroad, with modern evangelicals akin to the Pilgrims who came to America to escape religious persecution:

The leader of England’s Orthodox Jews, the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks is warning that the rise of secularism and non-discrimination laws (a/k/a “equality” laws) in the U.K. is causing an unprecedented level of oppression of people of faith. In an interview with the Telegraph, Lord Sacks was direct:

“I share a real concern that the attempt to impose the current prevailing template of equality and discrimination on religious organisations is an erosion of religious liberty.

“We are beginning to move back to where we came in in the 17th century – a whole lot of people on the Mayflower leaving to find religious freedom elsewhere.”


The Mayflower metaphor is especially ironic, since
the first Mayflower was filled with people of faith fleeing the tyranny of England’s established (state sanctioned, funded and privileged) church. The upcoming Mayflower, to continue Lord Sacks’ metaphor, will be caused by the country’s descent into secularism, with its particular elevation of homosexuality at the expense of religious conscience.
FULL PIECE: The Second Mayflower? [Focus on the Family]

Hausknecht goes on to note the "irony" of a gay-accepting Massachusetts that has supposedly shut down faith freedoms. You know, the same Massachusetts where groups like Focus on the Family have shunned the equality-affirming judiciary as "activist," slammed the supportive legislature as tyrannical, condemned the 7+ years of legally married couples as false and immoral, and worked in every way they could to overturn the state's marriage laws? Yep, according to Hausknecht, that's the Massachusetts that we, the tax-paying gays who want civil rights detached from others' personal faith convictions, are supposedly undermining in ways the Pilgrims would hate. As if.

The truth: The spirit of Plymouth Rock (or at least the mythology of escaping religious oppression) lives on in all who brave the choppy "culture war" waters in order to live in a fair and free America. Groups like Focus on the Family can continue to present civil discrimination as the American apple pie's most crucial ingredient, if that's the melting pot onto which they care to hitch their beater blade. But it won't work. Not ultimately. Those who accept LGBT people as their living, loving, contributive, dues-paying neighbors will continue to see LGBT oppression as the real threat to independence -- personally, legally, and culturally. American history will eventually find its way, as it always does.

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