Christian Right Climbs Up On the Cross

What with all the adverse trends (even to a small extent among its own bought-and-paid-for Republican Party) on public opinion about same-sex marriage, it’s not surprising that the recent habit of Christian Right stalwarts to proclaim themselves persecuted has intensified. As is often the case, CBN’s David Brody speaks for his tribe:

In the media’s narrative, you would think that homosexuals are the poor souls who have been banished by society like ugly stepchildren and are now rising to overcome incredible odds.

But what about today? Let’s be honest: If you are a conservative evangelical who believes in the biblical definition of traditional marriage then guess what? You are one of the following: An outcast, a bigot, narrow-minded, a “hater” or all of the above. It’s a different type of ridicule but it’s still ridicule.

Before I say “cry me a river,” I’ll acknowledge that Brody does make the rather important point that such alleged victims of persecution as Tim Tebow and Dan Cathy don’t exactly stand out in the history of Christian martyrdom, a tradition that calls for a bit less whining and a bit more fortitude than we usually hear from such quarters. And he does condemn Christian Conservative gay-baiting and hatred, though it has often emanated from leaders, secular and political, he seems to consider part of The Team. If he’d go on to note that “ridicule” is the least of the disabilities GLBT folk have had to put up with, I’d be inclined to cut Brody some slack in begging for “tolerance.”

What I’d really prefer to a stiff upper lip, however, is even a vague glimmer of humility from conservative evangelicals like Brody on this subject. He thinks it’s obvious any “Bible-believing evangelical” has to take a stand against marriage equality. I think there’s significant evidence that a lot of conservative evangelical folk consistently confuse the Bible with the patriarchal culture they grew up with, and/or use the Bible to justify utterly secular political positions that have little or nothing to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Maybe I’m wrong and maybe Brody’s right, but then I’m not the one pretending to have a monopoly on truth. Christians who do should not only expect some pushback from those they would cast into the outer darkness, but yes, some ridicule and scorn for their ineffable arrogance and the use of the Lord’s name in vain. I would recommend reflection on this possibility two days before the commemoration of the true Cross, just as I intend to reflect on my responsibility to feel a stronger sense of Christian fellowship with David Brody.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.