Do Democrats really need to promote religious persecution?
Democrat politicians do not want respectful disagreement between evangelicals and gays. War between homosexuals and evangelicals is important for them. The Democratic Party, in order to raise money from gays and lock in millennial votes, is attacking freedom of thought, speech and religion. This is a basic community organizing tactic: encourage grievance, divide the community, fan the flames of conflict, and inject government power into social problems. By putting their own political interests before every other value, Democrats have pushed our country into a culture clash that is becoming unresolvable.
It is time to take a deep breath and reaffirm the principles we all love. Phil Robertson, imperfect human being, master of the duck call, has given us a wake up call.
Gays have civil rights in our society -- along with all the rest of us. When gay rights are made absolute, they threaten everyone's fundamental civil rights. Homosexual wants and desires for universal acceptance are not civil rights.
These are our civil rights: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom from involuntary servitude, the right to vote, the right to equality in public places, the right to due process of law, the right to equal protection under the law. That's it.
Our constitutional civil rights are inalienable, meaning God-given rights, based ultimately on the teachings of the Bible. These are rights of individuals, not groups.
Society cannot avoid conflict. Homosexual sex directly contradicts the teachings of the Bible. That may be regrettable in terms of avoiding disagreement, but that's the way it is. Homosexual evangelicals have a real challenge, but it is one they have to work out themselves, reconciling their religious beliefs and sexual urges. The good news is this: religious people who think homosexuality is a sin at the same time believe that we are all sinners, and that we should not judge other sinners but treat them with love. Seeing homosexual sex as a sin does not lead to hate or violence or bullying. Those are sins also.
As the Robertsons explained after Phil was suspended by A&E:
While some of Phil's unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart' and 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Phil would never incite or encourage hate.
Yes, of course being deemed a sinner is hurtful and offensive. But it is not an issue society has to meddle in at all. Injecting political power into this arena is toxic. Nanny government can stay right out of it.
The insolvable problem is that Democrats don't want to accept the Robertson family statement. They find it too useful to demonize evangelicals as haters, although they are not. The Democrats refuse to educate themselves or understand religious people. Gay activists don't want to extend respect and tolerance to evangelicals that they are seeking for themselves.
The answer of my Democrat college-age cousin is to say that religious people will just have to change their beliefs. My stunned reply that people have the right to freedom of religion was met with flat denial. Freedom of religion is out the window for millennials. That's what they've been taught: to respect gays and to disrespect religion. Once you start with small children and teach them that having negative thoughts about homosexual sex is the same as being a racist and a killer, there is no room for tolerating differences.
All through public school, starting with picture books, millennials have been taught gay rights as the great moral issue of our time. They all have classmates who realize they are gay, are teased mercilessly, become distraught and even suicidal. To this generation, gay rights are a life and death issue, with decency on one side, suicide and murder on the other. No wonder they can't respect the Republican Party for defending marriage.
Most people think with horror of the gay high school student in Wyoming, Matthew Shepherd, who was beaten to death and hung on a barbed wire fence as on a cross. The image of Matthew Shepherd has defined this issue. It was a moving, tragic call to acceptance for gays. Shepherd's murder is the most powerful argument the gay community has to insert themselves into our schools.
New information on Shepherd's death has received little publicity. It turns out the exploitation of the murder as a gay rights issue has no basis in reality. Matthew Shepherd was killed by his former bisexual lover. They were both meth users and dealers. Shepherd was known to trade sex for drugs. The murder was about money. Shepherd was never tied to a fence like a cross, he was sitting on the ground. That was another little false detail to foment conflict with Christians.
The moral righteousness in fighting religious freedom goes beyond twenty-year olds. A liberal panelist on the Sean Hannity show kept insisting that she did respect freedom of religion, but that Phil Robertson had to be shut up and punished because his "positive declarations" made him guilty of hate speech. That word play seemed to resolve all contradictions for her.
Liberals ignore, as usual, the downside to pursuing their idealistic visions. Homosexual rights cannot be absolute without the country sacrificing freedom of conscience, thought and speech. No one should want to nullify those freedoms for any reason, but short-sighted liberal activists do. Democratic Party leaders do because it is a perfect wedge voting issue for them. Most liberal millennials do because the public schools have been abused to proselytize that gay rights are civil rights.
However imperfect, compromise is possible. We all want gays to be first class citizens and we all want to preserve our civil rights. Compromise on marriage would not be difficult if our society sought compromise instead of conflict. The Defense of Marriage Act to protect healthy heterosexual families and at the same time, civil unions, to make sure homosexual couples are not second class legally. Everyone can agree that teenagers who are broken-hearted on discovering they are gay should be helped, and protected from bullying and humiliation. Families should be allowed to teach their own values to their children, and schools should get out of the proselytizing business. Schools should not promote the viewpoints of GLAAD any more than the viewpoint of the Robertsons.
Gays adopting children is a much more troubling and difficult problem (see here, here, here, and here). It is an area government has no place in, neither for nor against. If we valued compromise, religious adoption centers would not be banned from excluding gay couples; other adoption centers would be allowed to accept them. The political line, unsupported by evidence, that children are entirely safe and thrive equally well in gay families, would not be taught in our schools. Sometimes that's the best we can do.
It would be nice if civility were extended to everyone: gays and evangelicals. Phil Robertson did not explain his views well. I doubt people who read his interview saw a lot of neighborly love. Liberals are far worse, because it is Democrat political leaders who promote bigotry and hate against religious and fiscal conservatives. Conservatives put up with Democrat hate speech to a fault, because they know that civility does not trump freedom.
George Will is wrong to say there are no principles involved, and to get over it. Democrats are now moving from words to actions. They have exercised the power to crush and destroy evangelicals they deem offensive, drag them into court and fine them, now pressure their bosses to fire them. All in the spirit of zealous moral self-righteousness.
The political fortune -- we're talking money, folks -- of the Democratic Party relies on fomenting hatred between gays and evangelicals. Look up lists of the biggest Democratic donors -- twenty percent of their top bundlers are homosexual.
Many of Obama's key financial supporters are gay -- including finance director Rufus Gifford and Democratic National Committee treasurer Andrew Tobias -- and the campaign has regularly held fundraisers focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender donors.
A review of Obama's top bundlers, who have brought in $500,000 or more for the campaign, shows that about one in six publicly identify themselves as gay. His overall list of bundlers also includes a number of gay couples who have wed in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage was legal. "It's a very important constituency," said Los Angeles attorney Dana Perlman, a top Obama bundler who is helping organize a 700-person LGBT fundraiser for the president.
Fomenting social conflict over gay rights is a crucial success factor for Democrat politicians. No wonder they don't want to support a culture of toleration, mutual respect and compromise.
Exploiting differences for political gain is a dangerous path for our society. Using the coercive power of the state to change people's minds or silence them is destroying our most precious freedoms.
Homosexuals rely on a healthy, functioning, cohesive society based on mutual accommodation of differences as much as everyone else. Going to war over gay marriage does not achieve that goal. Treating evangelicals as evil, vile people and trying to outlaw their beliefs inevitably switches one kind of discrimination for another.
Conservatives have become whiners; it's easy and sometimes fun to be outraged by liberals. That's not good enough. It's hard to model loving homosexuals as our neighbors while standing up for our own principles, but we need to figure out how to do it. We have let our schools be dominated by statist thought police for too long without getting involved in school boards. We have stayed home instead of voting. It's easier to keep our heads down and retreat into our private lives. We have the power to change these things for the good. It is our moral responsibility to do so.