Our old friend Dan Savage is at it again, this time with a website saying “Christians are not all like that.” (You can search for it yourself; I don't really care to link to it.) Not all like what? Here's how he put it in his introductory video:
… in my talks, Christians were forever coming up to me and saying, “We're not all like that. We don't all hate and condemn gay people.” I heard that so often I started thinking of Christians who said that to me as “NALTs:” “not all like that Christians,” Christians who support LGBT civil rights….
The NALT website is intended to give “LGBT-affirming Christians” a platform to tell the world their views,
A message that needs to be heard by young LGBT people who have been told that it's biblical to condemn and discriminate against LGBT people; that in three ugly words, “God hates fags.”
I marvel at the power one can wield with words, when unrestricted by niceties like truth and accuracy. Sometimes I envy the rhetorical maneuverability afforded by the freedom to be dishonest. That's in my weaker moments. Our fight is not like that, though, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10, so I won't stoop to that level.
And it's not necessary anyway. Just take an honest look at what Savage has done here. He's positioned Christians in two camps: those who “affirm LGBT young people,” which is equivalent to supporting LGBT civil rights; and those who condemn and discriminate against LGBT people, carrying the message that “God hates fags.” And to hear him speak it, those are the only two kinds of Christians there are.
I don’t mean he specifically said, “there are exactly two kinds of Christians…” He did something more rhetorically powerful: he painted a picture of the world being that way, and he did it with highly loaded language.
And yet the world isn't like that. Only a simpleton could think it was.
If listeners would just engage their brains for a moment, they might realize just how terribly unlikely it is that Christianity splits into just these two camps, the righteous and the horrific, identifiable according to whether they support gay “marriage,” etc., or else believe that God “hates fags.”
It isn't only Internet atheism that inhabits a strangely simple world.
Now, I don't believe for a moment that Dan Savage has that simplistic a view of the world. Here the choice really is binary, if I'm reading it right. He either knows what he's doing or he doesn't. In the one case he's intentionally deceiving, in the other case he's doing it ignorantly.
I could be wrong, but I think he knows exactly what he's doing. His problem is not that he's ignorant, it's that he's feeding ignorance. It's not that he's confused as to what's real, it's that he's intentionally confusing others.
Savage accuses us of bigotry. What do you call it, though, when someone looks at another group of people different from himself, as he does, and says, “I can't tell any difference: they all look the same to me”?
Need I say it, then? Isn't it obvious enough, just on principles of general awareness of the world? Yet I think I must, just to clarify: I'm someone who believes that gay “marriage” is a bad idea, a contradiction in terms, and an endorsement of immorality. And I don't hate or condemn gay people. I don't believe God “hates fags.” I know hundreds and hundreds of people who share my view of marriage and homosexuality, and I can't think of any of them who are hateful or condemning that way.
Even though it suits Dan Savage's rhetorical purposes to make us all look that way, for someone who's halfway alert, it's so obviously wrong, it's laughable.
You see, we're not all like that.
There is nothing that draws traffic to my blog quite like a rousing discussion on this topic. There’s also hardly any topic on which fruitful, positive conversation has been so hard to come by. For now I’ll give up the traffic numbers in order to limit time spent in unproductive discussion. Comments are closed.
Revision 9/10, 7:40 am EDT: I do want to have discussion on this topic, but I’m going to post another article first, probably sometime today. Then we’ll have opportunity to talk about it.