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Elf M. Sternberg - I still don't get it: Why does Christianism want to die on that hill?
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I still don't get it: Why does Christianism want to die on that hill?
Since traffic was terrible this morning and my iPod's batteries were too dead to work effectively, I was stuck with the radio, and as is my unfortunate wont, I dialed into the morning's AM radio and stumbled upon right-wing talk show host Mike Gallagher commisserating with an interview subject about how "Government had become God, the arbiter of right and wrong, and was forcing Christian businesses to have to serve sin."

One of the cases cited was of a bakery in Oregon that, last year, had refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple and been consequently sued under Portland's anti-discrimination ordinance. A local alt-weekly called them up a few times over the course of the following year and ordered: (1) "Get Well Cupcakes" for "a friend who'd just undergone a stem cell transplant" operation, (2) a black "divorce party" cake, (3) a baby shower cake "since my girlfriend is about to have our second child," and (4) a 30th anniversary cake "for our coven's solstice celebration," complete with a pentacle design.

Arguably, divorce and out-of-wedlock childbirth are far more dangerous to the well-being of society than consensual love and marriage. I really don't get why Christianism wants to die on that hill.

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solarbird From: solarbird Date: March 6th, 2014 06:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Neither threaten the idea of required patriarchy as much as same-gender marriage. Maybe that's it.
kengr From: kengr Date: March 6th, 2014 07:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, It's *state* law. The Bakery isn't even in Multnomah county.

And as I noted in a post of my own the other day, they could stay in business, not violate their "principles", and comply with the law. They'd just have quit making wedding cakes for *anyone*.

But that'd cost them money.

In other news Portland's Archbishop is starting up a campaign to try to prevent gay marriage from becoming legal in Oregon.Which led to a bunch of Catholics not protesting exactly, but making a point of wearing something (I forget whether it was buttons or shirts) *supporting* gay marriage when they went to Ash Wednesday services. No speechifying, or disruptions, just a simple "notice" that folks are *not* going to bow to his views on the subject.

Given other things the Pope has said, I'd not be too surprised if one of these days he issues a statement telling folks to drop it. Even a simple, "quit fighting it" without the Church being willing to perform same sex marriages would defuse a lot of stuff.


bemused_leftist From: bemused_leftist Date: March 6th, 2014 08:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe getting sued over the gay cake, made them preemptively abandon those other hills?
sirfox From: sirfox Date: March 7th, 2014 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Since this *delightful* plan of attack to legalize bigotry went into action in several states simultaneously, I've been trying to figure something out.

Plenty of establishments, especially restaurants, have signs up stating "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone"

I've seen that on both coasts, multiple states, although I can't speak much for its prevalence in flyover country.

The rules lawyer in my head wonders how that's different/protected/not/etc... I realize it's mostly there to allow an establishment to not serve / eject somebody who is being a too much of a jerk. I could see how it might be applied to somebody who was 'too _______' (fill in the blank... black / gay / middleastern / tall / stoned / whatever)

I'm kinda on board with Saint Carlin's teaching: "Life doesn't change because you post a sign." but I'm left wondering where that shopkeeper/restaurant owner's actual right to refuse service to a particular patron, regardless of that patron's group(s) tapers off and becomes discrimination. When it's a serious pattern of daily/weekly tossing out the same class of person, certainly, but when it's less regular, and it's only the most flamboyant gay couples, or the most traditionally garbed brown people... It seems really vague and indistinct.

It's strange that they didn't try that avenue of expanding on something existing rather than a very obvious and clumsy attempt that they just made.
casualprofessor From: casualprofessor Date: March 7th, 2014 07:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
"It's strange that they didn't try that avenue of expanding on something existing rather than a very obvious and clumsy attempt that they just made."

They wanted their bigotry legalized, and not have to worry about slippery slopes or as being perceived as discriminatory. They basically are trying to free themselves of a prejorative label as they practice their exclusionary ideas.
sirfox From: sirfox Date: March 7th, 2014 09:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
i'm totally with you, but it's been painfully obvious that their methods to shed that label not only failed in that effort, but failed spectacularly.

rather than step right up and say "It should be a protected expression of my religious freedom that i can call somebody a homo and not serve them" to instead bury it in some quagmired grey area, and nibble their way up on it a bit at a time, quietly and gradually. It's exactly the strategy they've used against abortion and it's been frighteningly successful. That's what confuses me, they've got better strategies in their playbook and this one was ham-fisted to say the least.
khromat From: khromat Date: March 7th, 2014 10:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Alas, the while the average x-tian may think divorce and out-of-wedlock are sins, they are "understandable" sins. They cannot understand same-sex love, it's alien to them, so that 'sin' goes into foreign territory. It's sad, but I've watched the smoke escape the ears of proclaimed x-tians when confronted with the concept that same-sex love was CREATED by their god.

"The only true blasphemy is the refusal to accept joy" -- church ladies, JEFFERY
mcjulie From: mcjulie Date: March 8th, 2014 09:36 pm (UTC) (Link)

I was raised evangelical and I remember, in the 1970s, there were active controversies over divorce, out-of-wedlock births, and the proper role of women -- you know, was feminism okay, or was birth control okay. On these topics, my parents were squarely on the liberal side -- they didn't exactly approve of divorce or out-of-wedlock births, but they had friends who had experienced these things and didn't want to judge them or shut them out of the church community.

The controversies over abortion and homosexuality came about later, during the 80s, after the "Moral Marjority" lobbying group was an active force. I think that changed their nature, because they played out primarily as political struggles -- externally focused -- rather than doctrinal struggles -- internally focused.

When I was a kid, there seemed to be a recognition that people could go to the same church without being in agreement on all doctrinal controversies, without having the same politics, without having the same general lifestyle choices. But that started to change in the 80s. To be an evangelical was to be a Republican and to have a certain kind of life. There was this all-encompassing aspect to it. You went to church and had your opinion on everything from elections to television programs handed to you on a pamphlet put out by Jerry Falwell or James Dobson.

During the 80s, it seemed like really peculiar things were virtually mandated by membership in the evangelical church -- you could spot which students went to CCF based on how they dressed and wore their hair.

For a while, it seemed like the evangelical church and the Republican party could marry their fortunes together, gaining power without losing any membership. The church lost me, but I thought at the time I was an outlier. Turns out I was a harbinger.

I think what happened was this: evangelical culture kept getting more and more right wing, and more and more politically partisan, even as the larger culture changed. So eventually they did start to lose people. They lost the MOST liberal people, like me, first, but then they started to lose moderates. My parents liked Reagan and thought Bush senior was okay -- but they didn't like Bush junior at ALL and started to feel a lot of alienation and resentment when their church made being a Bush supporter a virtual requirement for membership. When it came to things like same-sex marriage, they had a similar reaction -- it seemed shocking to them when they first contemplated it, but they gradually got used to the idea. They changed. The church didn't. Or, rather, it did change -- but it kept heading farther and farther in the same direction.

So, what you have now is an evangelical sub-culture whose identity -- whose sense of meaning and purpose -- is almost wholly defined by right wing cultural conservatism. They are dying on that hill for existential reasons.
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