In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said that if marriage equality sweeps the Land of the Free, Christianity will be defined as hate speech.
“If you look at other nations that have gone down the road towards gay marriage, that’s the next step of where it gets enforced,” Cruz agreed. “It gets enforced against Christian pastors who decline to perform gay marriages, who speak out and preach biblical truths on marriage, that has been defined elsewhere as hate speech, as inconsistent with the enlightened view of government.”
Here’s the thing I’ve noticed about privilege people, like those in heterosexual relationships whose relationships are automatically considered legitimate: Many times, when their privileged attitude is called out, they get hyper defensive.
When I see this happen, I try not to judge too harshly. I mean, it’s hard to recognize unfairness in the world, and we all like to think that we don’t benefit from hundreds of years of injustice. But, if you are in the dominant class, you have, and it could take some time to come to terms with that.
However, some times you just have to tell someone to sit down and be quiet because they’re talking hogwash. I think this is one of those times.
I don’t think anyone has suggested that we need to require churches to perform, or even accept, same-sex marriages. I mean, the Catholic Church doesn’t consider a marriage to be valid if it wasn’t performed by a Catholic priest, deacon or bishop, but that doesn’t keep the state from recognizing said marriage. There hasn’t really been any indication that once same-sex marriage is recognized nationwide that churches will be required to do anything they don’t want to.
Furthermore, I don’t think it’s necessarily appropriate to assume that because other nations have more strict hate speech laws than the United States marriage equality will somehow tip us over the edge to some kind of 1984 nightmare state. The first amendment provides a lot of protection to what could be considered objectionable speech.
But just because an anti-gay sermon probably wouldn’t hit the high, high level of hate speech, that doesn’t mean it’s not hateful. All you have to do is change a few words in a hypothetical anti-gay sermon to realize how epically misguided it is. For example, how about we change “same-sex marriage” to “interracial marriage?” Suddenly, it’s a racist tirade and basically the worst thing in the world.
Even if a church somewhere would spend considerable capital to get anti-miscegenation laws back on the books, most people would rise up against such efforts. Just believing something doesn’t make you immune from criticism. Just because it’s part of your religion doesn’t make it not hateful.
I do understand that it’s hard to see past your own nose when you’ve been steeped in privilege for so long. Getting that privilege pointed out can, to the privileged, seem aggressive. But it isn’t.
Cruz and his ilk have been living in a fantasy bubble, where their hateful and bigoted beliefs were allowed to grow and fester unchallenged. Those days are over. But make no mistake. The only threat to bigots is that everyone else will finally see just how bigoted they are.
(Side note: I know that a lot of people don’t like equating the fight against racial discrimination to the fight for LGBT rights. However, given the irrationality of both forms of discrimination, I think it’s an appropriate comparison.)
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons