Don't cry victimhood
when you are part of the problem
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The issue of bullying of gays has been in the news a lot lately due to a spate of recent suicides. In a recent article on CNN’s religion blog, Jim Daly, the president of Focus on the Family claims that some people blame Christianity for the bullying. He gives no specific reference for this claim, but it is possible that some people may have overgeneralized based on the anti-gay rhetoric promulgated by many Christian organizations from the lunatic fringe of the Fred Phelps family through to the mainstream Roman Catholic Church.
Of course Daly is right that Christianity as a whole should not be blamed. In support of that, I would point out that there are a number of Christian denominations and congregations, along with many, many individuals who ignore the anti-gay teachings of their denominations, who have made it clear that they accept that gays should be treated completely equally in society, including in areas such as military service, marriage, and ordination into the Christian clergy.
But that’s not the point the Daly tries to make. He can’t. Focus on the Family makes a strong position statement about what they call “Pro-Gay Theology.” This position statement, in my opinion, clearly makes Focus on the Family an anti-gay rights organization. The same statement also prevents him for using what I'd term "humane Christianity" as a cover.
So given this particular position statement, Daly has to take another tack to argue that it is unfair to blame Christianity for anti-gay bullying.
What he argues is:
If there is a single golden thread woven through the Bible and the faith it informs, it is this: when it comes to human rights and how we treat each other, no person is superior or inferior to the next.
Now seriously! What Bible is Jim Daly reading?
Is he reading the Bible in which Jesus describes non-Jews as dogs? (see Meditation 787)
Is he reading the Bible in which one primitive tribe was set up above all others as God’s chosen people?
Is he reading the Bible in which slavery is condoned, and even contains rules for the treatment of slaves?
Is he reading the Bible which makes women subservient to men?
Is he reading the Bible in which children – even adult children – are made subservient to their parents who can even legally kill them for minor transgressions?
Is he reading the Bible in which God repeatedly orders genocide of the defeated in war?
Is he reading the Bible in which God's punishments apply for multiple generations on those who are unfortunate enough to have an ancestor who committed specified sins or who neglected to have married parents?
Is he reading the Bible on the treatment of homosexuals? (Well I guess he may have read some of that part, given his opposition to “Pro-Gay theology”)
If there is a single thread woven through the Bible about human rights it is quite the opposite to what Jim Daly claims – in fact throughout, the Bible is about the exaltation of select individuals and groups above others, and the suppression of the human rights of those others.
Jim Daly can’t have it both ways. He can’t be leader of a Christian organization which opposes equal rights for gays and thus contributes to a negative social climate for gays, and at the same time play the victim when the finger is pointed his way for contributing to that negative social climate.There are many reasons for bullying, and traditional religious anti-gay teachings (whether they be Christian, Muslim, Hindu. Buddhist, animist, or whatever) are only part of the problem. But they are part of the problem.