When “Thinking Biblically” Means Violating Someone Else’s Civil Rights

Rainbow flag flapping in the wind with blue sk...

Image via Wikipedia

Listening to Christian radio is something I do periodically. I do it because it’s helpful to know what Christians are actually saying and not rely on hearsay. The same goes for listening to Rush Limbaugh and the guy that makes my ears bleed, Glenn Beck.  I listen also because I used to be part of that subculture and I like to hear all sides of a cultural issue, even if I do disagree with it. Janet Parshall is the host of a radio show on Moody Bible radio called “In the Market.” This show discusses cultural topics from a “biblical viewpoint.” Today’s show was about bullying and the LGBT public campaign called “It Gets Better.”

Parshall begins by outlining the tree criteria for defining a protected class. Three criteria to be met as a protected class:

Immutable characteristic

Suffering politically

Suffering economically

Parshall and her guest today protest this campaign because they do not believe the bible supports homosexuality as an “immutable characteristic” but as a “lifestyle” that is chosen. Therefore, homosexuals should not be a protected class as defined by the government. They also take issue with the statistics provided by the campaign that 9 out of 10 LGBT are harassed at school and that fully 1/3 commit suicide. Parshall’s guest and Parshall herself take further issue with the whole campaign and believe it to be another way to “legitimize” homosexuality in our culture. This is also a common tactic to bring down the whole argument the campaign is trying to get through because of the personal characteristics of those asking for it. Over and over they emphasize that it’s not right to bully at all, end of story. Except it isn’t the end of their story. It never is. It’s like saying it’s never ok to abuse your wife and then go on to emphasize that Ephesians 6 gives husbands “authority.”

I must say that this is typical of Christian radio. They all agree that bullying is wrong or that ________ is something we should fight against, however, they make it particularly clear that the action these human beings commit are “biblically sinful”  They believe they are “speaking truth in love” by pointing out that these people are sinful and even if they decry bullying as an action, their very denigration of homosexuality promotes the kind of thinking that steeps into their children and which grows into the idea that these people are “less than” “normal” human beings and are therefore not deserving of “special” treatment as they call it.

It is true that all bullying is wrong and should be dealt with, but since it isn’t AND since the bullying is also statistically more prevalent among the gay community, then it is absolutely incumbent upon them to not make things worse by marginalizing a group basing their justification for doing so on ancient, middle eastern principles that are questionable at best when used as universal principles for modern societies. Science has also backed the modern belief that homosexuality is far more complicated than waking up one day and deciding whom to be attracted to sexually. I did not “decide” who I was attracted to. In fact, to be perfectly honest, I experimented with kissing some girls in my class and even an older girl. The kissing was enjoyable, however, I just happened to find kissing boys more enjoyable. I didn’t decide to kiss more boys. It just turned out that way. If I’d gotten better offers from girls, I might have thought about it more!

The point is that “thinking biblically” will always trample on modern society’s civil rights, merely by being biblical. Being biblical means being frozen in time and having ancient ideas declared universal. Why this isn’t more obvious is inscrutable to some who don’t live by a set of scriptures, but having come out of it, I can only say that it is perfectly reasonable to think so if one is convinced that the bible is literally and irrevocably the word of God, dropped from his mouth to the hands of scribes writing it down; infallible, correct in all areas it touches, and binding for all time to those who believe it. It’s safe and effective for circumscribing one’s life with it. Until and unless you can prove this to be untrue, you will never penetrate that fundamentalist armor. Never. How did I do it? By having an open mind and by going to college that taught mythology, literature, and philosophy, and history. By seeing that time and cultures move and evolve and change and that the God of ancient scriptures also moves, evolves, and changes according to the men who wrote things down.  And yes, being open to the ever evolving Spirit that exists in everyone and tells me truly that it matters not what a person does if they are harming no other human being because the Light of the Divine in them demands respect, dignity, and basic human rights, whether you agree with their essential and irrevocable genetic makeup or not. End of argument.


4 thoughts on “When “Thinking Biblically” Means Violating Someone Else’s Civil Rights

  1. Hey, I’ve got to say you are awesome. I very much agree with everything you said. Including kissing boys being more fun than kissing girls 🙂 It’s great to see the process of critical thinking you’ve gone through and to see that someone who was “part of that subculture” can grow out of it.

    also I’d add that beyond “thinking biblically” when one puts their religion into politics. . as the *only* basis for their politics, by default, they are trying to force others to follow their religious beliefs through law. I cannot fathom how they think that is right, when I’m sure they wouldn’t want anyone else’s religious beliefs forced on them. Also that’s the whole point of freedom of religion. the ability to keep one’s own religious practice means that we must not force ours on others. If there is other rational, or rational that can be shared by those not following your religion. . then sure. Be inspired by your faith. but it drives me crazy that they can’t see that they are taking away religions rights of others by declaring that their book is what our laws should be based on.

    anyway. . just wanted to say thank you for being awesome. I’m glad you are my friend’s mother. 🙂

  2. Thanks Bryan, that also means a lot to me. Sometimes those posts just come out because of some thought that triggers it and I got awfully tired of the same line from Christian radio. They say they want to stop a problem, but hey let’s not buy into the “agenda” of those with the problem! That’s just another way of saying, “it’s your problem, not ours.” And you are right about the politics. Since fundies think that they are absolutely right because their book says so, they cannot acknowledge that no one else wants to live by their rules, regardless of whether “God said it” (which is doubtful) or not. Again, thanks for the good words!! 😀

  3. On top of all the other good things you said: What on earth is up with these references to a “protected class”? This is language I associate with historically-oppressed groups’ attempts to gain equality under the 14th Amendment. The big Olson/Boies marriage equality case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which is winding its way to the Supreme Court, will be judge according to the applicability of the 14th Amendment, and part of that process – a big part, I suspect – will be to argue that GLB people are in fact a “protected class.”


  4. I suspect Sungold, that the “protected class” category is what fundamentalist Christians interpret it is. We are dealing here not with what the legal definition is but with what they say it is and passed on to listeners as “gospel” truth. I will not say that the majority of fundamentalist Christians are uneducated, but I will say that their education is very selective and seen through the “biblical” lens, no matter what subject it is, so if they discuss legal issues, it’s always from a “biblical perspective” which for them is the true perspective. I doubt that they pay much attention to legal language unless it serves their cause. They also mentioned LGBT advocates using Title IX as an “inroad” to relieving schools of their funds if their recourse to discrimination is not acted upon. It’s classic scare language. Fundies can only move their base through fear so there must always be an enemy to posit against them.

Comments are closed.