ONTD Political

On Christian Privilege

10:04 am - 06/29/2011
Christian Privilege: Not Being Allowed to Dominate Others Doesn’t Mean You’re Being Oppressed.

We get a number of comments on the blog entries, including this one in response to Beth’s piece on why we’re thrilled that New York has legalized same-sex marriage:

Here’s the thing. Even Obama says that a “Marriage” should be between a man and a woman. Why do gays have to have “Marriage”. Why can’t it be a civil union? why isn’t that good enough? I understand you are an Atheist and any religious argument is looked upon with disdain, but you are doing the exact thing that you accuse others of doing to you. You are treading roughshod over their beliefs. There was and is a solution. Don’t call it gay marriage. However, as per usual, it seems the gay community must thumb it’s collective nose at everyone else.


This comment so typifies what I feel is the Christian privilege behind a lot of the opposition to same-sex marriage equality, that I felt it deserved to be addressed as a blog post of its own. I don’t know if the author of the comment is a Christian or not, but I think it’s a safe assumption, given the way that majoritarian arrogance just drips from every sentence.

First, I’d tell the commenter that the gay community isn’t “thumbing it’s collective nose at everyone else.” For one, it’s not really “everyone else” anymore since a majority polled now support same-sex marriage rights, but also because human rights are not a popularity contest. The people with the greatest numbers can change the tax system, or affect policy changes on things like roads or healthcare, but they cannot enforce their religious beliefs on any minority.

And this is what many Christians seem to have a real problem with.

No one’s rights are being trampled if same-sex marriage is legalized. NO ONE’S.

If your religious beliefs condemn marriage between two people of the same gender, then you shouldn’t marry people of the same gender. While you have the freedom to limit your own behavior in matters of sexuality, diet or religious observance, you don’t have any power to limit the rights of other people, particularly those in other religions or with no religion.

If someone else is allowed to marry their same-sex partner, the anti-gay marriage advocate is affected in no way, oppressed in no way, their right to hold those beliefs is violated in no way.

Just as orthodox Jews aren’t victims of oppression when other people are allowed to legally watch television and use electric appliances on Saturday. Just as Muslims aren’t victims of oppression when other people are allowed to legally purchase alcohol. Just as Hindus aren’t victims of oppression when other people are legally allowed to eat beef.

You are expecting a level of cultural dominance that is completely unreasonable. You are expecting the right to to demand that your religious practices be taken as civil law and that the prohibitions of (I assume) Christianity be enforced on everybody — including non-Christians and Christians of denominations that accept equality in gay rights.

Our refusal to be dominated is not persecution of Christians. Our demand that the government be neutral and secular on matters of religious belief is not the persecution of Christians. If a man is beating us with a club, slapping that club out of his hand is not “running roughshod over his beliefs.”

As for why they should be allowed to have “marriage,” why do you care what they call their legally recognized relationships? Why do you need to put a velvet rope up around heterosexual relationships to put them in a restricted area so that you don’t have to share a word with anyone else? Why don’t you change the name of your marriage to a “civil union?” Why isn’t that good enough?

Other than the genders involved, there is no difference between a heterosexual marriage and a homosexual one. Both are generally based in love, respect and a desire to spend your lives together.

Your life, again, is affected not one wit if gay folks are allowed to marry their partners. Why do you even care? How are you being harmed or oppressed if gay people are given equal rights?

And you’re right about Obama saying that. And guess what? Obama was wrong. It happens sometimes with the president.


Source.

Mods: This is a pure opinion piece, but I thought it is politically relevant given recent events in New York.
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madman101 30th-Jun-2011 02:04 am (UTC)
excellent

thank you
fluorescenta 30th-Jun-2011 02:10 am (UTC)
thank you for this
elobelia 30th-Jun-2011 02:10 am (UTC)
I see this all the time from my fellow Christians. You are allowed to step on all the toes you want, that's just STICKING IT TO THE MAN and DOING WHAT GOD WANTS and TRYING TO SAVE PEOPLE... but if someone dares return the favor, NOBODY LIKES CHRISTIANS, WE'RE JUST TOO GOOD AND PURE. I'M BEING OPPRESSED.

It is a privilege, no different from men who panic at the thought of women in the military or women having equal salaries and rights. Unfortunately, most (vocal) Christians in this country are raised in communities where the notion of privilege doesn't exist, where nobody knows what it is. Heck, I had to learn about privilege on the internet.

In the end, to these people, "It's all about Jesus." And if a few heathens need to get trampled along the way, that's just fine.
breexbree 30th-Jun-2011 02:28 am (UTC)
Most people who have privilege aren't taught from the get-go that they get all these special things without earning it. In fact, that's probably an intrinsic part of having privilege -- blissfully unaware that you haven't done a damn thing. Or worse yet, that everyone else simply hasn't done as much as you.
advancedcookie 30th-Jun-2011 02:20 am (UTC)
It's because most religious folk believe their way to be the ~one true way~ and, especially Evangelical Christians, feel that they need to ~save all the sinners~. I was raised Baptist and was a psycho right-wing Christian for a good portion of my life growing up. It's bigotry masked as "love" and it sickening.
bestdaywelived 30th-Jun-2011 04:06 am (UTC)
Right on. I was raised to "love people for their own good".
nyychick23513 30th-Jun-2011 02:22 am (UTC)
Fucking. All. Of. This.
lightbird777 30th-Jun-2011 02:25 am (UTC)
This is an excellent piece. Thank you for posting it.
supermishelle 30th-Jun-2011 02:26 am (UTC)
I really don't get the Christian argument against gay marriage when non-Christians get married all the time and the institution of marriage pre-dates organized religion.

They just need to be upfront that they're homophobic morons because no one's buying the "I'm only against gay marriage because it goes against God" schtick. You don't see any groups trying to ban secular marriage.
breexbree 30th-Jun-2011 02:29 am (UTC)
They say it's a Christian institution, and it bloody well isn't. It's an institution that some Christians just happen to participate in. No one gets to make the rules.
mollywobbles867 30th-Jun-2011 02:30 am (UTC)
I want to frame this.
dearmisterecho 30th-Jun-2011 02:43 am (UTC)
*dearmisterecho likes this*
thecityofdis 30th-Jun-2011 02:43 am (UTC)
You are expecting a level of cultural dominance that is completely unreasonable.

This puts into words something that I have articulated similarly - but not as well - for a long, long time. Totally stealing this and filing it away in my brainspace for later.
mollywobbles867 30th-Jun-2011 02:48 am (UTC)
I feel the same way about this: human rights are not a popularity contest. Should be a bumper sticker, tbph.
othellia 30th-Jun-2011 02:45 am (UTC)
God, that commenter acts as if Christians invented the whole concept of marriage.

Just as orthodox Jews aren’t victims of oppression when other people are allowed to legally watch television and use electric appliances on Saturday. Just as Muslims aren’t victims of oppression when other people are allowed to legally purchase alcohol. Just as Hindus aren’t victims of oppression when other people are legally allowed to eat beef.

Also, I want to make love to this whole paragraph.
tresa_cho 30th-Jun-2011 03:19 am (UTC)
It makes so much sense when put like that.
we_got_caught 30th-Jun-2011 02:58 am (UTC)
This is freaking awesome.
shoujokakumei 30th-Jun-2011 02:58 am (UTC)
Why don’t you change the name of your marriage to a “civil union?” Why isn’t that good enough?

Seriously, try running this idea towards non-religious straight married couples. If they're anything like the ones I know, their immediate response will be something like WELL WE SHOULDN'T BE LESS THAN MARRIED JUST BECAUSE WE DIDN'T DO IT IN A CHURCH!!!!!!!

The whole "get the government out of marriage and just give everybody civil unions" argument fails on this point. Marriage is a social and cultural institution and the word holds a lot of power in how people perceive their own as well as others' relationships.
wrestlingdog 30th-Jun-2011 03:22 am (UTC)
I FUCKING LOVE THIS PIECE.
joshlymanftw 30th-Jun-2011 03:33 am (UTC)
I want to

Photobucket

this entire article. So effing perfect.
lone_concertina 30th-Jun-2011 01:55 pm (UTC)
This looks like layweed's cat (who used to be my cat) and it trips my balls every time I see it.
sunhawk 30th-Jun-2011 03:49 am (UTC)
Reblogged this article for truth.
bestdaywelived 30th-Jun-2011 04:08 am (UTC)
In before all the Christians show up to talk about how they aren't "like that" and how only a small amount of Christians are this way
kerrypolka 30th-Jun-2011 08:58 am (UTC)
I think describing cultural privilege (which Christians unquestionably have) is different than talking about behaviour or dogma.
skellington1 30th-Jun-2011 04:17 am (UTC)
Yeeeeesss yes yes yes yes.

Yes.

Our refusal to be dominated is not persecution of Christians. Our demand that the government be neutral and secular on matters of religious belief is not the persecution of Christians. If a man is beating us with a club, slapping that club out of his hand is not “running roughshod over his beliefs.”

Did I say "Yes!" already?
ladypolitik 30th-Jun-2011 04:41 am (UTC)
That's gotta be the most perfectly-worded and analogized rebuttal, ever. Damn.
purple01_prose CSB30th-Jun-2011 04:48 am (UTC)
I got to experience Christian privilege via my conservative substitute teacher. I was talking about religion to a friend of mine--she's a Jewish agnostic, and I'm Pagan, so we were talking about differences and similarities between our respective religious worldview, and he decided to interject with whether I believed in evolution. I told him I did, he then went on a spiel about why I should possibly believe that, and was I a Christian? I told him no, I was a Pagan. He asked me why, and I told him I couldn't reconcile feminism with Christianity (and I did try), so I looked for something new. He then asked if I was a lesbian. I told him it was possible to be a straight feminist, (and I was wanted out of the conversation, but he was a teacher, and I'm the somewhat-stereotypical teacher's pet in that I do my best not to be rude because I don't like getting into trouble), but I was in fact bisexual, not that it was any of his concern. He asked if I'd ever slept with a woman, and if I hadn't, well, how could I know, and it was unnatural anyway, because it was in the bible, but he then assured me he wasn't judging me.

I reported him, but then my regular teacher asked me to not do that again until I told *him*, but I told him he was gone a day further, and I shouldn't have to deal with that. He asked me to explain, and I outlined it. He laughed at me.

My friend vouched for me, but it still turns my stomach. I had been aware that Christian privilege existed, but I'd never been so exposed to it before, by someone I couldn't argue with.

/end story
sephystabbity Re: CSB30th-Jun-2011 04:51 am (UTC)
Sorry you had to go through that. Some people are just complete douche, who think it's AOK to make snap judgements on your life like that =\
sephystabbity 30th-Jun-2011 04:51 am (UTC)
-prays at the altar of whoever wrote this=
watchsnowfall 30th-Jun-2011 04:52 am (UTC)
framing, forwarding, memorizing in its entirety to repeat to any haters I encounter (with proper citation), etc.
kyra_neko_rei 30th-Jun-2011 05:25 am (UTC)
Why do gays have to have “Marriage”.

For the same reason that everyone else has it.

Conservative Christianity doesn't own the concept.

The above-quoted argument is lost every time a marriage happens that isn't a breeding program or a man buying a domestic appliance slash fucktoy. Every time marriage means love and commitment and the formation of a family.

We love. We commit. We form families.

Suck it, assholes.
hinoema 30th-Jun-2011 06:38 am (UTC)
You are expecting a level of cultural dominance that is completely unreasonable.

Not enough agreement in the world for this.
magus_69 30th-Jun-2011 07:00 am (UTC)
Thank you.
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