Could ‘Right to Discriminate’ Laws Backfire on Christians?


Jonathan Merritt makes a very interesting argument in the Atlantic about all those “right to discriminate” laws being pushed in many states. The people pushing for more ability to discriminate against marginalized and despised groups also believe that Christian are increasingly becoming one of those groups.

Interestingly, the conservative Christians who support these bills also believe that America is becoming increasingly antagonistic toward members of their own faith. They have long decried the secularizing and pluralizing of America’s public square. They’ve argued that America is, in Robert Bork’s phrase, “slouching toward Gomorrah” and becoming post-Christian or even anti-Christian.

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who supports these bills, also once wrote, “The most basic contours of American culture have been radically altered. The so-called Judeo-Christian consensus of the last millennium has given way to a post-modern, post-Christian, post-Western cultural crisis which threatens the very heart of our culture.”

If Christians really believe they are becoming a marginalized movement, why would they want to disempower marginalized people in the marketplace? It’s easy to codify your own biases when you’re part of the majority and get to be the one refusing services to others. But what if you’re the minority? What if others are turning you away because they think you are the abominable one?

Many Christians believe that the Book of Revelation predicts a coming time of persecution and evil. In the apocalyptic book’s 13th chapter, it is predicted that a time will come when Christians won’t be able to buy or sell in the marketplace. If Christians believe this time is coming, they must also ask, “How might such a reality be realized?” Could it be that they are unwittingly becoming the authors of their own demise?…

The ancient King Solomon, a man Christians believe to be the wisest person ever to live, once wrote, “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them.”

If this is the pit that Christians intend to dig, they better line the bottom with pillows.

That’s a really, really good point.

Comments

  1. roggg says

    They dont really want to establish a right to discriminate indiscriminately. They want the right to discriminate against gay people. How could that possibly come back to bite them?

    Much like school voucher systems, when they realize that other people can have equality too, they will panic, declare “backsies”,

  2. anubisprime says

    Could it be that they are unwittingly becoming the authors of their own demise?…

    Give the dimmest in society enough rope…they will hang as many as they can through fear and petty jealousy, and eventually end up hanging themselves, simply because they are not bright enough to realise which end of the rope is which!

  3. says

    Anti-gay laws are already coming back to bite them in the ass. All the challenges to Constitutional bans on marriage equality that are securing less-discriminatory status even in states like Texas and Oklahoma were only made possible by the passage of those bans.

  4. eric says

    The citation of Revelations also provides an answer to why many fundie Christians see no downside to this behavior: they think they’ll be raptured/end times will come before these laws permitting religious discrimination will be applied (negatively) to them.

    However I expect that’s a minority. IMO the real answer is much, much simpler: many humans are simply short-sighted. That’s it, there’s nothing else behind this behavior other than they just don’t anticipate that the freedom to discriminate they’re promoting will be used by others to their detriment. The world is full of Valarie Hodges.

  5. dingojack says

    But they need persecution. Fake arrests as a form of fake persecution won’t keep the cheques rolling in from the dwindling pool of rubes.
    Dingo

  6. John Pieret says

    it is predicted that a time will come when Christians won’t be able to buy or sell in the marketplace. If Christians believe this time is coming, they must also ask, “How might such a reality be realized?” Could it be that they are unwittingly becoming the authors of their own demise?…

    While it is fair to point out the logic of Christians own arguments, there is NO chance that these laws will wind up being systematically used against them because the premise is wrong. Christians are not becoming a marginalized movement and these laws, if enacted and found to be constitutional, will not be used against them for the simple reason that Christians will remain the majority in the US, a market too large for any business to ignore.

    Now, some of the more virulent bigots, say the Phelps, might find themselves on the wrong side of such laws but no widespread use of them against Christians is in the offing.

  7. matty1 says

    Systematically, no not a chance but you could get one or two people refusing to serve Christians as a way to make a point. What would be fun is if they took the bait and brought a case against someone doing that, which got their own laws overturned.

  8. says

    And when you point out to the Talibangelicals that their bigotry could and likely will come back to bite them hard, they just stand there with their mouths agape, shocked — SHOCKED! — that anyone would even think such things, much less have the indecency to speak them aloud.

    Cognitive dissonance is never pretty, but it can be quite amusing.

  9. raven says

    Interestingly, the conservative Christians who support these bills also believe that America is becoming increasingly antagonistic toward members of their own faith.

    They are. Fundie death cult xians create more atheists in a day than Dawkins, Myers, and Hitchens do in a year.

    I was one of them, xian and now a Militant Atheist.

    Could it be that they are unwittingly becoming the authors of their own demise?…

    Not becoming, but are the authors of their own demise.

    When xian became synonymous with liar, hater, idiot, crazy, and sometimes killer, a lot of people didn’t want to be one any more.

    And it isn’t unwitting. They are losing 2 million members a year. The ones who can count and count the loot intake and followers know.

  10. raven says

    These sorts of laws won’t be used much against xians for several reasons.

    Even when they go below 50% around 2032, there will still be a lot of them.

    And they assume we atheists and normal people are as much vicious haters as they are. And we aren’t.

    Mostly we don’t give a rat’s ass what they believe. We just want them to leave us and our society alone and stay under their rocks. It’s a free country and that is OK with us.

  11. rabbitscribe says

    Here in Illinois, we had an interesting case where a conservative Christian Wal-Mart employee went rip-shit on a gay co-worker. Sexual orientation is a protected class here, as, of course, is religion. Wal-Mart fired the Christian and she sued. The Christian lost, but it was by no means open-and-shut. The Court described itself as “on a razor’s edge” balancing the parties’ interests. The extreme vitriol of the speech was a factor (gay people are “not right in the head” and “don’t belong on this Earth”) so milder homophobic speech might potentially be protected. Also, the Court ruled that the misconduct did not rise to the level that her unemployment insurance could be denied. In the (frankly unlikely) event these “freedom of association” laws are found Constitutional, the sword will cut both ways.

  12. Pierce R. Butler says

    If this is the pit that Christians intend to dig, they better line the bottom with pillows.

    But that would interfere with the Prime Directive: to Keep Digging!

  13. Wylann says

    If Christians really believe they are becoming a marginalized movement, why would they want to disempower marginalized people in the marketplace? It’s easy to codify your own biases when you’re part of the majority and get to be the one refusing services to others. But what if you’re the minority? What if others are turning you away because they think you are the abominable one?

    As noted in the paragraph after this one….that’s known as an own goal.

  14. Chiroptera says

    Pro-discrimination laws have no downside for the Christofascists. As long as they are a majority, then if someone refuses them service, there will be plenty of other businesses they can go to. Meanwhile, they can rile up the pro-evangelical vandals to take care of the offending business.

    Then, when they become a minority, the decent people majority will repeal the pro-discrimination laws, therefore protecting them.

    How can they lose?

  15. raven says

    Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who supports these bills, also once wrote, “The most basic contours of American culture have been radically altered. The so-called Judeo-Christian consensus of the last millennium has given way to a post-modern, post-Christian, post-Western cultural crisis which threatens the very heart of our culture.”

    Al Mohler is one of the leaders of the SBC and one of the more evil people in the USA.

    1. There was never a Judeo-Xian consensus much less one that lasted a millennia. This is a flat out lie.

    The xians spend most of the last 2 millennia persecuting the Jews, culminating in the Holocaust which wiped out half of them.

    And fighting wars among themselves which killed tens of millions. Reformation wars, the Albigensian genocide, crusades, one of which was against the Eastern Orthodox, and the continual splits which has produced 42,000 different xian sects.

    2. Mohler: post-modern, post-Christian, post-Western cultural crisis which threatens the very heart of our culture.”

    More lies from Mohler. His fundie version of xianity was never the heart of our culture. Not even close, more like the Dark Side of our lunatic fringes. It isn’t even that old, fundie-ism beng invented not much more than a century ago.

    The reason the Southern Baptists were invented was to support slavery, support segregation, and oppose interracial marriage. The anti-science bias was added later when Mohler and his crew of rightwing extremists took over the SBC in the mid late 20th century.

  16. says

    Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who supports these bills, also once wrote, “The most basic contours of American culture have been radically altered. The so-called Judeo-Christian consensus of the last millennium has given way to a post-modern, post-Christian, post-Western cultural crisis which threatens the very heart of our culture.”

    And if there’s one thing the Southern Baptists know about, it’s organized, systematic oppression.

  17. LightningRose says

    It’s my sincerely held religious belief(tm) that any bigot purchasing a pie in my bakery shall have said pie delivered directly to their face.

  18. colnago80 says

    In this regard, one is reminded of the refusal of Muslim cab drivers refusing to transport anyone carrying booze. Under such a law, they would be within their rights for such a refusal.

  19. says

    Honestly, the biggest danger of discrimination toward Christians comes from other Christians. Evangelical Protestants refusing to serve Catholics or Mormons, for example.

  20. Alverant says

    AFAIK there are already rules preventing discrimination based on religion. These “right to discriminate” laws won’t override them which is convenient for christians who want to discriminate others but not be the victims of said discrimination.

  21. says

    Christians are not becoming a marginalized movement and these laws, if enacted and found to be constitutional, will not be used against them for the simple reason that Christians will remain the majority in the US, a market too large for any business to ignore.

    Not only that, but they’d make sure that the law exempted themselves from any potential discrimination. They’re not capable of seeing the hypocrisy in any double standard that privileges themselves. That’s what happens when you think you’re God’s chosen.

  22. says

    Area Man “Not only that, but they’d make sure that the law exempted themselves from any potential discrimination. They’re not capable of seeing the hypocrisy in any double standard that privileges themselves. That’s what happens when you think you’re God’s chosen.”
    To be fair, unexamined privilege is a not uncommon, very human, characteristic.

  23. dugglebogey says

    I love the idea that christians are being marginalized in America. I drive by no less than 50 christian churches on my way home, and on the four mile strip of road where my house is there are seven christian churches. Oh yes, definitely becoming an endangered species, those christians.

  24. Moggie says

    The ancient King Solomon, a man Christians believe to be the wisest person ever to live, once wrote, “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them.”

    Maybe he was wise by Christian standards, but you wouldn’t hire him to operate a backhoe.

  25. matty1 says

    @25 indeed in contracting there are words for people so wise they can’t dig a hole without falling in it. Words like incompetent and even unemployed.

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