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A Pyrrhic Victory in the Culture Wars

In light of the World Vision controversy and the Mississippi "Religious Liberty" bill passing, the Christian right thinks they've won major victories. I mean, after all, a major Christian charity backtracked on its original progressive plan to no longer discriminate against employees who are in same-sex marriages *and* you don't have to serve the icky gays in Mississippi because God said you didn't. The Christian right is crowing about these victories and about how the liberals lost. As Rachel Held Evans has noted, however, these are very much Pyrrhic victories, especially in the case of World Vision.

In the World Vision case, the Christian right may have convinced a major charity to continue discriminating against employees in same-sex marriages, but at what cost? They've shown exactly how ridiculously short-sighted and narrow-minded they are. In order to "protect the sanctity of marriage", they were willing to throw countless needy and starving children under the bus to get a win.

Then, after World Vision reversed course, people who had stopped sponsoring a child due to the policy change would call the organization to ask, "Can I have my child back?" as if these children were merely possessions or pawns, not people who were in need of help. Clearly, Matthew 25:40 ("The King [meaning Jesus] will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'") matters only when the welfare of these brothers and sisters can't be used as leverage or blackmail.


In the "Religious Liberty" case, we once again see the Christian right crying oppression, when Christianity is the majority religion in the US and enjoys incredible privilege and freedom. Christians aren't "randomly selected" at airports for special screening, unlike our Muslim sisters and brothers. We aren't told that our religion is violent and that we should all be kicked out of the country. Proposed construction of our houses of worship aren't held up by zoning committees for bogus reasons.

Yet, for whatever reason, these people think that we're being oppressed and that they should have the right to act on their bigotry and homophobia and deny services to our brothers and sisters who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community without having to face any consequences. Once again, Matthew 25:40 matters except in cases where the brothers and sisters happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

These cases illustrate the ugly truth once again: the Christian right doesn't really care about families or children. They are so focused on being "righteous" and feeling smug and superior because of their faith that they forget the overarching message of the New Testament: Love God and love your neighbor. Is withholding food from needy children and allowing them to starve showing love for your neighbor? What about denying services to people in same-sex relationships? At what point will these people realize that their insane focus on same-sex marriage has blinded them to what God has commanded of those of us who believe in Him?

When churches wonder why their attendance numbers are dwindling, especially among younger members of the community, they like to blame the media and the secular world. The truth of the matter is that young people like me are leaving the church (but not necessarily the faith) because we can't reconcile the message of love, compassion, and salvation in the Bible with the hate for and mistreatment of our sisters and brothers that so many churches are advocating these days. The Jesus we know would never treat any of our fellow human beings with such hatred, scorn, and self-righteousness. We shouldn't either.

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