One of my favorite progressive Christian writers, Rachel Held Evans, recently wrote an awesome piece in response to the whole "Turn Away the Gays" laws that several states have recently attempted to pass.
I've always admired Evans' ability to write so eloquently about her journey of faith and that she has never strayed from discussing hot topic issues, her own struggles and questions about her faith, nor from pushing for social equality. Her recent post, however, is awe-inspiring, and sums up how I feel about these recent developments in light of my faith. I think this passage is possibly one of the best counterarguments against the whole "we're being persecuted!" argument coming out of the Religious Right movement and I'm definitely going to be quoting this in future discussions/debates.
Evangelical Christians in America enjoy incredible religious freedom, perhaps more than any other group in this country. Christians remain the religious majority in the U.S. Every American president has identified himself as a Christian, and Christians make up the overwhelming majority in both the House of Representatives and Senate. If you are a white evangelical Christian in the U.S. you are unlikely to be "randomly" screened by the T.S.A. every time you try to board an airplane. It is unlikely that you will face protests and governmental obstruction when you attempt build a new place of worship, which is a reality faced by many of our Muslim citizens.
And yet despite enjoying majority status, significant privilege, and unchallenged religious freedom in this country, we evangelical Christians have become known as a group of people who cry "persecution!" upon being wished "Happy Holidays" by a store clerk.
We have become known as a group of people who sees themselves perpetually under attack, perpetually victimized, and perpetually entitled, a group who, ironically, often responds to these imagined disadvantages by advancing legislation that restricts the civil liberties of other people.
But living in a pluralistic society that also grants freedom and civil rights protection to those with whom one disagrees is not the same as religious persecution. And crying persecution every time one doesn't get one's way is an insult to the very real religious persecution happening in the world today. It's no way to be a good citizen and certainly no way to advance the gospel in the world.
Close to the end of her essay, she added this gem which I'm totally stealing:
As Christians, our most "deeply held religious belief" is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for sinful people, and that in imitation of that, we are called to love God, to love our neighbors, and to love even our enemies to the point of death.
So I think we can handle making pastries for gay people.