There's nothing so pathetic as a Christian who thinks his religion is becoming a pariah here in the United States. Fox News has made a journalistic career out of this, conjuring up absurdities like the War on Christmas.
The plain fact is that this country is one of the most religious, and it is dominated by Christianity. There's no evidence that Christians are at risk of losing their super-majority status.
Which makes this piece on Time.com by Rod Dreher, "Orthodox Christians Must Now Learn to Live as Exiles in Our Own Country," so absurd I thought at first that the title must be a joke. Sure sounded like something The Onion would come up with.
Recent Onion posting: Nation's Homophobic Bigots Pack It In. Sadly, it's a satire, as proven by Dreher's essay. I've copied Dreher's piece in below. My caustic annotations are in purple.
No, the sky is not falling — not yet, anyway — but with the Supreme Court ruling constitutionalizing same-sex marriage, the ground under our feet has shifted tectonically.
For the better. Very much for the better. If Christians had been standing on solid moral ground, you wouldn't be feeling so shaky now that same-sex marriage is legal everywhere in the United States.
It is hard to overstate the significance of the Obergefell decision — and the seriousness of the challenges it presents to orthodox Christians and other social conservatives. Voting Republican and other failed culture war strategies are not going to save us now.
Thank Tao. My non-prayers have been answered, albeit by nobody.
Discerning the meaning of the present moment requires sobriety, precisely because its radicalism requires of conservatives a realistic sense of how weak our position is in post-Christian America.
Sobriety? Wrong choice. I recommend coming to Oregon and getting super-stoned. Marijuana is legal here day after tomorrow. It still isn't being sold, but if you went out on the streets of Portland and yelled, "I'm a sad bigoted homophobic Christian and I need some weed to make me feel better," I bet you'd be showered with quality pot.
The alarm that the four dissenting justices sounded in their minority opinions is chilling. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia were particularly scathing in pointing out the philosophical and historical groundlessness of the majority’s opinion. Justice Scalia even called the decision “a threat to democracy,” and denounced it, shockingly, in the language of revolution.
If Scalia hates a Supreme Court decision, this is a sure sign that it is on sound legal ground. Love and marriage are fundamental rights for everybody in a just society.
It is now clear that for this Court, extremism in the pursuit of the Sexual Revolution’s goals is no vice. True, the majority opinion nodded and smiled in the direction of the First Amendment, in an attempt to calm the fears of those worried about religious liberty. But when a Supreme Court majority is willing to invent rights out of nothing, it is impossible to have faith that the First Amendment will offer any but the barest protection to religious dissenters from gay rights orthodoxy.
First, marriage -- gay or straight -- isn't about sex. Anybody who has been married for a long time understands this. It is mostly about love. How many hours a month do married people have sex, compared to doing other things? Even if a couple acts like nympho-bunnies, its a small percentage.
Second, this supposed "gay rights orthodoxy" is simply homosexuals wanting the same rights as heterosexuals. If they were only concerned about getting on board the Sexual Revolution Train, why would they be so concerned about being able to marry their loved one? Many religions consider marriage to be a sacrament. Shouldn't Christians be pleased that gays want to embrace marriage?
Indeed, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito explicitly warned religious traditionalists that this decision leaves them vulnerable. Alito warns that Obergefell “will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy,” and will be used to oppress the faithful “by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.”
Ridiculous. Nobody will be forced to marry a person of their own sex. The only "oppression" will be the same requirement for everybody in this country: obey the laws, or face the consequences. Religious belief doesn't entitle someone to be exempted from obeying laws. (At least, it shouldn't.) If it did, every person stopped for drunk driving could whip out his or her Church of Godly Alcoholism card and demand to be allowed to keep on weaving down the road.
The warning to conservatives from the four dissenters could hardly be clearer or stronger. So where does that leave us?
Um, let's see... going along with both a legal and cultural consensus that homosexuals should have the same rights as heterosexuals. Or is this too obvious and sensible an answer?
For one, we have to accept that we really are living in a culturally post-Christian nation. The fundamental norms Christians have long been able to depend on no longer exist.
I only wish. Unfortunately, this is still very much a Christian nation. But it's true: the times are a'changing. For the better.
To be frank, the court majority may impose on the rest of the nation a view widely shared by elites, but it is also a view shared by a majority of Americans. There will be no widespread popular resistance to Obergefell. This is the new normal.
Wow! Finally, a bow to reality in this essay. Thank you for admitting that homophobic bigotry isn't a value shared by most Americans -- just some fundamentalist Christians.
For another, LGBT activists and their fellow travelers really will be coming after social conservatives. The Supreme Court has now, in constitutional doctrine, said that homosexuality is equivalent to race. The next goal of activists will be a long-term campaign to remove tax-exempt status from dissenting religious institutions. The more immediate goal will be the shunning and persecution of dissenters within civil society. After today, all religious conservatives are Brendan Eich, the former CEO of Mozilla who was chased out of that company for supporting California’s Proposition 8.
News flash: lots of people have been coming after social conservatives for a long time. Me, for example. And most liberals I know. LGBT activists, I'm pretty sure, have other things to do with their lives than devoting themselves to taking away the tax-exempt status of gay-bashing religious groups. Though this isn't a bad idea, now that you've mentioned it.
Third, the Court majority wrote that gays and lesbians do not want to change the institution of marriage, but rather want to benefit from it. This is hard to believe, given more recent writing from gay activists like Dan Savage expressing a desire to loosen the strictures of monogamy in all marriages. Besides, if marriage can be redefined according to what we desire — that is, if there is no essential nature to marriage, or to gender — then there are no boundaries on marriage. Marriage inevitably loses its power.
Absurd argument. You forgot to mention that soon there will be efforts to extend marriage to human-animal partnerships. At least, this is what I hear on conservative talk radio. Saying that because two same-sex people can marry, along with two opposite-sex people, this will lead to "no boundaries on marriage" is ridiculous. However, it is true that there is no essential nature to marriage. It is whatever cultures decide it is.
In that sense, social and religious conservatives must recognize that the Obergefell decision did not come from nowhere. It is the logical result of the Sexual Revolution, which valorized erotic liberty. It has been widely and correctly observed that heterosexuals began to devalue marriage long before same-sex marriage became an issue. The individualism at the heart of contemporary American culture is at the core of Obergefell — and at the core of modern American life.
Again, if all gays cared about was sex, sex, sex, they wouldn't be pressing so hard for the right to marry. I speak as a man who has been married for 43 of my 66 years. As the old saying goes, "First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes the baby in the baby carriage." Sex is incidental in this common marital trajectory.
This is profoundly incompatible with orthodox Christianity. But this is the world we live in today.
One can certainly understand the joy that LGBT Americans and their supporters feel today. But orthodox Christians must understand that things are going to get much more difficult for us. We are going to have to learn how to live as exiles in our own country. We are going to have to learn how to live with at least a mild form of persecution. And we are going to have to change the way we practice our faith and teach it to our children, to build resilient communities.
Give me a fucking break. In 1970 I became a strict vegetarian. I also embraced the teachings of an Indian guru. Now I'm an atheist. Any Christian who feels like an "exile in our own country" should realize that you guys are the freaking VAST MAJORITY of Americans, and that most people share your basic outlook on the cosmos. Atheists, adherents of Eastern religions, and many other sorts of minorities are WAY more stigmatized than Christians. Get over your self-pity.
It is time for what I call the Benedict Option. In his 1982 book After Virtue,the eminent philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre likened the current age to the fall of ancient Rome. He pointed to Benedict of Nursia, a pious young Christian who left the chaos of Rome to go to the woods to pray, as an example for us. We who want to live by the traditional virtues, MacIntyre said, have to pioneer new ways of doing so in community. We await, he said “a new — and doubtless very different — St. Benedict.”
Going to the woods to pray sounds like a great idea to me. I wish every Christian would do this. And never come out of the woods. This would make life a lot less crowded for us atheists. Can I have your house and car?
Throughout the early Middle Ages, Benedict’s communities formed monasteries, and kept the light of faith burning through the surrounding cultural darkness. Eventually, the Benedictine monks helped refound civilization.
After Christians kept Europe stuck in the Dark Ages for a long time, like, ages.
I believe that orthodox Christians today are called to be those new and very different St. Benedicts. How do we take the Benedict Option, and build resilient communities within our condition of internal exile, and under increasingly hostile conditions? I don’t know. But we had better figure this out together, and soon, while there is time.
Oh, poor Christians. You are by far the dominant religion in this country, yet you view any criticism of your unreasonable dogmatic beliefs as "hostile conditions." You're so used to having everything go your way, you feel like exiles because many Americans are starting to question aspects of your bigotry. Deal with it. Life changes. Society changes.
Last fall, I spoke with the prior of the Benedictine monastery in Nursia, and told him about the Benedict Option. So many Christians, he told me, have no clue how far things have decayed in our aggressively secularizing world. The future for Christians will be within the Benedict Option, the monk said, or it won’t be at all.
Great. Head to your monasteries. Preserve your supposedly Undecayed Morality within those walls. I'd be overjoyed to see you do this. Because then you wouldn't be spouting your B.S. in public.
Obergefell is a sign of the times, for those with eyes to see. This isn’t the view of wild-eyed prophets wearing animal skins and shouting in the desert. It is the view of four Supreme Court justices, in effect declaring from the bench the decline and fall of the traditional American social, political, and legal order.
Gee, you talk as if this is a bad thing. I relish in the decline and fall of traditional order.
We live in interesting times.
Ah, on this we agree.