This is a must-read post. It’s a long one, but trust me, it’s worth it. Blogger, playwright, and composer Wayne Self weighed in on the Chick-fil-A controversy late last month and his post went viral, generating over a million views. It also generated a lot of letters from conservative, anti-LGBT Christians complaining that they felt silenced, marginalized, and persecuted by society for holding anti-equality religious beliefs. Self’s brilliant response expands on Aesop’s fable of the lion and the mouse and uses it to explain how hollow these claims really are:
The way I see it, in terms of power in this country, conservative Christians are the Lion; we LGBT folks are the Mouse.
I know you may not feel this way, but remember:
- It’s not illegal to be a conservative Christian in any state, never was, and never will be, thanks to the Constitution. Until a Supreme Court ruling 2003, gay sex was actually illegal in many states.
- Conservative Christians enjoy the full equality and protection of the law, including marriage and employment protections. You can’t be fired for being a Christian. I can be fired for being gay. Here’s a breakdown of the legal struggles that LGBT people face in every state.
- Conservative Christians may get “bashed” in the media. LGBT people get actually, literally bashed, sometimes to death. It’s an epidemic and it’s on the rise. Here are some hate crime statistics for you to peruse.
- Conservative Christians form a powerful, organized, well-funded voting bloc that has helped to keep marriage equality and other equal rights provisions off the table for LGBT people in many states.
As a person who identifies as both gay and Christian, I do understand that Christians can sometimes face social sanction. I will recognize that being a Christian isn’t always easy and that it hurts when municipalities level consequences at people who speak their minds. I certainly understand.
Did you know that Tennessee introduced a bill making it illegal even say the word “gay” in public schools? Yes. I understand.
But it’s important for you to recognize that there is a vast difference between facing ridicule or even occasional civic rejection, and facing systematic social and political inequality. There is a vast difference between being told you’re superstitious or old-fashioned and being told you’re an abomination that doesn’t deserve to live. There’s a vast difference between being told you’re acting hateful and being told God hates you.
I’ve been gay and Christian all my life. Trust me: Christian is easier. It’s not even close.
I’m the Mouse.
You’re the Lion.
Then Self moves on to the issue of heterosupremacy and cuts right to the reason for all the hysterical, anti-gay shrieking from the Religious Right:
Supremacy turns to hate when the feeling of innate superiority is openly challenged.
That outraged feeling you have of being oppressed or silenced just because pop culture doesn’t like you, and Rahm Emmanuel threatened to keep Chick-Fil-A out of Chicago? That’s the feeling a supremacist gets when her cultural superiority is being eroded.
Supremacy is why you and Bristol Palin have more outrage at your own inconvenience than at the legitimate oppression of others.
Supremacy is what causes you to believe that whatever status or privilege you enjoy is the will of God, so that the very act of fighting you politically is an ungodly act.
For me, the best part of Self’s post is when he calls attention to an often-overlooked injustice that’s built into the LGBT rights debate: “To you, even entertaining the idea of my equality is a gesture for which I should be grateful. To me, it’s an indignity that I even have to ask.”