It’s interesting. Steve Cornell’s column from last Sunday on the Dreaded Transgender Threat to America, or at least Massachusetts, has generated some heat online, and we’ve gotten some letters to the editor about it as well.
And those letters – and those online comments – have been largely against Cornell and his “Christianist” views.
“Christianist” in the same sense as we use the term “Islamist” – Sullivan apparently coined the term, defining it like this:
I have a new term for those on the fringes of the religious right who have used the Gospels to perpetuate their own aspirations for power, control and oppression: Christianists. They are as anathema to true Christians as the Islamists are to true Islam.
Well, it seems to me that at one time here in Lancaster County, they – Cornell’s views – wouldn’t have been seen as “anathema to true Christians.” They would have been seen as entirely representative of “true Christians,” or at least those who so quickly and loudly proclaim themselves to be “true Christians.”
And I think at one time here, those voices were the dominant voices. Whether they represented an actual majority of Lancaster Countians, I can’t say; surely the “true Christians” claimed that, and may have been correct. But I also think those who would have opposed them were cowed into silence, intimidated.
That is clearly not the case any longer.
People have begun standing up to what they see as intolerant, hateful nonsense. “True Christians” in the sense that Sullivan uses the term – those who follow a Christianity rooted in love rather than a Christianity rooted in pointing fingers and sneering really began to stand in opposition a few years ago.
And one of the reason the tide of public opinion has turned so dramatically on issues like gay marriage is that once these people did stand up – it became clear that the self-appointed “true Christians” really weren’t as numerous, or politically fearsome, as everyone had previously assumed.
One Talkback comment says it all, I think:
Pastor Steve is one of the reasons that many of us have become so disenchanted with organized religion.
That’s absolutely correct.
I used to fight with these “true Christians” all the time. Got accused of “hating” Christians on numerous occasions, of actually “persecuting” or “oppressing” them with my “anti-Christian views.” Which was hilarious.
But I don’t fight with them at all anymore, basically. It’s not worth the time. They’ve lost this war. They know it, too. Columns like the one we ran last Sunday amount to guerrilla warfare carried out after the position has been completely overrun. Those arguments aren’t winning any new converts. There may be people uncomfortable with the notion that a transgendered child can use any bathroom he or she wants. But I’m not sure what the Christian right’s “answer” to any of this is. Roll back the years? Impose Biblical morality – or their interpretation of it – on all?
Even those who feel discomfort at the idea of unisex transgender bathrooms feel more discomfort at that particular “answer.”
The Christian right used to be (or at least was considered) one of the most powerful political forces in America. Now – even here in Lancaster County – it’s been marginalized. And in such a short time, too – that’s what I really find amazing. Society has moved on. And those that haven’t now find themselves challenged by a society they once claimed, and intended, to dominate.
I bet they really feel “oppressed” now, don’t you think?