(via Shakespeare’s Sister)
I’ve always found it odd that Christian conservatives constantly claim victim status, particularly when so many of them, when it comes to foreign policy are so convinced that will can overcome anything. It’s sort of like Norman Vincent Pearle but with fighter bombers. Then again, logical consistency isn’t exactly the Christian conservatives’ strong suit.
The latest hue and cry of discrimination revolves around pharmacists and other healthcare workers who refuse to provide legal procedures and medications such as contraception and birth control. Shakespeare’s Sister has the best takedown of this false claim of victimhood (bold original, italics mine):
This culture of victimhood among conservative Christians is ridiculous in the extreme. It is–yet again–predicated on the flawed assertions that their version of Christianity is the only version, and that it is the exclusive source from which morality can be derived. The morality of all the other Christians, all the people of other religions, and all the non-religious people who don’t have these personal issues on the job don’t figure a whit. Of course they don’t–because if they did, the barking lunatics who equate oppression with a requirement of compliance with one’s basic job description might have to face the reality that there’s not some insidious siege upon religious freedom, but instead just a minority group whose religious beliefs make them intrinsically unfit to hold positions as healthcare providers.
(Read the rest of Shakes’ post for the perfect analogy to what they are doing)
I encountered a similar phenomenon on a flight from DC. I was waiting in National Airport, minding my own business, and reading the journal Evolution on the weekend the Promise Keepers were in town. Flush from their gathering (which as far as I could tell involved a lot of men hugging each other, making indistinguishable from the less risque parts of any Gay Pride parade), several of them who were also waiting for the flight decided to ask me why I ‘believe’ in evolution. The conversation wandered all over the place–I don’t they had ever talked to a Jew before, certainly about theology.
When we got to the topic of salvation, they were absolutely flabergasted: it simply was beyond their conception that one wouldn’t worry excessively about getting into heaven or the afterlife. At some point, it started to dawn on them, “Holy Hephastasus, this guy is just as bugshit crazy as we are.” (liberal translation by the Mad Biologist). Much of their personal existence revolved around bringing ‘lapsed’ or ‘fallen’ people back to the fold, but they really didn’t know what to make of someone who was quite confident in his belief system, and that belief system was fundamentally different than theirs (whereas a religious minority or an atheist is always aware of this).
Now, we can all just get along, but at some point, people are going to have to learn to tolerate other people’s beliefs. For example, some of us believe, quite fervently, that a five day embryo is not alive, and that it is “as water.” Some of us believe, quite fervently, that there are situations where a woman is morally obligated to terminate a pregnancy (no, really).
And this intolerance carries many costs. A deadly delay on the approval of the HPV vaccine. Abstinence only education. Dogmatism on alcohol and drug addiction, and all of the ensuing problems. Opposition to stem cell research. But to truly recognize these differences would mean they would have to sincerely engage their critics (as opposed to proseltyzing). That would force them to accept the consequences of their declarative statements. And that means they could be wrong. And we certainly can’t have that…