Political Animal


March 27, 2013 4:17 PM Christian Right Climbs Up On the Cross

By Ed Kilgore

What with all the adverse trends (even to a small extent among its own bought-and-paid-for Republican Party) on public opinion about same-sex marriage, it’s not surprising that the recent habit of Christian Right stalwarts to proclaim themselves persecuted has intensified. As is often the case, CBN’s David Brody speaks for his tribe:

In the media’s narrative, you would think that homosexuals are the poor souls who have been banished by society like ugly stepchildren and are now rising to overcome incredible odds.
But what about today? Let’s be honest: If you are a conservative evangelical who believes in the biblical definition of traditional marriage then guess what? You are one of the following: An outcast, a bigot, narrow-minded, a “hater” or all of the above. It’s a different type of ridicule but it’s still ridicule.

Before I say “cry me a river,” I’ll acknowledge that Brody does make the rather important point that such alleged victims of persecution as Tim Tebow and Dan Cathy don’t exactly stand out in the history of Christian martyrdom, a tradition that calls for a bit less whining and a bit more fortitude than we usually hear from such quarters. And he does condemn Christian Conservative gay-baiting and hatred, though it has often emanated from leaders, secular and political, he seems to consider part of The Team. If he’d go on to note that “ridicule” is the least of the disabilities GLBT folk have had to put up with, I’d be inclined to cut Brody some slack in begging for “tolerance.”

What I’d really prefer to a stiff upper lip, however, is even a vague glimmer of humility from conservative evangelicals like Brody on this subject. He thinks it’s obvious any “Bible-believing evangelical” has to take a stand against marriage equality. I think there’s significant evidence that a lot of conservative evangelical folk consistently confuse the Bible with the patriarchal culture they grew up with, and/or use the Bible to justify utterly secular political positions that have little or nothing to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Maybe I’m wrong and maybe Brody’s right, but then I’m not the one pretending to have a monopoly on truth. Christians who do should not only expect some pushback from those they would cast into the outer darkness, but yes, some ridicule and scorn for their ineffable arrogance and the use of the Lord’s name in vain. I would recommend reflection on this possibility two days before the commemoration of the true Cross, just as I intend to reflect on my responsibility to feel a stronger sense of Christian fellowship with David Brody.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Col Bat Guano on March 27, 2013 4:28 PM:

    "Ridicule" is not the same thing as denial of fundamental civil rights. These Jesus nutbags keep forgetting that.

  • SecularAnimist on March 27, 2013 4:30 PM:

    David Brody wrote: "If you are a conservative evangelical who believes in the biblical definition of traditional marriage ..."

    What he meant to say is, "If you are a conservative evangelical who WANTS TO USE THE POWER OF THE STATE TO FORCE the biblical definition of traditional marriage on everyone else".

  • c u n d gulag on March 27, 2013 4:31 PM:

    When these poor, put-upon, Christian victims of persecution, can find me some Matthew Shepard who was beaten to death for his Christian beliefs, then maybe I'll have some sympathy for them and their cause.

    Oh, and Christians, don't go to any anti-gay rally in wool pants and a cotton or polyester shirt, and then go to a Red Lobster afterwards, because those are as deadly a sin according to Leviticus, as people of the same gender having sex.

    And let's not even get into adultery, ok?
    Newt's corpse would have been lying there, festering for decades, with stones still near it.

  • punaise on March 27, 2013 4:32 PM:

    As a secular humanist I am delightfully unburdened by any responsibility to feel a stronger sense of any kind of fellowship with David Brody.

  • thescreed on March 27, 2013 4:42 PM:

    What about those of us who go around saying that evangelical christians are an abomination unto the Lord, that they are destined to burn in hell, and that the government should take all necessary steps to ensure that they are never allowed to reproduce or to be equal to the rest of us normal Americans?

    Where is the respect for our point of view? We are the most heavily persecuted group of all, told repeatedly that we must respect other faith traditions. But I believe I shouldn't have to respect them, and what about respect for my belief.

    Just thinking about it makes the stigmata on my hands and feet bleed.

  • Peter C on March 27, 2013 4:44 PM:

    Matthew Shepard was more than banished and homosexuals are mistreated by society every day.

    Which 'conservative evangelical who believes in the biblical definition of traditional marriage' has been 'outcast' despite being 'a bigot, narrow-minded, a “hater” or all of the above'?

    Shunning a bigot is not illegal, and not equivalent to torturing and killing someone.

    Brody is free to hold all the disgusting and dispicable opinions he wants. I am free to dispise him for it.

    I won't hesistate to say it: Cry me a river!

  • Capri on March 27, 2013 4:50 PM:

    I don't claim to be a biblical scholar, but aren't quite a few biblical unions were between a man and lots and lots of women. With a few maids and concubines thrown in.

    One man and one woman seem like the minority of biblical unions, not the norm.

  • VaLiberal on March 27, 2013 5:15 PM:

    I've heard this "Christians are being persecuted" doo-doo from my Limbaugh-listening relatives and I can tell you for sure that the translation of this is "but..but..if same sex marriages get the same benefits, legal recognition, etc that WE do, then WE won't be special anymore!" And they don't realize this idea of "specialness" is all in their heads. (And that idea is very lonely, too)

  • DRF on March 27, 2013 5:20 PM:

    I think that Ed makes a very good point. I would just add that, to the extent that Christian evangelicals with rightwing views on marriage equality, contraception and other similar issues are treated as outcasts, bigots, etc. (and I think that represents an extremely exaggerated point of view), this is in no small part due to the fact that the public faces of Christian evangelicals are so often making news with hateful, disrespectful, arrogant and factually inaccurate statements about Democrats (and in particular the President), liberals and others who disagree with their positions.

    The simple fact is that lots of us who are not of their particular community resent being spoken of as though we were evil-doers. I suspect that if the spokespeople for the organizations within the Christian evangelical community engaged in more civilized discourse and made an effort to address their opposition's views with some semblance of respect, the reaction wouldn't be quite as negative.

  • Candy's Dog on March 27, 2013 5:38 PM:

    I've been wondering when the Cardinals would issue their threats against the Court's Catholics, or have they already done so and I missed it?

  • Doug on March 27, 2013 5:58 PM:

    A little humility by these, um, "Christians", would go a long way.
    Something along the lines of: "I believe, based on *my* reading of the Bible that..." as opposed to the "God says..." crap.

  • Rod Hoffman on March 27, 2013 6:16 PM:

    I'm a Bible-believing type myself but have never heard one of these thumpers respond to the question the Apostle Paul asks in I Corinthians 5: What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church.

    the passage is in a discussion of sexual immorality, so it is, as the lawyers say, pretty much 'on point'

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  • Rabbler on March 27, 2013 7:34 PM:

    If it was that big of a deal, Jesus, whoever he was, or his biographers, would have mentioned it with attribution to him.

  • boatboy_srq on March 27, 2013 7:53 PM:

    @Rod Huffman: Speaking as both a Christian (C of E, thank you) and part of the LGBT community, I have to say that you have that backwards.

    The problem with your assumption is that you're allowing the FundiEvangelicals to use 1 Corinthians to exclude certain persons from all of Christendom - which they are wont to do - instead of from their own particular church - which is their privilege, but does not encompass the rest of Christianity.

    The problem with the FundiEvangelicals like Brody, Dobson and the rest is that they continue to bleat "religious persecution" when what they really want is "religious exception." Ask them to accommodate a Christian not explicitly in their little sect and you'll soon see they aren't the least interested in Christendom - at least no Christendom that extends beyond their very carefully proscribed borders. But they'll happily take support from anyone gullible enough to think that when they use "Christian" in any public context that includes everyone who claims that faith.

    I resent their insistence that they speak for all of us. And you, sir, aren't helping.

  • biggerbox on March 27, 2013 8:51 PM:

    Conservative evangelicals are perfectly welcome to continue believing in what they call the "biblical definition of traditional marriage." They just don't get to have my secular state use that as our communal definition of marriage without getting pushback and ridicule.

    If they just want to go to church and talk all about how those gays are not "really" married, just like super-devout Catholics don't believe in second marriages or weddings outside of a church, fine. I'll leave them alone.

    I do get confused, though, when they keep talking about the "biblical definition", since near as I can tell, they aren't supporting sleeping with slaves, concubines, or multiple wives. (How do they chose which "biblical definition" is the one they want to have the rest of us use?) But I don't really need to understand their beliefs, as long as they don't want me to use them for MY laws.

  • Rick B on March 27, 2013 9:28 PM:

    I have no objection to people who believe the traditional teachings of Christianity as given to a population of illiterate subsistence farmers. That's what the fundamental teachings of the religion are. They are based on the pre-enlightenment idea that all important knowledge already was known by our predecessors and all we have to do is relearn that knowledge they had but which is lost today except to a select few.

    I have a big objection to them demanding that I join them and mouth their ignorant rituals and an even bigger objection when they try to take over the police and judicial powers and enforce that ignorance on the rest of us. THAT is the bigotry they practice.

    They can't have my schools to teach their primitive ignorance. They can't use my taxpayer funded police to enforce their idiocies, especially sexual control of women and control of children. I have no problem with the passive fools, but I cannot abide the activist primitive bigots who claim that the written tribal stories from a small tribe in the Middle East contains all wisdom.

    The loudmouth complainers are by definition bigots and prove it by declaiming how put upon they are.

  • Rick B on March 27, 2013 9:43 PM:

    Oh, and Ed - for your information GLBT perpetuates the Patriarchal nature of our society. LGBT is considered preferable according to my daughter.

    Got to keep up with the language, you know.

  • emjayay on March 27, 2013 10:28 PM:

    I'm honestly dumbfounded about how Chrisianists can go on about "biblical marriage". Have they actually read the Bible? I was going to list a bunch of examples of proper marriage related behavior as described in the Bible, but instead just go to www.bettybowers.com and click on Videos and watch Mrs. Betty Bowers Explains Marriage to Everyone. I'm pretty sure she left a few good ones out, although Mrs. Bowers is of course America's Best Christian.

  • emjayay on March 27, 2013 10:39 PM:

    LGBT is the most commonly used version. Even by the President in the proclamation in 2010:

    As Americans, it is our birthright that all people are created equal and deserve the same rights, privileges, and opportunities. Since our earliest days of independence, our Nation has striven to fulfill that promise. An important chapter in our great, unfinished story is the movement for fairness and equality on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. This month, as we recognize the immeasurable contributions of LGBT Americans, we renew our commitment to the struggle for equal rights for LGBT Americans and to ending prejudice and injustice wherever it exists.

  • Rick B on March 27, 2013 11:19 PM:


    Apparently GLBT was the older version. LGBT has overtaken it now. LGBTQ does not yet seem to have made significant inroads.

  • Lila on March 28, 2013 4:31 AM:

    Well done dude!!! Thanks!

  • Neildsmith on March 28, 2013 7:15 AM:

    What both Brody and Kilgore miss is the fact that many of the most passionate advocates of gay "marriage" profess to be Christians. I'm thinking most notably of Andrew Sullivan. What are secular gays to make of the argument that we need to become joined in "Holy Matrimony"? I'm not particularly interested in "what God has joined". I'm just here for the admittedly trivial legal benefits.

    Sullivan, on the other hand, clearly has other ideas. He wants a church wedding and to "civilize" the more promiscuous members of his gay tribe. I find the prospect of a gay church wedding as thoroughly disgusting as Brody does. You all can keep your fancy weddings, messy divorces, and bitter custody battles... I'm better off without them.

  • emjayay on March 28, 2013 11:04 AM:

    It's interesting that Brody's column has no comments. I guess the Christianists readers just agree with everything he wrote. Including "Meanwhile, politicians like former Sen. Rick Santorum have been labeled part of a “Jesus-eating cult" (Whatever that means)".

    This "Jesus-eating cult" stuff is from an article in the Comedy section of Huffington Post by Larry Doyle, among other things a Simpsons writer. The COMEDY section. It was obviously bomb-throwing exaggerated satire. Doyle is a narrow-minded idiot writing a column in a website for narrow-minded idiots. Only interesting in that it is revealing of the thinking (?) of our substantial narrow-minded idiot demographic.

    I of course read a bit of the comments on Yahoo News posts, conveniently located on my homepage, whenever I feel the need to keep up.

  • Susan on March 28, 2013 2:17 PM:

    Whatever happened to having the courage of your convictions? Obviously, many "conservatives" as evidenced by their whining about "persecution" do not believe in their convictions enough to stand and take the heat. Or, in other words, if you can't take the heat conservatives, then get out of the kitchen.

  • jkl; on March 28, 2013 4:44 PM:

    Don't these Christians think there should be care for the poor, the disadvantaged, the ill, the tortured?

    I hate hypcrites

  • H-Bob on March 28, 2013 7:07 PM:

    With apologies to Harry Truman, the Christianists hear the trust and think it's persecution !

    When has any "conservative evangelical who believes in the biblical definition of traditional marriage" been called anything nearly as nasty as "Abomination" ?

    Doesn't "Jesus-eating cult" refer to Communion ?