The "Privilege" Sword Cuts Both Ways

There seems to be nothing in the news these days except gay-this and gay-that. On this week's upcoming Dead Reckoning episode, I express my exhaustion at all this.

My lack of recent commentary on things like actresses and football players coming out of the closet, Vladimir Putin's cynical renewed interest in Christian sexual ethics, religious liberty legislation failing in Arizona, or certain evangelical Christians supporting the notion that the government may coerce your labors toward ends that violate your conscience is not because I do not have thoughts. Not because I'm lazy. Not because I think it is unimportant. Not because I'm in retreat. Not because I'm too sick and tired to write on it (well, maybe that one is true).

Actually, the truth is that other people simply do it better. I try to call attention to these things on my Twitter feed and Facebook page, but I need to do it again here. Everything you need to know about the recent battles regarding so-called same-sex "marriages" and its impending religious liberty infringements can be found written by Russell Moore, Andrew Walker, Joseph Sunde, Joe Carter, and I'll throw in Mark Steyn.

Now, I'll contribute a few comments on this piece by Rachel Held Evans.

It is a fairly typical Evans piece. It contains the customary angst-ridden handwringing over evangelical "privilege;" insistence that there really isn't any religious persecution in America, and, on the off-chance there is, you don't have it as bad as Christians elsewhere in the world so just shut up and take it; and finally, a sentimental appeal to WWJD, which usually, seems to me, amounts to WWRHED. Oh, and it contains her signature bold lettering.

So evangelical privilege blinds us to how good we have it. Maybe we're inconvenienced from time to time (maybe you'll have to photograph a gay wedding or something, say), but why would you call that persecution when Christians all over the world are having their homes and churches burned to the ground or, worse, murdered? You can't bake a stinking cake for a gay couple, for crying out loud!? What is wrong with you people? 

That's the gist.

It's an interesting way to look at it, too. I thought I'd like to give it a try:

Gay privilege blinds homosexuals to how good they have it. They may be inconvenienced from time to time (they cannot get legally "married," let's concede), but why would you call that persecution when homosexuals all over the world are having their heads chopped off? America allows you to shack up with whomever you want, flaunt your sexuality all you want, even celebrates you as "brave" and "courageous" when you do! And you can't leave a poor photographer alone, for crying out loud!? What is wrong with you people?

Yeah, not quite what Rachel was shooting for.

As for the WWJD, she claims that the 21st century equivalent of "walking the extra mile" or "giving one's coat as well as shirt" means: "I think we can handle making pastries for gay people."

First: we're not talking about making pastries for gay people. We're talking about making cakes in celebration of their homosexual union. And for somebody who believes the Bible's teaching that such unions are not the sorts of occasions for celebration, it's a bigger deal than Rachel's condescension allows.

Second: there is nothing sinful about walking a mile, giving a coat to somebody, paying taxes, or even baking pastries. There is something sinful about same-sex relationships and the celebrating of them as wonderful and joyous arrangements. 

If Rachel wants to argue that Jesus requires us to be knowing and willing accomplices of sin, she should go right ahead. It will be utterly ridiculous to anyone grounded in the biblical text and Christian ethics. But it will nevertheless result in her being lionized as brave and courageous and speaking truth to power and stuff.

Brian Mattson