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Friday, June 17, 2016

Orlando Backlash

Orlando Backlash
Emotions are running high after the murder of 49 people at a gay night club in Orlando. We Americans have a desperate and understandable urge to lay the blame somewhere, and we find it irresistible to strike out against political and religious opponents. The New York Times believes the culprit is the Republican Party (which Sean Davis at The Federalist satires effectively, in my view). Attorney Chase Strangio spoke for many when he tweeted "The Christian Right has introduced 200 anti-LGBT bills in the last six months and people blaming Islam for this. No. #PulseNightclub," while Zack Ford at Think Progress repudiated Christian attempts at sympathy, saying, "If you want us to feel love, then do not tell us our sexuality is wrong or that the only way to be right is to be celibate." Orlando Pentecostal Pastor Gabriel Salguero begs to differ; his church has modeled what Christian compassion looks like, even with those with whom we deeply disagree.

I spoke about the hazards of identity politics last week, and Brenden O'Neill at Spiked shows how this plays out in Orlando commentary:
Across the media, and in gay-rights circles, observers have insisted we refer to [the victims] as 'queers' first and avoid turning them into 'disembodied, undifferentiated and abstract "human" lives', as one academic put it.... To allow their murder to be 'generalised', to refer to their slaughter as 'an attack on humanity', is wrong, commentators insist, because doing this erases their specific identities and the specific reason they were killed: their gayness. This is all meant to sound PC, and gay-friendly, an attempt to uphold the truth about what happened in Orlando; but in fact it exposes the profound anti-humanism of identity politics.
Maybe the intensity is due to the fact "the best way to understand the Orlando aftermath in terms of cultural politics is as a religious war," as Rod Dreher argues.
If the struggle for gay rights has taken on the qualities of a religious war, then that explains why people like Zack Ford spurn expressions of sympathy from religious conservatives like Russell Moore. No matter how much love and solidarity he expresses towards the suffering in Orlando and those who mourn, he is tainted by the impurity of his beliefs.
I mentioned in a recent editorial that, indeed, there are starkly different world views at play:
Both religious conservatives and LGBT activists ground their respective claims in metaphysics. To simplify: The first group believes that sexual mores are rooted in God-given teaching and the natural order. The second group believes every individual has the right to determine how to live sexually, and we each are duty bound to be true to ourselves, however we conceive the self. Each side champions what it considers a righteous cause that transcends mere personal interest. It is no wonder emotions are running so high, and so much righteous anger is in the air.
I think Dreher's suggestion that this increasingly is not just a philosophical difference but is taking on a religious aura might be more to the point.
Can Anything Good Come from a Big Mac?
On a lighter and more uplifting note, there's McDonalds. Apparently, it's the glue that holds [some] communities together. Three cheers for Big Macs.
The Best Thing to Do for Your Kids
Finally, some indirect Father's Day advice from Frederica Mathewes-Green: "The High and Holy Calling of Being a Wife." There wasn't much that she said that didn't apply to me as a husband. And what exactly does that have to do with Father's Day? Precisely this: as has been often said, the most important thing we do in raising our kids is showing them what a good marriage looks like.
Grace and peace,
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor, Christianity Today

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