One of the least compelling, most unsympathetic arguments a Christian in the United States can make is that Christianity, and by extension Christians, are under attack and marginalized by the forces of secularism. That the Church is in any way not the dominant cultural force of this country.
This comes up in response to this comment, from one Todd Starnes, on a radio show:
“You know, it’s as if we’re second-class citizens now because we support the traditional, Biblical definition of marriage, or perhaps we are pro-life, and that means we’re somehow second-class citizens who don’t deserve to be in the public marketplace of ideas.”
The show’s host then responded:
“Absolutely. In fact, it’ll be worse than that. You know there’s going to be punishment. There will be tremendous punishment. If gay marriage is embraced by the country, if the Supreme Court goes south this week in its hearings, we are in for – of course, we’re not going to hear about it until June – but we are in for persecution like we have never seen it.“
This isn’t a post about marriage equality. It’s a post about the inherent martyr-complex of an ever weakening wing of the Christian Church. It must be, because how else can a thinking Christian look at a country that is 75%+ Christian, with a church on every corner and a prayer circle on every capitol, and say: Christians are second-class citizens?
The notion that Christians are second-class citizens, that the government recognizing gay marriages creates a marketplace devoid of the ideas of the Christian Church, that our civic government will have created “tremendous punishment” for Christians, is laughable. Literally. Christianity is absolutely and undeniably everywhere in this country. The make-up of American electorate is, overwhelmingly, Christian. Sure, that’s trending down, slightly. But don’t kid yourself. You run this country, Christians.
The influence of the Christian Church in all its manifestations is hardly separable from any public institution. You are everywhere. A Supreme Court ruling on DOMA will not cast you out of society. This is just as laughable as the War on Christmas garbage we get every year. Have you ever been in the US during Christmas? Jesus is practically everywhere. Which is fine with me. It’s Christmas, I get it. But saying Holidays doesn’t persecute Christians. It means some people prefer “holidays” to “Christmas.” Extending civic marriages to gays and lesbians doesn’t persecute Christians. It means our not-Christian government (which we have) has extended the right of marriage and its associated privileges to gays and lesbians.
Anyway. The history and future of the US is predicated upon Christianity in such a way that I struggle to see how our cultural landscape could possibly force the Church out of the driving force of American life into second-class citizenship.
Christianity is not under attack by a bunch of heathen sinners who want marriage equality. We are not seeking to punish Christians by expelling you from the marketplace of ideas. If anything, Christianity is under attack from folks like yourself, driving the Church into dark and weary corners–comfortable in the shadows of fear and exclusion–where fewer and fewer Americans want to join you.
Get over your martyr complex, Mr. Starnes. No one is punishing you. Our civic law need not reflect your religious values.