OK

I know. Not another diary on this. But the "Diary Me" command was strong here. I went to the Atlantic website to read what Ta-Nehisi Coates was saying, but on the front page, I found this article being flogged on the front page of the website: "The Genuine Conflict Being Ignored in the Duck Dynasty Debate". Genuine Conflict! What could that be?

It's us. All this stuff about speech has obscured the fact that Duck Dynasty guy revealed the REAL conflict in American life: the tension between sexual tolerance and religious tolerance. An evangelical Christian writer, Larry Alex Taunton, writes what's almost a manifesto for white victimhood which will manifest itself in the battle to come between the God-fearing Christians and the evil gay activists who are trying to marginalize them. White Christian victims. In the Atlantic.

Let's investigate. For those of you who are getting ready to scream "religion-bashing," this is not about religion; it's about how bigotry hides behind religion and uses it as a club.

Okay. Who is Larry Alex Taunton? No entry at rightwingwatch.com. The bio at the Atlantic says he's

the executive director of the Fixed Point Foundation and author of The Grace Effect: How the Power of One Life Can Reverse the Corruption of Unbelief.
Here's the key paragraph from the Foundation's mission statement:
hat we have gradually lost sight of our Christian heritage is obvious even to the casual observer. In recent decades, however, we have witnessed aggressive efforts to demolish it systematically. Complicating matters is the fact that many Christians have imbibed any number of erroneous assumptions concerning their own faith, such as: Christianity lacks intellectual credibility; the Bible contradicts science; sincerity matters more than truth; Christian ethics cannot cope with the complexities of modern life; Jesus Christ is a way rather than the way; “diversity” is a value and “tolerance” means anything goes; and the list goes on.
 
So now we can identify Taunton as a culture warrior, and that's how  he presents himself in this article.

He starts by saying nobody could be surprised by what Robertson said if they understood the beliefs of orthodox Christianity. No, this isn't about the Eastern Orthodox churches, this is a rebranding of "fundamentalism". You see, Robertson was just using the show to do some proselytizing:

Pro-God and guns, the Robertsons make no bones about what they believe. They are unashamedly Christian, are seen attending church in several episodes, and have openly indicated that they see the show as a vehicle for promoting the God they worship. “My mission today is to go forth and tell people why I follow Christ,” said family patriarch, Phil Robertson, in a statement to Fox411.
And then, the orthodox left (Taunton loves the word) said "This shall not pass." MISGUIDED, because Robertson wasn't even representing A&E when he made his remarks. Someone should probably explain employer-employee relations to Mr. Taunton.

Anyhow, he goes on and on about how A&E MISUNDERSTOOD the remarks, and then he makes a conjecture:

Or maybe they want to avoid an uncomfortable truth: that Robertson wasn’t expressing “his personal views,” but principles that are intrinsic to his religion.  You see, Robertson didn’t simply attack and disparage the sexual preferences of a minority, as Alec Baldwin recently did in a hateful rant. No, Robertson’s opinion—couched as it was in scriptural references that suggest he not only owns a Bible, but also reads it—reflects the teaching and practice of historic Christianity and, by extension, the opinion of a sizable portion of the American public. Indeed, according to a June 2013 Pew Research Center survey, roughly half (45 percent) of Americans polled said they believe homosexual actions are a “sin.”
There we are. Sin. The "ick" factor. If you follow the link for the Pew survey, he's cherrypicking; it's actually a link to The Fix at WaPo, and the column goes on to observe that
A large majority in a March 2013 Post-ABC poll said being gay is just the way people are (62 percent), rather than something they choose to be (24 percent).
. Taunton isn't confused by pesky facts, though, and he goes on. GLAAD is misguided, Pope Francis opposes marriage equality and so did Obama until the gay activists got to him. It's really throwing a lot of stuff at the wall to see what sticks. Because, as I observed above, there is a REAL conflict here:
Missing in the controversy over A&E’s handling of its golden goose—or duck, rather—is the fact that the real conflict here is not between Robertson and A&E; it is between gay activists and a solid majority of Christians who believe homosexual acts are wrong. As indicated above, Robertson’s views are hardly anomalous. Christians may disagree on the details, but the Bible strongly condemns homosexuality in both the Old and New Testaments; the marriage model of one man and one woman is first given by God in Genesis 2 and reiterated by Jesus in Matthew 19; and in Romans 1 the Apostle Paul denounces homosexuality as a hallmark of a degenerate culture. The point here isn’t that you have to believe any of this, but many Christians do believe it and feel morally bound to believe it.
And that would be fine if we lived in a theocracy, but we don't. Never mind that, Taunton forges on.

We're being DISINGENUOUS, he says:

And it matters that it's disingenuous, because if they [the gay activists] actually acknowledged that there is a genuine conflict between orthodox Christianity and homosexual sex (along with several forms of heterosexual sex) they would have to confront head-on the fact that calling for a boycott or pressuring for Robertson's suspension tells orthodox Christians that their religion is no longer acceptable, and that’s not a very politically correct thing to do.
Really. Not politically correct to call a bigot a bigot. This reminds me of the National Organization for Marriage making a concerted effort not to be bigoted in the run up to the 2012 elections. From a Q&A section at the NOM website in April, 2012, and my interpretation of it:
A: “Do you really believe people like me who believe mothers and fathers both matter to kids are like bigots and racists? I think that’s pretty offensive, don’t you? Particularly to the 60 percent of African-Americans who oppose same-sex marriage. Marriage as the union of husband and wife isn’t new; it’s not taking away anyone’s rights. It’s common sense.”
Yes, you are bigots, and there’s the wedge issue that NOM was so embarrassed to have people learn about.  In a secret strategic memo for the 2010 elections and beyond, NOM laid out a plan “to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies,” specifically “to provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing [African-American] spokesmen and women [for marriage] as bigots.”
But I digress.

And now Taunton talks about tolerance. After he cites Rick Warren (!) on tolerance and bigotry, he makes the victimhood statement. This isn't a campaign for tolerance any more, its a campaign to get the 45% of Americans to recant (Recant. The language of the Inquisition! Clever) their firmly held beliefs by endorsing a lifestyle they oppose. We know we're in bigot-land where our sexual orientation is reduced to a "lifestyle." Honestly, I really thought we were going to see the end of this during my lifetime. I'm not sure any more.

So the net:

We stand at a crossroads. The country must decide. Is the endgame here to be that orthodox Christians will henceforth have no voice within their own culture? If so, does this mean we have become a nation of bullies, forcing conformity while calling it tolerance?
Bullies. How ironic. One step beyond the Chief Justice and his concept of gay power during the hearing on United States v Windsor (2013). I'm beginning to wonder if this is a campaign by the religious right to make the concept of bullying lose its power.

Apparently the culture wars aren't over yet. This feels like the opening shot in the next round.

Originally posted to Dave in Northridge on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 08:17 AM PST.

Also republished by Angry Gays and LGBT Kos Community.

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