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Of all the right-wing victim complex Christian conservative crybabies, Todd Starnes is the worst. When SCOTUS struck down DOMA last June, he tweeted:

"Supreme Court overrules God."

"Won't be long before they outlaw the Bible as hate speech."

When Phil Robertson was suspended from A&E for homophobic and racist comments, he tweeted:
"It was only a matter of time before intolerant, anti-Christian haters targeted Duck Dynasty."

"Intolerant, Anti-Straight groups are targeting Duck Dynasty[.]"

When the Grammys featured gay (and straight) weddings, he tweeted:
"This was not about marriage. This was about bashing God and the church."

"Sick."

"The Grammys mock God, marginalize the Bible. #hate #intolerance"

He has been exposed as a liar when it comes to Christian "persecution". He has alleged a "Christian cleansing of the United States military" under Obama, has alleged that "young daughters were told that it was perfectly normal for 14-year-old girls to have sex", has alleged that the Pentagon blocked access to the Southern Baptist website due to "religious hostility", and has alleged that a Texas high school track team was disqualified for "thanking the Lord for winning the race." As Media Matters explains, they are all false.

But unfortunately, he doesn't seem to be drifting into irrelevancy. He has a new book out, "God Less America", that seems to do little else than push the Christian "persecution" story by portraying Christians that want to break the law as victims and LGBT people who want equal rights as aggressors. NewsBusters is plugging it.

At NewsBusters, Kristine Marsh writes:

Americans overwhelming identify themselves as Christian – 75 percent call themselves “Christian” or “Catholic.” Yet every year the government, law enforcement, the court system, and educators across the country dismiss citizen’s religious rights and punish them for living to their values. Fox News columnist Todd Starnes tells dozens of these true stories in his new book, “God Less America” to be released May 6.

[...]

From Tim Tebow to Sarah Palin to military personnel to students, teachers, and business owners, believers are being stigmatized and bullied over their faith.

Here's hypocrisy #1. That's NewsBusters' attitude to alleged anti-religious bullying. An April 22, 2009 post by Colleen Raezler reveals their sharply different attitude to anti-LGBT bullying. The emphasis is mine:
April 17 marked the 13th annual "Day of Silence," a gay rights protest event sponsored by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) that takes place in schools across the nation. Of course, gay groups can afford to be silent for a day, because they have the mainstream news media to speak for them.

"Day of Silence" is, according to the event's Web site, "a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools ...the event is designed to illustrate the silencing effect of this bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT."

Predictably, the media covered this year's event in a positive manner, leaving little room for discussions of it as an indoctrination tool pushed on students by gay activists. And they certainly didn't report that the LGBT community and its allies don't have a problem with "name calling, bullying and harassment" when it's directed against people who disagree with them.

People who disagree with them over what, Colleen? Considering the topic is anti-LGBT bullying, it's reasonable to infer that the people you are defending are the people who oppose efforts to protect LGBT students from bullying.

Starnes and NewsBusters then complain about the alleged "anti-Christian media":

In a recent interview, Starnes told the MRC’s Culture and Media Institute, “That is really disturbing for me. There isn’t a Christian influence or even family-friendly influence coming out of Hollywood anymore.” He cited the increasingly anti-Christian Saturday Night Live, which in a single recent episode mocked pro-lifers and the Bible. Another example is ABC’s mercifully cancelled “GCB” (“Good Christian Bitches”). The name says it all.
The name does say it all. It's called freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Whether the title offends you or not, it's not a sign of persecution. The media is privately owned. Whether you like the title or not, the government had nothing to do with it. There's no persecution. As liberals, we don't complain that we're persecuted because Fox News is allowed to exist.

Marsh continues:

“God Less” is rife with examples of Christians forced to stand by while gays and other liberals relentlessly push their agenda. The litany is becoming familiar: bakery owners from Colorado and Oregon that refused to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples; a Christian t-shirt company that would not print shirts for a gay pride rally; a New Mexico wedding photographer that would not give her services to a lesbian wedding;  college students across the country who were bullied by their professors to wear “gay pride” apparel or write essays that contradicted their Christian beliefs; and teachers who were punished for signing pro-traditional marriage pledges, not attending pro-gay plays or posting their beliefs on their personal Facebook pages.
I'm going to defend Christians here. NewsBusters is actually doing a disservice to them. Marsh makes it appear that all Christians want to discriminate against gay people. That's not the case. Freedom To Marry reports:
A New York Times/CBS News poll conducted February 23-27, 2013 shows 62% of American Catholics are in favor of legalizing marriage for same-sex couples.
Now let's address the examples of "Christians forced to stand by while gays and other liberals relentlessly push their agenda." A handful of Christians decided it was okay to enter the business of public accommodations without adhering to laws applicable to public accommodations. When the courts said that it's not okay, they threw tantrums. And while conservatives may complain that business owners have to fulfill the responsibilities they agreed to when they started their business regardless of their beliefs, at least one conservative group wasn't too happy when a pro-marriage equality business owner refused service on the basis of his beliefs.

Also, anti-discrimination laws protect Christians from being discriminated against as well. They protect everyone, not just LGBT people. It's just that LGBT people are the most vulnerable to discrimination, and Christians aren't very vulnerable at all.

Now let's move on to the claims about conservative students and teachers. First of all, considering Starnes' history of lying, I'm skeptical that it's as simple as NewsBusters and Starnes said it was. Secondly, it is not said that these individuals were punished by the government. If regulation of the exercise of their beliefs was done by a private organization, then it cannot be called government persecution, for the same reason that MSNBC taking action against Ed Schultz or Martin Bashir for offensive comments cannot be called government persecution.

Later on, Marsh writes:

On the other hand, the anti-faith atmosphere can have deadly serious consequences. In “Godless,” Starnes relates the story of American pastor, Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned since Jan. 2013 in Iran, where he had journeyed repeatedly to build orphanages. Abedini was formally convicted and charged to eight years in prison for preaching the gospel. The media has been largely mum on this story – a Nexis search of the broadcast networks revealed just two passing mentions of Pastor Saeed, both from ABC News.
First of all, Iran is obviously very, very wrong to do what they did. But I can't see how persecution of Christians in Iran = persecution of Christians in America.

Secondly, I have noticed how NewsBusters has reacted to anti-religious attitudes. They say that they "can have deadly serious consequences." And here's hypocrisy #2. A February 23, 2014 post that reports on an MSNBC.com article titled "Can Homophobia Kill You" reveals that they have quite a different reaction to anti-LGBT attitudes:

MSNBC.com continues to show that it is more of a liberal blog designed to peddle extreme talking points than an actual news website. Take for example their newest article with the headline that screams “Can Homophobia Kill You.”

Author Emma Margolin began her February 23 piece by huffing that “it comes as no surprise that anti-gay prejudice carries with it a wide range of damaging effects, but could one of them be death?” Margolis’ ridiculous and inflammatory statement came in response to two studies, one published in the journal Social Science and Medicine which claimed that “sexual minorities living in high-prejudice communities faced shorter life expectancies by approximately 12 years.”

Can homophobia kill? Matthew Shepard, Gary Matson, Winfield Mowder, Larry King, Samantha Johnson, Justin Aaberg, Aaron Jurek, Nick Lockwood, Kevin Buckman, July Barrick, Cole Wilson, Tyler Clementi and Mark Carson know the answer to that much better than NewsBusters does, or than you and I do. Unfortunately, they can't tell us the answer. They're dead. And that's only 13. There are thousands more.

According to NewsBusters, negative beliefs about religion "can have deadly serious consequences." But concern that attitudes about LGBT people may be having similar consequences is "ridiculous and inflammatory."

The explanation for the hypocrisy is obvious: They like homophobia, but don't like anti-religion. There is no better explanation for the Right's perception of Christians as victims and LGBT people as aggressors than that.

Originally posted to leftprogressive on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 02:52 AM PDT.

Also republished by LGBT Rights are Human Rights.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A couple of points: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Marti

    First, it is ironic that this guy complains about the campaign against Duck Dynasty (since Mr. Robertson has, at least jokingly, urged men to marry 15 y/o girls) and then complain that: "Parents are especially furious after their young daughters were told that it was perfectly normal for 14-year-old girls to have sex and there was nothing their parents could do to intervene."

       And second, I'm unable to see the difference in principle between the case  of the photographers who refused to photograph a same sex wedding and the hairdresser denying service to the Governor because she disagreed with her position re same sex marriage.
       Actually, I think that the photographers' case is stronger because they declined to participate in an activity to which they morally objected. Doing someone's hair is a value neutral activity while wedding photography arguably is not.
       

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