Thursday, May 28, 2015
Rubio's hate speech
'Tis the season for differentiation in the Republican party, where there are more candidates than there are slots on the scorecards. It's going to be tough sledding this time around. Where exactly does Huckabee differ from Santorum, who threw his hat in yesterday, the same day Rand Paul showed everyone else how to do it on Morning Joe (and upstaged Santorum in the process). Paul blamed his own party for ISIS and the mess in the Middle East. It's a royal gamble, and it may well cost him his candidacy. But, like his father, he's a true believer, and he knows he has to make himself different. He's got to grab headlines. He did.
Marco Rubio's most recent attempt came in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network where he said that gay-marriage people could make life difficult for Christians: "If you think about it, we are at the water's edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech." Why? "Because today we've reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage, you are labeled a homophobe and a hater."
The fact is, those most determined not to support gay marriage spit out what most everyone considers hate speech already and have for years. Take that nut case Baptist church from Kansas who show up at military funerals. Nobody outlaws them, no one threatens them with jail; but the vast majority of the American voters believe fervently that we'd all be better off if they didn't hang out their "God HATES FAGS" signs.
Still, wherever folks believe the antichrist is pushing the gay marriage debate, they'll also believe we're a decade away from imprisonment for saying what just about everybody believed for thousands of years of human history, opinions they believe everyone knows to be "Christian." "Remember," they'll say,"not that long ago even that Muslim Obama was against it."
Some of us itch for martyrdom. We'd sort of like Muslims to shoehorn sharia law into the nation's court systems because we think we should be suffering for Jesus. If it's not sharia law, what better issue than gay marriage to prove we're persecuted?
What Ireland did last week is proof something's gone horribly haywire, they'd say. After all, it's hard to imagine a country more Roman Catholic than Ireland. Over there, they go to war for the church, right? But Ireland--of all places--becomes the first nation in the world to allow gay marriage by way of a national referendum? And in a landslide? Sixty-two percent? Can there be any doubt we're in end times?
A headline in yesterday's New York Times says it all: "On Same-Sex Marriage, Catholics are Leading the Way." Seriously? "Take a look at this list of countries: Belgium, Canada, Spain, Argentina, Portugal, Brazil, France, Uruguay, Luxembourg and Ireland," Frank Bruni says in an opinion piece. "In all of them, the Roman Catholic Church has more adherents, at least nominally, than any other religious denomination does. And all of them belong to the vanguard of 20 nations that have decided to make same-sex marriage legal."
What's a real Christian to do?
The only way to understand that is woe and woe and woe. The only way to see the future is the apocalypse, the republic turning viciously on its own Christian history. And it's all the fault of the gays. It won't be long, saith Marco Rubio, a smart guy and tea party friend, and professing Jesus's name will be "hate speech." Won't be long and we'll all be Westboro Baptists.
You want to avoid it, vote for me--for Marco Rubio.
That's the rhetoric. That's the vein Rubio is tapping. That's the definition of Christian he's working with.
There are more and broader definitions, but he's not going to get votes from liberals so he's baiting the Christian Broadcasting Network, who's loving every minute of it. You know--ratings.
Tragedy unites and politics divide. It's that simple. We're hip-deep in Presidential sweepstakes already, a political season with no parallels, especially this year when the Republican primary has so many contenders they don't fit on a screen. Somehow each of them has to make a headline and it ain't easy. It's divide-and-conquer time.
I think it's good medicine to remember what Marilyn Robinson says. If Gilead, her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about a deeply God-fearing preacher in an Iowa small-town, has been published in Persian, in Iran, a culture still largely controlled by the mullahs and largely inhospitable to Christianity, and Gilead has, isn't how we Christians are perceived at least partially determined by how it is we say what we believe?
How we live, how we act, how we speak, how we love?
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 6:50 AM