lead article in the July/August issue of The Atlantic to give advice to religious conservatives. The Yale educated Rauch, who is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, is more moderate than many LGBT activists, but he still resorts to mistruths and falsehoods when describing the conflict between practicing Christians and gay values. His advise also misses the whole point as to why Christians act the way they do.
The short version of his essay is as follows:
Believers don't like the direction of the culture so they are withdrawing.
Believers don't want to do business with gays.
Believers fear defending their traditional views on marriage will result in condemnation as no better than racists.
Believers are upset the government did not embrace a collaboration with faith-based groups when Bush was president.
Believers are out of tune with mainstream America, especially the young.
He advises religious people not to disengage, but to accept gay people for who they are.
Mr. Rauch is critical of religious people "slamming the door of commercial enterprise on people you don't approve of." He is not being truthful here. The small business people who have been taken to court by LGBT activists did not slam the door of business on LGBT clients. There was no signage keeping them out of their stores and no one was chased out. The issue they were charged with was declining to provide services for a gay marriage ceremony they do not support. That is not slamming the door. That is exercising a first amendment religious right to decline to support a program they did not believe in. Rauch says he doesn't know of any Catholic bakers who turned away divorced customers, but he misses the point again. It would be reasonable for a strictly religious Catholic baker to decline to make a wedding cake for a Catholic marrying a second or third time. Other than that the baker would have no problem with a divorced person buying baked goods at his shop.
If the tables were turned, I think Rauch would concede that standing up for one's beliefs in a business environment is the right thing to do. For example, let's say that Rauch opens up a photography business. Let's also say that the Westboro Bapitist Church, notoriously known for it's hateful position toward homosexuals, asked Rauch to take pictures for a wedding at their church. Rauch would be well within his rights to decline taking on this job and I would support him.
Rauch's analysis that Christians are upset that "a grand new partnership between our elected religious leaders" under Bush did not pan out shows how little he understands what most Christians find important. Yes, Christian organizations often do a better job addressing social problems like hunger and poverty, but that does not mean that Christians were thinking an increased involvement with government was a needed thing. Christians have been addressing social problems for centuries without the need for any government involvement. I bet most Christians don't even know there was a faith-based collaboration program when Bush was president. Trust me, not really a big concern.
Most curious is Rauch's claim that religious people are out of tune with mainstream America so they should adopt and fit in. Would Rauch hold the same belief in a Muslim society where the mainstream is intensely anti-homosexual? Would he advise people to adopt and fit in? Of course not. Bending one's values to accommodate the latest evolving unproven trends in culture is not a good plan.
It is the current culture that embraces, accepts, and promotes abortion, unwed mothers, pornography, promiscuity, and no fault divorce. The LGBT community in the name of tolerance and diversity may be totally okay with this. However, that is not the formula for a sustainable, successful culture and it is not one that religious people want to pass on to their children.
Rauch faults religious people for discriminating. He says, "This much I can guarantee: the First Church of Discrimination will find few adherent in 21st-century America."
I say that to accept all behaviors as positive and beneficial is a worse decision. Accepting all behavior as equally good is a terrible value system. Discrimination to protect childhood, strengthen intact families, avoid promiscuity and combat pornography is a good thing. If that is what is involved in the First Church of Discrimination, when and where does it meet and how can I join?
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