Demonizing the Point of View of a Delicate Snowflake

Photo credit: ImageLink / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Rod Dreher, who fears gay equality at a visceral level, is very upset about a lesbian couple in Canada who demanded a refund on their purchase from a jeweler when they discovered that said jeweler was displaying anti-gay signage in their shop. The jewelers acquiesced, and it’s all just too much for Dreher. It’s the end of all things.

You understand, of course, that this is not about getting equal treatment. The lesbian couple received that. This is about demonizing a point of view, and driving those who hold it out of the public square. Just so we’re clear about that.

Yes, let’s be clear about that. Happily, part of free expression is that it is entirely okay to demonize a point of view. (Better to demonize a point of view than a person or a group of people, right?) For example, I think Rod Dreher’s point of view is backward, paranoid, exclusionary, and archaic. I’m happy to demonize his point of view, because I think it’s a very, very bad one.

He goes on (and on and on):

I bought some olive oil not long ago at a tiny grocery store owned by an Arab Muslim immigrant. If I find out that the merchant supports ISIS, am I entitled to declare my jug of olive oil tainted, and demand a refund?

Yes!

Is a fundamentalist Christian permitted to send her osso buco back to the kitchen if she discovers that homosexual hands cooked it? Of course not.

Oh but yes! Yes they are. That’s the free market. Consumers can reject the goods and services they’ve been provided. That doesn’t mean they always get their way, of course. The proprietors of these businesses are themselves free to say, “Get bent, you got what you paid for, now leave me alone,” and the matter can be settled however it needs to be between adults, between customer and business. Individual consumers are not public businesses, and can spend their money, and demand it back, as they like (again, “demand” doesn’t always mean “get”).  That means a group of individuals can also decide to use their economic power for political ends and refrain from patronizing a business run by those whose ideas they find abysmal. (Dreher calls this “the mob” because he doesn’t agree with them, but I’d bet Christians who do the same in any parallel circumstance would be exercising their religious freedom.) The businesses themselves are public, and have to play by public rules. You sell to everybody, or you stop selling.

And let’s be clear about this sign that offended these women. It wasn’t a refrigerator magnet in a corner somewhere with some flowery Christian message. It’s a big, honking sign that says in bold, charred letters, “THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE IS UNDER ATTACK” on a flame-orange background, right at eye-level for all to see, plain as day. It’s a declaration of hostility, an expression of overt enmity.

It’s not a mere “opinion” about musical tastes or tax policy, it’s a proud expression of bigotry. It is an idea that should be demonized.

Dreher’s title for his post is “Heads LGBTs Win, Tails Christians Lose,” implying that this is an unfair state of things, that the game is rigged (and that it should be 50-50?). But the “Christians” in his headline-scenario should lose! It’s not unfair, it’s just that Dreher-approved “Christians” (the ones afraid of gay people) are, in fact, losing. We win. Good.

As for Dreher, a man who’s so bizarrely terrified of gay people (if he were Russian he would consider voting for Putin for his “[defense] of traditional Christian moral standards”) it’s laughable that he refers to others as “delicate snowflakes.” I mean look at this from another post:

…the greatest threat to religious freedom in our present moment: the advance of gay rights. …  it is impossible to talk meaningfully about the politics of religious liberty without discussing the pink elephant in the room.

He’s just about the most precious, fragile, feathery little ice crystal adrift in the whole cosmic flurry. It can’t be long before he just melts away.

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