The memorial service for the late Chuck Colson was held today. May God have mercy on his soul. Of those contending to replace him as the leading voice of “Christian” victimism, and as the architect of anti-gay propaganda at Prison Fellowship Ministries, John Stonestreet is probably the most sophisticated.
One of the favorite techniques of Colson and his acolytes is to stand reality on its head by casting themselves, although they are the ones working to deny religious freedom and civil rights to others, as the oppressed and persecuted. Hence Stonestreet, in a recent column, claims for himself and his audience the role of Esther. You all know the story, right? Haman, the Jew-hating dictator, is a prime minister whose king has unwittingly taken the Hebrew Esther as his wife. When Haman is angered by Mordecai and is about to respond in a genocidal rage, Esther outs herself to save her people.
Stonestreet equates the situation of the Hebrews, in exile under the rule of Haman, to the circumstances of “Christians” today when they are restrained in any way by the civil rights of others. My husband gently pointed out to him the irony of his words: That the behavior Stonestreet is encouraging is very much like Haman’s inclination to dehumanize the Hebrews and see them as something other than just people, perhaps objectifying them as the “lobbyists” or “homosexual activists” of their day.
Stonestreet didn’t seem to understand. “Hamaan wasn’t grumpy at the Jews because of their propaganda or lobbying,” he responded. “They were exiles. He just didn’t like them.”
Not exactly (and one would expect a Prison Fellowship Ministries “Centurion” to know his bible a little better than this). Haman was “grumpy at the Jews” (!) because Mordecai refused to bow down. Had Mordecai accepted Haman’s authority by denying his own religious identity, Esther never would have outed herself, and no one would have been the wiser. Haman didn’t object to Jews, really – only those Jews who insisted on following that commandment “Thou shalt worship no other gods before Me.” The other Jews, the nice ones who didn’t assert their Jewishness, he had no problem with. Don’t ask, don’t tell.
Understand that what our Mr. Marshall and the so-called Virginia “Family” Foundation have just said about their attack on Tracy Thorne-Begland is exactly the same thing:
Marshall, the Family Foundation of Virginia and others who raised concerns about Thorne-Begland’s nomination said they did not object to him because he is gay, but because of his outspokenness on the subject of gay rights.
“It’s not that he’s gay, but that he is not closeted or ashamed that troubles these people,” says Sullivan. Exactly. Stonestreet has no problem with ashamed and closeted gay people (who he refers to as “people who struggle with same-sex attraction”) either, only with those gay people who see no reason to “struggle” with who they are, who refuse to bow down.
The cowardly act by Marshall and his fellow bronze age culture warriors has not gone over well. It seems that a lot of people in the conservative/Republican camp got the memo, and are starting to really understand that, as Dick Cheney said, freedom means freedom for everyone.
Most on one of the local conservative blogs see right through the excuses, which is encouraging. There are only a very few anemic voices trying to make excuses for Mr. Marshall. And at least one commenter understands the meaning of this precisely:
I take Bob Marshall at his word when he says he did not torpedo the nomination of an extremely well qualified judicial candidate simply because he was gay. That is ridiculous! Marshall blocked the guy because he wasn’t ashamed of being gay and in the closet.
And remember: Anyone who fails to bow down to these s0-called Christians is guilty of persecuting them.