Slessarev-Jamir on the Rhetorical Artifice of Religious Conservatives on the Gay Marriage Question

Helene Slessarev-Jamir (Claremont Lincoln University School of Theology) has posted Religious Conservatives’ Success in Constructing Gay Marriage as a Threat to Religious Liberties.  Rather than posting the abstract, which you can see simply by clicking on the link, it may be more helpful to post some selections from this short but intensely felt paper.  Those selections follow.

In this country, an exclusivist, patriarchal construction of religion has positioned itself as the principal crusader against the legalization of gay marriage by essentially claiming the gays and lesbians are not created in God’s image. Yet, the role of religion in the on-going debate is complexified by the gradual emergence of alternate, inclusive religious voices that publicly support gay marriage . . . .

Conservative religious strategists have won their campaigns against marriage equality by raising the specter of possible infringements against the religious liberties of those families, individuals, and institutions that oppose gay marriage were state governments to grant legal status to gay marriage. In the US, the defense of heterosexual couples’ religious liberties has become the principal trope in the campaigns against the right to same sex marriage, thereby legitimating the defense of traditional marriage by claiming that it is the embodiment of an ideal that many Americans perceive as sacrosanct. Thus, a vote to maintain discriminatory laws against same sex couples by denying them the right to marry is effectively recast as a patriotic defense of American liberty and freedom of belief, both of which are regarded as sacred values rooted in this nation’s founding principles . . . .

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Weddle & New on Religious Conservative Opposition to Anti-Bullying Legislation

Daniel B. Weddle (University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law) and Kathryn E. New (recent graduate of University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law) have posted What Did Jesus Do?: Answering Religious Conservatives Who Oppose Bullying Prevention Legislation. The abstract follows.—YAH

Conservative Christian organizations assert that anti-bullying programs are a stealth effort by gay activists to introduce into American schools an aggressive lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) agenda. They contend that legislation and bullying prevention programs that mention gays are an attempt to indoctrinate children to embrace homosexual lifestyles; tolerate homosexual behavior; and celebrate homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgender identity. These voices are having an impact on state legislatures and the damage is immense. Educational research has made clear the devastating effects of bullying upon children, and LGBT students are among the most often targeted and least protected students. Given that schools are already failing to address bullying effectively, efforts to thwart protection of any group of students — especially one that is routinely targeted — is unconscionable. Yet these devoted Christians zealously interfere with protection of LGBT students from abuse by their peers and believe wholeheartedly that they are doing children and Christ a great service. We believe they fundamentally misunderstand three things: the dynamics of bullying, the law pertaining to student-on-student abuse, and the example and teachings of Christ. This Article addresses these misunderstandings. We propose a response to the distortions that are used to promote what is an anti-gay agenda that represents neither the teachings of the Bible nor the position of most Christians and evangelicals, whom these organizations purport to represent. Our hope is that, once the distortions are debunked, thinking Christians will reject the misguided efforts of a relatively few but influential individuals and organizations. If new voices can confront the misleading claims of anti-gay zealots with informed educational, legal, and Biblical responses, perhaps the distortions will be seen for what they are by Christians and non-Christians alike.

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