Let's outlaw conservative Christianity

16 February 2010

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ZJ: Over the past month, various members of right-wing Christian organizations have resurrected an idea straight out of the 1950s: They would like to once again make it a crime to be gay in America. Seriously.

It all started back in January, when Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association suggested during his radio show that there should be legal penalties for "homosexual behavior". Now, he could have just issued a retraction and acknowledged that it was a mistake to propose something so clearly ridiculous, but something inspired him to keep digging. He subsequently published a series of articles trying to justify making criminals out of gay people.

His rationale was as follows: Gay sex can be a vector for disease transmission. Illicit IV drug use can be a vector for disease transmission. IV drug use is illegal. Therefore, gay sex should be illegal. I am not making this up. I guess he thinks heroin would be perfectly legal if it wasn't for all those pesky transmissible diseases floating around.

In a later post, he listed various ongoing controversies that he claims could have been avoided if being gay was still illegal, such as same-sex marriage, don't-ask-don't-tell, employment discrimination, and hate crime laws. His solution? Let's just ban being gay—because all of these situations that have arisen from the refusal to recognize the rights of gay people would cease to be an issue if gay people just didn't have any rights. Brilliant, isn't it? I'd love to hear his thoughts on ending racism.

Meanwhile, Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council went on MSNBC to say, quote, "I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior." Why? Well, he didn't bother going into detail.

Fortunately, Gary Glenn of the Michigan AFA provided an explanation. In an email to the Michigan Messenger, he implied that gay people are, quote, "a proven threat to public health and safety". He later expounded on this in a series of letters, where he essentially blamed gay people for being depressed and getting cancer. What does he propose should be done about all this? Maybe an increased focus on healthcare services for the LGBT population, as numerous studies recommend? Well, no. He would rather just outlaw being gay—you know, to keep people from being depressed and getting cancer.

This whole little trend breaking out among the Christian right has been incredibly revealing. You can tell that they're just going for broke here, taking a position that's so unfathomably stupid and totalitarian, because at this point, their entire ideology is in a terminal decline and they've really got nothing to lose.

Yet all of these recent theocratic eruptions actually gave me an idea. You see, while I was contemplating their total disrespect for the very concept of human rights with no regard for the consequences, I realized something: We just need to outlaw conservative Christianity. I've given it some thought, and I really believe it could help. Imagine how many things would be so much better if the practice of conservative Christianity was against the law.

From a public health perspective, the benefits would be substantial. The most religiously devout states also have the highest rates of teen pregnancy. Ironically, conservative Christians are the strongest advocates of abstinence-only sexual education, which clearly isn't very educational. So-called abstinence "education" doesn't make teenagers any less likely to have sex, but when they do, they don't know how to avoid pregnancy and STDs.

To make matters worse, conservative Christians are at the forefront of the opposition to the construction and funding of Planned Parenthood facilities, which provide birth control and barrier protection to help prevent pregnancy and STDs. Think of all the infections and unwanted pregnancies that could have been be avoided if it weren't for conservative Christianity. And compared to less religious nations, the United States experiences higher rates of abortion, syphilis, gonorrhea, homicide, and juvenile mortality.

And in terms of mental health, the elimination of conservative Christianity would offer a significant improvement. The very purpose of conservative Christianity is to cultivate and reinforce delusional thinking. It openly encourages the belief that we're all surrounded by invisible spirits that are watching us at every moment, and if you even think about the wrong thing, you risk being tortured forever. Of course, you'll be totally safe if you just believe that a man was nailed to a cross and killed 2,000 years ago because you had the audacity to not be born perfect.

Conservative Christians really believe that, and they actively seek to recruit people into sharing their delusions—even children. And when these children grow up, they'll pass on these malignant fantasies to the next generation, spreading the diseased values of a destructive lifestyle: Fear of eternal punishment, guilt for the imaginary transgressions committed in your own mind, shame for simply being human, and hatred for anyone who's different. Does that sound mentally healthy to you?

Think of how many problems could be avoided in our society if this insane religion was finally banned. In the US military, evangelical Christians are responsible for widespread proselytizing, excluding anyone who doesn't share their beliefs, and giving the impression that we're fighting a religious war in the Middle East. But if conservative Christianity was against the law, this wouldn't be an issue. Why should illegal religions be allowed in the military?

And what about those Christians pushing their religion on people in the workplace, demanding special accommodations and harassing lesbians for getting married? If conservative Christianity was a crime, we wouldn't have this problem anymore.

How about Christianity in our schools? Christians have infiltrated public schools, often preaching their religion to children, and Christian groups have been allowed to distribute religious materials to students. In private schools, it's even worse. Some of them are entirely in the grip of Christianity, and their students are inculcated with the delusions, misinformation, and dangerous moral teachings inherent to the religion. There are even colleges and universities controlled by Christianity, with some of them teaching students that the earth is only 10,000 years old. But if conservative Christianity was illegal, all of this could be stopped—there's no place for criminal activity in schools.

And what about those conservative Christian legal groups named after torturers like Thomas More that keep filing frivolous lawsuits because hate crime laws won't let them assault gay people? They won't be complaining anymore once conservative Christianity really is a crime!

And, of course, there's the issue of gay marriage. Conservative Christians like to pretend they have a monopoly on marriage, claiming that only they have the right to decide what marriage is. They then proceed to force their definition of marriage down our throats by campaigning against gay marriage. In fact, the level of a state's opposition to gay marriage is strongly associated with the population of evangelical Christians. But if their religion was against the law, gay marriage could easily be legalized.

These are only a few examples, but there are so many more problems that could be solved if we just got rid of conservative Christianity. And I'm sure some people will say this would violate the basic human rights that are protected by law—"Constitution" this, "civil liberties" that. But you know as well as I do, conservative Christians don't care about all that stuff anyway. So why should we? See how easy it is when you don't have to respect people's fundamental freedoms?

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