David Gushee on Reactionary Christianity

In this reflection on North Carolina’s terrible and reactionary law HB 2 — a law that denies transgender people access to public restrooms and even prevents localities from protecting against LGBT discrimination — David Gushee makes a thoughtful comparison between North Carolina and Georgia. Georgia’s personally conservative governor, Nathan Deal, vetoed a similar bill. Gov. Deal made the argument against such a measure not just because it was not in Georgia’s best interest, but on religious, Christian grounds. It reflects a deeper fight in Christianity, even within conservative circles, about the changing culture and our separate readings of the Bible.

Clearly, this last ditch effort of reactionary Christians will not last. Christians will look back on this time much as we look back on those who used biblical arguments to justify segregation and the oppression of women (some still do, of course, but the conversation has moved beyond them even in slow-moving Christianity). Still, though the far greater message of Love has already won, immeasurable harm can be done.

As Gushee writes:

However all the legislation and litigation comes out, Christianity as embodied in these reactionary pieces of legislation increasingly looks small, cramped, and mean.

Fifty years of being the most reactionary force in American society has done considerable harm to (conservative) Christian credibility — and very real harm to its victims, which include those LGBT teenagers who have the misfortune of growing up in states where the grownups still write laws that hurt them.

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