Writing in “The Week,” Damon Linker tells the story of the shunning on a very accomplished young man because he *shudder* supports traditional marriage. Hardly the first story of its kind (“shunning” is what everyone from photographers to pizza shops have suffered) but Linker points out this is a bit different:
It’s important to be clear about what’s at stake here. This isn’t about politics or the law. Unlike the recent RFRA disputes in Indiana and Arkansas, it has nothing to do with religious freedom or state power. Anderson has no right to be celebrated on the website of his alma mater. The Friends School of Baltimore can likewise link to or remove a link to anyone it wants for whatever reason.
The controversy is nonetheless important because of what it tells us about the cultural endgame of the gay-rights movement. The reaction of those who raised objections to the link as well as the decision of the head of school to remove the link and offer an abject apology for posting it — both of these are depressing signs that liberal public opinion is evolving in the direction of theological certainties and illiberal forms of intolerance. These so-called liberals want Anderson to be shunned. Expelled from the community. Excommunicated from civilized life. Ostracized from the ranks of the decent.
Linker, a proponent of same-sex marriage, then goes on to argue quite convincingly about why this sort of thing must be stopped. Read the piece for yourself. I cannot improve on his argument. But I do think this story speaks to the cultural superiority of Christianity.
Linker has nicely summed up what the end game seems to be here. It is pretty ugly. It is not unlike something from “Game of Thrones.” We watch that TV show, and we marvel at the barbarity and cruelty. And yet here it is, happening amongst us. It is one thing to watch it on TV, it is another thing to live in its midst. Which is why Christianity has prevailed as a cultural force for the centuries that it has. Christianity, despite its desire to dominate a culture, is very careful about how it does so and contains provisions against just such retributive and cruel behavior.
From the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:18 – “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.“) to the New (I Corinthians 13:4-7 – “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.“) Christians are admonished against this kind of behavior.
Christians have not always heeded these admonishments, nor have they avoided the kind of cruelty they attempt to restrain. But unlike the many cultural forces Christianity has overcome through the centuries we at least try. This is why even in the current culture war, I believe Christianity will prevail.