The phrase “Tastes like Hate” was spraypainted on the side of a Chick-fil-A the other day, in protest against the political views of their owners. One of the claims is that they supported a bill in Uganda to kill homosexuals, a charge which seems to be false. But the larger issue is the question of language. Supporters of gay marriage say that opponents of gay marriage are guilty of “hate”, a word that, like “racism”, is rapidly being emptied of all content.
I do not hate homosexuals. I know a couple of people who do, who really just want to beat up or ridicule gay people, but they are the tiny minority of the Christian community and certainly not representative of that community or any of its leadership. There are people who simply want to attack anyone around them for any reason, and people being gay is a convenient focus.
Virtually everyone I know really making a case against homosexual behavior or gay marriage does so because they believe that such behavior is extremely harmful to the one doing it. If we hated the people doing it, we would simply keep our mouths shut and let them destroy themselves. It is precisely because our Lord commanded us to love others that we feel obligated to speak up against the behavior and lifestyle that is destroying them.
That is a question of fact. Is it actually harmful to oneself to practice a homosexual lifestyle? According to the Bible, it unquestioningly is, because living in unrepentant sin will result in eternal condemnation. That’s very bad, very harmful. Even in this life, we believe that homosexual behavior leads to a great many problems. Again, a question of fact. Many believe that these claims are wrong, that there is no hell, or that homosexuality is not a sin, or that children raised in same-sex households are just as healthy and well-off as children raised in traditional family structures. These are all questions of fact- these claims are either true or they’re not, or they’re partly true and partly not.
But when you start the discussion by saying that I am a liar, that I am not motivated by love for homosexuals at all but in fact by hatred for them, then the discussion is not going to go anywhere.
But this appears to be intentional. George Lakoff argues that the liberal should never engage, should never even acknowledge that the conservatives even have an argument. They should simply frame the debate in a way which makes conservatives look evil and keep pounding away at that message. So we are against gay marriage because we hate gay people. We are opposed to welfare because we are racist and hate the poor. We are opposed to abortion because we hate and fear women and want to keep them under control. No conservative thinker I know, academic or popular or otherwise, ever makes such arguments, either in public or in private. I reject all of them, and any conservative who espoused them would be rejected by the conservative community as a whole. John Derbyshire got fired from National Review just for coming kind of close.
When I read leftist sites or engage with liberals, for the most part this is all I see. Go spend a while reading DailyKos, for example, if you can stomach it. They refuse to deal with any of the actual arguments real conservatives make, instead asserting that the arguments we use are not our real motivations. Their understanding of the Republican party is basically this- there are a bunch of rich white guys who control the country and want ever more and more money, and they trick the poor racist ignoramuses of the country through fears of gays and minorities into supporting them. And that’s it. That is their entire understanding of conservatism. They dismiss all the arguments of Milton Friedman and Adam Smith and Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk and Ronald Reagan and Thomas Sowell and all the rest of them, and simply state that we’re stupid racists being tricked by rich white puppet-masters into giving them all the power and money.
How can we actually have a conversation? I understand and will engage the liberal arguments. I will accept that the liberal is trying to help the poor and oppressed. We have a disagreement about the best way to help the poor and oppressed. I think that government programs are the opposite of what is needed. But they will not accept that I even want to help the poor and oppressed. They just call me an ignorant racist hater.
So who here is guilty of hate? Who is refusing to even talk? Who is desiring not to help the other side of the debate, but to destroy it?
Chick-fil-A is not guilty of hate or bigotry. They are guilty of a difference of opinion about what is best for those who experience same-sex attraction. Liberals are guilty of hatred and bigotry. They don’t want to engage the conservative Christian argument. They just want to destroy conservative Christians.