Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Shun the Queer

In a remarkable feat of under-reporting, today relates the story of a bill up before the senate that will allow Christian colleges and universities to legally discriminate against homosexuals even if their local jurisdiction has laws which prevent it.  What's the name of the bill?  Who is opposing it?  How likely is it to pass?  Will it be able to overcome a constitutional challenge which might be brought against it under Romer v. Evans, the 1992 Supreme Court decision which invalidated Colorado's Proposition 2?  In that case Justice Scalia opined that proposition 2 was an attempt to inhibit a sexual morality which the majority of Coloradans disfavored, and was thus constitutional.  I don't pretend to understand that reasoning except that in Justice Scalia's view, discriminating against gays is A-okay, as long as a majority feels that way.

Moreover, seems to think that only students will be the ones affected by this bill.  Not so.  Faculty and staff will presumably be able to be summarily dismissed if the fact of their homosexuality becomes public.

One wonders why, though.  Why is it so important for the Christian colleges to exclude gay people from their community?  I believe it goes to the practice of shunning.

1 Corinthians 5:11-13: But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you."

For many Christians, especially fundamentalists, homosexuality (even if it is physically unexpressed) is de facto evidence of immorality and wickedness.

The hypocrisy enters the equation when they take a "don't ask/don't tell" approach.  You can remain in our community only as long as you remain silent.  You can do wicked things as long as you don't speak wickedness.  For fundamentalists, homosexuality is irredeemably wicked and must not be tolerated in any way, even to speak of it, much less to speak of it as anything positive.  Thus they want the right to shun those with whom they disagree.  Shunning is a time honored practice among religious communities.  It is a method of exclusion and punishment.  Religious groups in the West can't put the wicked to death, but shunning becomes the psychological equivalent.  The shunned is symbolically put to death.

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