An Open Letter To 'Conservative Christians' Who Feel As Though The Left Hates Them And Their Traditional Values
Dear Conservative Christians with Traditional Values,
It has come to my attention that many of you feel personally attacked these days. That you feel as though the Left and nearly every Democratic politician "hates you." Mostly because you keep saying it all of the time. For example, when Elizabeth Warren suggested that those who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman should just marry someone of the opposite sex, many of you got very upset and claimed that she was being dismissive of your "traditional values," which apparently include thinking you should be able to tell people who they are and are not allowed to marry.
For another example, I came upon this tweet yesterday from National Review Never Trumper Jeff Blehar, explaining that he liked Andrew Yang the best out of all the candidates, because all of the other candidates hate him and want him to suffer on account of how he is a "Conservative Christian."
"It's a problem," Blehar explained, "if someone as up-to-speed as me thinks that about most of the other leading candidates."
It sure is a problem! Mostly because it makes Jeff here sound not only not especially "up-to-speed," but also like someone with a fairly outlandish persecution complex and poor comprehension skills. As someone who is also very up-to-speed, I have read all of the platforms and policies put forth by all of the candidates, and not a single one is suggesting that we start feeding Christians to the lions.
Mayor Pete is super into Jesus and talks about it all the time, Elizabeth Warren used to be a Sunday School teacher and I'm pretty sure that barring Bernie Sanders, who is Jewish, the rest of them are probably all Christians of some flavor or another. Only because I feel like we would have heard about it — from people like you — if they were not. It's not a thing I, personally, pay much attention to. Unless someone wants to hurt people because of some tenet in their religion, I don't see how it's my business what people believe.
Even then, I'm not mad at them for being religious, I am mad at them for being hurtful. I am mad at them for insulting people. I am mad at them for trying to enact legislation or keep legislation that hurts people. There is a difference.
Let's talk about this "suffering" thing for a minute. That is quite the accusation! Personally, I am of the opinion that when one accuses people of something like that, you should have to explain exactly what you mean. What kind of suffering is it, exactly, that Kamala Harris wants Jeff Blehar and all the other conservative Christians to do? Is it different from Elizabeth Warren's plan for your abject misery? Be specific!
Because really, the only thing that I can think of is that none of the candidates want other people — people who have nothing to do with you or your religion — to suffer. Even Andrew Yang. In fact, he said as much on his campaign page:
- Promote any legislation extending protected status to individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Increase funding for programs directed at educating the public on LGBTQ issues.
-Increase funding for programs meant to help LGBTQ individuals who are facing discrimination because of their identity.
- Appoint LGBTQ individuals to senior posts in my administration.
That's pretty clear. He doesn't even want you to be able to legally discriminate against gay people because of your religion, no matter how much doing so might thrill you. He also doesn't want to let you force women to have babies they don't want. In fact, I would even assume that, like all of the Democratic candidates, he wants you to suffer in silence knowing that there are transgender people, all over the country, using public bathrooms without your express permission.
But I digress.
This thing where you are all very sad and hurt about how much we supposedly "hate" you? What if I told you that the reason for that was not so much because we are mad at your wholesomeness or because we don't think you're hip or we don't like your hair or we think you're stupid, but rather because when you spend more than 40 years repeatedly insulting people and arguing against them having rights, they will usually think you are a jerk.
If I were to say to Jeff Blehar, "Hey Jeff! You have a stupid face and also you having sex is a violation of my traditional beliefs and therefore it should be against the law" and Jeff responded to me by saying, "Hey Robyn, that is not a very nice thing to say, and I think you are maybe a jerk," it would be weird if I were to then start sobbing about how Jeff "hates" me. I am not the victim in that scenario, I would be the aggressor. If you want people to like you, you should not be mean to them — it's just that simple.
But I have good news! If you truly are worried that we hate you and you would like us to stop hating you, there are things you can do. For instance, you could not insult people all of the time. You could stop going full Lester Maddox every time some gay people want to eat a cake. You could stop accusing people who disagree with you of being filled with demons (this is both rude and extremely weird). You could just let trans people go to the bathroom. You could stop trying to suggest that atheists or people of any other religion that is not your religion are bad people. You could stop freaking out over Starbucks baristas saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas (because there are actually multiple holidays during that time and baristas and store clerks do not have psychic powers that allow them to determine what religion people are). You could stop demanding that public schools, which we all pay for, endorse your religious beliefs. You could stop accusing gay people and women who have abortions of causing hurricanes. You could enjoy and practice your own religion and traditional values, and feel good about it, without needing everyone else to go along with you and abide by the rules of your religion whether or not they believe in it.
I realize this seems difficult, but consider the Amish. They hold fast to their traditional beliefs and ways, and yet they don't go around trying to ban zippers across the whole of the United States. They understand that it's their thing and that no one else is obligated to go zipper-free in order to make them feel more comfortable. Doing things this way, in fact, is even easier than trying to enact a zipper ban (although I personally would support a ban on side zippers). You could even consider the millions of other religious people across this very country who happily practice their own religions without getting in anyone else's face about it.
I believe in you! I think you can do it! And then, if you do, you don't have to worry about anyone "hating" you anymore, because we won't have any reason to. In fact, we could all even start to like each other, and wouldn't that be nice?
P.S.: It is now your Open Thread, xoxoxo
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse