Kirsten Powers believes that Christians who are defending their right of conscience to object to performing services for same-sex marriages are enacting a new Jim Crow. She writes her thoughts on the matter down for the Daily Beast.
Let’s destroy that analogy before moving forward, in the hope that it never rears its idiotic head again.
Jim Crow laws, which were perpetrated on black Americans by Powers’ very own and beloved Democratic Party, were designed to oppress an entire race of people. They were not in any sense a reaction to an offense. They were not in any sense based on any Christian biblical principle. They were not in any sense about freedom of conscience. The Democratic Party’s Jim Crow regime was designed for purposes of pure racism. Its “separate but equal” regime was done by powerful people to oppress those who had no power — powerful Democrats oppressing powerless black Americans.
A pair of states have considered passing laws concerning same-sex marriage. Kansas and Arizona are considering laws that would allow a Christian who owns a business to opt out, for reasons of religious conscience, of performing services for same-sex marriages. Nothing in these laws would deny services of the government to same-sex marriages or force the state’s hand should disputes over services arise. The purpose of these laws would be to prevent Christians from facing expensive, time-consuming lawsuits if they refuse service to same-sex couples in wedding contexts. Such lawsuits have already happened, and the Christians have lost them. In one case that it still ongoing, a Mennonite couple in Iowa face a civil rights lawsuit because they refused to host a same-sex wedding reception in their art gallery. Their gallery is open to all most of the time, but they do rent it for receptions. As Christians, they do not believe in anything but the traditional definition of marriage. For this, they are being sued. They counter that their refusal is based on their own civil rights — the right of religious conscience to decline participation in events and ceremonies that they believe are against God, based on beliefs that long pre-date the state. This case follows the Colorado case of a wedding cake bakery that was sued for declining a same-sex wedding, and a photographer in New Mexico who similarly declined a same-sex wedding. Losing those lawsuits threatens the Christians’ right to make a living free of harassment, and may deprive them of their private property, while they have their names dragged through the mud thanks to a media that is very much hostile to traditional Christians in this country. Unfortunately, that hostile media includes the likes of Kirsten Powers.
In all of these cases, the Christians were literally minding their own businesses when the question of same-sex marriage hit them. They were not going out of their way to oppress anyone. They were not in control of the mechanisms of the state to exact any form of oppression. None of these cases resemble the Democrats’ Jim Crow regime at all. Jim Crow was government-enforced, top-down oppression based on race. Powers’ use of Jim Crow exhibits shallow, ill-informed and frankly illogical thinking. If there were licenses required for punditry, hers would be open to revocation on grounds of malpractice.
Powers may lack the critical thinking skills to understand why her use of Jim Crow is so far off the mark, but she is very intelligent and politically she knows exactly what she is doing. Invoking Jim Crow is intended to bully and coerce those of us who disagree with her, to silence us into submission, while at the same time it rallies forces on her side to go on the attack. Given the pieces and layout on this particular chess board, it’s not too much to say that Powers is using her position in media to persecute Christians. I won’t accuse Powers of engaging in Jim Crow oppression herself, as that analogy does not hold up. But she can perhaps be likened to Saul, the sincere first century scholar who sincerely set about attacking the early Church because he thought it was the morally right and politically correct thing to do. People can be and often are sincerely wrong.
Powers, we should keep in mind, sets about attacking Christians not just on same-sex marriage. She has written accusing America’s churches of “staying silent” in the face of growing persecution of Christians around the world. I won’t presume to speak for Powers’ church, but America’s evangelical churches are far from silent on the matter. We here at PJ Media are far from silent on the matter. Conservatives in general are far from silent on the matter. Ray Ibrahim, Brigitte Gabriel, Robert Spencer, myself, talk show hosts like Laura Ingraham, National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez and many many others write regularly on the persecution of the church abroad. Churches actively support missionary efforts to build Christian communities in the most dangerous places on earth, and highlight when governments go on the offensive against Christians. We take the oppressed in whenever possible.
But someone is silent on the matter of persecution, and his name is Barack Obama. He gives lip service to the plight of Christians around the world, but does nothing at all to help them. In fact, he abandoned the Iraqi Christians Powers cites and sided with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. He wanted America involved in Syria on the Brotherhood’s side. That group foments pogroms against Christians. President Obama brings their representatives into the White House. The Democratic Party is likewise silent, when it isn’t being unhelpful, on the matter of persecution (politically, the strength of the American family and church are unhelpful to the Democrats’ electoral fortunes). Powers is aware of the Democrats’ shameful silence, and even obliquely wrote about it, while blaming conservatives. Take this passage:
Wolf and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) sponsored legislation last year to create a special envoy at the State Department to advocate for religious minorities in the Middle East and South-Central Asia. It passed in the House overwhelmingly, but died in the Senate. Imagine the difference an outcry from constituents might have made. The legislation was reintroduced in January and again passed the House easily. It now sits in the Senate. According to the office of Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), the sponsor of the bill there, there is no date set for it to be taken up.
How dishonest is this? Doesn’t Sen. Harry Reid and his Democratic Party control the Senate, Ms. Powers? The Republicans control the House and passed the legislation that you say is vital. Then why are you not praising the Republican House leadership, and castigating the Democrats who run the Senate, on this matter? Would Reid and company have even listened to an outcry from church leaders? The Democrats as a party trash America’s conservative Christians with alarming stridency and regularity — we’re waging a “war on women,” remember? Its far-left base actively hates on Christians among its blogs and media outlets every single day. Powers almost never has an unkind word for them.
Why didn’t Powers take them to task? Because she is a Democrat first, and a Christian second, and criticism of conservatives always trumps supporting fellow Christians. One need not take my word for it. One merely needs to see which side gets direct fire from Powers, and which side consistently gets a pass.
Powers wasn’t done covering for her fellow Democrats.
Wolf has complained loudly of the State Department’s lack of attention to religious persecution, but is anybody listening? When American leaders meet with the Saudi government, where is the public outcry demanding they confront the Saudis for fomenting hatred of Christians, Jews, and even Muslim minorities through their propagandistic tracts and textbooks? In the debate on Syria, why has the fate of Christians and other religious minorities been almost completely ignored?
Who is the secretary of state, Ms. Powers, and who appointed him to that post? I believe that John Kerry holds that office, that Barack Obama put him there, and that both are Democrats.
As Ms. Powers writes in that same piece, “Not to speak is to speak.” As a prominent Democrat who may end up working in a Hillary Clinton campaign and White House, Powers’ active and knowing silence screams louder than the engine on a fighter jet.
The situation that we have in the United States is by no means as dire as what Christians face in Egypt, across the Middle East and into Africa. Those Christians do face a type of Jim Crow discrimination and worse — often perpetrated by governments, brutal, oppressive, toxic and often lethal. Christians are being deprived of livelihoods, property and life just because they are Christians. America’s Christians face the prospect of our government undermining our religious faith and freedoms in seemingly small ways now — forcing us to pay for abortifacient drugs against our consciences, and forcing us to participate in weddings that our faith teaches us are not within the bounds of what God established. That’s small compared to the burning of churches and murdering whole families, taking place in the Middle East.
It’s small, but it’s a start.
Saul eventually saw the light and became Paul, the unparalleled first century defender and propagator of the Christian faith. There is still time for Ms. Powers to change her trajectory.