This week, I finally did something I have been wanting to do for a long time: I put “atheist” on my Facebook profile. It was less of a dramatic coming-out than I had anticipated; to see it, you would have to go to my profile and scroll through my “About” section and find it listed under “religious views”. I could have made it into a post that will show up in people’s News Feeds, but I didn’t find that necessary. I did, however, follow a number of atheist pages, and maybe one day I’ll share some of their posts for all my friends to see.
Before I did this, I went through and purged some of the more extreme conservatives from my feed. After I was done, I was glad that I might finally be free from seeing another person sharing blog posts from Matt Walsh in my news feed. My former college classmates or church members always shared some really peculiar things, but Matt Walsh’s content was always the worst. After my first review of his writing two years ago, I decided to return to the conservative political commentator’s blog to see what he’s been up to.
The first post that caught my eye on Walsh’s blog was entitled “WALSH: The Left Is Outraged Because Mike Pence’s Wife Got A Job At A Christian School“. (Note: I leave the link in so that you may follow along if you want and so that I don’t take him out of context, but consider that if you click, you are giving him a view, so if you don’t want to boost Matt Walsh’s stats, you might just consider staying here and reading my summary instead) In the post, Walsh explains the recent headline, in which Mike Pence’s wife Karen got a job as a part-time art teacher at a Christian school. The controversy comes from the fact that the Christian school doesn’t admit openly gay students or anyone of that ilk.
Before I go on, I feel that I must clarify: Matt Walsh is, for the most part, a pretty logical guy. The problem I see is that he doesn’t consider the morality of his “logical” beliefs. In the post on Karen Pence, he logically explains that we shouldn’t be surprised to see a Christian woman working at a Christian school with Christian principles. In theory, this is fine. But in essence, his argument is that what “The” (evil) “Left” has always wanted is for each person to keep his or her religion to him or herself, and now we are, in a way, persecuting Karen Pence and her Christian school because we’re trying to stop her from living her life and practicing her beliefs. In his words,
“But in the case of Karen Pence and her new employer, they are doing exactly what the Left demanded. This school is merely trying to operate by biblical principles within its own walls and on its own property. It is a Christian school simply being a Christian school. It isn’t bothering anyone. It isn’t invading anyone’s home and lecturing them about their sexual behavior. It isn’t preventing anyone from working or living or enjoying their lives. It is just saying, very reasonably, very unobtrusively, ‘We are going to conduct ourselves according to Christian moral tradition. If you don’t want to accept that moral tradition, then by all means go somewhere else.'”
It should be obvious by now that “conducting ourselves according to Christian moral tradition” is messed up when it means discriminating against LGBT people or other sinners. The first time that I saw this post and the school’s rule that they don’t admit openly gay students, I thought, well what about the closeted gay students raised by Christian parents who not only might be homeless if they come out, will also be kicked out of school!? You might be the nicest person in the world, or the most logical person, or the most dedicated Christian, but if this does not disgust you, then you are a despicable human being. (I’m looking at you, Matt.)
Before I went on to read Matt Walsh’s next post, I had to find out what exactly “The Left” was saying about this and how they were outraged. Matt Walsh has a way of sucking his readers in (with his twisted logic) and making them see his side, wondering how The Left might possible be able to claw themselves out of this hole Matt has dug. He said that “mainsteam media” had many “outraged headlines” and “shocked and appalled tweets”, so in the interest of showing both sides, here is a post from Clay Cane on CNN entitled “Karen and Mike Pence’s astonishing moral hypocrisy”, as well as a video tweet if that’s more your thing (I prefer the video to the article, and the audio isn’t necessary so I encourage you to play it if you can):
I can’t help but see the great parallel between discrimination of gays today and the discrimination of blacks yesterday. It’s so obvious to (most) of us that it’s wrong, if not illegal, to discriminate based on race, whether it is for a position as a student, for a job, or for pretty much anything else (like whether or not you’re fit to get a wedding cake, but I think that is a more complicated argument with more factors). Why should discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity be okay?
Right. Because of religion.
Matt Walsh continues his argument/rant in a post from the next day: “WALSH: They Will Come For The Churches Next“. He defends the idea that a true Christian school cannot exist without discrimination:
“The school’s ‘anti-LGBT’ policy is not only standard and inevitable for an authentic Christian school, but actually necessary in order for Christian schools to exist. The policy, which is not actually ‘anti-LGBT’ but ‘pro-Christian morality,’ simply requires that all students and teachers affirm Biblical teaching and Christian moral tradition. This includes, of course, matters of marriage and sexuality. The school doesn’t uniquely single out homosexuality, but neither does it exclude homosexuality from the list of sins that students and faculty of the school cannot openly accept or promote.” (emphasis mine)
This reminds me of a quote from Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion: “You can’t get away with saying, ‘If you try to stop me from insulting homosexuals it violates my freedom of prejudice.’ But you can get away with saying, ‘It violates my freedom of religion.'” It’s just so ridiculous that if it wasn’t so disgusting, I’d laugh. Imagine a school with a policy about race trying to say the same thing: “It’s okay, because it’s not just blacks that we don’t accept here at Racist Academy. We also don’t accept Asians, Mexicans, or Indians. But it’s okay, because it’s not actually ‘anti-black’, it’s ‘pro-racism’. And that’s just what racists do. You can’t expect us at Racist Academy to not be racist! That would be persecuting us for being racist!”
I’ve said before that it is really repulsive that Christians try to say that their rights are being taken away when we try to tell them that it’s wrong to discriminate against gays. Like Matt Walsh said, all we “Leftists” have ever wanted was just for people to keep their religion to themselves. Honestly, if people could really put this into practice, we’d all be fine. But if being a Christian requires you to tell people what to do with their bodies or with their significant others, then you’ve crossed the line because that no longer counts as minding your own business. If you’re anti-gay, don’t be gay. But don’t tell other people whether or not they can be gay. After all, there are gay Christians who have reconciled the two ideas, and if they’ve done that, then it’s no one’s place, even as a fellow Christian, to tell them what is and isn’t okay within their own religion.
I recall what a friend of mine said once on Facebook when she was all mad and feeling persecuted for her faith: “They tell us we can love whoever we want, but we’re not allowed to love Jesus!” No, that’s not what that means. When “loving Jesus” means “forcing people into conversion therapy” or “refusing to acknowledge the rights of LGBT people” then that’s not okay!?!?!
Matt Walsh has, in his post, caught on to the fact that us atheists are upset by the concept of being a “real Christian school” (because to him, a real Christian school is anti-LGBT). He says, “If you have a problem with this policy, you have a problem with Christian schools per se.” and “The Left, as we’ve seen, hates the fact of Christian schools. Really hates it.” He is right for once.
You can see, if “Christian” means “discriminating against something that people have no control over” then yes, I do have a problem with it. And this is not to mention my own personal beef I have with Christian schools after my four years attending one, thinking that it wouldn’t be too Christian without requiring students or faculty to sign a confession of faith like Karen Pence’s school does.
But in the two days since I read Walsh’s posts and writing my final draft of this right now, the hashtag #ExposeChristianSchools has exploded over Twitter after Mike Pence tweeted that “The criticism of Christian education in America must stop.” I must say, this is one of those moments when I am extremely proud of Twitter. But I am more ashamed of Christian schools (and they are oh, so much worse than the Christian school I attended) than I have ever been before.