Remember the good and bad

Published: Thursday, January 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 1, 2004 at 12:19 a.m.

There have been a lot of letters recently about God and Christian biblical law being the underpinnings of American society and legal system. Although it is certainly true that many good things about American society have been brought about by Christianity, there seems to be selective memory about some of the bad things in American history supported by people quoting scripture.

Just within the past 85 years, conservative Christian values have been used to fight major social changes that most of us now consider to have been good.

Conservative Christians fought against the vote for women, quoting scripture about women needing to be subservient to men as men are to Christ. Many fundamentalists still believe women should not have been granted the right to vote, and that legal independence for women is the root of all our problems.

Conservative Christians fought against women competing in organized sports in general, and the Olympics in particular, on the grounds that sports would "masculinize" our women.

Conservative Christians continue to fight against equal rights for women in the workplace, quoting scripture about how women should not work outside the home. One strong faction of the Southern Baptist Church even went so far as to recently eliminate their daycare centers on the grounds that it goes against God's law to encourage women to go into the workplace.

Conservative Christians fought against desegregation, quoting scripture about the separation of the races and the inferiority of blacks. As late as the 1960s, there were still laws against interracial marriage that were supported by fundamentalist Christian churches. This brand of Christianity is still the driving force behind the Ku Klux Klan.

Today it's the conservative Christians who resist equal social status for homosexuals, quoting scripture about the evils of homosexuality. The current tactic is to equate homosexuality with pedophilia and bestiality, which is something I fail to understand. Something that occurs between two consenting adults cannot ever be equated with something that occurs with one adult and a child or an animal. The attempt to generate a reaction of fear and loathing by saying the former will lead to the latter is obvious.

It is the very definition of conservatism that conservatives resist social change. Sometimes this is good and sometimes it's not. We must not forget the bad that went along with the good. Moderate and liberal Christians must also stand up and be heard about many social issues.

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