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Aunt Vicky’s comeuppance

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It’s a lie they tell themselves that evangelical Christians are persecuted. I know, in my late teens and 20s I was one of them. I also knew whence it came. It came from the conceit of identification with St. Paul and the early Christians. Back in Paul’s day being a Christian really could be a matter of life and death, and persecution for proclaiming oneself a follower of Christ was an actual thing.

Once the shoe was on the other foot, and Christianity became the ascendant ideology, the mantle of persecuting intolerance became theirs to enjoy, and boy did they ever. One would have thought that love and forgiveness would have been the order of the day. Alas, it was not. Instead centuries of genocides and injustices were inculcated in the name of the Prince of Peace. Perhaps Christianity shares a similar inevitability with what is sometimes said about communism: great theory, wrong species.

Anyway, a recent teary-eyed, blubbering, disgusting speech, delivered with a pathetic dollop of sanctimonious indignation by Republican Congresswoman Vicky Jo Hartzler, is an example of just how not persecuted Christians are today. To quote Vicky between sobs, “I hope and pray that my colleagues will find the courage to join me in opposing this misguided and dangerous bill.”

And what “misguided and dangerous” bill was that? It was the “Respect for Marriage Act,” a long overdue bill requiring federal and state governments to recognize same-sex and interracial marriages, prohibiting them from denying the validity of a marriage legally performed in another state on the basis of sex, race or ethnicity. It passed with all House Democrats and a surprising 39 Republicans voting “aye.”

Well, aunt Vicky had her comeuppance in the form of a Tik Tok video delivered by her nephew Andrew Hartzler. Between Vicky’s blubbers and indignations, Andrew commented that he’d come out to aunt Vicky this past February. “I guess she’s just as much [of] a homophobe,” he observed.

“Let’s be clear,” Andrew’s aunt Vicky said, “Obergefell [v. Hodges, which requires all states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and to recognise same-sex marriages from other states] is not in danger, but people and institutions of faith are.” To which Andrew replied, “Aunt Vicky that’s not right, institutions of faith like religious universities are not being silenced, they’re being empowered by the US government to discriminate against tens of thousands of LGBTQ students because of religious exemptions, but they still receive federal funding.”

What aunt Vicky’s jeremiad is really about is she’s lamenting the loss of her “right” to deny same-sex couples equal treatment in private settings, such as Christian universities and other similar institutions of faith. In other words, she’s intolerant of losing her right to be intolerant. That’s what Christians today mean when they talk of “persecution.”


Well, when I was an evangelical Christian I never suffered any persecution. Quite the opposite. But it was evil fun to pretend that I was. You might say I have grown up since then. You might say, in the words of St. Paul, “I put away childish things.”

In any case, evangelical Christians are not being persecuted. Many of them are instead trying to gain political power so they can end separation of church and state and turn the United States into a theocracy. That’s what aunt Vicky is really saying. Nephew Andrew sees right through it. Good for him. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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