Various groups like to claim that opposition to their stance on something is “anti-(insert identifier here).” As far as I can tell, this is an attempt to either galvanize moderates within said groups, silence opponents by making them afraid of being perceived as “anti-(insert identifier here),” or both. If it’s the former, then fine. If their intent is the latter, however, I must weigh in.
For the purposes of my blog and my experience, this typically comes up from theists, so I’ll write this post using theists as a case study. That said, the concepts here are applicable to any group who is getting overindulgent with the stimulation of their persecution prostates.
Most recently, I heard the term “anti-Christian” used by William Owens to refer to Obama’s support of marriage equality. It has also been tossed around quite a bit regarding the Chick-Fil-A controversy, and the contraception mandate. Opposition is characterized as “anti-Christian.”
Here’s the kicker, though: I agree with them. On a technical level, at any rate. If that’s what Christianity is, I am against it. You see, Christianity is a subjective and conceptual thing. Nobody seems to be able to agree on what exactly defines a “True Christian,” and so there is no single Christian ideology that stands independent of its adherents. Each congregation (and there are even often factions within congregations) defines for itself what exactly they mean when they say “Christian” (likewise “Judaism,” “Islam,” etc.). In saying that support for marriage equality is “anti-Christian,” a person is saying that their understanding of Christianity is defined, at least in part, by opposing marriage equality rights.
Accepting such premises, I am, indeed, anti-Christian, if that is what Christianity means. If I find a position abhorrent, then I’m not going to stop finding the position abhorrent just because it has been wrapped up in the trappings of religion. The same goes for any religion. If, by decrying female genital mutilation, institutionalized victim blaming, or the stoning of adulteresses, I am being “anti-Muslim,” by someone’s estimation, then fine, I stand firmly against what that person thinks Islam is.
This does not apply solely to religions, though. There is a notion, in some circles, that masculinity is defined by being emotionally closed off, violent, and confrontational. I think that is important to be emotionally open, and, while I do not object to confrontation and violence in and of themselves, I object to them as ends, rather than carefully selected means. By this peculiar definition of masculinity, I am “anti-man.” That said, I am not going to stop opposing things I find to be bad just because someone has incorporated it into their identity.
The point that I am trying to make is that declaring someone “anti-(insert identifier here)” is not in and of itself an insult or a negative, provided their alleged “anti-(insert identifier here)” sentiments are based upon stances of (insert identifier here). I take issue with opposition to gay rights, and it is not my fault that certain Christians have incorporated that opposition into their religious identity. One mustn’t stop supporting gay rights, science education, healthcare reform, comprehensive sex education, contraception distribution, etc., simply because a religious group has decided such things are an affront to it, nor should any abhorrent thing be accepted simply because it is held dear by some person or group of persons.