When it comes to marriage equality, it’s a fact — a fact — that white evangelical Christians and conservative religious groups were (and continue to be) the primary opponents of it. They’re the ones who said it would destroy society or anger their God or lead us down a slippery slope. They were always wrong about that and, for now at least, they lost the war on that social issue.
But longtime advocates for civil rights always said that after marriage equality became the norm, evangelicals would eventually try and take credit for something most people perceive as a moral issue.
They did it with segregation, too. While Christians love to claim they have always been champions of racial harmony — and no doubt many were — some of the loudest opponents of integration were conservative religious leaders. (Remember: Bob Jones university banned interracial dating on campus until 2000.) There was a time they supported abortion rights as a moral issue, too, until it became politically expedient to oppose it.
The point is: They’re liars and opportunists. “Religious conscience” is just the phrase they use to justify whatever position they hold for the time being.
Here’s a prime example of it. Tony Abbott, the Roman Catholic former prime minister of Australia, was also one of the most prominent opponents of marriage equality. When a national survey was taken on the issue, he urged citizens to vote against same-sex marriage:
“I say to you if you don’t like same-sex marriage, vote no. If you’re worried about religious freedom and freedom of speech, vote no, and if you don’t like political correctness, vote no because voting no will help to stop political correctness in its tracks,” he said.
He even wrote an opinion piece saying there was no need for marriage equality because discrimination wasn’t even really a thing:
It’s a long time, thank God, since gay people have been discriminated against and just about everyone old enough to remember that time is invariably embarrassed at the intolerance that was once common. Already, indeed, same sex couples in a settled domestic relationship have exactly the same rights as people who are married.
To demand “marriage equality”, therefore, is quite misleading…
… it’s time to say that political correctness has got completely out of hand and to vote “no” to stop it in its tracks.
Australians thankfully voted “yes” and politicians soon followed through to legalize marriage equality. It happened in spite of Abbott’s opposition to it.
And now, like so many Christians who realize they’re on the wrong side of a historical battle, Abbott wants credit for the passage of marriage equality.
“When all is said and done, I helped to make the thing happen,” Abbott says. “I set up the process which opened up the possibility and even the likelihood of change. Now that it has happened, I absolutely accept the outcome. It’s the law of the land and that’s the way it is.”
The guy who told the people to vote against marriage equality wants credit for allowing democracy to happen.
Self-awareness was never one of his strong suits…
Abbott doesn’t deserve any credit. He should forever be remembered, along with his Church’s leaders, as part of a group that tried to block love and equality, usually in the name of their faith.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)