As I write this, the people of North Carolina have voted to strip their gay and lesbian citizens of civil rights.
Like California's Proposition 8, North Carolina's Amendment One was a measure hatched and propagated by conservative Christians.
So to those Christians who championed and voted for this Amendment, or others like it, I'd like to propose the following exercise:
Imagine if instead of gays and lesbians, it were your rights that were put to a vote in the ballot box.
Why not? It's not like you were born Christian. Religion -- unlike sexual orientation, for example -- is actually always just a choice.
And there is an irony that doesn't get pointed out often enough: that while railing against gays and lesbians for wanting "special rights" (also known as equal treatment under the law), America's conservative Christians have enjoyed more special rights than just about anyone else.
If you are a Christian -- or a person of any faith, for that matter -- your chosen religious lifestyle is protected by every conceivable anti-discrimination law in every state. You even get exemptions from some secular laws. And you can give tax-deductible donations to a church or religious charity engaging in political action, even the elimination of the rights of others.
Of course, the Constitution of the United States protects religious freedom. But what if we somehow had a winning popular vote that Christianity was no longer considered a religion? Just like that -- no more legal protections under the Constitution.
Still would like some rights as a Christian person of faith? Just choose a different religion to believe in. Isn't that what you're always telling gay people ... just "choose" to be straight, and presto -- no more problems. Maybe you'd like to try that now.
Or maybe you'd like to argue that your faith is much more than just a choice. It's who you are as a person. It defines you, gives your life meaning and purpose ... sorry. Still not a religion.
Of course, you're free to still call yourself Christian, and believe and worship however you choose. It just won't be recognized under the law.
You can now be fired for being Christian.
You'll pay discriminatory taxes.
And marriages from your alternative lifestyle "churches" most certainly will not be recognized. What would we tell the children?
Isn't this, my dear conservative Christians, what you've been doing to gay and lesbian Americans for decades, putting their civil rights to a popular vote over and over again?
If you ever did have to choose another faith, I bet you wouldn't even miss being a Christian. Let's face it -- you didn't really believe half the stuff anyway. The Ten Commandments? Psssh. You've been routinely breaking the 9th (bearing false witness) every time you've spoken out about gay people and their rights. And you certainly don't believe a word about what Jesus said about loving your neighbor, or following the golden rule.
Need proof? Look no further than North Carolina.