More like Springfield, NOHOMO:
Voters have narrowly repealed an LGBT-rights law in Springfield, Missouri, according to ballot results Tuesday night. With all precincts reporting, the Greene County Clerk shows Question 1 passing 51.43% to 48.57%. “We are very disappointed that we didn’t have the exact outcome that we wanted, but we are encouraged that the vote was so very close,” Crystal Clinkenbeard, a spokeswoman for the LGBT-rights campaign No Repeal, told BuzzFeed News. The vote comes after a fierce clash between LGBT advocates and religious conservatives, who invoked campaign themes of Christian-owned businesses forced to sell products for gay weddings and cross-dressing predators lurking in women’s restrooms.
These would be the same religious conservatives who spent the last two weeks insisting that "religious freedom" laws aren't about legalizing discrimination against LGBT Americans. (Also, again, there are predators lurking in women's restrooms. But they're not trans and they're not cross-dressed.) But give these same fundy shits a chance to vote on legalizing anti-LGBT discrimination—no code words, no dog whistles—and they'll do just that.
The No Repeal campaign argued nondiscrimination laws for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people were fundamental civil rights, while critics of the law blasted LGBT protections as unnecessary burdens that would infringe on Christian faith.
So... how did we get to a place where not being able to discriminate against LGBT people is perceived by millions of American Christians as a discriminatory infringement on the free expression of their "sincerely held religious beliefs"?
Here's how: Religious bigots have spent the last 35+ years and hundreds of millions of dollars working to make "Christian" synonymous with "antigay bigot." Blocking the movement for LGBT civil equality by reinforcing anti-sex/antigay bigotry has been the explicit, stated, lavishly funded mission of politicized American Christianity since the founding of Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority in 1979. And while the LGBT civil rights movement has made great strides—the pace of progress, particularly in the last few years, has been absolutely staggering—today millions of American "Christians" regard hating LGBT Americans as a defining tenet of their faith. (I wouldn't be surprised if there was a movement under way to have "We believe gay people are icky" added to the Nicene Creed.)
By their fruits ye shall know them:
When asked by The Barna Group what words or phrases best describe Christianity, the top response among Americans ages 16-29 was “antihomosexual.” For a staggering 91 percent of non-Christians, this was the first word that came to their mind when asked about the Christian faith. The same was true for 80 percent of young churchgoers. (The next most common negative images? : “judgmental,” “hypocritical,” and “too involved in politics.”)
And these "
people haters of faith" aren't out there arguing that homosexuality is just another sin. No, no: It's a sin like no other, a sin up there with murder, a sin that's actually worse than murder, a sin that's worse than all others.
Check out this interview with a florist in Georgia who told CNN that she would refuse to serve gays and lesbians (transcript via the Friendly Atheist):
Tuchman: … In the Ten Commandments, it says you can’t commit adultery…
Tuchman: It says you need to honor your father and mother.
Tuchman: If someone didn’t honor their parents or committed adultery, would you serve them?
Tuchman: Well, why would you serve them but not serve someone who is gay?
Jeffcoat: It’s just a different kind of sin to me and I just don’t believe in it.
Here's what's neat—and by "neat," of course, I mean "insidious"—about the elevation of homosexuality to worse-than-all-other-sins status: It requires nothing of the heterosexual believer. Hating LGBT people is easy. Straight "believers" don't have to give anything up to get right with God, they don't have to make any sacrifices, they don't have to stop masturbating or fornicating or adulterating. Despising gay people and discriminating against gay people is a quick path to cheap grace.
Take Melissa Jeffcoat, the florist in rural Jeff Davis County, Georgia. The odds that she'll ever be asked to sell flowers to a gay couple for their wedding are pretty slim. (How many gays are there in Jeff Davis County, population 15,003?) The odds that she's selling flowers to straight adulterers—and fornicators and masturbators—are pretty high. Turning away hypothetical gay customers costs Jeffcoat nothing. Turning away actual heterosexual customers would cost her something. Luckily for Jeffcoat, her sincerely held bigoted religious beliefs—aka modern American Christianity—doesn't require her to discriminate against straight "sinners." Just gay ones.