Matthew Sanders: The Atlantic is super-wrong for using 'fascist' label in Superman story
Berlatsky further steps onto dangerous ground by positioning Card and religious believers as extreme and hateful and therefore not “supergood” like Superman. In fact, after claiming the supposed fascist roots of Superman, he says, “It's disturbing to have Orson Scott Card writing Superman, then, in part because Superman is supergood, and the supergood shouldn't hate gay people.”
Not only do The Atlantic editors attempt to take the moral high ground most secularists seek to deny anyone, but they also fundamentally deny the good done by people of belief in a troubled world simply because of a difference in life principles.
Christians and people of faith today do much good in a troubled, needy world. They give money, time and goods to the poor on a remarkable scale. They raise decent children in environments that are increasingly hostile to their beliefs and behaviors — where images, stories, games and movies involving drugs, hedonism, dishonesty and brutality fill their TV and iPad screens.
While there are painful exceptions, most people of faith deliberately and peacefully work to improve their families and communities. They tend to be vigilant, not vigilantes toward issues and principles that matter to them, which is their right. In countless acts of kindness, people of belief have been a force for good that would make a real Superman very glad to have as allies.
Ironically, by denying a person of faith the right to believe in and argue for their vision of the world — which they desire for their posterity — would necessarily defy Berlatsky’s opportunity speak of his ideal.
For instance, on his blog, Gay Utopia, Berlatsky lays out his vision as, “The gay utopia is an imaginary future in which gender, sexuality, and identity are fluid and in which pleasure is unregulated by either external or internal censors. It's a place where taboos dissolve and sublimation vanishes; every relationship is erotic, every action sensual.” While his vision of the ideal future clashes abruptly with my personal belief and behavior, no individual, government or society should condemn it as a thought crime or hate speech.
Any student of history must acknowledge that people of faith come from a religious heritage where early believers were attacked, defamed and sometimes killed for their stands. So it is not without some reason that people of belief worry about their rights of expression and behavior.
After all, despots have long targeted religious groups to galvanize power. Marx and the Soviets considered religion “the opiate of the people.” Nero gave the people “bread and circuses” where Christians were dismembered. Hitler targeted Jews. At the end of the Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge there were almost no Buddhist monks left alive.
The United States has been an anomaly in world history with its fundamental protection of religious freedom against state and societal encroachment. In its more than 200 years, the attacks on religion in our borders have been rare compared to other areas of the world.
Kindness and respect the key
As human beings we have the capacity to be kind, loving and understanding of others while not accepting their behavior. It is called charity, and is one of the most remarkable traits we can develop. This attribute is taught fervently in Christianity. We are also taught to not throw stones at individuals with moral flaws, because each of us is blemished. Therefore, it is not unreasonable for the homosexual population to expect kind and understanding treatment from Christians.
In like manner, it is not without reason to appeal to the LGBT community and its supporters to show restraint and respect toward those who believe differently.
As a people, we should be wary of labels like fascism and hate that divide and dismember us. It is particularly misguided to attack people for seeking to perpetuate principles and faith they believe are in the best interest of their children and generations to come.
Matthew studied economics at BYU and business and government at Harvard. He is GM of Deseret Connect and Deseret News Service at Deseret Digital Media. Follow him on Twitter @Sanders_Matt or subscribe to the Reframing the Debate email feed.
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