There may be nothing more entertaining than watching ignorant, uninformed, out-of-touch pop culture icons opine on stories that they either can’t relate to or know absolutely nothing about. You know — the actors, singers and sports stars who suddenly become experts on the complex societal issues plaguing our nation and feel the need to voice their thoughts somewhere in the national media. This never works out well and most of the time the individual just ends up looking an absolute fool. I’m all for people expressing their thoughts on cultural issues (heck, that’s what I do here every week), but for God’s sake, at least take an hour to read about the topic before you open your mouth on national television.
This sort of stupidity from the Hollywood elite and media superstars was on full display last Thursday when former pro basketball player Charles Barkley decided to comment on Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedoms Restoration Act. In a phone interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Barkley took a hard stance against what he believes is “discrimination” and even suggested that this law could lead to Muslims being denied professional services or members of the military being shunned by business owners who might be anti-war. (Seriously, Charles?) He argued that the RFRA law “came after gay people” (not the other way around) which somehow proves that the vast majority of Americans are homophobic. As if he hadn’t already rammed his foot far enough into his mouth, he continued:
“Typical of the South, where I’m from, all these rednecks hide behind the Bible. That’s what they do. That’s one of the reasons the South is behind in everything. They always hide behind the Bible. It’s strictly discrimination. They have selective amnesia. They just don’t like gay people. I wish they would just say that.”
It’s a little ironic that Barkley is bashing the South, considering he was born in Leeds, Alabama, was a member of the Republican Party for many years and even considered running as a Republican candidate for Alabama’s governorship in the 1998 election. But, I guess that’s beside the point since Mr. Barkley has since declared himself an Independent and has become known for his outspoken support of gay rights. Anyway, here’s some more of what he told CNN:
“We got all these straight people — we got some of these religious nut jobs, I might add — we got all straight people discussing gay problems and issues. That’s why the system is wrong. That’s like a bunch of white guys sitting around trying to make laws for black people. America has always had a racial problem. Now we have a homophobic problem. Yes, we do have to be at the table. A white guy might like me, he might be my friend, but he don’t know what it’s like to be black and I don’t know what it’s like to be gay. So if I want a gay opinion, shouldn’t I ask a gay person to the table?”
Normally, I wouldn’t even bother giving a loon like Barkley any time or space on my blog. But, this goes way beyond his ignorance. (Never mind his idiotic attempt at equating being black with being gay.) His feelings on the issue echo the sentiments of many Americans who believe that there’s a large sect of the country that is indeed “homophobic” and that these people are actively discriminating against gays and infringing on their rights. Just look at all of the uproar and backlash that erupted after Indiana passed that Religious Freedoms Restoration Act, a law that doesn’t even mention gay people. (See my post on this issue here.) The controversy was only stirred up because a bunch of uninformed Americans didn’t bother to understand the law or how it actually works. (What else is new?) I won’t rehash any of that. You can read my take on that law in my previous post.
Mr. Barkley seems to be the one with “selective amnesia” or some other sort of other mental disorder (like liberal progressivism.) This is not about the South hating gay people — an accusation that really has no merit whatsoever. In fact, those who adhere genuinely to the Christian faith believe that they are called by God to love people of all genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities, etc. Christians do not condone or support actions and lifestyle choices that conflict with God’s will and God’s Word and homosexuality does fall in the category of sin within the Christian faith. However, that doesn’t negate the Christ-like love many Christians believe they should (and do) extend to those in the gay community. Will there always be people who have hatred in in their hearts, even toward gay people? Absolutely. Just look at the lunatics from the Westboro Baptist Church. But, those people don’t represent the majority of Christians and they sure don’t represent the majority of Southerns or Southern Christians. (Truthfully, they don’t even represent Christ.) I’ve lived in the South my entire life and, as the son of a pastor, I can tell you that there aren’t a whole lot of “rednecks hiding behind the Bible” and that the South is not “behind in everything.” To be frank, I find Barkley’s comments insulting and altogether asinine.
Furthermore, Barkley is ignoring the real problem at heart of all of this: the federal government’s blatant and unapologetic intolerance of Christians and the tenets of the Christian faith. That’s what’s so ironic here. People like President Obama and all of his drooling sycophants on the Left demand “tolerance” for those in the gay community and yet they simultaneously stomp on the religious freedom rights of the faith-based community of Americans. It’s purse insanity, really. But, unfortunately, it’s intentional, it’s hateful and it exists in large part without protest from American Christians.
Honestly, I couldn’t care less what other people do in the privacy of their bedrooms and dozens of polls have proven that the vast majority of Americans feel this way as well. I may not support or condone their actions and lifestyle, but I’m not here to actively intrude on or protest what gay people do with their partners. I’ll go to my grave defending my Christian, Bible-based stance on gay marriage, but I won’t actively seek to exhibit a hatred of gay people. That sort of hate doesn’t jive with my faith. But, the Indiana law is not hateful and it’s not discrimination. As I’ve stated before, it’s a law that is already enshrined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and it’s merely a legal avenue of defense for religious people who do not want to contribute to or support a particular event that conflicts with their strongly held religious beliefs — whether it’s a gay couple requesting a wedding cake, abortion rally members requesting 150 cupcakes for an afternoon of pro-choice protests or whatever. If you ask me to contribute to or support something that conflicts with my religious beliefs, I have a God-given and legal right to say, “No.”
Sorry, but that’s what America stands for (at least for now.) If you don’t like that, move to another country and see how well freedom and liberty work outside of the U.S.
The problem is not homophobia or intolerance of gays. The problem is a government that continually seeks to protect, elevate, applaud and satiate one class of people, like the LGBT community, while simultaneously slaughtering the religious liberties of Americans who merely have a different belief system. That’s what we should really be talking about. But, we’re not. We’re so caught up in these false narratives of fairness and tolerance, bowing at the altar of political correctness, that we’re flushing our freedoms and liberties down the toilet — all in an ironic attempt to make America a “better, more fair, more just, more tolerant, more equal” place to live. But, when freedoms and liberties are destroyed, all of that good stuff is destroyed in the process. It’s too bad our president doesn’t give a damn about the Constitution. After all, it’s the Constitution that keeps our nation on the straight and narrow and gives us the guidance to make laws that are right and good and just for every American. (Assuming Americans will actually read and understand the laws. But, maybe that’s asking too much.)
I hear from a lot from my readers and social media followers, particularly the conservatives and the independents who are fed up with Obama, who think all of this debate is pointless as long as Mr. O and his regime are controlling Washington and the political and cultural direction of the country. I sympathize with that, I really do. But, with the upcoming presidential election, and the ever-expanding field of Republican and Democratic contenders, there’s no better time to remind ourselves of what America really stands for and how our government is supposed to operate.
Honestly, I’m pretty fed up with the Republican Party — a group of trembling little wimps who never take action on the things they say they believe in. They retreated on Indiana’s RFRA. They retreated on Arkansas’s version of the RFRA. When liberals started yelling, the Republicans threw the religious freedoms bills out the window and ran for the hills with their tails between their legs like a bunch of pathetic wusses. Is this really what it’s come to? Liberals are scary and intimidating so let’s just run away and pretend like everything is okay? Seriously? Right now, there really aren’t any Republican presidential contenders who have my attention, maybe with the exception of Rand Paul, who did give a great speech today. But, I’ll deal with that later this week.
Right now, it’s more important for Americans as a whole to understand that if we ever want to have “fairness” in this situation — i.e. equal respect for those on the religious side and those on the gay side — it’s going to have to start with the government stepping out of the picture and ceasing its intolerant treatment of Christianity. Otherwise, it’s just going to stay as one-sided as it is now.
That’s the real problem.
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