Why can’t the religious right stop comparing marriage equality to slavery? The latest episode involves a panel discussion at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, when pastor J.D. Greear said that opposing marriage equality was the modern-day equivalent of being an abolitionist.
“Preaching against homosexuality in our day is about as popular as preaching against slavery and racism in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1861,” said Greear. “And back then, I’m sure the politically correct people were like, ‘You’re just creating a lot of waves that are unnecessary, just preach the Gospel.’”
Greear is engaging in some wishful historical thinking. For the record, the Southern Baptists were not exactly at the forefront of opposition to slavery. In fact, in 1995, they officially apologized for their support of it and of segregation.
Greear is hardly alone in his wistful belief that he’s a 21st century John Brown. The theme is a common one among the antigay religious right, with everyone from Cardinal Keith O’Brien (who resigned for having a priest as a boyfriend) to erstwhile GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee trotting it out to make themselves feel like moral giants. Trouble is, freeing people from bondage is not the best analogy for denying people their rights.