OnFaith has a fascinating new post exploring the Christian Right’s use of the word normalize to rally followers in their struggle to marginalize and demonize LGBT persons generally and marriage equality specifically. Now that the old lie of LGBT persons being sexual predators can’t be sustained, these leaders seem to be seeking instead to uphold hetero-normativity as the only acceptable perspective and to define LGBT persons as unworthy of social acceptance and esteem.
Many of these Christians root their thinking in the belief that the Apostle Paul called same-sex relations “unnatural” in his epistle to the Romans. Whatever Paul means to communicate with that word, he is not instructing Christians to band together and work to exclude anyone from social structures and institutions. Unlike Paul, when conservative Christians speak of normalizing LGBT people and relationships, they are using it in a social rather than theological sense.
But the article asks whether framing Christianity in such a narrow framework of exclusion and negativity is really a good strategy and how can it possibly reconcile itself to Jesus’ own actions as related in the Gospels.
Asking the faithful to resist the normalization of homosexuality is a command framed in the negative. It only communicates what one does not want to occur. What about the positive? If one is resisting normalization, then what is one supporting?
The opposite of normalizing is marginalizing. It is maligning. It is sidelining. It is ostracizing. It is banishing. It is shunning.
Make no mistake that this is what is being called for. To resist the normalization of LGBT couples means working to push them to the margins, outside of circles of respectability.
Is this how we wish to be known — as a community that forced another community to the margins? This is the kind of goal at which if you succeed, you also fail.
Read it all and let us know what you think