The Brian Sims Incident Was About Dehumanizing Christians — Not Just Unborn Babies
Pro-life leaders are rallying this morning at the Planned Parenthood in Philly where Sims verbally abused women praying outside the facility.
Note: Pro-life leaders, including Abby Johnson, are rallying this morning at the Philly Planned Parenthood where Rep. Brian Sims filmed himself bullying women who pray and offer other options outside the PP. The Pro-Life Rally Against Bullying starts at 11 am Eastern. LiveAction will livestream: https://www.facebook.com/liveaction/videos/2355407588036425/
The Brian Sims incident this week highlighted a strange contradiction I’m seeing more and more in leftists’ behavior. It ran completely against progressives’ own highly touted values of tolerance and understanding. How could anyone do that to a fellow human being?
The answer might be contained in the question. I’m not sure all progressives see conservatives, especially Christians, as fully human.
There is no such thing as “bigotry” toward sub-humans, after all.
It’s a theory, I know, but it explains a lot. It explains Hillary Clinton’s dismissal of conservatives as “deplorables.” It explains progressives’ willingness to discriminate against Christians, when discrimination is at the top of their list of prohibitions. It explains how they can be bigoted toward conservatives without even realizing they’re doing it. It explains why you don’t find this happening only in the anonymity of social media, but in elected officials’ very public statements. There is no such thing as “bigotry” toward sub-humans, after all.
It’s the same mistake much of America once made toward African Americans: They weren’t considered quite as human as white people. Progressives hate that attitude — but some of them are willing to make exceptions for Christians.
Dehumanization on Parade
The first time I saw this in action was in March 2012, when I co-led a group of Christians attending the atheist “Reason Rally” in Washington. Misnamed from the beginning, it was really an anti-religion rally, which puts it in the same ideological camp as progressivism today.
We were there to hand out water and a leaflet I’d written, and to try to engage people in dialogue. A friend and I ran into one of the more prominent “new atheist” leaders of the day, P. Z. Myers. He asked us how folks were treating us there. “We’re enjoying our time well enough,” we told him, “in spite of the fact a lot of people feel very free to ridicule us here.” He answered in all seriousness, “They should ridicule you.”
Myers has been a contributor to The Humanist, the magazine representing the American Humanist Association, “Guided by reason, inspired by compassion, and informed by experience.” Go figure.
There were signs on parade there, proclaiming “Religion: Because thinking is hard.” “Not sure if Christian or just very stupid.” There were other messages considerably less humane than that — and also much too rude to quote here. The American Humanist Association endorsed them anyway. Is there any way to explain that, other than their not really counting Christians as human?
On Not Returning the Favor
I wouldn’t want to imply that all atheists or secularists are like this; I assume the best until proven otherwise. Just the other day I met someone who quickly declared himself as atheist. We launched into a great conversation, probably ten minutes or more until he had to leave. But we decided to continue it over lunch next week.
Neither of us made the dehumanizing move I’ve been been describing here. It was a genuine human connection — even if he did send me a message via Facebook later that day, telling me he thought I was “gullible,” and, “because you want Jesus to be real, to you he is.”
I can handle that. I simply answered, “You don’t know me real well if that’s what you think.” He replied, “Touché, but I would like to know and understand you.”
I enjoy these human interactions. I’ll do everything I can to find them and to promote them. How else will secularists and progressives find out we’re not the sub-human morons they take us to be?
Get Ready for It
But we’ve got to gear up — especially for people like Rep. Sims, who have no interest in treating these Christians as fully human.
And it really should come as no surprise to us, says the Bible, in 1 Peter 4:12-13. They hate Jesus without reason; why should His followers expect any different? Jesus explained all that in John 15:18-25, then immediately repeated his promise that the Holy Spirit could come to Jesus known, and help us do the same (John 15:26-27).
More and more in today’s world, that’s going to require us knowing our faith very well. More and more we’ll need to be able to explain why we believe, in love, with every person no matter what. They don’t have to treat us as human. Some of them certainly won’t. But we dare not forget that God created us all in His image, all fully human — from the tiniest unborn baby in all his or her innocence, to the most devoted opponent to Jesus Christ.
Tom Gilson is a senior editor with The Stream, and the author of A Christian Mind: Thoughts on Life and Truth in Jesus Christ. Follow him on Twitter: @TomGilsonAuthor.