When Anti-Gay Rights Crusaders Become Defeated Bullies

The ascendance of same-sex marriage in the United States has been unusually rapid, and conservative intellectuals have kept pace by accelerating their tour through the stages of grief. At present, many are taking bargaining, depression, and acceptance in a single bound, which is unhealthy, as it never gives the conservative intellectual time to situate him or herself historically, or to think of anyone other than those within their clique.

The most prominent of these voices belongs to New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, whose writing has lately been very concerned with the wellbeing of conservative Christians in post-traditional-marriage America. Douthat worries that conservatives will be treated shabbily in this new world, and he’s contributed to the discussion of how-soon-is-too-soon to start calling it all persecution. To his credit, Douthat is more circumspect than much of his party on this question, but that hasn’t kept the ominous tone from coloring his writing.

Eric C. Miller is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. He has a BA in English from the University of Pittsburgh, an MA in English from the University of Maine, and a PhD in Rhetorical Studies from Penn State University. A regular contributor at Religion Dispatches, his research area sits amid religious rhetoric and public advocacy.

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