September 6th, 2012

Brad @ Burning Man

Christian SF Fans: This is Why I Don't Respect Your Butthurt

I somewhat regret that Chicon 7 scheduled the panel "A Reversal of Minorities" (description: "Outside of fandom, Christianity is the majority religion, inside of fandom; it often feels like a persecuted minority. A look at why some people who would lambaste religious persecution in daily life feel it is okay to unload on Christianity within the confines of a convention") opposite the Hugo Awards. Had it not, I would have shown up, waited until they opened the panel to questions and comments from the room, waited my turn, and said, "Welcome to normal life for everybody else. Excuse me for not being sorry that this is one place in western world where you don't enjoy privilege." And then I would have set back down.

I mentioned this to many people at Worldcon, and nobody I met disputed my nickname for it: "the butthurt panel." For those of you who are unfamiliar with this particular bit of Internet (mostly gamer) slang, "butthurt" is when somebody who has received some trivial or minor injury or insult insists on monopolizing the conversation, insists on constantly steering all conversations back to how much they hurt, insists that their trivial inconvenience or insult or injury was as serious and painful as (say, for example) anal rape.

I've spent a lot of time in science fiction fandom; been part of science fiction clubs off and on since 1973, been attending conventions since 1981. In that whole time, I have never once seen a Christian refused service. I have never seen a Christian refused an employment opportunity or a volunteer opportunity. I have seen every club and convention that was asked to do make generous accommodations to any religious need the Christians asserted, and seen every request for a panel discussion topic they submitted added to the schedule. What horrific injuries and insults do they demand be taken as seriously as if they were being anally raped by science fiction fandom?

People are not always sufficiently deferential to their invisible friend(s). Sometimes they even mock him. And when they make scientific claims that are indefensible, like Creationism, they are critiqued; when they do not take the critique of their scientific claims politely, it opens them up to mockery.

Flow my tears.

Today, in violation of the convention rule requiring a 2/3rds majority, the leaders of the Democratic National Convention over-rode the platform committee and reverted the language of the party's "equal opportunity" clause. Here are the old and the new language, emphasis added to point out the "controversial" and "un-American" phrase that was going to cause so much Christian butthurt that DNC leaders were afraid it might cost the President his re-election (despite election forecasts saying that he has it in the bag):

2008 platform, adopted: "We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential."

2012 platform, committee version: "... in America, hard work should pay off, responsibility should be rewarded, and each one of us should be able to go as far as our talent and drive take us."
What?!?!? There is even one political party where even some of the members believe that their talent and drive came from no god, or from many gods? That's oppressing Christians! They have to change that, or else people will be allowed to doubt that Christians' invisible friend was the source of their success! If we allow that, we might as well shovel Christians into fiery furnaces, because that's such an intolerable attack, it's as bad as if we were killing them!

No, it's not. Even if you don't agree, this is the privilege that you benefit from -- nobody can mock your beliefs, nobody can even express respectful doubt about your beliefs, nobody can even express a willingness to let other people consider doubts about your beliefs in their own private minds, without coming under attack. For crying out loud: the "objectionable" language doesn't even deny that God gives people their talents and drive; it merely permits people to believe otherwise. Thank God you won't be exposed to that threat any more!

And you can be absolutely confident that unless you go to a scientific conference, a science fiction convention, or a skeptics meeting (or a religious service for non-theists or polytheists) your freedom from having doubt expressed in your presence will be protected, while you will be absolutely free to express your confidence in the supremacy of your beliefs without any censure. And you and your co-religionists think the part of that that's awful is that those non-Christian-privileged places exist?

Sit down. And shut up.