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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.


Sep. 6th, 2012 03:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Butthurt? Not so much.
Try reading about how Christians are apt to be received on the left. I don't know about disgust and horror, but they do seem to face a lot of reflexive distrust.
Sep. 6th, 2012 03:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Butthurt? Not so much.
I know how Christians are received on the left - "reflective distrust" is a good descriptor, as is "mild skepticism" or "bemusement," or even "a slight degree of condescension." I don't think it nearly falls to the level of "disgust and horror," even among my exceptionally lefty friends. (Some of whom, I feel compelled to add, are Christian themselves. Or Unitarian, which is similar.)
Sep. 6th, 2012 05:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Butthurt? Not so much.
Last night's DNC prime-time session headlined a 15 minute speech by a nun, talking about the obligations of her faith. And Elizabeth Warren's blockbuster speech, the same night, wrapped up with a citation from Matthew chapter 25. Liberals aren't reflexively distrustful of Christians. They're reflexively distrustful of the so-called "religious right," of self-proclaimed Christians who claim Christian moral authority while standing in direct opposition to just about everything the Bible actually says, of people who act as if the 13th Beatitude was "thou shalt vote Republican."
Sep. 6th, 2012 07:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Butthurt? Not so much.
Anybody who cites 'freedom of religion' as an excuse to take control of my uterus needs some education on the nouns in that particular phrase. That's kind of a big concept getting a lot of play these days----Xtians wanting to claim their rights are being abused when they're not allowed to force their values down other peoples' throats----or up their vaginas.
Sep. 8th, 2012 03:48 am (UTC)
Re: Butthurt? Not so much.
But the panel in question does not have anything to do with "Xtians" claiming their rights are being abused when they're not allowed to force their values down other people's throats.

As stated above, the people who are both christian and SF/F fans tend to be the ones who actually believe in science, respect others regardless of religious affiliiation or lack thereof, and aren't trying to shove anything in, on, or up someone else's vagina. (Except for maybe that drunk guy pushing up on the hot lady in the skimpy costume, but I digress.)

For example, me. I'm certainly not interested in making choices for other people with regard to their own personal health care and I actively support things like marriage equality, teaching science in schools, freedom of religion (all religions), and everyone's right to choose.

I welcome the chance to have a conversation with people who have experienced real, horrifying, and damaging discrimination and persecution in the mundane world as a result of their faith (or lack thereof), and have a discussion about it. I realize that my "papercut" of being treated poorly by my fellow fans when they find out that I'm "Xtian" is nothing compared to the stab in the back, disemboweling, and broken arms (metaphorically speaking) that my fellow fans have experienced, but getting that papercut gives me and other people who are privileged a chance to understand, sympathize, and *do something* about inequality.

Do not assume that all "Xtians" are trying to foul the waters, any more than you should assume that all Muslims are terrorists, or all Star Trek fans live in their parents' basements.
Sep. 8th, 2012 04:54 am (UTC)
Re: Butthurt? Not so much.
You're assuming I'm assuming. I'm speaking from experience. In case you haven't been keeping up on current Xtians are attacking womens' rights and health on every front. Oh, and your cutesy use of quotes was noted: until they start acting in a fashion Jesus himself would recognize they can stuff it as far as I'm concerned.

It's notable that Xtians spend more time complaining that they're not all bad when they could be fighting actual injustice. If you don't do anything to police the excesses of your own group-----one of the most powerful and despicable in this country and many others-----then it's merely chickens coming home to roost.

If the primary method of identifying Xtians were by their good works and waging war on injustice instead of by their whining that they're not all bad then this conversation would not be necessary. The fact is, they dominate politics and discourse and womens' rights. They can claim their religious freedom is being violated if they can't refuse to do their jobs when it comes to giving women medication. This is now law in several states. Exactly what other group is catered to to that degree? None.
Sep. 8th, 2012 05:42 am (UTC)
Re: Butthurt? Not so much.
You may feel free to continue this conversation with me off this thread through LJ messages. I will be happy to prove to you that I fight the good fight if it will soothe your rage and help the two of us come to any kind of understanding.
Sep. 10th, 2012 07:45 am (UTC)
Re: Butthurt? Not so much.
Why would I want to entertain your feinting and dodging in private? You protest that you don't do it, but you're not the subject here. Also, seeing as you chose to express your hyperbole with the word 'rage'----when I have not used so much as an exclamation point----is not the kind of tactic that endears you to anybody.
Sep. 10th, 2012 09:53 am (UTC)
Re: Butthurt? Not so much.
Actually, if this is going to get personal, if tempers are flaring, taking it off-forum by going to private messages or dropping the subject may be the better course.
Sep. 7th, 2012 04:34 am (UTC)
Re: Butthurt? Not so much.
Here! Here! (or is it Hear! Hear!?)
Sep. 7th, 2012 06:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Butthurt? Not so much.
I probably should have specified rather further left.

Also, there may be a shift-- I think progressive Christians advocating for themselves (hey! we exist! fundamentalists aren't the only Christians!) could have made a difference, combined with appearing to be religious (from a short list of religions) has been steadily becoming more obligatory in American politics.
Sep. 6th, 2012 09:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Butthurt? Not so much.
Well, of course they face reflexive distrust. They've dedicated their lives to a phantasm that only they can sense and which is infinitely more important (to them) than anything here in the real world; meaning that, at any instant, they might, for reasons only they can sense, completely change their minds about everything we thought they agreed with us on. How can you really rely on anybody like that?