In the last issue of The Standard, an opinion piece intended as satire was printed. This piece presented an offensive argument concerning the upcoming Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity recall vote on April 7 in Springfield. Particularly, the author shifted a civil conversation about a serious topic, turning it into a critique of Christians, claiming that Christians hate the LGBTQ community.
After the article was printed, the conversation continued on Twitter, where the author indicated that those Christians who were offended were being martyrs and that his satire was justified because of the “hate” Christians have toward the LGBTQ community. That even though he poked fun at Christians, he still selectively loved progressive Christians. Not responding to both the hateful column and the comments that followed online would allow incivility to occur and the voice of Christians to become suppressed. Thus, I’d like to start a civil discussion.
First, genuine Christians do not hate the LGBTQ community. Unlike the posts coming from the author, indicating that he only “respected progressive Christians,” Christians are taught to love all people — not just selectively love and respect those who agree with their beliefs. They are not called by God to both judge and marginalize. Rather, they are called first to love all people, regardless of their lifestyle, and to serve God. As a Christian, I may not agree with everyone’s lifestyle, yet I don’t expect everyone to agree with mine. However, in order to live in an America where freedom, prosperity and civil society flourish, we all need to be able to be respectful and to not be hateful toward each other. Adopting hateful rhetoric and using hateful stereotypes is a poor strategy for a campaign that claims to be against hate.
Secondly, hyperbolic satire does not invoke actual reason and makes for weak argumentation. When one uses an overtly emotional appeal to stir hate, his or her argument shifts into an intrinsically insulting message. Sure, it can be said that the column was persuasive, but in an inaccurate, offensive and hateful manner. Question One is not a light-hearted topic and it should not be made into a mockery. The satiric column’s author has turned the civic discussion of LGBTQ equality and public policy into a roast of Christians. My rhetoric professor, Elizabeth Dudash-Buskirk, said it best, “When satire is polemic, it’s no longer political or an argument. It becomes hate.” Do the citizens who are dedicated to both diversity and inclusion consider that author’s column to be inclusive? I think not.
My last point is to call for the entire community to engage in civil discourse regarding this topic. I ask you to consider both sides, read the bill, talk to your friends, talk to your family, do some research and come up with your own decision concerning your vote. Last week in The Standard, the attempt at making an argument for one side attempted to cease the conversation by using name-calling, making light of valuable political conversation and attacking one community with hopes that it will relieve tension on another community. This is not only unprofessional, unproductive and immature, but it is not held to the standards that our university has poured into our lives. Missouri State University is dedicated both to public affairs and creating educated persons. Let’s start having conversations now about important issues rather than turning to insulting tactics.