SAN FRANCISCO (Christian Examiner) – Fresh off the news that students in an Oregon community college were told to stand up and announce their Christian faith before they were shot to death, an atheist, transgender advocate with SPARTA, an organization seeking to remove the stigma of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders serving openly in the military, has published a manifesto on how Christians who believe the Bible is true are killing Christianity itself.
In the editorial, published on Huffington Post's Gay Voices page, Brynn Tannehill claims millennials are leaving conservative denominations in droves because they have become "increasingly insular" and preach "to an echo chamber."
"As an atheist and as a LGBT advocate, this seems like a good thing. The faster conservative religion is overwhelmingly seen as mean, crazy, violent, hateful, misogynistic and anti-science, the faster we as a society can move on. I'd rather America looked more like somewhere people want to live, than someplace that generates political and religious refugees," wrote Tannehill, a former U.S. Navy officer who surgically transitioned from a man to a "woman."
According to Tannehill, Christianity – as he perceives it from the outside – is becoming culturally irrelevant because it is still fighting battles it has lost, such as the overturn of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy or the fight to allow Rowan County, Kentucky, Clerk Kim Davis to deny the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
"Even the Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation have moved on," Tannehill wrote. "Nothing says: 'We're not relevant,' like the culture war equivalent of giving CPR to a hamburger."
As an atheist and as a LGBT advocate, this seems like a good thing. The faster conservative religion is overwhelmingly seen as mean, crazy, violent, hateful, misogynistic and anti-science, the faster we as a society can move on. I'd rather America looked more like somewhere people want to live, than someplace that generates political and religious refugees.
Tannehill also alleges Christians are guilty of deciding who is Christian when they exclude gays, lesbians and transgenders from their congregations. He also claims Christians treat women "like cattle" and reject science.
"They're cool with treating bronze-age anecdotes as immutable laws of science though," Tannehill wrote. "The rest of us look at them and wonder how humanity ever evolved past squatting in a ditch or poking berries up our noses."
Tannehill lodges other charges against Christians as a whole, including hypocrisy with respect to sexual ethics and "telling people freedom of religion is only for Christians."
The most space in the column, however, is reserved for Tannehill's rebuke of Christians who wish to share their faith with those around them. He wrote that witnessing to a LGBT person is the equivalent of "pestering" them by letting them know "how much they are going to hell if they don't stop being gay." Christians should, he wrote, just keep their mouths closed and their faith to themselves.
"As if LGBT people haven't been told this their entire lives, and forgot the first thousand times. It's also become a form of trolling. Evangelicals and even Mormons have complained that they're not allowed to do this sort of thing at work, to co-workers, employees and kids at school. When they are prevented from doing this, it rapidly devolves into a Monty Python sketch about being repressed," Tannehill wrote.
"Imagine for a second, though, if a coworker decided a woman in the office was too heavy. Every day he would remind her that fat people are ugly and disliked, that their lifestyle is unhealthy. He proceeds to leave weight watchers coupons and books about dieting all over her work area. When told that this behavior is unacceptable, he responds that he is only telling his co-worker she is disgusting and unlovable as long as she chooses an unhealthy lifestyle because he wants what's best for her. This is clearly horrendous behavior, but when they sprinkle some religious pixie dust on it, we are suddenly expected to see it as a noble expression of First Amendment rights."
Tannehill's article was followed by more than 500 comments lampooning conservative, Bible-believing Christians "wolves in sheep's clothing" and "the American ISIS."
"They are far more dangerous to freedom and liberty in America that ISIS will ever be," one person wrote.