by Doctor Science
Legal and social barriers to same-sex marriage equality in the US are crumbling with startling speed, faster than anyone predicted 20 years ago, or even 5. Catholics Andrew Sullivan and Ross Douthat, and Eastern Orthodox (former Baptist, former Catholic) Rod Dreher have been having a conversation about how the losing side should act, and how they should expect to be treated. Dreher, in particular, feels that conservatives (or "trads") in certain professions (law, the media, entertainment) face significant social stigma for their religiously-motivated attitudes, and that in time there may be legal constraints on them for their beliefs.
What Dreher is afraid of is the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule looks like really simple, even milquetoasty, kindergarten-level morality: "Do as you would be done by". But it is also a threat, especially to people who have been in positions of power or privilege and then lose them.
If you've treated people badly, if you've scorned, despised, and harassed them, then you've laid down a precedent about how you "would be done by". If the tables turn, why should expect anything other than your own medicine?
All the participants in this conversation admit that religious groups have, in the past, treated non-straight people really badly, to a degree that it is right to call "persecution". Dreher says:
Losing privilege is not the same as persecution, of course, but neither is gaining privilege a guarantee that you will be fair to the losers. And though it is right that those on the losing side of a culture war should try to be proportionate in their response to defeat, it is unfair and unrealistic to expect them to accept without protest whatever terms that the victors may impose on them.What he doesn't want to notice is that active persecution would be "fair", in the sense of the Golden Rule.
The trouble with this sort of eye-for-an-eye fairness, of course, is that you end up with the whole world blind. The victors have to be merciful, to treat the losers better than they themselves were treated when they were on the downside -- to set up a situation where the Golden Rule means we all learn to respect each other, whether we deserve it or not.
But just because we respect each other doesn't mean we need to respect every *behavior*. As Henry Farrell points out,
Bigotry derived from religious principles is still bigotry.Indeed, John Holbo pointed out in the comments there that the word "bigot" originally meant a religious hypocrite, so you might say that religious bigotry is the most authentic kind.