Recently the movie actor Chris Pratt and a few other celebrities have received criticism—including by a columnist in the Washington Post—for attending evangelical churches that, while openly welcoming all comers, do not “affirm” gay marriage and homosexuality. Even though these churches avoid culture-war issues, and are generally silent on the topic of gay marriage, they are still called out for censure by such self-appointed “cultural gatekeepers,” as David French describes them. He explores the implications of this latest example of intolerance toward religion, which could easily affect many Jews and Muslims as well as Christians:
[A] core tenet of pluralism is the notion that people of diametrically opposed belief systems can live and work side by side so long as they treat each other with dignity and respect. I’ve spent my entire career working with people who believe that my religious beliefs are wrong, that my stance on sexual morality is wrong, and that my political judgments are deeply misguided. Yet even in the case of profound disagreement, it is easy to treat people well. It is easy to treat people fairly.
Conversely, it is the height of intolerance to believe that it is somehow problematic—absent any evidence of mistreatment on the job or on-set—that a person disagrees with you on matters of faith. And if it is an obligation for colleagues to go beyond “welcoming” each other to “affirming” each other’s deepest beliefs, where is the affirmation [owed to] faithful Christians? . . .
When I interviewed many years ago for an Ivy League teaching position, I was asked, “As a Christian, how can you teach LGBT students?” I wonder how many prospective [homosexual] professors were asked, “As a gay professor, how can you teach Christian students?” For me, the answer is clear. I teach (and taught) gay students the same way I taught any other student. As a Christian, I believe every human being is created in the image of God and is therefore worthy of being treated kindly and fairly. Disagreement is not disrespect. . .
[W]e cannot exist as a pluralistic and diverse society if the price of admission to any American industry is the abandonment of religious faith to conform to the demands of the intolerant.