what does “public christian” mean?

hilzoy at Obsidian Wings has a decent rebuttal to the idea that if sexuality becomes constitutionally protected, that Christians will lose their rights to be public Christians. The claim, made by Rod Dreher, is that speaking out against homosexuality in public will lead to being charged with creating a hostile work environment and then losing your job. hilzoy points out that this is only the case if you’re speaking out against homosexuality at work, and you still have every right to argue against the unholy sins of the gays in public forums.

It seems here’s another case of this overdetermined little word “public” causing a problem. Is speech at work public? Doesn’t it depend on the job? Arendt’s view is that the world of work isn’t the public world, where we engage in rational discourse (as I understand her). I don’t quite buy the distinct demarcation Arendt sets up (nor the emphasis on the rational). The workplace isn’t quite private, either ā€” at least not in the intimate ways in which we view privacy. The whole little dichotomy falls apart. Of course, I think you should get fired if you’re creating a hostile work environment for others ā€” perhaps reprimanded first and then fired if it continues. All situational.

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One Response to what does “public christian” mean?

  1. Ira Socol says:

    The right to be actively hostile to the rights of others is as fascinating as the notion of creating “constitutional amendments” which strip rights from others. I find this argument so confusing because it is made by the same people who quite clearly deny the rights of some to be “public atheists” (for example, when we speak of Christian holiday celebrations in government controlled spaces).

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