But the point of this exercise isn’t to pit the unjust treatment of religious traditionalists against the unjust treatment of gays (or vice versa) and to decide who has it worse. Nor is it to assert equivalence between the abuses each group has faced. Readers may disagree about that calculus—but that doesn’t matter here.

What everyone ought to be able to understand is why some members of both groups feel under siege—and why members of both groups understandably don’t always empathize with one another. It is due to the fact that there is no such thing as a fully shared American culture: Life here is an amalgam of lots of subcultures that only partially overlap. People pay disproportionate attention to what affects them personally.

Americans receive different upbringings in different families of different faiths, while living in different neighborhoods of different cities in different regions, and are then thrown onto the same social-media platforms. These platforms afford an illusion of a single culture, as if public controversies are grounded in common experiences and assumptions. But Americans have never understood one another.