22 June 2016

Enough is enough

The aftermath of the Orlando massacre, probably the deadliest religious/homophobic hate crime in US history, has played out in predictable fashion.  The enemy has been doubling down in various ways, while much of the liberal blogosphere has been screaming GUNS GUNS GUNS so loudly and single-mindedly that people of the actual targeted community who want to talk about the actual problem are having difficulty making themselves heard.  They will be heard, nevertheless.

The enemy's reactions fall into two main categories.  The first, which one must recognize as the more honest, is to reassert and hold high the clear position of the Bible on homosexuality.  You can see a sampling of such viewpoints here and here, though there have been plenty more.

The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. The tragedy is -- I’m kind of upset that he didn’t finish the job!

Faggots getting shot is perfectly right and good. God be praised for #OrlandoShooting.

Those Orlando fags are in hell. Soon you will be too. Praise God for his righteous judgements in this Earth.

Et cetera.  Such statements reflect the spirit of Leviticus 20:13 and the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.  The fact that they shock many people today shows how far the secularized West has moved away from Biblical Christianity.

The second reaction is one I've mostly seen in passing in comments on right-wing forums, but is expressed in detail in Scott Lively's essay discussed here.  The gist of it is that the less-murderous forms of homophobia promoted by most fundamentalist Christians -- denouncing homosexuality as a sin, wanting to "cure" it by prayer or "therapy", and the many forms of ostracism and denigration and discrimination promoted via "religious freedom" bills and other laws targeting gays -- should be accepted and embraced since they are, after all, not as bad as actually killing gays as the Islamists do.

By this kind of argument, the Holocaust should have legitimized and justified lesser forms of anti-Semitism, since those who wanted to subject Jews to lesser abuses than the gas chambers could similarly have pointed out that their bigotry was different in character from Hitler's; blacks, too, should have accepted and embraced the oppression of the Jim Crow era since it was not as bad as slavery.  The idea that a group should simply accept certain forms of abuse against itself, because other forms of abuse which others want to inflict would be even worse, is one that can be made only from a position of utterly oblivious privilege.  It seems to be the default Christianist response to Orlando, though.

The massacre seems, however, to have galvanized thoughtful LGBT people in just the opposite direction -- toward realizing that bigotry must no longer get a free pass and be treated as legitimate just because it is based on holy books.  For example:

-- I think we really need to reaffirm now that no amount of homophobia can be acceptable in our culture. There is no such thi[ng] as harmless or victimless homophobia. All homophobia contributes to violence against us. You can not “disagree” with lgbt people’s “lifestyles” without supporting the rhetoric and legislation that puts us in very real danger.

-- this is religious discrimination. Christians are not inherently “homophobic” but our faith requires us (if we take it seriously) to disagree with the belief that homosexual behaviors are in any way beneficial to a person or to a society.....

-- If you think that being LGBT+ is “harmful” to a person o[r] to society, then YOU are harmful to us. If your interpretation of your faith requires you to believe that, then your interpretation of your faith is harmful to us.

There is a longer response here, and the point is set forth in plain language here, and even more bluntly here.  This, I think, is what will ultimately prove the most lasting and meaningful consequence of Orlando.  If the massacre finally inspires American society to view polite, Bible-based homophobia with the same revulsion and ostracism that racism and anti-Semitism already inspire, and to stop seeing it as a respectable or socially-acceptable attitude, then that will be the best possible monument to the victims.


Anonymous NickM said...

First off. Your final sentence is spot-on. Much better than any statue.

I'm going to nuanced here. Yes I think - up to a point - it is OK to disagree with someone's lifestyle. But LGBT folk are not a threat to society unless you perceive it as such in which case you are wrong but we have a right to be wrong ;-) As to the idea (expressed in your quotes) that homosexuals are evil in and of themselves. I believe in freedom. I am straight and eat meat. My wife is bi and a vegan. It doesn't mean either of us is going to take an axe to each other. Trying to change such fundamentals about any individual is wrong, stupid and rarely works.

22 June, 2016 05:40  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Nick: The problem is that when fundies in the US use expressions like "it is OK to disagree with someone's lifestyle", what they actually mean is that they want to be able to proclaim flagrantly bigoted views, and even try to enact them into law, and remain socially acceptable and have those views respected. It's like saying "it is OK to disagree with black people being allowed to ride in the front of the bus". Yes, in the sense that people should not be censored from expressing such views (and I've always made it clear that free speech must be defended for all points of view). But society as a whole needs to stop treating this form of bigotry as more respectable than racism or anti-Semitism. It, like those, should be an embarrassing mark of the knuckle-dragging troglodyte.

22 June, 2016 05:58  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

The part where you talk about how we let abuse be acceptable as long as it's a lesser form of abuse, sums it up to as far as some our our thinking, it's no different than the popular lesser of 2 evil rubbish ... I cant understand it, but there seems to be some kind of subconscious masochistic subculture among many of us here in the U.S., I mean, we seem to love our abuse and alwayz wanting more (but not in the fun fetish sex sense) ... I dont know what in Hell it is Infidel, since I never felt this way, to me it's pathetic, what are we becoming in our thinking and acceptance of this garbage? The other day here in Dallas, hundreds got together in our Oak Lawn district (LGBT community) and listening to them, they were furious over this crap, they said they are going to arm themselves, plain and simple ... and they are sick of the shit. Of course this angers others in America when people talk about arming and defending themselves, because they look at it as 'advocating violence' and using guns, most people think that we ought to just hold hands and forgive these parasites and sing songs of love ... of course I disagree. When you have one of these fundi freaks like this character that shot up the Pulse ... you can bet, that the minute they are unable to buy any guns .... they will come up with a hundred others wayz to kill off large numbers of people that dont meet up to their standards or religion. Enough from me Infidel, thanx for the read.

22 June, 2016 07:51  
Blogger Green Eagle said...

"... is one that can be made only from a position of utterly oblivious privilege."

It can also be made from a position of just not giving a God damn about the welfare of anyone else, if it stands in the way of what you want.

22 June, 2016 10:57  
Anonymous NickM said...

Oh, I know. In the UK it certainly is the mark of the troglodyte - not universally but increasingly so. But you can't prosecute for being ignorant and vile. What you do do is show your defiance at such attitudes and when a hate crime such as a homphobic murder occurs prosecute with the utmost vigour.

Society is changing (at least in the UK) but these are generational shifts (as was feminism for example) and they take time. I don't believe laws actually hurry these things much or at all (sometimes they retard them). I believe in individual mass-action like a river. I guess I'm saying that it's OK for businesses to not serve individuals (or more likely just make them feel very unwelcome) on the basis of true or perceived sexuality (or whatever) but then you don't use their goods or services whether you are personally of the hated group or not.

Remember George W Bush started his campaign at Bob Jones University which banned inter-racial dating!!! Well, just for that I wouldn't have voted for him even if I agreed with him on everything in his manifesto. It really does take individuals to do sometimes mundane and sometimes courageous things. And that is why Rosa Parks is rightly honoured.

22 June, 2016 17:44  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ranch: they were furious over this crap, they said they are going to arm themselves, plain and simple ... and they are sick of the shit.

There is a lot of that now. The Pink Pistols (I was a little surprised they're still around!) has seen membership quadruple since the attack. I'm reminded of Harriet Tubman, who was a strong advocate of blacks arming themselves.

Green: That's another way of looking at it. They're certainly uninterested in how things appear from anyone else's viewpoint.

Nick: I guess I'm saying that it's OK for businesses to not serve individuals

No, absolutely not, if it's a business open to the general public. The precedents set during the Civil Rights era make it unthinkable to tolerate that here. The rest of what you said is pretty much along the lines of what I said.

22 June, 2016 19:02  

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