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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Silence Equals Death

David Mixner:
Not since Matthew Shepard was crucified on a fence in Wyoming has there been such a brutal hate crime as the recent one in Puerto Rico. Young, handsome and vibrant [Jorge] Steven Lopez Mercado was vicious killed, decapitated, dismembered, set afire and left like garbage along a road.  He was only 19 years old and from family reports was one of the most kind, thoughtful and humorous teenagers around. Sunday, thousands around the country held vigils in his memory determined that this not just be one more horrific hate crime chalked up on some cold statistic chart. . . .

As established institutions such as the Catholic and Morman churches have escalated their rhetoric and actions in order to stop civil marriage equality, their words have fallen on disturbed minds. When careless words are thrown around in order to prove a personal religious viewpoint, they have consequences. . . .

Of course they will throw up their hands and proclaim loudly that their spiteful words had no impact on the increase in particularly brutal hate crimes. After all, they love the sinner but hate the sin. Gandhi said that we have to measure our words as much as our actions. . . .

Equally disturbing is the lack of outrage from the straight community. Where is the Conference of Catholic Bishops condemning the death of this young teenager in Puerto Rico? Where are the Cardinals and Bishops as more and more young die horrible deaths because of hate? Where are the Mormans at the vigils in honor of young Mercado? Where are they? Where is their leadership? After all, if they have no responsibility for the deaths, then they certainly have the responsibility to speak out against such outrages.

Just in case those religious leaders who are forceful in their words against marriage equality didn't know, silence equals death and more death and more death.
What I say:  If you take your Bible straight out of the bottle, the inescapable conclusion from Leviticus and the Pauline letters is that gay people have no right to exist.  The plain meaning of the words cannot be any clearer:  "they shall be put to death"  . . .  "they will not inherit the Kingdom of God." 
Just trash.  Disposable.  Forgettable. 

No matter how kind,  how good, how talented, how intelligent, how selfless they might be.  None of that counts, none of that matters.  They are still just the turds of the human race.  So the Bible says.
Sullivan quotes some blogger whose ideas ultimately come from the same place:  gay unions are "a relationship based upon a sexual act which can never rise above entertainment."  Notice how that statement denies us any share whatsoever in humanity:  all our lives and all our works and all our loves are boiled down, reduced to mere sex; and that sex is worth less to the world than a dog's.
Now I know some of my gay brothers and sisters have found ingenious ways to interpret the Scriptures in a gay-friendly way - and God knows, like Jacob with the angel, I wrestled and struggled a long, long time with all that myself.  But lexicons and grammars and creative etymology aside, there is not the slightest bit of evidence that down through all the long centuries of belief, the Jewish or the Christian communities ever once granted gay people any breathing room, a place to stand, a miniscule hope of approval or tolerance, let alone acceptance. 
Until the modern gay rights movement began forty years ago, we have always been on the taboo list.  But Jews and Christians alike have, over the last century or so, found ways to reconcile their faith with the idea that women are not mere appendages and subordinates to men; also, with scientific discoveries about the creation and operation of the universe; and also, with the equal rights and dignity of non-white, non-European peoples.
And certainly, the Scriptural taboos against premarital sex and divorce, as well as some churches' teachings about contraception and abortion, straight people have merrily discarded or ignore at will.  If you brought the Scriptural prohibitions up to them on these matters, they would laugh and say, Oh well, after all, you can't expect us modern-day people to live according to those outdated, antiquated rules.  Hmm, how very convenient their thinking is, when it suits their purpose.  They ignore or reinterpret the Bible just as they please.
So they can damn well drop all the bullshit preaching against gay people too.  We have a life to live, and a right to live, just as much as any other human beings on this planet.  There is nothing intrinsically evil about loving the same sex; it's just one more happy variation of human existence, a very natural and normal part of the glorious multiform variety of life:  as much so as all the different kinds and colors of flowers, trees, and animals.

And yet those horrible, life-denying scriptures and sermons create, have long created, a poisonous atmosphere and prejudice against us:  when it all trickles down into the minds of the ignorant and violent, it literally kills us.
No more.  I used to think, Well I have to respect someone else's sincere religious convictions.  No.  Gays are hanged in places like Iran, or hunted down by gangs to be tortured to death in the most gruesome ways:  all of which is based on sincere religious convictions.  Punks and thugs who bash and murder gays in the West may not be consciously religious - but their hatred and viciousness is a direct outgrowth of the churches' antagonism towards us all these many centuries.
When Europeans began to colonize the New World, the native populations were hunted down, slaughtered, or stripped of their wealth and culture, turned into slaves and serfs, all in the name of God; "Holy" popes and "Most Christian" kings directed, authorized, and approved all that.  In the English colonies, the Church of England and others were very, very late coming to the anti-slavery side; by their silence and tacit approval, they encouraged the enormous misery of the slave trade for a couple of centuries. 
Until finally some decent-minded church people - not the leadership, oh no - of good conscience and clear vision stood up and said, No more.  This is wrong.  All men are brothers.  Nobody should be treated this way.  Enough.
Now, in our time, is the moment to say about gays and all the other "queer," unwanted, untolerated folk:  Enough.  No more hate.  No more death.  No more silence.
Nobody gets a pass anymore on the excuse, Oh well that's my belief, that's what I was taught, that's how I was raised.
Churches in the Southern United States with few exceptions actively supported slavery and preached in favor of it until the Civil War finally settled the matter for good.  Bible-believing Christians all over the South in my childhood stood on Scripture in their defense of segregation, with many solid arguments taken right out of the Bible.  But that kind of thinking, even if it were built on a mountain of Bibles, is simply no longer respected, no longer accepted, by any decent-minded person.  No more so than the idea that the world is flat. 

Granny may have waved her fan and harrumphed and heaved her lace-covered bosom over the idea that the "niggers" were going to the same Heaven she was so sure of entering.  But no matter how pious and proud and prayerful Granny was, she was just dead fucking wrong on the subject.
And so are the hateful homophobes running some churches today, about the gay thing.  You buddy boys were wrong about the blacks, you were wrong about women, you were wrong about native Americans - and you are so damn wrong about the gays. 
And if there is a God, you will stand in judgment for all the death and destruction and hate you've caused, if you don't sincerely repent.  You want me to quote you chapter and verse on that?

And even if there is no God, who the fuck are you to rain on my parade, piss on my life, deny me the same liberty and happiness you enjoy?  Fuck you, and your nasty little handpuppet-god too. 

The greatest sin is to look another human being in the face and say, "You are not human, you are no part of me, you have no right to exist."  Those who do - in the name of God - are drawing damnation down upon themselves, and nobody else.

"With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."  "What you have done to the least of these my brothers, you have done to Me."  "Judge not, that ye be not judged."

What goes around, comes around.


Stan said...

This is one reason amoung many why I absolutely abhor all religions.

Ultra Dave said...

Spot on Russ! Very well put!

David said...

The god I believe in requests of us only kindness, and abhors only one thing, that being used as a weapon to subdue others.

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