Friday, November 14, 2008

More Gobbledygook God-Talk

Along with our fabulist friends at American Descent, I am taking a renewed interest in Neil's House of Horrors. I can almost hear Alan now; "Why, oh, why?" First, because some of the things he says are directly relevant, in a twisted, irrational way, to some of our national conversations. Up until fairly recently, the smug, self-righteous, triumphalist tone and position of Neil and others like him seemed to be the sole face of Christianity. A dangerous face, indeed; bereft of institutional memory, of any consideration for the wide variety of belief and practice that has been called Christian down the millennia, a refusal to humbly consider the limitations even of Scripture in conveying the Divine Reality - these are hallmarks not just of a certain kind of fundamentalism and fundamentalist; they are the danger signs we should all be aware of. Once ideas and words become more important than actual facts and real human beings; once it becomes necessary for some individual to appoint him- or herslf the sole arbiter of who is and who is not a Christian (no doubt you have already surmised that, for Neil, I am in the "not" column) we are dealing with one for whom the love of God incarnate in Jesus Christ just does not hold value; it is about either being in or out. Period. Making sure those who are out stay out, or at least understand their outness is far more important than listening, than loving, or badgering.

One of Neil's favorite ploys is to insist that he does not hate gays. With a dedication to logic that surpasses his faith in the salvific power of divine Grace, he claims that, once one accepts certain premises as being True, it is necessary to refuse to grant gays and lesbians equal rights in society. Here, from his latest missive, is a sample:
Yeah, I’ve noticed [when discussing the issue of gay marriage] that too, with dogma such as, “Haters! Irrational! Uneducated! You want to send gays to internment camps! You’re forcing your religion on us! Of course we wouldn’t teach kindergarteners about this! Etc.!”

Here is some logic for those who are interested:

* Same sex unions can never provide a mother and a father to a child, so the State has no interest in promoting or regulating them.
* Marriage is a union of a man and a woman.
* Gay couples already get benefits from the State of California. This was all about affirmation.
* The judges ignored the will of the people, so the amendment made perfect sense.
* Sexual preferences are not Civil Rights. Skin color is morally neutral, sexual behavior is not.
* Oxymoronic “same sex marriage” doesn’t mean that marriage is redefined as man/woman, woman/woman or man/man, it redefines it to say that it is not just between a man and a woman — it is whatever anyone wants to define it to be. The same “anti-discrimination” rationale is immediately available for polygamists, incestuous couples, etc.

Note that I didn’t even refer to the Bible. If people want to know what God has to say — and they should, since He created the universe and us – here’s a summary:

* 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
* 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
* 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
* 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.
* In short, to advance “same sex marriage” is to be perpetually shaking your fist at God in rebellion.

I refuse to take this bit of flailing seriously enough to "debate" any of the points. Like Marshall Art and the folks over at American Descent, I am far more interested in keeping an eye on things in right-wing world as well as, occasionally, holding them up to the light for all of us to simultaneously cringe in disgust and laugh.

I would note one thing, a bit of unintentional irony on Neil's part. While typing it, I am quite sure he was clueless as to what, exactly, he was saying. When he says that redefining marriage means that we can arbitrarily redefine any word we want, I smacked my forehead and thought, "This guy's been reading Rorty!" Of course we redefine terms of social engagement all the time. Whether it's citizen, or property, or liberal or voter - these words get changed around all the time by circumstance. Sometimes by the will of the people; sometimes through judicial intervention to protect the rights of minorities threatened by a repressive majority. There is nothing either wrong or unusual about this. Unless, apparently, you are Neil for whom words only have one meaning forever and always.

This is the kind of crap that people think of far too often when they think "Christian theology." Actually, it's just gibberish. It is neither logical, nor based in fact. It is a series of assertions based on a combination of ignorance and prejudice, and constructed in such a way as to reinforce a preordained conclusion. Obviously, this isn't logic. What it is, well, (I know he will take offense but at this point I am beyond caring) is bullshit, plain and simple. Yes, Neil, it is hate-filled. It is ignorant, hate-filled nonsense. You continually refuse to allow the full acceptance of other human beings in society for no reason other than blind fear and hatred. As there is neither logic nor principle involved in your little "lists", and as the whole thing is designed to bolster the continued refusal to grant full citizenship rights and privileges to sexual minorities, all I can say is that you, Neil, are prejudiced against gays and lesbians.

That you would abuse the word of God to back up your hatred and fear is far worse than your on-going argument to deny the right of marraige to gays and lesbians. You torture and twist the words of Scripture to make them out as a guide to hatred and exclusion, something they most assuredly are not.

It's all just nonsense. Prejudiced nonsense. In the name of God.


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