Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bully, Bully

Apparently, being against bullies is un-Christian.  Guess I am glad that I am not Christian.  Focus on the Family sees the movement against bullying as part of a larger agenda to tolerate gay people and not to tolerate intolerant people.  This is not the first time that a supposed defender of Christianity seems to forget that Jesus's message was about love, right?

I do see their point--that fighting against bullies is likely to mean, in part, challenging those who threaten, discriminate and/or beat up on people because they are gay, thought to be gay or simply identified as gay because that is a convenient tag to marginalize someone.  And since their view of Christianity means marginalizing and discriminating against gay folks, fighting bullying means marginalizing those Christians that are entitled to intolerance due to their religious beliefs.  I do love the irony that these groups tend to want values taught in schools (prayer in schools) but are really selective about which values. 

Once again, I am reminded that any text or speech or code can be read however anyone wants to read it, whether it is On War by Clausewitz, the Bible, or the US Constitution.  It would seem to me that oppressing gays would not be the highest priority of Christianity.  Indeed, given how much of the New Testament is about loving neighbors and about the meek and poor, the priority would be on helping the poor and aiding Haitians and Pakistanis rather than focusing on a few key clauses here or there that focus on gay folks.

Which reminds me of my view that religion is a political and social construction--that ye olde religions were anti-gay and pro-marriage to facilitate the growth of the group, improving its market share and its ability to survive and thrive.  Perhaps the same motivation exists today as the need for WASPs to produce more white kids to stave off the minority status of whites for another day.  Nah, that is going too far. 

All I know is that over the course of my life, my reactions to "that's so gay" has changed from being fearful of such an accusation to being intolerant of those who use such a phrase.  If you are older than fourteen, it simply does not belong in your vocabulary, even if you are unaware of the suicide rate of teenage gays and lesbians.  This is not political correctness but simply good manners and evidence of maturity.

The good news is that the US is changing faster than we might have expected, with polls showing acceptance of gays in the military and now even gay marriage.  The stridency of the intolerant is exactly the last gasps from a defeated and obsolete set of attitudes, whose demise has been hastened by repeated revelations of gays among their leadership.

Update:  Apparently, the gay-dar of these folks is pretty bad, so they need instructions on spotting gay spouses.  I think my lack of fastidiousness will assure my wife despite my inherent sassiness.


Steve Greene said...

It is amazing how much attitudes have changed since the time I was an undergraduate. I watched the Mad Men episode (2.11) last night where the young, foreign dude (forget his name) announces "I am homosexual" and gets quite the reaction.

Steve Saideman said...

Yep, I would think it would just about us growing up and developing more tolerant attitudes, but the kids today are more tolerant, more or less. My niece informed me of folks at her school who are out of the closet. If we have teens being comfortable (with qualifiers) doing that, then the society has indeed progressed.