November 5, 2011

Does God approve of bullying gays?

My disgust for religious conservatives grows. I used to respect them for their moral clarity, even as I disagreed with them on certain points. I disagreed with their opposition to gay rights, but understood those to be in some kind of keeping with their reading of the Bible. I disagreed with their opposition to abortion rights, but absolutely understood their concern for the unborn.

That was before religious conservatives openly defended torture, and now defend attacks on the poor and the disabled. That was before conservative Christians pushed for laws making poor women fear that a miscarriage could result in their arrest. And that was well before this gem from Michigan, where a law outlawing school bullying actually includes a loophole for "sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction."

Yeah, read that again. In the world of religious conservatives, gays should be bullied, because they shouldn't be gay, period. Those kids who commit suicide do so because they are gay, not because self-righteous right wingers demonize them in public, and call for their public shame.

There is no world where this makes sense, and there is absolutely no world where people who supposedly worship Jesus can support this. None. This is not a gray area. This is the sanctioning of psychologically hectoring and demonizing people who struggle deeply with their identity, self-worth, and sexual understanding already. And people with Bibles in their homes, and drawers, and on Ipads and phones want them not to be helped, but harmed.

Perhaps I should not be surprised. My FB friend from last week believes in a God who doesn't mind innocents dying or torture when they are the "others." How the fuck to you read the NT and believe in that God? Seriously? All I can picture is that shepherd leaving the 99 to go find that one lost sheep, and these people think that same God smokes in the corner while people are waterboarded, or cheers from the back as some gay kid is called names on the schoolyard. Or nods grimly when that kid's death is blamed not on the bullies, or the lack of support from the community, but on the kid himself.

I know that isn't Christianity, but far too many conservatives have lost their freaking minds. Far too many people who should know better allow the logic of the bully to win over the concern for the Samaritan by the road side.

Christianity has been hijacked by people who hate the poor, love the rich, embrace violence and torture, and make fun of peace and actual compassion. And that is just horribly sad.


Gary said...

According to the Bible, God condemns homosexuals. There are no exceptions. There is no age limit. All are unconditionally condemned.

If you don't want to be considered an adulterer, then don't commit adultery. And if you don't want to be rejected for being a sexual pervert, then don't be one, and don't identify yourself as one.

Streak, you claim that your "faith" is hanging by a thread. But the truth is, you have no faith to hang by anything. If you think you are in any sense a Christian, you are delusional. And, you are very wicked for supporting homosexuals and abortionists. You're going to Hell right along with them.

Streak said...

Hmm, Gary, thanks for making my point. I am guessing that you are not the brightest bulb, but probably excel in hating other people. Thanks for emphasizing the cancer that is in the religious right--the one who hates other people and who believes that Jesus should have cheered the stoning of the prostitute, not rescued her.

You are too sad to despise. Seriously. Your hate must consume you, and I suspect that the list of people you hate is enough that you need a searchable database. But to pretend, for even a second, that you represent the teachings of Jesus? That would be laughable if it were not so freaking sad. The fact that you remain here to make these insipid and hateful comments? Just more sadness.

I hope for your sake that you never need to rely on the kindness of strangers--or that when you do, you run into someone like yourself. Then you might be confronted with your own brand of hatred. Or perhaps that has already happened.

Either way, I really, really, really, wish you would go to a site where "god hates fags" is not some kind of sad twisted sign of decline. Please go away.

Tony said...

Agreed, Gary should go away. And seek counseling.

Smitty said...

Given my profession, I was standing in the lobby of the Michigan Senate during this debate, working on a different issue. Of course, as this vote took place, the stunned silence in the lobby spoke volumes about the gravity of what just happened.

It's just sick.

State Senator Gretchen Whitmer (D - East Lansing), the Senate Minority Leader, gave this speech in response to that amendment. Watch it; it's only like 2 minutes long.

This anti-bullying bill used to be a good bill. While it didn't specifically enumerate what traits cannot be bullied (like the civil rights act...race, creed, etc etc), it did get into defining what bullying looks like; what actions and outcomes constitute bullying. In that form, it represented a decent sort of compromise between conservatives unwilling to say "gay" but actually elevating bullying to what amounts to the crime that it is. That was a decent bit of public policy. It also requires every school in the state to institute such a policy, and it recommends the State Board of Education's model policy which, by the way, indeed "enumerates."

Then, the Majority added those 2 sentences into the bill, and made it a farce. They sanctioned religious-based bullying. It's OK to bully that gay kid, according to this bill, so long as you invoke THE NAME OF GOD while you're doing it.

The measure has passed the Michigan Senate and is now before the House of Representatives Education Committee (chaired by a Rep who may be recalled this Tuesday). No date has been set for a hearing. I can only hope that the House, normally a cacophony of views, will come to its collective senses and strip that language from the bill.

Again, watch Senator Whitmer's floor speech. It paints a fine picture about everything that's wrong with this amendment.

leighton said...

Good link, Smitty. Fred Clark had cited someone who quoted it, but actually seeing it is even more powerful.

I like Clark's phrasing of "Bully-God," and it crystallizes something that I've been trying to articulate for a couple of months now. I think in order to make sense of American Christendom, you need to deploy either a polytheistic or an atheistic framework. There is no theological, sociological or psychological perspective from which you could argue that (e.g.) Fred Clark and Michigan Republicans are worshiping the same deity. It's utter nonsense.

steves said...

I will admit to having some mixed feelings on anti-bullying legislation. I certainly don't condone bullying and it can rise to the level of criminal behavior. My concern would be that lawmakers need to tread carefully on issues related to free speech. I hope they can do a better job on this they have in the past with other zero tolerance laws.

That being said, I don't understand the "religious" exception to the anti bullying law. If they were seeking to make sure that some kid that believed homosexuality was wrong, and was otherwise not going out of their way to harass anyone, would be charged under the law, I can kind of understand that. I doubt that they could be charged and if they were, the ACLU and other groups would be all over it.

If they are trying to protect religious bullies, then shame on them. I hope they get voted out in the next election. I can see several legal challenges and I am willing to bet that smarter people are already drafting lawsuits to remove this exception.

Monk-in-Training said...

I have always found it interesting that people who post as Gary has, never seem to read the entire Bible, but just those (extremely) few clobber verses for their use.

Jesus says in Matthew I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.', and while this passage does not specifically reflect the topic at hand, it certainly does tell us the attitude He expects when we encounter "strangers".

Perhaps he should look over Isaiah 56 where God tells us of the radical inclusiveness of the Kingdom that He is bringing. How foreigners and 'eunuchs' are part of that Kingdom.

And maybe, just maybe when giving out a condemnation like that he might remember Christ's response to the Religious Right of His day:They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.

Any adult Christian who sanctiions bullying of a child, and stands by while someone beats up a 'queer', is in my opinion violating some of the core princieples of the Scriptures where we are enjoined to protect those weaker than others.

I always tremble at the "going to Hell with them" blasts from these types, not for my sake, but for theirs:

Matthew 7:1"Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. 2 For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3 Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's a eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your neighbor, "Let me take the speck out of your eye,' while the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye.

Bob said...

I cannot think of a case where there should be a religious exemption for any statute or policy. It puts government in the place of determining what a “legitimate” religion is, and what isn’t a legitimate religion.

Can anyone here justify religious exemptions at all?

Bob said...

Also, I read at Balloon-Juice where someone suggested that the religous exemption in the anti-bullying bill shiould be referred to as the Fred Phelps amendment. I think it applies.


Anonymous said...

I'm a Christian, but honestly I'm not sure he does. Though he despises it, he gives us a choice on how we live our lifes in essentially anything we do. Ever since the fall of man, God has given us the ability to choose for ourselves what we do. However, there are consequences to our actions (murder, rape etc..). But really though, if God allows homosexuals to choose their lifestyle, what gives Christians the right to take it away? God's word I believe is supposed to be applied to those who follow him, those who reject him are welcome to do whatever they please, though God longs for their heart and there are consequences for negative actions. And of course there is Hell... which I don't think is necessarily punishment but God's respect of your decision (but that's another topic). Bottom line, God loves you whatever you do, but as a good parent disciplines their children, God disciplines his own and can become frustrated with our actions. Just my 2 cents... I run a blog called streakhelp.blogspot, and noticed this article/site on a google search for my blog. Good topics my friend.