“I like Lothar Lorraine. Truly I do – he’s a pleasant guy to talk to even if I disagree with him. He’s welcome here, he’s welcomed me at his blog, and until relatively recently most of my interactions with him have been civil, even when we disagree.
Except lately, if you’ve been following the conversations – previously linked – I’ve been spending most of my time yelling angrily, at least as much as you can do typing into a computer and still maintaining decent-enough grammar. I’ve been pissed off, not so much at Lothar as at his links of choice, and really, the “progressive” response to them.
Honest to God? I don’t like yelling in Lothar’s general vicinity. He’s nice. I can talk with him. At the same time, all the niceness in the world isn’t going to make me give an inch to dishonest hate speech directed anywhere, but particularly in my direction.
I’m talking real hate speech, by the by. Not, ‘You noticed that group X is responsible for more crimes than group Y by every available measure, that’s horrible of you’ styled bull, but full blown ‘This group of people is responsible for heinous acts and you should hate them all and fight them because this is WAR’ hate speech. “Whip up an angry mob to attack some people based on next to no evidence” hate speech.
So why has it kept happening lately? I have a hunch. Little more than that right now, but it’s worth airing.
I think there is a somewhat common breed of Christian who, while intellectually rather orthodox and conservative, is nevertheless on the more soft-spoken and diplomatic side. They are not fire and brimstone. They pride themselves on being open-minded, on ‘agreeing to disagree’, on setting themselves apart from the more fervent culture-war social conservatives who at times seem as if they are locked in a neverending battle against Islam, New Atheism, Liberals, the Gay Agenda, and more.And one way they send up the signal that they’re different from THOSE Christians is by conceding the intelligence and morality of their opponents, and openly, even eagerly, admitting to flaws.
Even flaws that aren’t really flaws, that are blown out of proportion, or that largely exist in the minds of people who hate them.
So if someone angrily demands that they apologize for, say… ‘Christianity’s legacy of anti-science and bigotry and racism and homophobia and misogyny’, they’re going to typically, without reflection, say “Oh, yes, some Christians – nay, many – have been guilty of that. But many nowadays have come to regret that past and…” And on and on it goes. They get to show how open-minded and humble they are, their opponents get a concession to a million and one imaginary evils at the hands of Christians, and everyone is happy.
I am not one of these Christians. I do not grant the wickedness of Christians, even Christian groups I am not a part of, purely to score humility points. If I’ve investigated the issue and come to the conclusion that the accusations are fundamentally wrong or warped, I will say as much. And when I see what comes across as a calculated bit of hate speech to try and demonize Christians, I’m going to start yelling, loudly, about the flaws I see, demand evidence, and point out when it either fails to be forthcoming, or is weak beyond excuse.
I suspect that may be the problem here. I can’t read Lothar’s mind, but I think he may have heard ‘Conservative Christians HATE gays and want to kill them’ so many times – and other Christians may have granted this without argument so many times – that he brings this up, and (while admitting that not every conservative Christian is like this) expresses an interest in having my agree that this sort of thing is bad, so we can continue the conversation civilly. And then I explode and I’m off yelling and challenging people to, you know, provide some goddamn evidence of these claims and pointing it out for the hate speech that it is, and he’s wondering what he did wrong.
Well, HE didn’t do anything wrong, most likely. He simply was played – he bought a line offered up by a nasty little culture, perpetuated by weak-willed Christians more interested in being humble than being honest, and he’s run into a guy who’s not going to let it slide so easily, and who actually gets pretty pissed off when the accusation comes up. I’ll cop to real evils, real mistakes, and I’ll point out the context and the situation those mistakes took place in. I will not cop to progressive monster-fantasies that they conjure up in large part to let themselves sleep easier at night when they hear about the latest abuses their more fascist leadership is diving into.
Perhaps that will set the record straight. Or perhaps not. But there is my attempt for the moment. “
First of all, I’m thankful to Crude for all his kind words about me. I’m also grateful he emphasized many important points EVERY culture warrior (both on the left and on the right) ought to respect if he or she is sincerely pursuing justice.
Many self-proclaimed “progressives” are just serving the Zeitgeist and will uncritically accept any kind of arguments which promote their views and give them the feeling of belonging to the “forces of Good”.
For me, being a progressive means challenging all kinds of dogmas hindering human well-being. It goes hand in hand with a huge responsibility and entails earnestly seeking to understand your opponents before bedeviling them.
Having often talked with Conservative Evangelicals about homosexuality (both in the real world and on the Internet), I know that there is a truly hateful minority among them.
If you don’t believe me, go to any Conservative Evangelical forum with a fundamentalist trend, be always nice and respectful but tell them that you’re a queer atheist. Wait on their reactions and start measuring how well they satisfy the Golden Rule.
I don’t know well John Shore, but I linked his post because his description fits all too well what is going on in the right-wing part of Evangelicalism. I largely support his notion of “Christianity with humanity” even if I find he is not as objective as he thinks.
AGAIN, I defend the right of Conservative Christians to disapprove of homosexuality and defend their position without having to fear any professional repercussion. And I clearly recognize there are MANY Conservative Evangelicals who oppose homophobia.
When atheists make claims about past Christian misdeeds I know to be factually wrong, I won’t accept this just for trying to be viewed as one of “these cool Christians”.
But I must also clearly face the truth that there are real atrocities committed by followers of Christ, both in the past and the present.
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