Mar 132005

Work has been very busy, and I had to travel both last week and this week, so I’m a bit behind, but a couple of stories caught my eye over the past weeks.

The first presents a movement by self-proclaimed moralists, while the second presents a protest action which demonstrates (to me, at least) morality in practice.

Religious right trying to ban Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue

Thank you. Every heterosexual Republican man (and lesbian) out there can kiss my happy ass. You voted for these nuts. They spent years dehumanizing gays, other minorities, Christians they don’t agree with, and Muslims, and you all sat back and thought “eh, doesn’t concern me.” Well guess what. Now they’re coming after your happy ass (well, your favorite model’s):

…The president of Michigan’s American Decency Association is encouraging Christians not to stand by while disguised pornography gets a foothold through local checkout stands. Bill Johnson says now that the yearly Sports Illustrated “Swimsuit Edition” is in retail outlets everywhere, it is an opportunity to let those stores know the magazine’s special edition does not agree with Christian standards and values.
Maybe these guys would be happier if the models wore chadors?

Johnson suggests believers ask store managers to remove the issue altogether or at least place it out of sight of young children coming through the stores. Also, he adds, “It’s important to tell the manager you’re a regular shopper and that you have other friends who – if they were made aware that the store is carrying this magazine – you’re certain, they would stand together with you.”

Johnson says the kind of exhibition of women as sex objects that takes place in the popular sports magazine’s swimsuit issue should bother Christians, because that is the starting place for the lust that drives millions into eventual addiction to hardcore pornography.

The road to fascism and theocracy does not involve announcing that “tomorrow we shall become a one-party state and those who disagree will be put to death.” It arrives – with all apologies to Carl Sandburg – like the fog, on little cat feet.

But getting back to seriousness, shall we take a look at a protest against an action being taken – probably by good God-fearing Christians all fired up by the rantings of their preachers – against an otherwise defenseless fellow human:

Middle school students stand up for gay classmate

Twelve Beatrice Middle School students in Beatrice, Neb., staged a brief walkout this week to protest what they called the unfair treatment of a gay student. The students refused to go to class after a teacher took gay pride posters away from a gay student who had brought them to school, said Stevie Woodrum, one of the eighth-graders involved.

Woodrum said the students were going to put the posters in their lockers and not on the walls of the school. When the posters were taken away, the students decided not to go to class in protest. Woodrum said that after the students’ parents were contacted, they were given the option of going back to class or going home, and most chose to return to class. Woodrum said the students involved were all friends of the gay student, the only one they know of at the school. “We were there to support [the student],” she said.

The students also claim the gay student is bullied by other students and that school administrators have not done anything about it. “People shove [the student’s] head into lockers,” Woodrum said. “[The student] gets treated way worse than any other kids.”

School principal Randy Schlueter said the alleged bullying was brought to the attention of school officials, who have taken steps to deal with it.

Like what? ‘Don’t get caught next time’? After all, this kid is gay and everyone knows it! Doesn’t that make it OK to abuse him? Maybe he’ll see the error of his ways and repent!

One person thinks that this is the true Christian attitude toward violence:

William R. Jones, who began to question, [in his] Black Power book Is God a White Racist published by Beacon Press, the effectiveness of nonviolent resistance, asked if perpetrators have such a moral conscience?

The violence of Jesus on the cross was a pay back to god for what humanity owed to god for our sins. This view of Christianity teaches that the highest form of love is to endure violence. This view of Christianity teaches that violence brings about good. It is the theme of Proverbs of Ashes that Christianity, in some of its dominate traditions, has sanctioned violence by teaching that bearing suffering from violence is vitreous and redemptive. What happens when victims of violence hear this message?

These violence addicts would do well to heed the words of the Son of Man: ?In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these MY BRETHEREN, ye have done it unto me? (Matt. 25:40).

And yet, look at how this concept is twisted into Righteous Republican Religiousness:

When we help other Christians, we help Jesus.

Does this mean that Jesus would not approve helping non-Christians? Mohandas Gandhi had a few things to say about this:

“I do not believe in the doctrine of the greatest good of the greatest number. The only real, dignified, human doctrine is the greatest good of all.”

“I consider western Christianity in its practical working a negation of Christ?s Christianity.”

“To believe in something, and not live it, is dishonest.”

And that about sums it up for me. What say you?

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