Friday, May 2, 2014

Progressive Christians and Hate Speech

Another conversation took place over at Lothar's blog, at which point I lost my temper over John Shore screaming about how conservative evangelicals all want to beat gays to death with their bare hands and it's time to declare war on them. I'd summarize Shore's rant - just read the OP and check for the italicized portion - but it's pretty vile stuff. Little different from the sort of thing you'd expect to find on a poorly xeroxed handout from a neo-nazi, with a big accent on absolutely warped caricatures of their intended target.

Honest to God, I'm sick of this kind of thing and said as much. Shore's rant is hate speech - it is an explicit attempt to gin up people to regard a certain class of individuals as a kind of sub-human, dangerous, violent monster, using utter lies in order to achieve his goal. I've talked with evangelical conservatives. I've argued with them, I've agreed with them, I've interacted with them at length. The idea that their belief that unrepentant sin (not just 'homosexual behavior' but 'unrepentant sin') has someone risking damnation does not drive them to furiously hate homosexuals, much less beat them to death with their bare hands. More often, they argue against LGBT activists, and pray for them. The claim that we must collectively 'declare war' on them and wipe them off the face of the earth is not just disturbing and vicious - it is the pathetic, monstrous rambling of a man who is about as 'Christian' as Richard Dawkins is.

More depressing - and I suppose, telling - was the fact that none of the "progressive" regulars on the site were able to condemn Shore's rants for what they really were. Instead there was a mix of complete silence, and some faint attempts at trying to salvage Shore's vendetta as somehow justified. So, let me make a few things clear.

When a person says that conservative evangelicals are motivated by a violent hatred of unrepentant homosexuals, such that they despise them and want to beat them to death with their bare hands, arguing that some evangelicals are jerks is not sufficient to salvage the point.

When the Uganda law comes up and it's suggested that conservative evangelicals don't oppose the law because they secretly support such laws, you should probably check to see whether this is actually the case.

Of course, for some people, none of this matters. What matters is doing precisely what Shore did: presenting people who disagree with him not merely as dissenting, not merely as wrong, but collectively and irrevocably motivated by irrational hate and fury. Pretty much par for the course when it comes to representations of conservatives generally, but especially 'conservative' Christians.

The worst part is, it's become clear to me that when you don't have "progressives' gleefully cheering on those kinds of representations, or letting them pass in silence... conservative Christians have been conditioned to largely endure them with little complaint, or try to calmly and rationally dispute the data while granting that everyone involved in the speech is obviously well-motivated by merely may have a 'misunderstanding' of the matter at hand. It's pathetic.


malcolmthecynic said...

Reading through that thread was more telling than reading the actual screed by Shore.

malcolmthecynic said...

...Btw, THAT was you losing your cool? Ha, when I lose my cool it's MUCH uglier. Your way is probably (definitely) better.

Crude said...

Not losing my cool. That's me raising my voice and being angry. If I actually lose my cool, I try my damndest to shut the hell up entirely and pull back until I've got a handle on things, and that almost never happens in an online discussion. I think there's a tremendous difference between the two, and it's possible to be furious and retain reason - and that it's important to be angry at times. I'll be writing about that last one more.

That is, however, me being moderately pissed off at encountering some idiot's lies and hate speech (Shore's, not Lothar's. Lothar is still fine in my book, I just think he made a mistake here in endorsing those writings.)

Water into Whine said...

You need to be more Christlike and feign anger, like John Shore.

Crude said...

I was surprised to read Shore is actually a "progressive Christian" of note, rather than some jackass whose main notoriety was having a blog, like myself. Really, that's an example of an intellectual leader?

ccmnxc said...

Included in the post is a link to an article by shore which basically sets out to refute the whole "The Bible speaks out against homosexual acts." Shore's article is pretty weak, imho, but there are other's that I'm not so confident on.

Crude, I know that you're pretty experienced on this particular topic, and that you've probably seen similar claims before. Are you aware of any resources that set out to refute pieces like Shore's whicj basically try to rationalize away the moral issues regarding homosexual sex found in the Bible? Thanks.

Crude said...


My focus about the 'problems with homosexual acts' focus on natural law, secular reasoning, Catholic teaching, apostolic tradition, etc. I rarely argue from the Bible, since really, that's a recipe for most people ignoring me anyway, and I tend to like to have the possibility of convincing people.

That said - ask me specific questions and I'll do my best to answer them. And regardless, Shore's a hatemonger, and would remain so even if by some miracle he were right about sexual acts, etc. He misrepresents people viciously, and calls for war against them.

lotharlorraine said...

Hello Crude.

I obviously don't agree with the over-generalizations of Shore but think he is right about the fact MANY Evangelicals hate homosexuals.

I reiterated my positions here.


Crude said...

It wasn't an overgeneralization. It was hate speech and a call to war. Saying he overgeneralized is like saying neo-nazis exaggerate.

Goldenrush Apple said...

I have felt & noticed, ever since I started observing from a "conservative" lens, that the standards of debate is uneven and that margin of error is much smaller if one opposes any so called progressive cause.

Any generalization made of non-conservatives, if positive, is fine, but any negative tone will be met indignation. Compare that to the scenario above and you get "Keep your mouth shut or else."

I post in a movie board (IMDb) and it's clear that I stick out like a pink elephant. I was put on the "ignore" list by a few posters because they thought my posts were homophobic, racist and bigoted. When I asked what they thought counted as 'racist' they gave me a laundry list.

One poster said "Prejudice, stereotyping, essentialism and discrimination are all forms of racism."

Definitions are expanded and inflated. In other words: Goal posts are moved - they become much wider.

Crude said...

It's an insincere game.