Dear J. Matt Barber & Peter LaBarbera of Concerned Women for America,
I have been following your organization’s obsession with the blogging of three of my favorite American women — Amanda Marcotte, Melissa McEwen, and Pam Spaulding — and I must admit I am quite concerned. Concerned and confused, I might add, as I would suppose that three American women might have a better take on the concerns of American women than two American men… but I digress.
(As one of the regular bloggers here at Pam’s House Blend, I guess I really have no room to talk. You’re men writing for a women’s organization and I’m a straight guy writing for a lesbian’s blog. Touché.)
First, let me address Mr. Barber…Mr. Barber, you seem quite shocked at many of Pam’s anti-Fundamentalist writings (which may have been some of mine as well). You’re offended by the references to “American Taliban” and “Jeebus” and “Bible Beaters”. You can’t abide by her mocking the Pope and a pastor in New Jersey. (The Pope? Aren’t you a Protestant organization? Or are you now all about standing up for the Whore of Babylon?)
What you fail to mention to your readers are the many posts and comments, by Pam, myself, and her readers, that make very clear distinctions about the subject of our ridicule. None of us have issue with religion and spirituality in general, nor Christianity in particular. It’s the very narrow, literalist, hateful perversion of Christianity espoused by fundamentalists like you we mock so deservingly. It’s that brand of Christianity that doesn’t understand “live and let live”, “mind your own business”, and “separation of church and state” we’ve got a problem with.
I know you can’t and won’t see that point. Most Christians in America are not your brand of superstitious, judgmental, and retribution-seeking moralists who see the threatening spectre of the homosexuals forcing America down onto her knees and thrusting the tumescent gay agenda down her unwilling throat (don’t blush, it’s your imagery, just magnified). I know this because nearly my entire family back in very-red-state Idaho consider themselves good churchgoing conservative Christian people, and not one of them displays the obsession and fear of gay people you two exemplify. They even loved, accepted, and did-unto-others for my recently-passed lesbian aunt and her faithful partner of over forty years. Her homosexuality was never an issue in the family; she and her partner were welcomed and loved at every reunion and no one once ever called them “abominations” or “sodomites”. (Maybe a couple of my relatives thought it, but they had the common decency to mind their own business.)
Therefore, to secure the support your mission requires, you must blur the lines and ignore the context in order to conflate anti-fundamentalism with anti-Christianity.
On the contrary, there have been many posts and comments here at the Blend that have been very approving of Christianity. You won’t find a poster here who doesn’t espouse “Love thy neighbor”, “Do unto others…”, “Blessed are the meek”, “Suffer the little children…”, “That which you do to the least of these…” and every other beatitude and parable directly attributed to Jesus Christ. (Even my atheist worldview supports these basic tenets of Christianity.) Here you’ll find people of all religous persuasions and sexual orientations who actually act more Christlike in their day-to-day lives than you do.
Your latest attempts to salvo Pam are beyond the pale. A random commenter makes a stupid idle threat that is promptly removed, and to you it’s the rock hard gay agenda sprouting erect with conspiracies to assassinate. You imply Pam ignored it since it was up for “over three weeks”. In case you hadn’t noticed, this blog gets scores of comments on most of the dozen or so posts per day. Also, as you know, Pam works a full-time job. She isn’t supported by some advocacy organization that pays her to blog and read comments. To miss one comment out of thousands isn’t a conspiracy, it’s a natural reality.
But natural realities aren’t your bag; they are antithetical to the fundamentalist worldview. We’re not mocking people of faith, we’re mocking people with obvious ignorance of reality and science. We’re just fine with people who believe God created the Universe and loves us one and all. When we mock is when you tell us you believe things like the Universe being only 6,000 years old because an ancient Hebrew book says so, despite all scientific evidence to the contrary.
Personally, I don’t care much what you believe. If you wish to believe, for example, that all genetic biodiversity on the planet is the result of a schizophrenic drunk who loaded his family and one breeding pair of every animal he could find onto a large wooden boat that withstood a deluge of water so great it rose to 29,035’1″ above sea level in a period of only 40 days of rain that then subsided to the sea levels we know today without any clue as to where all that water went — well, then, that’s your right as an American. Just don’t expect me to not call you a naive idiot for believing such a thing. (My family believes in Noah & The Ark, too, but they’re sophisticated enough to understand that it is a fable, a parable to stress the importance of piety, faith, and planning ahead, not an accurate geologic, meteorologic, and zoologic treatise to be taken literally.)
Now you wish to attck Pam and this blog as being some tool of Duke University. You know damn well that Pam’s blogging is completely independent and absolutely unsponsored by Duke, the place she happens to work. You know that what she’s doing is completely protected freed speech under our Constitution (wait, maybe you don’t know that… look it up… it’s what politicians put their hand on the Bible to swear to uphold… not the other way around.)
But to rile up “the base”, it always helps to throw a little anti-intellectualism in the mix. Universities – those enclaves of anti-Christian secular progressive worldview! It’s all part of the grand plot to subvert Christianity! There’s nothing more that a fundie hates than some lettered university type claiming that silly things like “research” and “expertise” and “logic” and “science” should dictate the terms of intelligent debate, not your particular interpretation of multiply-mistranslated poorly-transcribed ancient political texts (a.k.a. The Bible). (Well, maybe one thing more: “black robed tyrants” handing down decisions from the bench.)
And that brings us back to the throbbing, glistening, purple-helmeted gay agenda being shoved in your face. You’ve got your poor interpretations of Leviticus and Romans and such and you’re just absolutely convinced that these “sodomites” are the plague that brings us terrorism, drug abuse, pedophilia, disease, cultural rot, and Janet Jackson’s Magnificent Mocha Mammary™ at the Super Bowl. The CEOs on Wall Street and the Republicans in office thank you for this; your bleating about the gays focuses all your outrage away from these white collar criminals who are the ones really responsible for the ills you perceive. Divide & Conquer – you keep fighting the good fight for God; it helps them sell away the whole country to Mammon.
But haven’t you noticed something? In the past six years, you got everything you wanted. A Born-Again™ president, a GOP Senate headed by a Born-Again™ who wanted to save Terri Schiavo, a GOP House that easily passes federal anti-gay amendments, a right-leaning Supreme Court, deregulation for your economic leaders, faith-based initiatives and other affirmative action for churches. And yet still, none of your pet issues ever gets addressed! Prince plays with his silhouetted ding-a-ling at the Super Bowl, gays are more accepted, abortion is still legal, Ten Commandments still are taken down. That’s with all your people in control! Looks to me like your energy would be better directed at the GOP than at the GAY.
Of course, that would be logical if your goal was to actually accomplish something. It’s better that these secular issues never go away, because it gives you a never-ending foe with which to scare dollars out of fundie wallets and into collection plates.
Regardless what you think about democracy or religion, not everything should be up for a vote and not everything should be Christian. Science and Civil Rights are two of those things. The fundie worldview thinks that the “liberal elite” run everything from above, ignoring and belittling the opinions of the laity. Well, in some cases, that’s true. If I want my car to run, I trust the expertise and education of the “mechanic elite”; I don’t round up a dozen preachers, ask ’em to pray about it, and recite helpful passages from Psalms. And if someone claimed they could pray my car back to life, yes, I’d ignore and belittle them.
So it is with homosexuality. I prefer the expertise of anthropologists, who point out that every culture known to man has had gay people. Psychologists tell me there is no mental illness involved in homosexuality. Sociologists tell me that gay people are no worse or better to society than anyone else. Geneticists tell me there are certain biological differences between gay and straight. Zoologists tell me homosexuality is found in every species in nature.
Since you believe in the Bible, then your expert is going to be the preacher that tells you gays are “sodomites” bound for the depths of Hell. And that’s great — for you. You now have the expert opinion you need to go forth and be not gay. We’ll actually support you in your not-gayness as well. Where we differ is when you wish to forment hate against gay people, treat gay people as second-class citizens, demonize them as the root of all evil, and attempt to shut down their blogs by turning a comment molehill into an assassination mountain and by bearing false witness about that blog, the author, and her employment situation.
Finally, I’d love to get the window washing contract on that glass house you live in. With all of the negative comments about gay people bandied about in your writings and the CWA website, it’s tough to take seriously someone offended about being called the “American Taliban”. We just think you’re a pathetic homophobic malcontent with a persecution complex who fleeces the gullible to empower the wealthy. You think we’re the very embodiment of evil hated by God and working to indoctrinate the children and destroy Christianity. When it comes to side-splitting “snappy” and “funny” musings, you’ve got us beat.
“Radical” Russ Belville
Host – The “Radical” Russ Show on Jones Radio Network
Debuting April 7th, Noon-2PM Pacific, in Portland, Akron, Denver, and other stations to be announced.