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Christianity & Culture War

David French, who has litigated religious liberty cases, makes a strong, necessary point about anti-Christian bigotry. [1]

He’s talking about the case of the progressive, expensive Sheridan School in Washington, DC, which I wrote about here the other day [2]. It announced this week that it would no longer play sporting matches against Immanuel Christian School now that it knows Immanuel, which it has played in the past, has a (bog-standard) policy requiring its employees to live up to orthodox Christian sexual purity standards. The Sheridan headmistress said that many in her school consider Immanuel’s policy to be anti-LGBT, and that his makes them feel  “unsafe” there.

French says that this is obviously a b.s. story to cover Sheridan’s anti-Christian bigotry. But here’s the point worth emphasizing:

It’s time for Christian parents, pastors, and politicians to understand a simple fact — in the fight for religious freedom, we often focus our efforts on the less important battleground. Legal protections matter less and less when the culture drifts so far from Christianity that shunning, shaming, and exclusion become the norm. Stay silent to keep your job. Change your policies to keep your educational opportunities. Say nothing so that you’ll preserve your public reputation.

And in this more-important cultural fight, it’s critical to wrap our arms around principles, not politicians. There’s not one darn thing that even the president can or should do to force the Sheridan school to associate with the kids from Immanuel. Combatting intolerance is a matter of persuasion, and it depends on Christians exercising a degree of personal courage and resolve — if you feel pressure at work, speak anyway. If you see a colleague facing persecution for his beliefs, stand with him. If a Christian school faces public shame and public sanction for its fidelity to Scripture, send your kids anyway.

This is a point I keep emphasizing when I talk about The Benedict Option [3]: that the struggle we small-o orthodox Christians are in now, and that will only intensify over the coming decades, is not primarily one of politics and law. The people who hate us will not have to pass more laws in order to stigmatize us and render us untouchable. If you — and, more important, your children — are not prepared to bear the scorn and spite of the mainstream for the sake of your faith, you (and they) will lose that faith. This is a time of testing. It is not a time for rationalizing. If you aren’t making the small decisions daily that lead to deeper conversion and discipleship, you will not be ready to make the right decision when the moment comes, as it surely will.

Let’s say that our politicians and judges do a bang-up job of protecting our right to educate our kids as we like, and to live out our faith. What good will that do if we are so intimidated by the scorn and stigma of bigots like the upper middle class people of the Sheridan School that we surrender the exercise of our religious liberty? If you are ashamed to be a Christian in this hostile culture, you won’t be one for long.

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86 Comments To "Christianity & Culture War"

#1 Comment By Kirk On February 1, 2019 @ 12:28 pm

Commenter ‘TA’ is correct.

Consider Wikipedia’s article on violence against LGBT people in the United States, which provided the following examples relating to young people:

June 2, 2013 – Matthew Fenner was beaten and choked for hours by church members. He says the attacks took place “to break [him] free of the homosexual demons they so viciously despise”.

February 2012 – Cody Rogers, an 18-year-old teenager, was brutally assaulted and targeted with homophobic slurs at a party in Oklahoma after defending a female friend who was also attacked

November 4, 2013 – Sasha Fleischman, an 18-year-old, had her skirt set on fire while they were sleeping on an AC Transit bus in Oakland, California. Police arrested 16-year-old Richard Thomas and charged him with felony assault, with an enhancement of inflicting great bodily injury. Thomas admitted to police that he had started the fire and that he did it because he was “homophobic.”

==== end of extract from Wikipedia ====

There are many other entries. I consider it plausible that LGBT people could feel insecure on the campus of an institution which highlights that particular passage from the Bible.

And let us be clear: this is ***not*** anti-Christian bigotry. Sheridan plays in an athletic school conference which includes St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School. That school states in its Mission statement that it recognizes ‘the infinite value of every individual as a child of God.’

I conclude that Sheridan administrators and students are against LGBT bigotry. Their motives for their decision may be mixed. Part of the reason may be fear of violence, and part of the reason may be shunning.

Here is a thought experiment. Suppose a number of ‘Immanuel Christian’ anti-gay schools group together to form an athletic conference. A year later one of the schools changes its policies to be more like Sheridan’s. All the other Immanuel-type schools ban their students from playing sports at that school because of that policy. Whose side would you take? I think you would support that shunning, because you want your tribe and only your tribe to be able to shun others.

#2 Comment By Frank Healy On February 1, 2019 @ 12:33 pm

Rod, if you drive away artists and writers and creators, then you will have no one to fight your cultural wars. People in conservative communities need to look at their own inhospitable approach to the arts to see how this philistine attitude comes back to bite them.

My own father is a good example. Artistically inclined since childhood he reported nothing but hostility to the arts and artists from nearly all the family and neighbors in the rural community he grew up in. When he went away to college, he discovered that the liberal left on the coasts had the total opposite attitude and he embraced their ideology and agenda with both arms. Who was left to defend the rural community and its good values artistically and creatively? And who was to blame for that?

The mainstream right has done a terrible job with the arts. The Evangelical community is another case in point – all of the criticism in Koll’s book “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind” apply to the arts too.

#3 Comment By redbrick On February 1, 2019 @ 12:41 pm

“I am dismayed at the way social media lynchings are being deployed to suppress even the discussion of dissenting points of view.”

You may not like it but you have to admit its an extremely useful tool.

Its also why polls can’t be trusted….as shown by prop 8 winning in California and Trump’s Presidential win. Most people now hide their conservative-ish views…sometimes even from their own families and friends…until they are in the voting both.

I have noticed this about facebook. People I went to college with….who I know are conservative never say anything political on social media. Total media dark on any sort of “controversial type stuff”.

The young white liberal girls I went to college with who live in Austin and Dallas? Its all women’s marches, and take down Confederate soldiers statues, refugee sob stories, and gay/trans whatever every single day.

Regular people have gotten the message. One type of view is going to get you in trouble….the other is just fine.

The proles are slowly learning the new order of things.

#4 Comment By Perichoresis On February 1, 2019 @ 1:11 pm

EngineerScotty: “Let’s not forget who declared the cultural war y’all now despair of being routed in”

What’s interesting is that liberals don’t act as victors in a rout generally would. Instead, they have moral panics about MAGA-hat wearing teens and little Christian elementary schools, and seek to stamp out dissenting views in academia and on social media. Could it be that they actually fear that liberalism is internally weaker than it appears (sort of like communism circa 1980?)

#5 Comment By Zgler On February 1, 2019 @ 1:48 pm

Refusing to play the Christian school does seem like bigotry to those at the Christian school.

However, it could be interpreted as a sort of “boycott” which is considered an expression of free speech. The other school is boycotting the Christian school because they think that’s schools beliefs are bigoted. It’s similar in some ways to the conservatives who wanted to boycott Nike for supporting Colin Kaepernick. Neither stance is very useful, as it’s an emotional reaction which won’t do any good. In the school situation it may make some of the kids feel bad as well.

#6 Comment By Franklin Evans On February 1, 2019 @ 1:54 pm

Perichoresis: Could it be that they [liberals] actually fear that liberalism is internally weaker than it appears (sort of like communism circa 1980?)

I would say that you’ve suggested an insightful possibility, and from my very personal point of view it is indeed accurate.

I would further suggest that this is symptomatic of a “movement” that has always lacked a minimum level of internal cohesion, something I also assert about the general run of liberalism. Indeed, it forms my support for the argument that when people use the label as if it actually means something cogent to any given issue or point, they are making a fundamental mistake. There is no monolith there. It’s a conglomeration of people with overlapping beliefs or positions, which I would label a hodge-podge.

Personal analogy: I’ve long said that I’m allergic to curry. Trust me, you don’t want to know how I know that. When people heard me say that, they usually scoffed: curry is not a thing, it’s a mixture of things. I found a couple of years ago that they were of course correct, and my “allergy” was a rare condition of reacting to the turmeric usually found in curries. It has in nature a fungal parasite, the spores of which go dormant during drying, and become active rather than being killed when turmeric is used in cooking.

I’m no more allergic to curry than liberals are capable of being generalized in any useful way.

#7 Comment By JohnInCA On February 1, 2019 @ 2:04 pm

I see Rod still hasn’t published my question from yesterday, so I’m going to assume he found it too offensive to publish.

[NFR: I didn’t publish because you are concern trolling, as you so often do. I judge your question as insincere. If this conservative website offends you so much, you could always try not reading it. — RD]

#8 Comment By Rusty On February 1, 2019 @ 3:31 pm

Immanuel (not any SJW’s, or atheists, or anyone else) has chosen to put up the following two things in conjunction on it’s web site:

1. The Bible is infallible.
2. A Bible verse that says homosexuals should be put to death.

Otherwise known as Virtue Signalling.

The ‘unsafe’ thing doesn’t really raise an eyebrow for me; as a gay kid, the fact that my parents attended a church where these things were preached loud and long made me feel ‘unsafe’ in my own home growing up. Sure it’s just a feeling. But in our house, it was a FACT that Abraham was prepared to murder his son on God’s command, and my dad was pretty damn faithful, so …

I get that some of y’all don’t and won’t ever get it. That doesn’t mean the kids are faking the feeling.

That said, I also respond positively to P’s anecdote about falafel and sharing his Catholic identity with a colleague, to no great fanfare. One of my favorite co-workers—she sits right next to me!—is a recent hire who, on her very first day, during a moment alone between us, took an opportunity to share with me her Christian faith. We had a lovely little ten-minute conversation about it, I shared my perspsective as well, and we get along famously.

It really can be done.

#9 Comment By RichardP On February 1, 2019 @ 4:44 pm

I’ve not read the comments on the “Older Comments” page, so maybe this has already been covered.

There’s not one darn thing that even the president can or should do to force the Sheridan school to associate with the kids from Immanuel.

Yes.

Combatting intolerance is a matter of persuasion …

No.

Any institution that receives government funds is barred from discriminating on the basis of several different criteria – including religion. If the Sheridan school is receiving Federal consideration of any kind, it should have that Federal consideration revoked. That is the law. It should be enforced.

#10 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 1, 2019 @ 4:46 pm

My take on the so-called “culture wars” is “I declare the war is over,” another Phil Ochs theme I like to use. Who declared the culture wars? That’s a mixed bag, although Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson played a major role in making it a war. Dobson, by the way, writes very good material on families and children — unfortunately when he makes public statements on politics he turns into screaming hysterical fool.

I consider it plausible that LGBT people could feel insecure on the campus of an institution which highlights that particular passage from the Bible.

What low grade imaginative tripe. I consider it plausible that all kinds of people could feel insecure watching any number of Shakespearean plays. But then, they might have the good sense to recognize that none of the actors are actually coming out into the audience to butcher chosen targets. We’re talking about a sports match, a well supervised one.

Suppose a number of ‘Immanuel Christian’ anti-gay schools group together to form an athletic conference. A year later one of the schools changes its policies to be more like Sheridan’s. All the other Immanuel-type schools ban their students from playing sports at that school because of that policy.

I would have a great deal of contempt for the schools organizing their sports program in such a bubble in the first place, and for the rationale of expelling the school that changed policy. Its good for schools that have different policies to play a variety of schools in sports and other competition that have a variety of policies, public and private. This is what diversity looks like.

What they can’t escape, what they must not ignore, is that the revenge seekers walked in those very same shoes for decades

Those who want revenge on Christianity for real or imagined injuries walked in a literal Jim Crow pattern of subjugation? I find that a stretch.

The fundamental difference between “70% marginal tax rates, wealth tax, mandatory unionization, and M4A” and social issues such as SSM, abortion, etc. is that the latter do not take money out of the pockets of the oligarchs that really run things, nor do they affect the way the pie is sliced.

Keep that red flag waving high, Sid!

For the secular world, being against homosexuality is the same as being racist or anti-Semitic. As this belief is cemented, it’s over.

So challenge it. This Bolshie does all the time. Its fun, its creative, and it hasn’t gotten me killed yet.

The “Jackie Robinson” situation? A school that fails to show up for a game forfeits.

Good idea. And appropriate precedent. Further, the “Christian” school can give a soft reply dripping with love… “We will not return evil for evil, we will gladly play any games scheduled at Sheridan, and the door is always open when you come to play scheduled games that are our home games.”

At any rate, Rod–we on the left have bigger fish to fry than persecuting Christians.

True. Let’s act like it.

As a queer of a certain age, I know the situation well. You have to speak up and be loud and proud in the face of all of it.

Indeed. Good advice, whether one is queer or not.

#11 Comment By Perichoresis On February 1, 2019 @ 5:12 pm

Franklin Evans: “There is no monolith there. It’s a conglomeration of people with overlapping beliefs or positions, which I would label a hodge-podge.”

It’s true that liberalism is more flexible and adaptable than some of its ideological competitors, but it can be defined and analyzed as a movement; see “Liberalism: The Life of an Idea” by Edmund Fawcett.

It is striking how the mass of liberals on social media, for example, almost instantly switch to the latest “party line” on a controversial issue (probably subconsciously). There is much more diversity of reaction on the right or on the far left.

#12 Comment By LFC On February 1, 2019 @ 5:18 pm

“Legal protections matter less and less when the culture drifts so far from Christianity that shunning, shaming, and exclusion become the norm.”

Techniques that were actually quite well honed among a number of religious communities for centuries. Of course I see no acknowledgement that the perceived bullying they receive is little more than being on the losing end of the arguments. It’s as if a certain segment of the religious feel they have the right to confront anyone they wish with their “truths” but cry victim when a majority pushes back and calls their beliefs immoral. Those who have historically used their religion as a weapon are unprepared when it stops working.

#13 Comment By Lamm2 On February 1, 2019 @ 6:25 pm

Hound of Ulster “Notice what sticks out in the article you posted is the fact that the school mostly existed to create nice, good, unquestioning Republican voters, and not necessarily good Christian disciples. That I think gets to the core of the problem, which is for the last forty years, social conservatives have confused two things which are not the same by any reasonable definition. Hence the pickle they find themselves in.”

You have a valid observation in noting that some Christians do confuse religion and politics. It’s also true that many do not. Christians address both abortion and sexual activity as moral issues in their teaching. That these are contentious issues in the public square speaks for itself. Society’s moral views on sexual activity have changed while the Christian views have not. That teachers, whether Christian or not, would note the change in society and have views, whether pro or con, is not exactly news.

The article’s author did weave politics into his story of his time at Immanuel; he also wove them in his view of his life after he left Immanuel. He saw himself as an unwitting victim and Immanuel as hateful. We don’t know the story from the school’s point of view. They may or may not be innocent, guilty, or merely inept. The author’s complaint about the Bush election rings odd. Given that schools teach civics, it would be odd for them to ignore a presidential race and election. I remember the races and elections during my public school years in the ‘60s. Teachers and students had opinions about them. I chuckle remembering the Kennedy/Nixon race. My teacher was a Kennedy fan. In hindsight, it might have been more of a crush. She was young and unmarried. He was handsome and charismatic. Perhaps we should lambast the public schools for not being bastions of impartiality and not just Christian schools.

FWIW – Christian sexual ethics simply state that sexual activity is reserved for one man and one woman within the fidelity of marriage. That norm bites everyone who has sexual activity outside of marriage. Homosexual activity is but one avenue to indulge in immoral sexual activity along with the newer problems with pornography. There are numbers of solid studies documenting the myriad of social problems caused by violating those norms. That there are people who reject these norms and think the people who teach these norms are hateful shouldn’t surprise anyone.

#14 Comment By Xenie On February 1, 2019 @ 10:02 pm

Speaking of war and battle tactics, Rod, check out this horrifying thread on Twitter. A book promoted by a public library to young teens gives them step by step instructions for subverting and escaping their parents, obtaining illegal drugs online, and finding groomer adults and media attention–all in the name of transgenderism.

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#15 Comment By Franklin Evans On February 2, 2019 @ 2:11 am

Siarlys quoting me:

What they can’t escape, what they must not ignore, is that the revenge seekers walked in those very same shoes for decades

Those who want revenge on Christianity for real or imagined injuries walked in a literal Jim Crow pattern of subjugation? I find that a stretch.

For some, no doubt from me, the stretch is egregious. They are worse than virtue signalers. They imagine they might have suffered the same treatment, and deem their imagination truth.

For others, perhaps “Jim Crow” is a poor choice of analogy. I used it because the previous reader used it, and I agree with it in principle: Christians in seats of power used their beliefs to drive mostly de facto and occasionally de jure discrimination against non-Christians. For the most part, and here’s where I accept your “stretch” criticism, their actions and the consequences were mundane. For others, I submit that it still happens, if nowhere near as often if certainly better reported than before.

I do believe it can be said, with rational caveats, that Christians “lorded it” over others. They assumed that their beliefs, widely held by a sometimes vast majority, were the default for both moral and legal issues. They acted upon those beliefs, sometimes extra-legally.

#16 Comment By Franklin Evans On February 2, 2019 @ 2:13 am

Perichoresis: we are in fundamental agreement, and I’m very happy to stipulate where I differ as trivial. Your analysis is excellent.

#17 Comment By JonF On February 2, 2019 @ 7:56 am

Re: What’s interesting is that liberals don’t act as victors in a rout generally would.

Yes, this. Several years ago when the Hobby Lobby decision came down I commented in a leftist forum that while that was a bad decision (for reasons I talked about here as well at the time) the Left was generally winning the culture wars hands down. And I was thoroughly flamed for that sentiment. Large numbers of people on the Left don’t seem to see their victories and they act as if the “Handmaid’s Tale” is about to come true in real life.

#18 Comment By Rob G On February 2, 2019 @ 9:47 am

“It’s as if a certain segment of the religious feel they have the right to confront anyone they wish with their “truths” but cry victim when a majority pushes back and calls their beliefs immoral. Those who have historically used their religion as a weapon are unprepared when it stops working.”

Sorry, but that nonsense has been rebutted so many times on this blog over the past few years that the postings could fill a book.

#19 Comment By Rob G On February 2, 2019 @ 9:58 am

“Christians face their own Jim Crow era on the basis of religion. What they can’t escape, what they must not ignore, is that the revenge seekers walked in those very same shoes for decades, and now want Christians to do so, and to suffer at least as much as they made others suffer in the past.”

If this ends up being true then two observations are in order:

1) Liberal/progressive “tolerance” is an utter sham, and
2) Religious freedom as described in the Constitution was something of a house of cards from the beginning.

I’ve known that number one is true for a long time. I’ve only recently come around to thinking that number two might have some validity.

“In no way, shape or form are either Judaism or Islam anywhere close to challenging secular humanism as our dominant social order.”

This is true of the U.S. for right now, but Islam is certainly making political headway in Europe.

#20 Comment By Perichoresis On February 2, 2019 @ 11:27 am

LFC: “Of course I see no acknowledgement that the perceived bullying they receive is little more than being on the losing end of the arguments.”

Can you find any examples of Christian schools that refuse to play secular schools in sporting events? The only examples of such boycotting I can think of are the growing trend of progressive schools refusing to play conservative Christian/Mormon schools (e.g., Karen Pence’s schoo, and refusing to admit BYU to a major sports conference) and Muslim teams that refuse to play teams with Israelis. This points to the fact that secular liberalism is a quasi-religion, but one that is even more judgmental and pharisaical than fundamentalism, because it doesn’t have the leavening teachings of “love your enemies” or “hate the sin, love the sinner” that Christianity has.

#21 Comment By Rod Dreher On February 2, 2019 @ 11:38 am

Fran Macadam, I’ve just deleted a post of yours responding to Franklin Evans. Franklin has asked you to stop responding to him. I wrote you privately about this, but the email I have for you must not work, because it bounced back yesterday. Stop doing this. Respect Franklin’s request. I don’t have the time to pay such close attention to the comments as to sift through the things you post to determine which readers you’re responding to. If you don’t stop, I’m just going to stop approving your comments, period.

#22 Comment By DRK On February 2, 2019 @ 2:21 pm

Can you find any examples of Christian schools refusing to play secular schools in sporting events?

No, those schools mostly prefer to bully individual LBGT students by expelling them when they or a family member comes out or refusing to admit them at all. Often on the taxpayers’ dime, too. A kid could have gone to one of these schools for years, and then suddenly little sister comes out? Well, you’re out too, kid. Can’t have your loathsome family anywhere near us.

Can’t play football against some other school? Well, call the wahmbulance, because it does not compare to what these schools routinely do to LBGT kids and their families.

[5]

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#23 Comment By JonF On February 2, 2019 @ 3:20 pm

Re: but Islam is certainly making political headway in Europe.

They’ve managed at best to carve out spaces for themselves to manage their own affairs and live as they wish (and perhaps to an unwise extent). But they have made exactly zero headway rolling back lifestyle liberalism among the majority population. Get back to me when Muslims reverse gay marriage laws in Europe.

#24 Comment By EngineerScotty On February 2, 2019 @ 3:52 pm

The only examples of such boycotting I can think of are the growing trend of progressive schools refusing to play conservative Christian/Mormon schools (e.g., Karen Pence’s schoo, and refusing to admit BYU to a major sports conference)

BYU plays in the West Coast Conference, which
is a Division I conference made primarily up of religious schools (including many that aren’t remotely “conservative”). Since the WCC doesn’t include football, BYU competes as an independent in that sport.

I’ve never heard of another D1 university refusing a game against BYU over any objection to its Honor Code or any similar reason. (Of course, it should be pointed out that since BYU football is independent, it doesn’t have a set slate of conference foes, and has to negotiate its schedule in advance, it’s possible some other secular college won’t play them over politics but doesn’t say why).

Perhaps you are referring to the longstanding accusation that the Pac12 refuses to admit BYU over its religious status (at the start of the decade, the University of Utah was admitted along with Colorado, but BYU was not offered a spot in the conference). There might be some argument there–all but two Pac12 schools are public, and the two private universities (Stanford and USC) are secular, but that doesn’t stop Pac teams from regularly scheduling games against the Cougars. (Indeed, Oregon State and BYU have a rather strong informal rivalry going, and lots of cross-pollination of coaching staffs and the like). BYU has been occasionally mentioned as a candidate for the Big 12, which doesn’t mind religious schools at all (though it’s possible that Baptist universities like Baylor might object to an LDS school joining its ranks).

#25 Comment By Perichoresis On February 2, 2019 @ 5:04 pm

DRK: “No, those schools mostly prefer to bully individual LBGT students by expelling them when they or a family member comes out or refusing to admit them at all.”

So the Christian school has a code of behavior and statement of belief that everyone signs up to prior to attending the school, and if you later decide you don’t agree to abide by that code, you are asked to leave and go to a secular school. But the Christian school is happy to interact with secular schools through sports competitions. The secular liberal school, however, refuses to even set foot on the Christian school’s property for a sporting event because the Christian school doesn’t agree with the secular school’s beliefs. I think its clear which school has the pharisaical religion here.

#26 Comment By Thaomas On February 2, 2019 @ 5:55 pm

The idea that Sheridan staff and students feel “unsafe” around Immanuel Christian School folks is patently ludicrous. That they feel some distaste for a policy of not employing people in same-sex marriages and transgender people is understandable. Not playing football with the school is a bit too much however. Sheridan students need to learn how to live amicably in a world where not everyone shares their values.

#27 Comment By Brian in Brooklyn On February 2, 2019 @ 6:05 pm

Rob G writes: “Liberal/progressive ‘tolerance’ is an utter sham”

Since Western culture’s mechanisms of tolerance have not changed but merely exchanged one starting point for another, then they must always have been a sham.

More: “Religious freedom as described in the Constitution was something of a house of cards from the beginning.”

Mechanisms of toleration were originally designed to deal with intra-Christian differences. As the world is understood as more complex, a new question arises: what price is it legitimate to ask a citizen to pay so his fellow citizens can exercise their religious freedom.

#28 Comment By Perichoresis On February 2, 2019 @ 6:22 pm

EngineerScotty:

Yes, I am referring to this:

“25 LGBT groups send letter to Big 12 urging it to shun BYU”

[7]

If the Big 12 resists this, more credit to them

#29 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 2, 2019 @ 7:49 pm

No, those schools mostly prefer to bully individual LBGT students by expelling them when they or a family member comes out or refusing to admit them at all.

That is not, per se, bullying. People running after them down the street yelling at them all day calling them names is bullying. Dorm mates punching them in the shower and spray painting nasty words on their door is bullying.

Politely informing them that they are not in conformanace with the school’s code of conduct, and unless they choose to comply they will have to find another school, is not bullying. We need to re-learn the difference.

#30 Comment By Rick Steven D. On February 3, 2019 @ 8:23 am

As a ‘queer of a certain age’ (hilarious phrase Brian!) have to avoid a bit of schadenfreude here. Culture War Victories! Can be a little dizzying at times. How quickly things have changed. For good? Who knows. But as the great Geraldine Page witheringly, neurasthenically declared in Tennessee William’s Summer and Smoke, 1962: “The tables have turned! The tables have turned with a vengeance!”

Odd, Rod, but, thinking it over, don’t think I have ever once felt that schadenfreude while reading this blog. Particularly the comments section. Fear, yes. Definitely. Overwhelmingly, at times. There are good Christian people here, salt of the earth types, and I mean that with every ounce of sincerity. But these Good Christian People are totally, utterly convinced that I am taking that old AC/DC Highway to Hell (well, probably more DC than AC, I guess, in my particular case). And they are CONVINCING, also.

And you know what? As a recovering Catholic. I’m still not sure who’s right here. Probably will never know, till I’m breathing my last…

For the last fifteen years, as I’ve come back to spiritualty through the 12 steps of AA, I’ve also done my damnedest to come back to a God who loves me. Mostly, it’s been a tremendous success. I’ve even experienced that old Jesus-heals-the-sick bit, curing myself of ulcerative colitis through daily meditation. And all through Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

A miracle. And I never got that as a frightened Catholic schoolboy.

But then the Spider-God of Bergman’s Through a Glass Darkly escapes it’s lair. And much as I have tried to crush it beneath my foot, it always gets away.

When the darkness returns, I go to a meeting. Beautiful one last night. About thirty gay men and lesbians. Celebrating the sober anniversary of a young man who was almost dead a year ago, in a coma from an overdose. I didn’t share, but just sat and listened to the grateful voices all around the room, some of them crying at times. And I just watched the light in everyone’s eyes. All of it in a small classroom at night, in a Catholic elementary school, with a beautiful mural covering every wall in the hallway, starting at Genesis and going all the way up to the Resurrection.

Once again: darkness banished. God Bless…

#31 Comment By Fran Macadam On February 3, 2019 @ 11:03 am

“Fran Macadam, I’ve just deleted a post of yours responding to Franklin Evans. Franklin has asked you to stop responding to him. I wrote you privately about this, but the email I have for you must not work, because it bounced back yesterday. Stop doing this.”

Respectfully, why is discussing ideas or views published to a wider readership, beyond the pale? No reference was made to a person, just the ideas, which stand apart from the personal source.

Respectfully, why are some ideas beyond discussion, since they are posted publicly? Are critiquing ideas to be regarded as a personal attack? Do some have the right to deplatform others based on their perceptions of a safe space or the animosity they have developed for someone else?

Why is it that one person who personally takes a dislike to someone, gets to censor what others might think about ideas they put out for other’s consideration? Is it right to find personally offensive that ideas be critiqued?

I can assure you, I have nothing against any particular person.

I take it that your preference would be that I not post here at all, had you your druthers, and that this particular person is just “the last straw”?

Have I written something unChristian?

You do, of course, have the right to censor as you see fit, and ban me from your blog.

I do find it tragic, that in this country, it is becoming harder and harder to express views, once done with empathy and compassion, that are now taken by one another as toxic. I am genuinely sorry for that.

#32 Comment By Rick Steven D. On February 3, 2019 @ 11:19 am

EngineerScotty:

TWEETY AMIN???

If I were still drinking, I’d spray my beer across the room right now. Choking. Falling off my chair. As Meryl Streep once said in Postcards From the Edge, 1990: “Did you just MAKE THAT UP?!?!”

#33 Comment By Brian in Brooklyn On February 3, 2019 @ 5:52 pm

@Rick Steven D.

After all, a woman’s charm is fifty per cent illusion–Blanche Dubois

#34 Comment By Anonymous On February 4, 2019 @ 3:57 am

Sheridan’s stance is harmful precisely to its LGBT students. At Sheridan, it appears, LGBT students (to the extent they have recognized and embraced that identity at such a young age) risk little prejudice. But outside Sheridan, there are many who disapprove of LGBT people, and Sheridan is doing those students a disservice by blinding them to that reality. Playing on a sports field with kids from an evangelical school is a safe way for Sheridan’s LGBT students to meet people who may not be fully receptive to them.

Sheridan’s administrators are virtue signalling, but they’re doing their students no favors.

#35 Comment By Rick Steven D. On February 4, 2019 @ 7:42 am

Brian in Brooklyn:

Unhappily married wife to her husband in George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, 1968: “We may not enjoy living together. But dying together isn’t going to solve ANYTHING”. (Want to say this one to every partisan freak in the country. Or my partner when he drives me up the freaking wall…)

#36 Comment By Franklin Evans On February 5, 2019 @ 10:18 am

I’ve been ill. Responses from Perichoresis and others are acknowledged with gratitude.

Fran, I’ve shown you, word for word, that you are using portions of my posts to show me as at best posting in bad faith, at worst just a bad person perpetrating lies. In fact, I’ve shown precisely where you put words into my mouth I’ve not written, and clearly did not intend to write if anyone just reads the full context of the posts from which you edit my words.

Rod is being polite. You are not “responding to Franklin”. You are taking my words and twisting them.

You are creating lies with my name on them.

That is why you must stop quoting my posts. That is why should you continue to quote my posts, I will continue to ask Rod to delete your posts doing so.

That, sirrah, is not censorship. It is the correct reaction to defamation. I leave it to you to decide if that is a Christian-like practice or not.

I also believe that if you just had a working email address, none of this would have been discussed in public like this.