Chamblee54

Tit For Tat Savagery

Posted in Religion by chamblee54 on April 29, 2012









If you have a life, you may have missed the Dan Savage splatterfest. It seems like the sex advice columnist gone awry got more of the attention that he craves. Facebook comment threads broke out in righteous digitosity. The fun continues this morning, and it seems like a good excuse to facilitate text. The pictures, on both sides of this text, are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library” .
Here are a few comments from the thread that got the Georgia part of the ball rolling. Names and smily faces have been deleted.When PG feels the need to weigh in, it will be in green letters.

Dan has made a career of writing and saying “shocking” and outrageous things. He seems to thrive on provoking others and bringing their rejection on himself. A lot of us have been hurt by people using the Bible as a weapon against us, but you don’t see us bashing the beliefs of others or bullying those who disagree with us.
That sounds really accurate …I have done the same thing in my life…attracting victimhood and projecting it onto others. Finally, I want to say, Mr Savage has allowed the feelings of fear of rejection in his life to distort the interpretation of the bible too.

The interpretation of the bible is distorted by definition. If you declare this text to be the inerrant word of G-d, then you are distorting the meaning. Perhaps a better solution for this conundrum is to say that the bible was written, translated, and compiled by fallible men. (And perhaps a woman or two, but considering the patriarchy implicit in having one G-d, who is the male father, then this is unlikely. This more macho than thou meme causes great havoc in this episode. When Mr. Savage said pansy assed, that was not a compliment, nor was it supportive of the masculinity of those involved.)
The first commandment says to have no other G-d before you. (A G-ddess is out of luck.) When you take a book, and call it the word of G-d, you are violating this commandment. This is going to cause problems. When you use this text to validate your prejudice and privilege, you bring shame to the book.

It’s funny… the status update just below this one in my feed has the same link and another friend says: “Dan Savage always has the balls to tell it like it is.”
That’s not funny, it’s sad. You can “tell it like it is” without being profane and disrespectful of other peoples’ beliefs, and without resorting to name-calling and bullying. I have NO tolerance for bullies, even when the bully is a fellow queer like Dan Savage, and I have no tolerance for those who tolerate bullies.

Here we go again. The celebration of masculinity as the standard of perfection for Homo sapiens. Oh Boy, Mr. Savage has the balls to call people pansy ass.

Weird video. Those kids obviously weren’t just offended in the moment. They seemed to be smirking as if their march out was some sort of pre-planned event.

This thought occurred to PG. The walkout began before the comment about BS. A lot of the people in the audience cheered Mr. Savage. BTW, maybe Mr. Savage did not specifically call the kids, who walked out, pansy assed. Maybe he was talking about those who use the bible to condemn, and then get offended when people disagree with them. If you use the bible as a weapon against your neighbor, you should not be surprised when someone uses it as a weapon against you.
I saw this video earlier on a separate website. Having seen and heard blatant homophobia — well, it wasn’t homophobia, there was no fear, it was hate, absolute hate, vile vicious and without restraint —- I understand the frustration and marginalization that many in the gay community feel, but I take the bible very seriously, including the shellfish abstention, and was quite shocked to hear this. My initial reaction was anger at his comments, and then I realized that this is the external toughness that is exhibited by a man undergoing extreme pain, or who has endured extreme viciousness, by his bellicose statement he drowns his previous suffering, much like an alcoholic. I am guilty of this, although for different reasons, and we are all susceptible to it, it seems to be a general tendency in society today, tit for tat savagery, rather than moderate discussion. So I have room to forgive him, as long as he recognizes his wrong, which I pray he will. Although I have great reverence for the Bible, the Torah to be precise, I am a Jew in progress, I hold no animosity towards homosexuals, and I don’t believe G-d is the business of holding grudges either. His ways are mysterious, why did He prohibit homosexuality back then?The Greeks didn’t mind it, it hardly mattered to the Romans? We have no clue, but I am assured that if his ways are mysterious, his forgiveness and understanding is vast and uncompromising. He will judge people on their positive acts of goodness and kindness, not on failings, whether they be in regards to 3000 year old dictum’s, or modern displays of rage and anger, He loves those who try, and sanctifies those who love.
Thank you for the title to this post. Are you a JIP? Many people feel that the prohibitions in Leviticus were specifically about a specific act between two men. This does not concern lesbians, or men dressing like Lady Gaga. When you take carefully selected passages out of the magic book to denounce your neighbor, you give people one more reason to make fun of you.

It is also dangerous for anyone to apply levitical customs into today’s culture. Those laws were written in that appointed time because of the gross situations of idol worship, which included fertility worship. I firmly believe if we are required to follow all 613 laws, none of us will ever be reconciled to God. I have yet to see one human being who follows Leviticus to the T.
The Guardian had a really good article on how atheists can open a dialogue with believers, and avoid being provocative. We don’t need any more polarisation on this planet, we have far better things to devote our attention to. I think if atheists followed this, they might find it’s a better path. “Strength of belief is not the same as rigidity of dogma.”
Bridges trump walls, any day.

Thinking trumps cliches. Bad hair trumps Donald.

There’s a serious risk of becoming as bad as some of the most rigid “religious” people, if your “religion/dogma” becomes a NON-belief in God.
There are fundamentalists in all religions, including evangelical atheism (i.e., atheism that tries to convert others). You’re absolutely right, bridges trump walls. I have quite a few friends who are atheists and we respect each others’ beliefs (or lack thereof) so they have never been an issue in our friendships.
This has been a wonderful dialogue to follow. Thank you all for your insight and grace. It reminds me to keep being tolerant, forgiving and compassionate at all cost.

In some ways, atheism is a branch of Christianity. The concept that you have the right to evangelize to others is not universally accepted. Even if you entitled to proselytize, many people wind up saying things that impress themselves, without any thought as to the impact it will have on their neighbor. If what you say creates ill will for G-d (and his pesky son), then you are speaking in vain. The third commandment has something to say about this.
This is a lovely spring sunday afternoon. Hopefully you will spend it doing something more productive that worrying about a high school journalism conference. Before you go, here is a story. When PG was a kid, his family went to First Baptist Church. It was a grand building on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, about a mile north of downtown. It has been replaced by an office building. In 1959, the pastor was a man named Roy McClain. He greased his hair and shouted at the audience. PG was afraid of Roy McClain. One day, Mr. McClain waved the bible over his head, shouted “this is the word of G-d”, and slammed the book down onto the pulpit. PG thought to himself, if that is the word of G-d, shouldn’t he treat it a bit nicer?”








2 Responses

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  1. Darrell Grizzle said, on April 29, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    “Perhaps a better solution for this conundrum is to say that the bible was written, translated, and compiled by fallible men.” Agreed! Unfortunately Mr. Savage seems to take the same simplistic view of the Bible as his detractors.

    • chamblee54 said, on April 29, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      Thank you for stopping by.
      I don’t know what Mr.Savage thinks about the Bible. I also don’t care. It is a full time job figuring out what I think about the bible. It is a full time job that does not pay very well (some would make an emotional comment about life after death here. The obsession with life after death is a big part of the problem.)
      I don’t know if this is the “correct” way to understand the bible, but this is what I see. The bible is the book that teaches people to hate me. This is what it has devolved into.
      If the bible had a monopoly on wisdom, then this would be more of a problem than it is. There are many other texts which talk about the relationship of man and G-d. There is also the matter of whether the emotional investment in these texts is a profitable use of my time and emotions. I rather doubt that it is.
      When you are in a fight, you do not have the luxury of being fair. You need to defend yourself. When you use the bible as an instrument of hatred, then many of us do not see the need to be fair and understanding. The priority should be to defend yourself.


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