Batkid is The Best Thing Ever

Wow, it’s dusty around here.

So, all of my writing time has been for work these days (please click the donate button on the main page if you want to see me focus more here), but I had to come out and write here because I apparently missed the best story of the month, possibly the year, and need to comment on it.

My favorite charity, the Make-a-Wish Foundation (I toured Europe with a jazz band doing work for them twice) granted a wish for a leukemia survivor by going to my favorite medium, comic books. Not only did they turn him into “Batkid,” they had him running around the city in a Lamborghini Batmobile with Batman and his kid brother dressed a Robin. He disarmed a bomb and rescued a woman tied to cable car tracks, mere seconds before the cable car came by. Then he stopped the Riddler from robbing a bank. Then he saved the SF Giants’ mascot, Lou Seal, from being kidnapped by the Penguin who was also hauled off the prison. Both villains were in their delightful Adam West-era costumes.

But that’s not the best part. The best part is that thousands of people got involved in this. San Francisco was turned into Gotham City for this event. There were people cheering him wherever he went. The actual Chief of Police made a public call for his help, and thousands begged his assistance. Graham Nolan, co-creator of Bane and artist for several excellent Batman stories, drew a picture of Bane being frightened of Miles Scott, the 5-year-old secret identity of the mini Caped Crusader.

batkid baneAbout 12,000 volunteers from the city got involved in this. The president of the United States sent him a Vine to congratulate him on his work. He was given the key to the city. The San Francisco Chronicle turned its front page into the Gotham City Chronicle to run stories about his exploits. Former and future Batmen Ben Affleck, Adam West, and Michael Keaton all had great things to say to him.

gotham city chronicleThere is nothing bad about this story, except for a few assholes who think that it was wrong to do because he is in remission. Make-a-Wish’s response: “We would never penalize a child for getting better.”

This is so incredible. This is what comic books are supposed to be about: giving hope to people who don’t have it, making ordinary people feel extraordinary, and uniting people in goodness. It’s what a lot of comic book fans were saying was missing from Man of Steel.

But the sheer outpouring reaction from people is a perfect example of the greatness of human beings. When we come together for goodness, we do amazing things. Thousands of people gave up part of their days just to make a sick five year old feel good about himself.

This story made my year. This is why I read comic books, and why I support Make-a-Wish, and why I love human beings despite all of our flaws.

Link Parade 6/30/13

Here’s a collection of things I wanted to talk about but don’t have a full post in me for.

1. Apparently, Ohio is also passing an abortion ban, presumably to create the jobs they keep saying is their priority. Miri has the details and is encouraging people to call John Kaisich and tell him to line-item veto that provision from the budget bill. I encourage you to go over there and get the details on how. I just did, and I don’t even think modern Republicans ever give a shit about public opinion, but it didn’t hurt me. The part that gets me, however, is this bit:

Doctors must inform patients seeking abortions exactly how much money the clinic made from abortions within the past year, and how much money the clinic stands to lose if the patient chooses not to get an abortion. In case it’s unclear, the point of this is to warn patients that there is a “conflict of interest” involved in providing abortions because clinics can make money from them. This is ridiculous because any medical procedure can make money for doctors and hospitals.

You’ll notice that with the advent of 501(c)4s and the GOP’s favorite Court ruling, Citizen’s United, that the opposite is true of them. If I were a principled Democrat in Ohio, every bill will have a proposed amendment that you cannot submit a bill in the state legislature without it saying how much you have received from the relevant special interest group and how much you stand to lose in campaign donations if the bill doesn’t pass.

2.Will Wilkinson talks about why Republicans would bother standing against immigration reform when it’s clear that even 86% of Republican voters think a “pathway to citizenship” is a good idea. And the answer is that they have a hard core base that really is dedicated to identity politics.

The energetic ideological base of the Republican Party is a nationalist, identity-politics movement for relatively well-to-do older white Americans known as the “tea party”. The tea party is interested in bald eagles, American flags, the founding fathers, Jesus Christ, fighter jets, empty libertarian rhetoric, and other markers of “authentic” American identity and supremacy. That America is “a nation of immigrants” is a stock piece of American identity politics, but the immigrants that made America America were, well, not Mexican, and spoke English, or at least Pennsylvania Dutch. Sorry Mexicans! Even if each element of immigration reform, taken in isolation, is agreed to be a good idea by a solid majority of Republican voters, Republican politicians must nevertheless avoid too-enthusiastically supporting this package of good ideas, lest they fail to project sufficient appreciation for the importance of keeping America American and putting Americans first.

This is where I think there is an element of cognitive dissonance present in a lot of GOP voters. They don’t think of themselves as hurting immigrants, they don’t want to hurt anybody, but they also want to feel more authentic, more American than somebody, and immigrants are a traditional target. They prioritize their desire to feel superior, better than, over their desire to help people who may have been raised in this country, entirely unaware that their parents brought them here illegally as babies. They aren’t entirely unfeeling toward other people, which is why they support parts of the bill, but a whole bill threatens their feeling of supremacy and that cannot happen.

3. This is the boy I wish I was when I was 13. In fact, this is the boy I wished I was when I was 13. Will Phillips has been a social justice activist since he was 10 years old. Matt Barber has questioned his motivations and suggested he’s been “brainwashed” (which is wingnut speak for “taught that other people matter”). He initially got famous for refusing to say the Pledge because he didn’t feel that we did have “liberty and justice for all.” Most recently, he spoke at the Northwest Arkansas Pride Parade. This kid is amazing and has a bright future ahead of him. Go read about him now.

4. TW: cults, murder, homophobia. “Lord” Pete Moses is the leader of a Judaism-based cult. And he has just been found guilty of murdering two of his followers, one of which was a 4-year-old boy who was killed because Moses thought he was gay. At the very least he will be going to jail, the sick fuck. Sentencing is next Friday.

5. If you have small children, you should fill out this form saying you would be interested in getting them this awesome toy to teach your youngsters about evolution. Even if you don’t have kids you should fill it out. This is not buying the product, they are gauging interest in it, and filling out the initial form will not ask you for credit card information, but will give you an opportunity to give comments.

6. If you remember me talking about Joe Klein and how he apparently doesn’t understand that atheists help people, there have been multiple updates. First, Klein himself tried to weasel his way out of his comments by claiming that he only meant organized atheist groups, which is still incorrect. Now Time has come out with its own statement, and basically they’re supporting Klein, which is why I highly suggest that you contact Time and let them know that this is utterly unacceptable, that inaccurate reporting has no excuse, and that you intend to cancel your subscription if you have one.

On a side note, I was helping my friend with her baby yesterday. Funny how Joe Klein wasn’t there to help.

7. This baby duck was born with a deformed leg. So, rather than give him a peg leg or letting him suffer, science has found a solution. Using a 3D printer, people made a mold for a silicone prosthetic leg and foot for Buttercup. All the feels for this one.

8. I was torn about this for a whole 3 seconds before recognizing the problems with it. Basically, it’s a website that is encouraging a movement for “Christian Domestic Discipline” which we are told is a consensual arrangement that includes male domination and punishments like spanking.

Christian Domestic Discipline is not BDSM. It is not a game. While we do not deny its sometimes erotic nature, it is ultimately not for erotic purposes. It is often much different than the domestic discipline you will find outside of the Christian faith.

The thing is, it sounds a lot like BDSM. However, my experience has taught me that I can’t trust that Christianists aren’t lying when they say stuff like “consensual”, and there is a question of whether a lifetime’s worth of being told that this is the natural order of things leaves a person in a position to meaningfully consent or not. However, giving the women involved in this the benefit of the doubt, I see nothing on their website about wives who want to exit this “consensual” arrangement, or merely drop that aspect of it without getting a divorce. I also see no mention of safe words and very little in the way of safety instructions to keep husbands from going too far (I suppose god will stop them?), which means it is very, very, very not BDSM. Essentially, as a Dom/sub relationship with a religious play component, this could be really hot. As a lifestyle with no escape routes, no safety instructions, and no apparent care for the lives of women who get into this other than value paternalistic nonsense, it sounds both dangerous and abusive, despite claims that it is not (because saying that something is not abusive/racist/homophobic/otherwise awful totes makes it true).

9. #4 on this Fred Clark link list. Just go read it.

I think that’s everything for now. Oh, if you haven’t, please go vote on my new tagline. It’ll only take a second and be really helpful.

What I Missed

CN: Rape, Catholicism

Been gone for over a week now. If I have the time, I might also post about my trip, which was amazing, and will interest almost three of you.

The world stopped spinning in the interim, right? No noteworthy events I need to worry about? No? Some things did happen? Guess we should talk about those, then.

Steubenville rape convictions

The two football players who raped a girl, then posted all of the evidence online, have been convicted of rape.Which means that we now have a bunch of rape apologia to wade through, from Candy Crowley’s bemoaning the loss of such promising lives that the rapists could have had if they weren’t busy assaulting passed out girls, to Breitbart.com’s predictable “blame the media” gambit.

The worst responses, I think, are coming from Ma’lik Richmond’s family members, though, who are understandably trying to blame anybody other than their family member. One has been arrested for threatening Jane Doe online for “[ripping her] family apart.” I kinda feel sad on this one, since she really is incapable of recognizing that her rapist cousin is the one at fault, not the person who turned in her rapist cousin.

The saddest, though, is Richmond’s father who has sad, “I told Ma’lik to put all his trust in God. God will see him through this.” It’s a shame that God didn’t decide to see Ma’lik through to not raping somebody. I can’t understand this reliance on an all-powerful super being that wants the best for us only after dropping the ball on making sure the worst doesn’t happen in the first place. I would much rather that Richmond and Mays learn the value of other human beings, especially women, than put their trust in a man in the sky that isn’t historically known for treating women with respect or dignity.

I will admit that my first reaction to all of this was to revel in the schadenfreude. I didn’t much care that the defendants broke into tears after the verdict was read. They’re rapists, they deserve that sort of misery at least. However, I will also admit that my enjoyment of their sorrow was tamped down by Ashley Miller’s post calling for a middle ground that does recognize that rapists are still people without also requiring that they be forgiven or let off the hook.

Dehumanizing rapists has the effect of distancing ourselves from the chilling reality that people who have raped aren’t uncommon, making them just monsters makes it that much harder for us to accept that “normal” people who are accused may well be guilty.

Thanks for the perspective, Ashley. Trying to make them “monsters” contributes to the idea that “regular, nice” people can’t be rapists, and that makes it more difficult to combat rape.

New pope

We now have a new Pope, and already people are praising him for his “humility” and how he’s a “reformer.” The fact is, he’s almost as much of an asshole as the last one (thanks to Aoife at the Tea Cozy for collecting that research), he just doesn’t like to remind people of it. That he lives in an apartment doesn’t mean that the Church didn’t spend millions maintaining the opulent residence that he eschewed back in Buenos Aries, it just meant he wasted all of that money that could have been used to help real people.

Also, he still considers me to be basically a tool of the Boogeyman…er, Satan, and my (as well as your) female friends to be incubators, even when they were raped. Also, while he feels that people who support bodily autonomy for women and same-sex marriage should be denied communion, he has no problem personally administering the sacrament to brutal dictators that kidnap political opponents and, much like the Church itself, steal babies to place in more acceptable households.

Let’s be fair to Pope Frankie, though. In order to get to that level of power within the Vatican, you kind of have to be an asshole. It’s very rare that you get real reformers in the Holy See because a) they were appointed by their predecessor, usually, and b) this is the party line. John XXIII was an aberration, and even then the reforms he made were mostly about making the same old stuff more accessible. The really radical stuff from Vatican II has been ignored by conservative popes like John Paul II and Benedict XVI who have been clear that they consider it all meaningless and heretical. So it’s not like Frances can walk into office and say that the Church is now pro-gay.

There are things he can do, however. He can demand that the order of nuns that ran the Magdaline Laundries stop working with the Irish government to run similar social welfare programs today. He can actually do something about people who covered up child abuse in the Church. He can go to Africa and say that condoms don’t spread AIDS, they reduce it.

But he won’t. And you’ll have people like commenter Emmet at WWJTD who wax on about the “depth and richness of the faith“, as if pomp and circumstance make up for the cruelty and victimization. Much like there are not enough soup kitchens in the world that somebody can start to make up for a single raped child, there is no amount of gold brocade dresses and gem-encrusted slippers that can do the same.

Growth and Opportunity Project

The GOP has unveiled their “Growth and Opportunity Project,” the plan on how to start winning elections without mucking with voting laws again. And, unsurprisingly, it’s basically just the same thing they’ve always believed, but not shouted as loudly.

The Party should be proud of its conservative principles, but just because someone disagrees with us on 20 percent of the issues, that does not mean we cannot come together on the rest of the issues where we do agree.

That, according to RNC chair Reince Priebus. The problem, of course, is that there is nothing to be proud of with those principles. It’s a stunted ideology that prizes nothing but the desire to slit the throats of anybody standing in the way of everything you want. The GOP won’t be able to get young people on board so long as they are still the party of homophobia, racism, and misogyny, even if they are quieter about it.

That’s why I have trouble giving full credit to Rob Portman, a conservative Senator who has come out in favor of same-sex marriage because he has a gay son. First, I wonder how often in the past two years Portman has tried to convince his son to get help, that he’s not really gay, but that’s speculation. Secondly, while I appreciate his new stance, he didn’t come to it out of a sense of justice, but because it affected him personally. Matt Yglesias calls it “the politics of narcissism.”

Rob Portman doesn’t have a son with a pre-existing medical condition who’s locked out of the health insurance market. Rob Portman doesn’t have a son engaged in peasant agriculture whose livelihood is likely to be wiped out by climate change. Rob Portman doesn’t have a son who’ll be malnourished if SNAP benefits are cut. So Rob Portman doesn’t care.

Those of us in the atheosphere often talk about the problem with doing good things for bad reasons, usually in response to “Well, if that person’s belief in Jesus/Ahura Mazda/Whatever gets them to be kinder and more charitable, then what’s the big deal if they’re right or not?” And this issue with Portman is a great example. Without a solid, foundational basis in material reality, then a person’s goodness and empathy become highly specialized, and they stop pursuing justice because it’s just, and rather do so because specific action items benefit them.

Also, faith-based goodness is too easy to turn on its head, a phenomenon best illustrated by Greta Christina’s (really Brownian’s) Hair Dryer analogy. Whether you’re shooting redheads or volunteering at soup kitchens because your hair dryer is telling you doesn’t matter because you’re still listening to your hair dryer which could presumably change its mind at any point. If Rob Portman’s son decides he doesn’t want to get married, Portman’s newfound love of SSM will evaporate as quickly as it materialized and he will quietly start following the Growth and Opportunity Project plan of opposing equality, but in a way that doesn’t turn off young straight voters.

The Amazing Atheist again demonstrates that he’s an entitled jackwagon

Before I left, I posted Anita Sarkeesian’s first Tropes vs Women video (which was awesome). Unsurprisingly, she turned off comments on it because she’s capable of learning and that it would just be a place where mouth breathing MRAs masturbate themselves into a frenzy complaining about how the video doesn’t meet whatever standard they’ve suddenly decided was the most important thing in the world ever.

And one stands out. The Amazing Atheist hasn’t figured out that making a ten minute video about how someone isn’t letting you critique them is hilarious for those of us possessed of self-awareness. More “not being able to abuse people wherever I feel like violates my rights” bullshit. No need to dwell further.

“Sincerely Held Beliefs” rears its ugly head again

Miri points out that if your beliefs keep you from doing a job, find another one. Tennessee has started the process of passing a law (just got voted out of committee) that allows bigots who want to be counselors to be able to express their bigotry.

Personally, I find this sort of thing highly ironic coming from the Christian Right, for whom it is literally an element of faith that they will be persecuted and discriminated against. However, they go to incredible lengths to make sure that they never have to suffer the most minor inconvenience for their faith. I suppose the way they get the third nail in is to just claim that it’s there.

The thing is, I don’t want people to suffer, for their faith or for any reason. Suffering sucks. But if you’re going to tell me over and over again that my pointing out your bigotry means I’m oppressing you, then stop making yourself a liar and actually be oppressed. You can’t have it both ways.

Also, I really hate the phrase “sincerely held religious beliefs.” The fact that you really, really believe something awful doesn’t make it less awful. The strength of your faith in cruelty makes it no less cruel. The weight you place on your commitment to stupidity makes it no less stupid.

Malala goes back to school!

Going to wrap up with some positive notes. I Facebooked about this on the road yesterday because I was so excited, but Malala Yousafzai has started going back to school again in Birmingham. She is safe in England where she can attend classes without having to worry as much about being shot in the head for it. She’s, without a question, my favorite for the Nobel Peace Prize this year and somebody I truly admire. I hope she continues to do amazing things with her life.

Finally, some videos
A dad altered his daughter’s Donkey Kong game so that Pauline is the playable character rescuing Jumpman

Via Emma Wolf

Somebody wrote a musical interpretation of Pi based on numbering the notes in the scale and using the numbers for chords. In the mood for interesting musical things. Heard an original piece last week that did something really clever with the Cantus Firma (will only go into detail on request here), so playing with theory is my current mood. Either way, this sounds good.

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I Used to Make Fun of This Guy!

I’m obviously catching up on things today from several days of looking for work punctuated by almost crippling depression and/or headaches, but I just saw this video, which it itself almost a year old, on Friendly Atheist and my first thought was, “Hey, I know that preacher!”

You see, I’m a UCF alum and Brother Micah was the first fire and brimstone preacher I really cut my teeth on (rhetorically). Mind you, this was before I was an atheist (it was in my touchy-feeling “spiritual” phase where I was a Practitioner of Falun Gong on that very spot twice a week), but even then I could see the incredible flaws in his idiotic ravings.

Now I wish I had stripped down to my boxers in front of the guy. That was kind of brilliant.

I don’t know if he’s still on campus. I suspect so. The guy was deterred by nothing, and he has endured years of derision and laughter at his expense. Which is how it should be when you spend your days telling everybody how wicked they are because you read it in a book. Brother Micah is a clown or a masochist or both, and I don’t see a downside to people treating him like the joke he is, since it also makes him feel self-righteous. I call that a win-win.

Young Girl Dresses As Historical Figure/Character Every Day for School

I love adding to my Kids Being Awesome tag, and Stella Ehrhart certainly deserves a place there. This 3rd grader has, since the second day of 2nd grade, gone to school every day dressed as a different person from history, either real or fictional. She gets a lot of her ideas out of a book she has, 100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century. This is entirely her idea and her parents don’t have any influence on who she chooses, which just makes it that much more interesting.

Turns out her teachers have used her outfits as parts of lessons, as well.

Go read the whole article to get an idea of how clever this girl is. My favorite is that last Halloween she didn’t go as a person, but rather wore a cardboard cutout decorated to look like her teacher’s car. Though the attitude she puts into the Billie Holiday outfit in the picture might also make it a favorite.

Taliban Not Above Shooting Children

The Taliban in Pakistan has attempted to assassinate one of their most fervent critics, a 14-year-old girl who writes a blog and wants to go to school.

Malala Yousafzai has been writing Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl for the BBC’s Urdu-language website since she was 11, describing the difficulty in being a girl who wants an education in the heavily Taliban-control Swat region of Pakistan. You can read some of it that’s been translated to English. It’s incredibly powerful stuff.

She is alive. According to doctors, the bullet she was shot with on her way home from school missed her brain and she’ll be recovering. However, the Taliban, proud of shooting at a teenaged girl, as sworn to finish the job. And considering they control the area, they will keep trying until they succeed.

My thoughts are with this brave and articulate girl, and I’m trying to find a story in my mind where the monsters who are determined to kill her don’t eventually win.

Hate the Sinner?

Recently, a 14-year-old in Iowa confronted Rick Perry on his DADT stance. She asked, quite pointedly, how he could defame gay people in the military who fought and died so that he would have the right to run for president. She revealed in interviews later that she is openly bi-sexual. At 14. In Iowa. This is not only a very smart and articulate young woman, but also an incredibly brave one.

Perry, who is not nearly as smart, articulate, or brave (though there are enough suspicions about whether he and Marcus Bachmann might attend meetings together for self-hating closet cases), fell back on a string of cliches and hid behind his faith.

“Here’s my issue. This is about my faith, and I happen to think, you know, there are a whole hosts of sins. Homosexuality being one of them, and I’m a sinner and so I’m not going to be the first one to throw a stone,” Perry said. “I don’t agree that openly gays [sic] should be serving in the military. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was working and my position is just like I told a guy yesterday, he said, ‘How would you feel if one of your children was [sic] gay?’ I said I’d feel the same way. I hate the sin, but I love the sinner, but having them openly serve in the military, I happen to think as a commander in chief of some 20,000 plus people in the military is not good public policy, and this president was forced by his base to change that policy and I don’t think it was good policy, and I don’t think people in the military thought it was good policy.”

Alright, so let’s forget for a second that there are 1,477,896 active duty members of the military and 1,458,500 reserve personnel. I mean, he’s technically correct in the same way that he would be correct had he said he would be in charge of “more than a dozen people in the military” or, as Douglas Adams so well put it, “Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

Even given the remarkable gift of the Syrup Cuddler for understatement, there are two really worrisome things in this statement. And I think you, my handful of loyal readers, already know what they are.

The first, “This is about my faith…” Alright, stop right there. You’re telling me that if you are elected to the office of the president, your faith gets to trump all available evidence re:national security and military strength? Now, he does go on to say that DADT was working, but like his faith that there’s a God who thinks gay people are choosing to defy His otherwise perfect creation, he’s demonstrably wrong. Even more wrong, in fact, as the nature of God makes proof or disproof impossible and we have actual, tangible evidence that DADT was a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad idea. Mr. Perry’s faith is his to have, and he can believe whatever idiotic thing he wants, but the sad thing here is two-fold: both that he wants to use that belief in defiance of reality and that he’s not entirely wrong in gambling that a whole lot of people will vote for him because of that.

It’s hard to really say if that’s a determining factor since the nature of GOP orthodoxy is such that every candidate is expected to measure themselves against a wall and there is very little daylight between them and the most extreme members of their party, providing a very flat baseline. In other words, if Rick Perry were the only candidate in this race that believed that, we could see if his idiotic beliefs were swaying voters, but since every candidate has to reach a certain quota of insane beliefs and ideals (100% of them, in fact), then there is no control sample. All of the candidates fall over one another to demonstrate how much they understand that God wants them to deny gay people rights, so primary voters don’t actually have to make a choice to still get their dose of homophobia (and magical thinking, Islamophobia, immigrant hatred, family values hypocrisy, etc.) and it throws off analysis of what messages are actually resonating.

The other objectionable part of his rambling dodge (side note: The Rambling Dodge would be a great name for a rock band) was his resurrection of the old “hate the sin, love the sinner” canard.

The question, of course, is “Is this possible?” Short answer: no.

Long Answer:

In order to understand this little bit of theological ju-jitsu, you must first understand that people want to consider themselves good. They also want other people to consider them good. This goes doubly for Christians and infinitely more than that in direct proportion to how loudly they proclaim that faith. So, the average person likes being good, the average Christian has the added inducement to be Christ-like on top of just normal good (pretty high standard, according to the story, I’ll grant), and you go all the way up to Tim Tebow who wants to be good so bad that he’s actually convinced himself that throwing less than half of his passes to completion is awesome and ostentatiously prays between bites at dinner.

The other thing to understand is that being good is hard. It is so much easier to claim to love everybody and continue to hate them to yourself than to actually love everybody. I would argue, in fact, that actually loving everybody is a bad idea, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

So, you have a bunch of Christianists like Perry who believe they must love every person, but also believe that they are squigged out by gays, afraid of Muslims, not happy that they have to study the science thing, and totally convinced that God Loves Them Best. That, my friends, is a recipe for trouble, and thus was born “love the sinner, hate the sin,” a piece of vile dishonesty and rank hypocrisy that allows people to convince themselves that they’re doing what Jesus wants while still doing what makes them comfortable.

In Perry’s (and every other GOP official other than Fred Karger and…there’s at least one more, I think) case, he claims to love the sinner (gays) and hate the sin, but what does that actually mean? We, as humans, experience love. It’s not a measurable thing, so we tend to describe love as a reflection of actions. The same way that we can tell a massive object is in space when we might not be able to see it by seeing the way gravity affects things around it, we can see love in the actions of people toward other people.

So, is it loving to deny rights to people? Categorically not. Unilateral denial of basic human rights afforded to others for no other reason than your particular invisible man said in his confusing and contradictory book that they weren’t in accord with his vision is not an act of love. The question must then be: in what way is the sinner being loved in this scenario?

This is similar to Jules Manson’s claim that he isn’t a racist. Just saying something doesn’t actually make it true, and actions are generally good indicators of emotional realities.

The fact of the matter is, you cannot both love the sinner and hate the sin. Love is something that has to be manifested, expressed, in order for it to have meaning and sincerity. Without that manifestation, it is nothing but potential, an empty promise with an implied, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” It changes love into a salve for those who are too cowardly to admit that there are some things they don’t like for no good reason. They want to be good and, failing that, be thought of as good when the truth is that they irrationally hate various people and don’t want to suffer the social backlash for it.

Moreover, the entire concept is astoundingly condescending. Anybody who “hates the sin but loves the sinner” is basically saying, “I know you don’t know what you’re doing is wrong, but it’s ok, I’m willing to overlook your stupidity.” What sort of self-righteous bullshit is that? You think I’m doing bad things, but you don’t hold them against me because you inexplicably “love” me? If you’re doing terrible things, especially if I don’t know you, I’m not going to love you like some mentally retarded younger cousin who doesn’t know any better. This idea that you somehow know better and barely tolerate my wicked ways severely degrades the very concept of “love,” and that is something up with which I will not put.

So, what’s the solution? The most obvious one is simply, “Don’t be a dick.” You can solve that second problem by attempting to be inclusive, getting over your idiot notions, and weighing things in a way that makes sense.

The issue still comes in with how one can love everybody and still not particularly like certain people or, often, “what they do.” However, the answer to that one is just as easy: stop claiming to love everybody. You can’t do it, you shouldn’t do it. Nobody should feel obligated to love Kim Jong Il, and the world should rejoice in his death. He’s a murderous, oppressive dictator, a monster who starved his people to maintain his bloated army and to glorify himself. We should hate that man. Nobody should feel obligated to love Rick Santorum, or Michelle Bachmann, or Mitt Romney, or Ron Paul, or even Mr. Perry. Especially not Newt Gingrinch. Hell, nobody should feel obligated to love me and while I’m fortunate that many people do, it’s because I give them a reason to.

But please, don’t tell me you love me despite my being queer. Or poly. Or kinky. Or anything else I am that composes the great and gorgeous tapestry that is me. I don’t want your prayers for me to somehow be more in line with your vision of things and I don’t want your condescending tolerance. I want you to be honest that you don’t like things about me, be honest about the reasons, and if there are none, be honest that you have no reasons and accept the consequences that come with disliking somebody irrationally.