I had another post in mind, but again, circumstances have pushed a different issue to the forefront. What issue could possibly be more important than my hard hitting look at the Just World Fallacy (seriously, I want to write about that)?
The slurry of death threats against me and people like me.
As a warning, since people are saying that I should be dead, this post may be a little ranty. Also, probably NSFW due to language. I am speaking very specifically here about the people who are calling for and supporting calls for harm to or death for LGBT people. Either way, I’m not going to pull punches and may offend, so please be warned.
Since the North Carolina Amendment One case, more and more pastors have been making the news or at least hitting the internets with the most hateful and vile (translation into Independant Baptist speak: “loving”) sermons imaginable. In an effort to stroke their flaccid egos, these pastors have been attempting to one up one another with their ability to stress how much they really, really, really don’t like teh Gay.
Many of you will remember my post about the revolting Sean Harris, who was bad enough when he suggested that any kid who exhibits the merest hint of gender nonconformity should be beaten then tried twice to make it look like he was sorry for saying what he actually believes.
This was of course followed up by Charles “Concentration Camp” Worley’s idea to “get rid of all the lesbians and queers” (BTW, lesbians are “queers” and “homosexuals”) by putting them in sex separated electric fences (because otherwise they may have opposite sex sex?), dropping food (to show his Christian love), and wait for us all to die off. Because gay people can’t breed. And if they can’t breed, they can’t make more gay people. Or something. I’m not sure, the guy is unhinged.
Keep in mind that even though I’m not gay, I’m bi, and therefore could very well breed one day, but I’m running under the suspicion that I’m gay enough for the likes of these creatures that have somehow acquired human speech.
Anyway, Pastor Worley was eventually supported by his moron followers, who made intellectually profound statements like, “…being gay and lesbian or homosexual is wrong according to the Bible. … It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” And there was, of course, the iconic Anderson Cooper interview with the woman so unused to thinking that she’s clearly straining to accomplish the task.
It’s not just pastors, either. A couple of weeks ago, Mississippi state rep Andy Gipson decided to show his opposition to homosexuality by referring to Leviticus, which all the good apologetics love to remind us doesn’t count when we point to the horrible cruelty it demands on a number of subjects, then claimed that even though he did point to a verse calling for the death of LGBT persons, he didn’t actually call for their death. Because words mean whatever Andy Gipson wants them to mean.
Similarly, we have the most recent yammering on this topic from Pastor Curtis Knapp, who didn’t even bother pretending that concentration camps were an expression of mercy. No, he just flat out thinks the government should kill gay people. He has since defended his statements, also citing Biblical authority, but he told CNN that he “[doesn’t] think homosexuals have anything to worry about,” adding, “My hope is for their salvation, not for their death.”
Really? Because it sounds otherwise.
I could really go on and on. Next week it will be another pastor who tells their congregation that since the government hasn’t done so, it’s their duty to personally seek out and stone all homosexuals. Or it will be another lawmaker quoting Leviticus then saying that he thinks the Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth is right about homosexuality being an abomination, but somehow wrong about the appropriate punishment.
You know what, though? I’m getting really sick of it. Everything mentioned above happened last month. In one month people have called for and supported the idea of my death and the death of people like me numerous times.
Now, I can hear the cries already. “You can’t take that personally! It’s just what they believe!” I certainly can and do take it personally. The temptation in cases like this is to pretend that the words are meaningless, that they’re talking about an amorphous group of beings called “homosexual” and not real, actual people. Everybody quoted above has responded to criticism of their statements that of course they don’t want LGBT people dead or beaten, despite their statements that they want LGBT people dead or beaten. This response is a measure of perspective, in which they have no problem calling for genocide against an unknown Other, but when confronted for specifics regarding real people, the idea can’t hold up.
So I do take this very personally since, as I mentioned above, I suspect that I’m gay enough to qualify for Charles Worley’s death camps or Curtis Knapp’s pogroms. They are not talking about some fictional group, they’re talking about real individuals with real lives, and that includes me. If Curtis Knapp had his way, I would be killed. Not somebody random and unidentified. Me.
As to “this is just their beliefs,” I can’t help but answer with a, “So the fuck what?” Seriously, why should I care that they deeply, personally believe that I should be dead? Is this supposed to matter? Am I supposed to hear that and shrug, defeated by the ability of the gullible to buy into somebody’s bullshit? I’m not sure why this is supposed to be a good argument to ignore calls for my death.
As to their beliefs themselves: they’re inhuman. Any god that would demand that is not worth following, and I feel no sympathy for their ignorance at all. Again, let me point out that we’re discussing genocide on the premise of “I read about it. In a book.” Perhaps they’re willing to kill off anywhere from 5-10% of the population based on their interpretation of a collection of stories of unknown provenance detailing events with no evidence of actually happening and likely created by illiterate nomads who thought the world was flat, but I think I’m going to demand a little more rigor in their reasoning before submitting to ritual murder.
I normally present my posts with some sort of proposed solution, but I just don’t have one. I really don’t know how to deal with pockets of people who want me dead, say they want me dead, then hide behind their imaginary friend’s skirts and say, “I’m sorry, we really want to accept you for who you are, but there’s this book that says you don’t deserve to live, so I guess we believe that.”
One thing I do know, however, is that I’m not willing to pretend that these people aren’t monsters. I’m not willing to give them a pass because I can’t wrap my head around the sheer depth of their depravity. I’m not willing to let it go because they sincerely believe I’m an abomination to their invisible sky patriarch, nor because they claim to be bound by a set of rules that they are too cowardly to break, even when they claim it hurts them not to. And to be frank, nobody else should shrug them off as harmless kooks either. Just after the year with the highest LGBT-targeted murders on record, we cannot afford to not shame, shun, and disavow anyone who encourages more murders and does so based on divine authority.
I take it personally when somebody calls for my death. Or the death of my friends. Or the death of any innocent human, convicted only of offending a being that in all likelihood doesn’t exist and is unworthy of praise if it does in the form these fanatics worship. And I would hope that if you’re reading this, as a fellow human being you would take it personally, too.