October 10, 2010

Thought for 10.10.10

Homophobia is a non-geographical violation of the mandate to love the stranger and foreigner, the alien in your midst.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

18 comments:

JCF said...

So true.

We're sorry, heterosexual majority, that the thought of us Making Love gives (so many of) you Teh Ick.

Besides suggesting the obvious (Just don't think about us Doing It, then! Really, we would PREFER you didn't!), is it too much to ask that you just not, y'know, make our lives (esp. when we're young) a living Hell?!

Erika Baker said...

I agree. But I also think that we are using the word homophobia to mean "unreasonable hatred and treatment of gay people when they should know better". We tend to forget that "phobia" means fear. That doesn't absove those who suffer from it from learning to love, but it is a problem that goes deeper than the purely rational.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thanks, jcf.

Erika, I think the unreasonableness of homophobia, even when cloaked in the language of "morality," is that it is by definition irrational. The so-called moral arguments put forth do not in fact prove reasonable. This is why it is time to call a spade a spade and "call out" the unreasonable bigotry for what it is. That doesn't men abandoning Reason to deflate the specious "rationalizations" -- but by stripping them away the chthonic fear is unmasked.

Erika Baker said...

Tobias
yes.
But be careful. Fear's normal response to being called out is increased agression, not insight and mellowing.
It takes trust and relationship to do that.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

True, Erika, but the worst thing we could do give in to our own fear of increased tensions or aggression and back down from speaking the truth and exposing the lie. (Sadly, too much a part of the response these days, as in the A B of C.)

Truth will have to come first, then reconciliation, as ++Desmond showed us.

Erika Baker said...

Tobias,
yes again.
But calling out truth in friendship and with as much love as we can possibly manage. Loving our enemies is a tough call for those who are being unjustly discrimminated against.
And yet, pure psychology tells us that it's the only way forward, the only way truth has the chance to convert people.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Yes, that's true. It is always about 'speaking the truth in love' -- but also accepting that 'not all will accept this teaching.' At a certain point we know there will be [likely mutual] shaking of dust from heels. And one side or the other will dwindle and pass into oblivion. I would like to think that the truth will utterly prevail, but I am not an unabashed Gamalielan. Though I see the trend towards, for example, marriage equality, I am relatively sure there will always be some who oppose it, remaining unconverted; just as there are still Holocaust-deniers and Flat-Earthers out there, and likely always will be.

When it comes to homophobia, as a wise person once said, you cannot by means of reason argue a person out of a position to which they did not come by means of reason. As homophobia arises from personality or culture, not reason, I know that reason will not in all cases succeed. I can, and indeed must, live with that. I don't want to fall into trusting in "conversion therapy" for homophobia any more than I approve of it for sexuality!

Doorman-Priest said...

Amen Tobias.

Erika Baker said...

Again I agree with you. There is a "rational" opposition to homosexuality and it comes from those who have been taught that it's unbiblical and who have never examined the evidence and who have not yet met a normal "out" gay couple.

These people and those who are already on our side will eventually form the majority and the haters will be just that - haters.

I think the situation in the States is still harder than that in Europe, where the pro-arguments have won to the extent that most European countries have equality legislation and same sex marriage or civil partnerships that are marriage in all but the name. It's the haters who are now having to explain themselves, no longer the gay people.
And although public opinion hasn't followed the law in all cases, there is far less hatred and, I dare say far less homophobic bullying than in America.
That's really the first point we need to get to in all countries and in all the churches.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Erika,
I don't think you look too far for the source (or coincidental coexistence) of attitudes in the US -- the significant portion of the population connected with anti-gay religious sects, the high proportion of fantasists (the aforementioned flat-earthers, young-earthers, elvis-is-alivers, darwin-is-sataners, etc.), the appalling low level of education in science and logic, etc., etc. This is, to some extent, the price of liberty. It is a high price, but I cannot set it aside lightly. But it does make the work harder. WHich is why the church in the US taking the lead is so important.

Erika Baker said...

Tobias
It is interesting you should talk in general about the US experience. I'm reading a long article in an intellectual German newspaper that explains a movement in California that is trying to reduce polarisation in public discourse. I don't really understand why there is such a loss of the middle ground in your country, why everything is so increasingly extremely one thing or extremely the other. But it seems to affect all aspects of politics, not just the gay issue.

Conversely, TEC is far more progressive and supportive of minorities than the Church of England.

I'm finding this fascinating and I intend to do a lot more reading around it because I hope that beginning to understand what is happening in our repective countries and why just might contain the seeds of a solution.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Erika, my guess is the radical protection of free speech in the US. England, I know, has much tighter control, as does France. I'm not familiar with the German civil law, but I'd guess there is a clearer line on hate-speech; which is protected in the US. I expect, for example, that SCOTUS will side with Fred Phelps in his upcoming case. This is what I mean about the cost of liberty.

Grandmère Mimi said...

When it comes to homophobia, as a wise person once said, you cannot by means of reason argue a person out of a position to which they did not come by means of reason.

Tobias, too true. For me, what brought me out of homophobia were the first-person stories of gay and lesbian persons and witnessing holiness in the lives of those in faithful same-sex relationships. I doubt that argument, even truth-in-love type argument, would ever have turned me around.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Dear Mimi,
And isn't it wonderful to run around and see all the wonderful things you've missed, and still have the opportunity to enjoy them! There is enough pain and suffering in the world without people adding to it, and their own, through their personal or cultural blindnesses!

That's also why the other side of the coin is the removal of all the closet doors -- not by force, but by trust in the truth. Hard to do, but oh, so much better for all in the long run...

Grandmère Mimi said...

And isn't it wonderful to run around and see all the wonderful things you've missed, and still have the opportunity to enjoy them!

Yes, it is, Tobias, and liberating, too! A window opens through which God's love flows.

In the same manner, it's more difficult for God's love to flow through closed closet doors.

IT said...

Bishop Gene Robinson, speaking in San Diego earlier this year, commented that he felt "heterosexism" was a more appropriate term, given that "isms" are generally about using power against unpopular groups and minorities.

Erika Baker said...

Tobias
yes, the extent of liberty may well be a contributing factor. The German government has restricted tolerance to everything that does not directly threaten the principles of democracy themselves.

This article I'm reading also mentions that your political system of checks and balances was deliberately set up so that one political party could never push all its extreme ideas through without a huge consensus. One of the American academics interviewed claims that the abolition of slavery could not have been accomplished through the political system but needed a Civil war.

Germany has a similar system of checks and balances, and I'm now beginning to think that this stabilises a country for decades but eventually means that it ends up tied in knots of old policies that can never be changed effectively. The resulting political paralysis brings with it more and more frustrated polarisation at grassroots level.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

GM, that's why the Holy Spirit blew through the windows, and also allowed those outside the building to hear the effects of the Spirit's presence. As I noted in the sermon, quoting Frost, 'something there is that doesn't love a wall; that wants it down.' Goes for closet doors, too.

IT, I understand Bp Gene's concern, but I'm coming more and more to see that the root problem is more psychological than social -- hence "phobia." "heterosexism" gives in too much to the homophobes who say, "I'm not a homophobe; I'm just rationally expressing the traditional teaching." The fact that they embrace a 'traditional teaching' that is manifestly itself a result of irrationality and 'fear and loathing' shows that something is at work in them.

Erika, that is a big part of the issue: and we see it now in the T-party movement, as in previous explosions of populism in the face of government log-jams.