Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Attorney Strangio Blames Orlando on the Church: Though Wrong, His Charge Warrants Self-Examination

An ACLU attorney, Chase Strangio, who works on LGBQT issues for the organization, tweeted his accusatory tweet, laying responsibility for the Orlando Massacre at the feet of churches in the United States. You can read Chase Strangio's tweets, including his no more than 144 character indictment of the church on his Twitter profile. I've linked it here.

I don't agree with his indictment.



There is something I would ask you to think about in the light of his accusation.

The Holocaust did not spring fully formed from Adolf Hitler's head, as Athena did from the head of Zeus. Rather, there preceded the Holocaust more than a century of continuous invective, bile, recriminations, and remonstrances against Jews in the journals, papers, and broadsides of Germany. By the time Hitler developed a Final Solution, the people of Germany were conditioned to view the Jews as a problem that cried out for a solution.

I've mentioned before the devastatingly detailed examination of the rhetorical conditioning of the German people for the eventual Holocaust conducted by Professor William Brennan, Professor of Social Work at St. Louis University. His analysis helps illuminate how an otherwise "decent" people could become the fount of horror that Nazi Germany became. Again, I just want his idea that language can condition the mind to miss the humanity in others to linger in your head.
Let's go back to ACLU attorney Chase Strangio. He is just as unable to prove the assertion he made as anyone else currently is to prove Mateen acted out of self-loathing, or that he acted as a Jihadi -- his telephonic statement a contrary signal marker of seeming reliability.

But suppose I don't want to prove Strangio wrong ... or right.

Suppose I just want you to hear is a caution: the LGBQT community sees and hears what Christians do and say, and finds in it, at some level, personal hostility above and beyond what I would hope Strangio could, in turn, recognize to be concerns for the protection of deeply held beliefs of long-standing about topics like marriage.

While Fred Phelps and his cultic Westboro Baptist Church are the clumsy, misshapen blade of hate, I have seen -- in my own life, expressed in my presence, deeply vituperative and hateful language about LGBQT people. Whether you agree with Phelps -- and you celebrate the deaths of Gays and Soldiers as proof of God's righteous judgment -- or whether, with me, you are stunned at the breathtaking temerity of those that speak as though they were God's Appointed Executioner, surely you understand that how we speak of others  today can be just as dangerous as the Nazi regime proved it could be?

I'm okay with you disagreeing with me.

I'm okay with you deleting me for your false perception that I am agreeing with the charge Strangio has made. I think it's worth taking the time to ask, each of himself, How Jesus-like am I seen to be by those who need to see Jesus in me?

If your retort is that Steven L. Anderson's version of Jesus is just fine with you ... dancing on the not yet dug graves of young men and women ... well, I just don't see Jesus in that, or in your dance. I hope you'll reconsider.

If you are among those that are cheering Chase Strangio's indictment of the church, I hope that you find the toleration that you indict the church for lacking.