Friday, April 03, 2015

Rutgers Professor: Conservatives worship a God of white supremacy, while I worship a potentially queer Jesus

Rutgers “Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies” professor Brittney Cooper offers us this little tidbit in an article she wrote for Salon:
I often ask myself whether I really do worship the same God of white religious conservatives. On this Holy Week, when I reflect on the Christian story of Christ crucified, it is a story to me of a man who came, radically served his community, challenged the unjust show of state power, embraced children, working-class men and promiscuous women and sexual minorities (eunuchs). Of the many things Jesus preached about, he never found time to even mention gay people, let alone condemn them. His message of radical inclusivity was so threatening that the state lynched him for fear that he was fomenting a cultural and political rebellion. They viewed such acts as criminal acts and they treated Jesus as a criminal. And all who followed him were marked for death.

This is why I identify with the story of Jesus. And frankly, it is the only story there really is. This white, blond-haired, blue-eyed, gun-toting, Bible-quoting Jesus of the religious right is a god of their own making. I call this god, the god of white supremacy and patriarchy.There is nothing about their god that speaks to me as a Black woman of working-class background living in a country where police routinely murder black men and beat the hell out of black women, where the rich get richer while politicians find ever more reasons to extract from the poor, and where the lives the church imagines for women still center around marriage and motherhood, and no sex if you’re single.

This God isn’t the God that I serve. There is nothing holy, loving, righteous, inclusive, liberatory or theologically sound about him. He might be “biblical” but he’s also an asshole.

The Jesus I know, love, talk about and choose to retain was a radical, freedom-loving, justice-seeking, potentially queer (because he was either asexual or a priest married to a prostitute), feminist healer, unimpressed by scripture-quoters and religious law-keepers, seduced neither by power nor evil.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-02-at-11.58.30-AMThere is something that has been nagging me the last few days. Haven’t you wondered about the suddenness of so many people on the left pouncing on Governor Pence of Indiana in such an overwhelming and organized way?

Indiana’s legislature and governor are right and the progressives / liberals have an agenda of intolerance.

In order to protect true fundamental liberty then when two fundamental rights have opposing desires, a compromise must prevail and that is a compromise that imposes the least burden. It can never be that one right is always supreme over another, or we will one day have no liberty at all.

What the activists seek is not a truly diverse society with true tolerance, but a mono-culture where one set of social values is imposed, by law, on everyone. I am not in favor of that because it would eventually destroy all our liberty, as liberty would become nothing but a governments’ mandated value system.

True tolerance is not acceptance, and in order for it to exist it must work both ways, or one of us becomes a tyrant. Everyone has to give a little. Indiana is right and for me what it asks is not intolerable, for everyone.

I believe that if Thomas Jefferson or any of the founding fathers were to peek through the ages and see how distorted the politically correct world has become, they would be horrified. The American People have allowed the left to slowly take over the moral center of this country with political correctness.  The liberal left is trying to substitute their agenda in place of religious and human morality.

Tens of thousands of our fellow countrymen have died to protect our freedoms, two of which are the freedoms of speech and religion. These freedoms must be allowed in every instance.

The concept that if you “offend” someone or some group with your words or worship habits then you must be burned at the political stake is in itself very un-American or at least it used to be so.

The twisted and distorted meaning of words  and smear campaigns against freedom of religion under the 1st Amendment, promulgated by the liberal left has caused the U.S. to become not more tolerant, but increasingly authoritarian.

Freedom of religion is protected under the 1st Amendment to the Constitution. However, the right to hold a government gun to the head of religious citizens, in violation of their beliefs and demanding they violate same by frivolously citing discrimination against the  gay lifestyle and to force them to accept it by baking a gay wedding cake is not a constitutional protected right.

Sleep in on Sundays if you wish, but why dedicate yourself to destroying the belief of others? Why are militant leftist so sure the world would be a better place without religion? The history of the 20th century shows otherwise. Heck, the history of the French Revolution shows otherwise. Many were slaughtered in the name of “reason.”

People have committed evil while using religion as an excuse. People have also committed evil while using the Glorious Revolution, enemies of the People, the Master Race, etc as an excuse. People slaughter each other because people behave very badly sometimes. I buy into the notion of original sin, but you don’t have to recognize that human nature doesn’t change.

Leftist feel superior mocking the “simplistic” beliefs of religious people, but the idea that the world will be much improved if religion dies out and people will stop slaughtering each other is far more simplistic and naive as far as I’m concerned.

In college, I took a course on the history of Western atheism – one of the most interesting classes I had.  Because of that class, I recognize that the arguments of the “New Atheists” are not new at all. That’s why the smugness of many atheists grates. They’re like 18 year olds who imagine they’ve just invented sex.

The only thing new about the New Atheism is the viciousness of atheist polemic. G. B. Shaw and Chesterston engaged in a series of debates about atheism vs. belief in the early 20th century. Intellectually, that’s the equivalent of Ali vs. Fraser, but the debates, lively as they were, remained civil. Indeed the two men were friends, although they were opposites in almost every respect.

Anybody who knows the first thing about the history of man knows that atheism is not, and has never been the default position for human beings. And while we are talking history, has it ever occurred to you that there might be a reason most hospitals, for instance, have saints names or a connection to a particular religious denomination?

My, what a coincidence! Except it is not, because the first hospitals were hospices founded by the Church in Europe. Just as the first universities were founded by the Church in order to train clergymen. Harvard and Yale are now secular institutions, but they didn’t start out that way. In fact, they were the first “Bible Colleges” in America.

Many Western institutions have their roots in Christianity. I would in fact, include democracy among those institutions, since Christianity posits that everyone, no matter how lowly, has an immortal soul and is loved by God. The Greeks and Romans would have considered that idea laughable. So many of those institutions are now secular to the point where it is easy for the ignorant to deny those roots.

I have met devote leftist over the years who avoid debates with distinguished theologians who might expose their ignorance of Christian thought and history (much like Al Gore’s refusal to debate with scientists who question AGW).

This is what stymies me about leftist and always has, even when I seldom darkened the door of a church myself. The problem is not that leftist are bad people. I recognize that many are good and moral people and that there are people who profess to be believers who do terrible things. Sometimes those dreadful acts are done in the name of God.

The issue I have is that I cannot see what ultimate moral basis a leftist has for judging an action to be good or bad. Many on the liberal left say “You don’t need religion to know what is right or wrong.” I think Western liberals frequently do not recognize the extent to which they have integrated Judeo-Christian precepts into their own moral code.

Ultimately, what morality boils down to in the world is “might equals right”. That’s why I believe that why liberal individuals may be good sorts, liberalism / progressivism on a mass scale are just as, if not more disastrous than any theocracy. The history of the 20th century seems to bear me out.

Even when widespread liberalism / progressivism takes a more benign form, it still strikes me as a destructive force. Leftists have always criticized religion for directing the attention of the masses to heaven instead of challenging the existing order on earth.

In modern-day secular Europe, we have the reverse situation. As Mark Steyn has said, it is a “present tense culture.” If there is no afterlife, you had darn well grab all the gusto (ie. government benefits) you can during this one and to heck with future generations.

We conservatives decry the culture of entitlement and the instant gratification mentality, but hasn’t the growing secularism of the West contributed a great deal to the growth of that culture? Many of those who sneer at believers in “Sky Daddy” have all the faith and trust in the world in “Big Government Daddy” who will take care of all their needs in this world.

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