Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Things that Make Me Angry

There are three big news stories in the corners of the internet I habitually inhabit. Be prepared for a large collection in links on this one, because lots of people have more on this than I can possibly say. We all know, I’d assume, about the death of Dr. George Tiller on Sunday. He was killed by an anti-abortion activist while attending church. The cognitive dissonance is amazing. Truly amazing. Now, the thing that’s absolutely horrible about the rhetoric surrounding the killing of Dr. Tiller is that he was one of only two or three doctors in the country who performed late term abortions. No one engages lightly in late term abortions. They are always performed in a position where the life of the mother is at stake and there’s something horribly, horribly wrong with the pregnancy. By the point where late term abortions occur the effect of the procedure is devastating. Just go over to Feministe and read some stories. It’s not my place to speak for those who can speak for themselves on a topic about which I know and understand very little. Meanwhile, there’s the Silence is the Enemy campaign. There’s no other way to describe the situation than by saying that there’s a culture of rape in parts of Africa. It’s an atrocious thing. Greg Laden added to the conversation by illustrating a situation in which someone who might have been able to help didn’t. That’s the biggest problem and the string that connects these two atrocities, separated as they are by an ocean and that thin line we call “civilization.” In both cases we’re talking about people operating with no accountability and a sense of entitlement. It’s fairly clear-cut in Liberia. Men think that women and young girls are there for their sexual gratification. It’s vile and disgusting. Rape is bad enough, but systemic rape of girls as young as five years old is beyond unconscionable. It’s the sort of thing that leads us to realize that as far as humanity has come, we haven’t come nearly far enough. We’re still animals. The Tiller case is slightly less obvious. But the lack of accountability and sense of entitlement is absolutely there. Scott Roeder, the man in custody for murdering Tiller, walked in to a church in broad daylight on a Sunday morning and shot a man. Tiller and Roeder presumably professed a faith in the same god. But Roeder possessed a faith that allowed him to say that Tiller was somehow less than human. It also allowed Roeder to say that he was the chosen instrument of god and hand out justice. At least, I assume this is how it works. I never hit the point where I believed god thought it was a good idea for me to kill people. The lack of accountability, meanwhile, is cut and dry. In the mind of someone who can do such a thing they have not sinned. Or if they have, they just have to repent and it’s all good. Tiller is the one who has sinned and is going to hell. I suppose it would be easier to swallow that logic if Dr. Tiller hadn’t been killed in the foyer of a church. But that’s an easy enough issue to weasel around. That ECLA isn’t occupied by real, true Christians. They couldn’t possibly be godly if they allowed an evil person like Dr. Tiller in to their congregation. Therefore Dr. Tiller is going to hell and the people in his church had better get right with god, too. Isn’t that beautiful? Blame the victim. You don’t have to learn anything that way. Fred Clark is one of the few Christian voices who has said anything of value on the topic:
Now here we are again, 15 years later, as the arguments of the anti-abortion movement are again being proved disingenuous by their own self-refuting statements condemning the latest lethal fruit of their rhetoric of "mass-murder" and "Holocaust." Once again some sad, disturbed man has committed the error of taking their rhetoric more seriously than it was ever meant by the people who supposedly believed it to be true.
I’ve briefly written on the topic of abortion before. My conclusion is that the sort of people I used to go to church with just don’t understand what they’re talking about. My belief is that they intentionally miss the point in order to get the politics right. And that is why Scott Roeder ultimately has no accountability. In 2012 when we’re gearing up for the next Presidential election Obama will once again be a baby killer, the abortion will still be the American Holocaust and a large number of the Christians who were led about by the nose in 2000, 2004, and 2008 will be led about by the nose yet again. I tend not to make sweeping statements like this, but the culpability for the death of Dr. George Tiller does not rest on the head of a single deranged man. It rests on the heads of all Christians who somehow think that abortion is the only issue that exists and that only horrible, evil doctors perform them and loose, slutty women have them. How many times can you say this is all that matters, how many times can you say we’d be a Christian nation were it not for this before someone decides to take that rhetoric seriously? This is the world I come from: pastors and politicians who attempt to gain power by trumpeting an unsustainable message of hate, then feign ignorance and shock when their words lead to horrible deeds. Although at least the feigned ignorance is better than the gleeful hate speech offered by some. The only thing Scott Roeder forgot to do was kill himself in the process so he could get to heaven and get his 72 virgins. Oh, wait, wrong crazed group of terrorists. Scott Roeder still gets to go to heaven, he just doesn’t get all sexed up. Sounds like a pretty lousy trade-off to me, really. Then again, no one asks the virgins. Which, I guess, brings us back around to the poor girls in Africa. It’s hard to come up with a solution to either issue. Both require education and standing up for what’s right. But it’s too late for Dr. George Tiller just as it’s too late for the little girls of Liberia. Can we do something about these things before the next big atrocity? One thing’s for sure, though, god doesn’t have time. God’s too busy making sure the Orlando Magic win the NBA Finals. Did I mention, “Fuck you, Dwight Howard?” He might have done the impossible and convinced me to cheer for Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. I hate the Lakers and couldn’t even cheer for Kobe in the Olympics. That third bit, though, is the missing piece of the puzzle. Yeah, Dwight Howard is a young, rich, entitled celebrity and we all know that young, rich, entitled celebrities have a bad habit of talking out of their asses. But I can tell you that this phenomenon is not limited to Dwight Howard. My former variety of Christianity was built around exactly the idea that no matter what else was going on in the world god had nothing better to do than stop everything to help the individual believer. I’ve written about this in the past, too. Sure, the Christians I used to know would say that god doesn’t care whether the Lakers or Magic win the Finals. But then they’d turn right around and say that god helped them get that new job or pass that test they hadn’t studied for or made sure they avoided that fender bender. What’s the difference? For the life of me I can’t figure it out. All I know is that I’m glad I quit the whole Christianity thing. I’d hate to have the death of Dr. George Tiller on my head. Oh, and seriously, Silence is the Enemy. Read up on doing things to help in Africa.


PersonalFailure said...

We need to help the child "witches", too.

They burn them alive.

It's on youtube.

Geds said...

Oh, I forgot all about them.

There are too damn many atrocities in the world.

But, y'know, it's okay, because the Orlando Magic are in the Finals.