The Adult Bullies


I haven’t written anything on the many suicides of bullied teens.  Partially because it’s so awful I have a hard time willing myself to actually sit down and think about it for any length of time.  Dan Savage has been at the front of this, starting the “It Gets Better” video series and generally being willing to speak out for the kids who aren’t being treated right.

One thing he’s done that has pissed some people off is to accuse religion, particularly Christianity, particularly Fundamentalist Christianity, of being complicit at best in the bullying, harassment, and assaults that led to these children taking their own lives.

The dehumanizing bigotries that fall from lips of “faithful Christians,” and the lies that spew forth from the pulpit of the churches “faithful Christians” drag their kids to on Sundays, give your straight children a license to verbally abuse, humiliate and condemn the gay children they encounter at school. And many of your straight children—having listened to mom and dad talk about how gay marriage is a threat to the family and how gay sex makes their magic sky friend Jesus cry himself to sleep—feel justified in physically attacking the gay and lesbian children they encounter in their schools. You don’t have to explicitly “encourage [your] children to mock, hurt, or intimidate” gay kids. Your encouragement—along with your hatred and fear—is implicit. It’s here, it’s clear, and we can see the fruits of it.

I think Dan has a hard time choosing between most Christians are gay bashers and most gay bashers are Christian. The second is definitely true, in the US at least. The more religious you are, the more likely you are to teach your kids that homosexuality is evil or, as someone told me the other day in an attempt to really sell me on the idea that he was a liberal Christian and ok with LGBT, “gays are no worse than murderers”.

I agree with Dan, Christianity and the religious right in this country are absolutely complicit in making it OK for kids to say horrible things about homosexuals. I think he’s also responding to things like the Prop 8 campaign, which made a point of never explicitly saying that gays will fuck your children, but heavily implied it and was funded by the Mormon and Catholic churches. As long as Christians think that it’s OK for their faith to allow them to treat homosexuals as less than human (and yes, refusing to support gay marriage is treating them as less than human) they are supporting bullying. They ARE bullying, just in a less personal way.

I’m not sure how people are missing that, so I’ll say it again: if you don’t support the right to gay marriage you are a monstrous bully.  If you think you’re morally superior to the kids who drove these children to suicide, you are not.  You are worse, because you’re old enough to know better.  If your religion tells you to treat other people as subhuman, then your faith is evil.

I will stop accusing Fundamentalist Christians of being bigots when they stop acting like them.

Comments

  1. says

    I think this blog is great! I love your style and how you put it all together. You mentioned that you cannot write about teen bullying, well my blog is all about the ins and outs of teen bullying. I’d advise you to take a look. It’s awful sad but it needs to be looked at. My heart sinks at the thought of any age group bullying people but the matter needs to be addressed. Take a look and leave a comment or two for feedback. Just tell me what you think :)

    Yours,
    Aoife xx

  2. says

    Fundamentalists base their hopes for eternal bliss on the authority of a book. That they can say one prayer (or cast one spell) and settle the issue of their salvation for eternity is based on the authority of the book.

    That book takes on a life of its own in their circles, as if it were self-authenticating. Never mind that the early Christian Church spent centuries haggling over its contents before they could settle the canon of scripture. (And once they did that, conveniently went apostate in Fundamentalist theology…they couldn’t deal with the Church possibly being the authority instead of the book.)

    So, resting their hopes for heaven on the authority of a book, they either have to accept the entire contents of the book, or how could they possibly have assurance of their final destination. “If I can’t believe all of it, then I can’t believe any of it.”

    So their eyes wander over to Leviticus, and the abomination business, and that sets the table for the venom against LGBT’s. And that they place great emphasis on teaching their children (not kids, goats have kids…the Bible calls them children) so-called “biblical” morality just makes it worse.

    And they’re all so concerned about “saving” America, lest God gives it the Sodom and Gomorrah treatment. (Yet it’s strange, though we are a nation of “sinners” corporately we can do no wrong, so they get upset if one questions what our nation does.)

    For me anyway, I think how you fight back against this sort of mindset is not to make appeals about how Jesus loved and accepted everybody, or split hairs over the interpretation of the scriptures, but to question the authority they are referring to. If you are haggling over the scriptures, then you are reinforcing the authority of the book.

    When they shout “The Bible says!”, perhaps we should say “So what?” Because the only authority being invoked is theirs. Every “Bible-believing” Christian on the planet will pick and choose how they interpret certain passages, and they’ll either find a church that is closest to their own beliefs, or start their own.

    It’s the authority of the individual, whether they want to accept it or not.

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