Readers may have heard that Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, was one of those people whose homes were flooded by the torrential rains that fell on Louisiana and flooded parts of Baton Rouge and other areas. The FRC is one of those evangelical organizations that have an anti-LGBT mission, though like many Christian groups, they claim to “love the sinner and hate the sin”.
There was considerable schadenfreude over this because some evangelical leaders have used past natural disasters as signs of their god’s punishment for general sinfulness, especially homosexuality. Perkins reportedly had said that Hurricane Joachim was god’s response to the Supreme Court’s opinion nullifying all bans on same-sex marriage.
He now says that his words were misconstrued but even if he was one of those who explicitly said such a thing I cannot take pleasure in him and his family being flooded out of their home. Losing all one’s possessions and irreplaceable mementos is hard and can be traumatic, especially for children, and no one deserves to go through that, even people whose views one abhors. What I would hope for is that being the victim of a natural disaster himself causes him to realize the hatefulness of ascribing absurd causes and blaming the victims for them.
A similar thing is true for Andrea Tantaros, the former Fox News host who is alleging in a lawsuit that there was a pervasive sexist atmosphere at her workplace and that she was sexually harassed by various people including the infamous Roger Ailes.
I had seen Tantaros in various clips on the internet and she would spout the usual biased and hateful stuff that the network is noted for, in her case in a sneering manner that I found to be exceptionally unpleasant. But even though I found her persona to be distasteful, I cannot take pleasure in the fact that she was harassed by the very network that allowed, and even encouraged, her to say what she said and also minimized the sexist treatment that many women encounter in their workplaces.
While the “love the sinner and hate the sin” rhetoric used by anti-gay Christians is often disingenuous, the sentiment itself is a good one that us non-religionists can also adopt, though modified to “hate the speech but not the speaker”. There is room for schadenfreude but I reserve it for things that recoil badly on movements and organizations, not people, such as if for example, the FRC offices had got flooded but no one was hurt.