Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Social Creationism (or, Marching As to War)

If the trends in mainstream Mormonism don't change soon, LDS folk may become fully embroiled in what is happening in other parts of Christendom. A group of self-described Christians who proudly claim to be social conservative culture warriors fighting the very concept of gay identity gathered a few days ago at that bastion of thoughtfulness and scholarly achievement, Liberty University. They call their annual gathering "The Awakening."

In a place most of us know as the real world, the single-minded groupthink that passes for public policy discussed at this year's "Awakening" would be more appropriately called "Social Creationism." "Social Darwinism" is generally a pejorative term. I do not use "Social Creationism" in an entirely pejorative way, however. It quite literally captures the essence of what "The Awakening" and other such groups are trying to accomplish. 

They take poorly crafted myth, wrap it up in nonsense and expect people to accept it as the truth. They are politicizing Christianity in the vilest and most insidious of ways. Groups like this may favor "Intelligent Design" but there's nothing intelligent about irrationality, hate and fear-mongering. It is clear that they are seeking to literally create a new vocabulary and semantic structure to win a war of their own creation against gay people---all while once again blaming gay people for just about everything, including the "culture war" itself.

Ryan Sorba appears to have appointed himself as a wunderkind of the new culture war. His and others' attempts to infuse homophobic piss and vinegar into the bloodstream of America and the world are clear, bold and utterly inhuman. Perhaps some people won't feel the needle go in. But I have to believe that most people will eventually realize they're being doped up and duped. Unfortunately, there will always be a few out there addicted to hate and dark magical thinking.

Mr. Sorba, Laura Schlessinger (Ph.D. in physiology NOT psychology), Ann Coulter, Tony Perkins, and other anti-gay ideologues are not Social Conservatives. They are Social Neanderthals. (My apologies to the Neanderthals.) They are practicing lowest-common-denominator politics cloaked in religious piety in an attempt to keep people in fear and scratch the itching ears of the willfully ignorant. These people have made the choice to systematically spew their hate. They call their brother "Raca" and other epithets, in violation of the specific command of Jesus Christ not to. They do nothing for the "least of their brethren" as true Christians do; they merely line their pockets and stroke their own egos. They do not love others as the Jesus they profess to worship and follow commanded them to. They wouldn't recognize Jesus Christ. Rather, they shamelessly refashion him in their image to suit their ideological agenda. 

People of this ilk are the ones who transform "social conservative" into, to borrow from Mr. Sorba's words, a narrow socio-political construct designed to create grounds to eviscerate fundamental rights and twist American values based on their own whimsical, capricious desires. There is no credible evidence to support their hate-mongering claims. So, they resort to fear.

To counter-balance this, we don't need to create new words and phrases. We already have what we need. Words and phrases like Life, Liberty, Happiness, Equal Justice Under Law, Domestic Tranquility, Family, Community, Humanity, Love, Peace. It's not just a trite saying that "the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice." It's the truth.

I don't know precisely where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have stood on issues of gay rights. I would hope he would be thoughtful and view gay people through the lenses of justice and equality and love. Something he once said seems perfectly fitting though: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

So, let the faux-Christian ranks of the anti-gay agenda spew their hate. Let them invent new words to maim and destroy. Let them try to manipulate and distort. Let them bring it on. Let them do their worst. Let them rage in hatred until they foam at the mouth. Let them preach their counterfeit Christianity and false patriotism. Let them show themselves for what they really are. 

The time is coming when people everywhere will say to them, "Tell it to someone who cares, because we don't." And perhaps the majority of Christians who really do try to live the teachings of Jesus will stand up and use the perfect love they earnestly strive for to cast out the fear fomented by the impostors. Real Christians know what "anti-Christian" is.

If the pseudo-Christian social activists want to fight a war against gay people, there's not much that will stop them from battling. But if we have learned anything from the lessons of Gandhi and King and others, nonviolence is the way for us to live. And while we live, love, go to work, pay our taxes, serve our country, raise our families, teach our children, show each other compassion and empathy, build our communities, seek redress for wrongs, enhance the freedoms and rights that are inalienably ours, and walk paths of peace, the forces of oppression and hate will destroy themselves. In fact, they've already begun.