Race


Okay.

There’s a whole lot, lot, lot, going on. Go read it all.

And if you absolutly need to pick on the last detail, come back here.

Done?

Hugo doesn’t know Christian history. Or at least, he doesn’t so far as I can tell from reading his work.

they quarreled over whether the kosher purity laws were still in effect. Every time, the popularizers — those who wanted to make Christianity more accessible — won. Every time the “purists” grumbled. They are still grumbling now.

That just ain’t true. The popularizers have lost. Major battles. Universalists of every stripe went down, literally, in flames during the reformation. Synchretists have been shoved out, and many of us read aloud a political document every week…the Nicene Creed which memorializes political clout on Christianity and the exclusion of certain doctrinal viewpoints as legitimate. There is such a thing as a heretic, and for the vast majority of Christian history, being such a person has only been a good idea if you have a lot of men in tin suits with sharp pointy sticks, ready to defend your right to be theologically queer.

Back to his argument for the moment. Maybe he means in America, in the last 200 years. He cites the contrast between Warren and some calvinists, like that was the fight. No major contender in American Protestantism is Calvinist. A few say they are. But a real, honest to goodness double predestination damned for the glory of God Calvinist? They kind of went carrier pigeon some time back, at least as far as the prime time goes. Yes, they exist. But that this is the fight Hugo presents is indictative of bad faith. He doesn’t point to a live contraversy…he points to a very, very dead one. America went Arminian before the Civil War. We’re rehashing this now, why? To show just how out of it BFP and company are?

No. No. No.

Secondly, it’s just not even true. The popularizers got set back many times. After years of social gospel preaching, the evangelical world retreated inwards with Darbyism and pre-millenial dispensationalism. (This is the kind of thinking you know today as the Left Behind series). From changing the world to awaiting the end…the momentum of the evangelical protestant world turned on a dime.

And remember Jesus people?

Was Jerry Falwell a popularizer? Just because he used mass media, and was folksy about wanting to enforce a very specific kind of racial/gender politic?

Or how about the women who preached in the First Great Awakening, only to be silenced by the time of the revolution?

This is not to say these movements didn’t have lasting impact. But the story of American Christianities is one of push and pull. The clear line of progress Hugo wants to paint simply isn’t there.

they quarreled over whether the kosher purity laws were still in effect. Every time, the popularizers — those who wanted to make Christianity more accessible — won. Every time the “purists” grumbled. They are still grumbling now.

But you know what else is lurking around in here?

You guessed.

Antisemitism.

I owe it to everyone to be really careful about that charge, so listen carefully to what i do and don’t mean. Hugo isn’t making overtly hateful statements about Jews.

He is trading on a really old idea about Christianity and Judiasm that has contributed greatly to historical antisemitism.

And that’s a problem. He’s making BFP, BA, M, and the folks who are raising objections into rhetorical Jews here, just to point out how wrong they are. Against a bold progressive universal spirit Liberal Feminist/Christian, stands the particular, clannish, nit-picking, WoC/Jew.

Gawd.

This is one of those object lessons where you quickly realize the problem of living in the house…the rhetorical frames, the backgrounded ideas, the assumptions of your worldview…

…are compltely toxic.

It’s historically wrong. It’s rhetorically irresponsible.

It’s Hugo, out for a day at the park.

Kyrie eleison.

-sly

The latest gut cringing story is of a high school student whose wrist was broken by a security guard…a tale complete with the assault of those who dared record such an event, and the retaliatory firing of the mother who presumed to complain about such a thing. Oh, and racial slurs. You just can’t have a good brutality party without those.

Prof. Black Woman and a bunch of other folks have covered this, so i’m just going to note a comment I saw.

“Bob” reminds us:

“No mention of the food fight that started it?”

Ah, yes. The food fight that started it. Now, I didn’t see it on the video, but let me pause to reflect here for a moment.

Would having a food fight justify breaking someone’s wrist?

In what world do we live in that someone would presume that it would?

How is the first answer linked to the first by racism?

Justification has become a slippery thing these days. We are so used to the system of control that we don’t register shock at the disproportionality of it all. We are beginning to internalize the sense that not only *will* the police, military, security forces overreact…but that inevitability slides into justification.

This ain’t right. It still wouldn’t be right if they had put the entire cake over the principal’s head. But watch them try to justify it anyhow.

-sc

PS: I just got a comment from Matthew Israel, the head of the Judge Rotenberg Center. It’s gonna take some time, but it’s heinous in the first degree. Thank goodness it looks like he’s just spamming blogs that he’s googled for his own name…i’m so glad to have a chance to dismiss his counterargument.

One of the arguments that I’ve heard about homophobia in communities of color could be boiled down to:

We’re the victims!

Now, I don’t play too many games with this stuff…if someone hates you on account of you being queer, I’m not going to ask if you’ve been following your Emily Post. It’s probably safe to say that they may be a homophobe. Especially if violence, threatened or otherwise is involved. A individual queer gets attacked for being queer, that is not their fault. I don’t blame the victim.

But don’t get it twisted. Communities are not individuals. But on a macro level, we don’t get that kind of consideration. Why? Because we do have power. Maybe not enough, maybe at a high cost, but we’ve got power. In many regards, we have institutional level backing. Conflicted support, sure, but watching the dems dodge the questions last night about gay marriage should remind us that we’re in the room to ask the question, and they at least think they can’t outwardly gay bait us. Did you watch the republican debate?

I’m not celebrating, i’m still fighting. And i won’t stop until queer love has the same legal considerations as straight love. But incomplete power is still power. And that means accountability.

Journey Woman is in Trinidad these days, and finding herself torn. Go read the whole thing, but i’ll post this as a teaser.

At this point I had to fight back the urge to scream, cry and just run away from this all. This is all too much to handle at sometimes.

I want to hold on to my people and this country so tight, but I can only do this if I deny who I am. I find myself now in a bind, do I continue to blend? Or do I make a stand? Do I even have the agency and authority to make such a bold stand? Where is my safe place?

You see, it’s a question we have to ask. Why is homophobia taking such strong root in certain places and culturess? We, as a community, can ask that without violating our own dignity because as a whole we’re not the victims. This is an externality.

Mainstream advocacy, movements, and cultures directed at and created by us are responsible for the choices we make. And some of those choices, such as unchallenged racism and complicity with traditional power structures, may be part of the fuel that feeds this fire. And even when it’s not our doing, but the cynical manipulations of others that pits communities of color against us…

We can do better than playing the victim. To the extent that we’re safe, protected by whiteness, class, or situation…we have to do better. Because we’re not bearing the cost of our actions and rhetoric. It’s become an externality, where queers of color, our alleged siblings in the struggle are taking the hit, and feeling a double alienation and a painful disconnection.

I’m a white queer, and this is the question I can be asking and the work I can be doing. I cheer on and give any (appropriate) support to movements within communities racked by homophobia that seek to challenge that. And I’m honored by the friendship of folk who are doing just that. There’s no reason for delay, no accounting to be made if we’re still the disadvantaged party who ought to wait for the other to do right. As if our open arms and healed relationships will not give those allies more strength for their work?

The bottom line is that some of us are being asked to choose between parts of themselves, made to cut their identities apart.

We have to treat our family better than that.

-sly

So…damn.

The Anglican Church in Canada has declined to authorize same sex unions. The silver lining here is that it seems to be a provisional decision. Basically, it seems like they’re going to wait for the US church to split the communion, and then they’ll probably follow suit, confirming the worst stereotypes of Canadians. This time it really will be a shame, because leading the charge here would have been a real act of justice. It’s not just about ordination, but the broad participation of queer communities in Christendom as priests, laypersons, and seekers.

The vote was close, damn close in fact. Which makes it all the more frustrating. Holding fingers in dikes (teehee) is not a solid policy plan. The church is splitting, but we have to stop pretending that it is our innovation that is causing the rift. Homophobia is a modern invention, and the cynical appeal to “tradition” is the post-colonial backlash of a troubled institution. I have to think that if in the mission field, the Anglican Church had been more strongly identified with democratic movements and liberation, we wouldn’t be here…where conservative appointees of the African church take the money and plaudits of the conservative first world church and sell their “authenticity” back to their patrons.

Akinola in particular, strikes me as particularly fraudulent, hawking his Africanness as unimpeachability while promoting the criminalization of opposition in his own country and staking a position as a well heeled thug. His comments following the Muhammed cartoon dust up were nothing less than terroristic threats, and a display of the worst kind of judgment, that which believes that the outer limits of behavior are determined by what one can get away with.

His reverse colonization of America with missions may strike his constituency as ironic revenge on the West, but the fact remains that he serves only two interests. Himself and his patrons. The Nigerian Church will not benefit from this in the long term…the parallel church in America may provide funds to him, but their benevolence will not come without conditions. Warren and his other American allies will do what they have always done, which is to colonize. Providing moral cover for conservatives by playing race against orientation will not give African churches autonomy.

Adding to this, I perhaps have not mentioned it much here…but I have been in the process of re-alighning myself again within Christendom. While my love for the Baptists is deep and enduring…the simple reality of someone who travels is that finding a church on a given Sunday is a major concern. I’ve been going back to the Episcopal Church as an ironic haven of sorts. The contraversy is strong there, but there are organized allies too. And while i sorrow at the impending split, I can take great comfort in the pattern of worship I find there. No matter what else happens in the worldwide church, bread is broken and wine poured out. So i’ve learned to genuflect again, and begun conforming myself to the pattern of worship. It is an odd thing to know that one is actively being made in this way, shaped by the habitus of practice. But it is interesting to choose it, not knowing all the ways that it will play out.

I still affirm my call to ministry in the Baptist tradition, but it is becoming more and more apparent to me the ways in which this is inseparable from the call to love this other tradition as part of the laity.

-sly

Holy Martin by Br. Lentz

This hangs over my desk, and is a reminder to me of the particular call of a radical Christian witness in the face of racial and colonial violence.

Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. And so we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. And so we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

…This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls “enemy,” for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the ideologies of the Liberation Front, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them, too, because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.

…our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years, we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which has now justified the presence of U.S. military advisors in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counterrevolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Cambodia and why American napalm and Green Beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru.

It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin…we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

…We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message — of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

Excerpted from “A Time to Break The Silence.”

For the memory of the faithful departed,

-sc

I’m still working on my stuff on Boundless, which will be the first of a loose series on responding to religious rhetorics…but I have a feeling it’s going to wait until spring break, which is coming up this friday.

But not all of my writing should be churchy stuff. I know some of y’all don’t really do that, and I try to be nice about that.

I was talking with a friend last night, and she bequeathed me with a phrase I shall have to use.

“Down for the fight.”

Offhand, she referred to a male colleague who didn’t just get it, but took action without prompting and made sure to interrupt a likely expression of sexism. He went to someone who was seeking to give him privilege, and clarified that he wanted to make sure his qualified female friends were being considered for the same.

Damn. That’s nice, ain’t it? Someone just up and did the right thing.

Which brings me to the point. In another conversation (i would come up with random names as to cease confusing y’all, but half of these are total composites anyway to protect the innocent, guilty and the cute widdle puppies) someone told me that they weren’t sure if they would feel comfortable dating a person who identified as bi.

My reactions are thus:

1. That’s great, I don’t identify as bi anyways!
2. #$%^!
3. Whatever. On your own time, I guess.

I’m not gonna lie. Snark and anger are the first two things i feel when someone says something so painfully anti-queer. It’s stupid. And whatever you’ve done trying to be an ally doesn’t pardon that off. Maybe it comes out of a sense of hurt, or confusion, or just plain ignorance. Maybe it’s something else entirely, that I don’t understand.

Which is just the way I like it.

“Whatever. On your own time, I guess.”

I’m still friends with the person who said this to me…hell, I’m friends with almost all of the people who have said this to me. I’m not given to that kind of hand holding, so if you’re gonna change your mind, that’s probably on you and maybe if you’re lucky a really awesome straight ally. And most of the times I’ve heard this, I’ve also heard an acknowledgment of that…that they know they’re not right, but that they “just aren’t there yet.” A confidential to every candidate for the Dem nomination…where this might be vaguely annoying in personal life, it’s fucking irrational as a basis for public policy. Screw off. Watch me vote for BFP as a write in as soon as I figure out her real name. Yeah, bet you didn’t count on that, hunh.

Where was I? Not being there yet…for the average person, is fine in the sense that it kind of comes standard with the human condition. You’re trying to be a good person, trying to understand and support queer people in their struggle. No cookie, though. Cookies are for people who are down for the fight.

You just made a plain, honest admission to holding a queerphobic view, and that you don’t have immediate plans to divest yourself of this opinion. Your relative level of guilt surrounding this doesn’t really interest me, and to be honest, it’s kind of drain to have to try to reassure folks when this happens that I don’t hate them. I don’t, but who wants to have to go through the song and dance after hearing something asinine? Just go. Deal. On your own time, in your own space. Like you’d expect from me when it comes to matters close to your own heart.

Maybe some folks aren’t down for the fight yet.

I hope we will be.

-slyc

Gah. I keep telling myself, that someday when I have more traffic, I will keep a more regular writing schedule. Then I tell myself that more folks might read if there was consistent content.

And then I just get really freaking busy.

In lieu of a real post, some links.

Journey Woman writes here, about adjusting to her new cultural location, as a northern black lesbian in a southern black context. A lot of times we’ve seen arguments over intersection and how social status functions across multiple lines. Journey Woman just sets it out there, closing with a reminder of how we depend on our communities. So go and read…

My feeling like this began when I realized that despite my effort I had become THAT girl. I’m the lesbian, feminist, northern girl. I was initially fooled in to some false sense of comfort because I was surrounded by Black people, and White people who at least got the way race plays out in society. I felt comfortable, but it didn’t last, because I soon became aware of the fact that I didn’t fit the “Black” mold…


The 2nd Disability Carnival is up
. Sad that I missed the deadline for entering, I encourage you all to go visit. The theme is on “cure” and how people relate to that idea. This is something I’ve wrestled with for some time, and I think this idea gets to the core of the normative ideas and judgments that preside over us, and how we might get to resistance.

Shannon takes over the term Radical Feminist. It now means a “feminist who is not buying what you are selling.”

And I’ll close by remarking that it is indeed a wonderful day. I’ve got way too much work to do, the sun in shining through the windows, a friend is catching a quick nap before class, I have my ticket for coming home for Thanksgiving, and I had a good weekend with an old friend.

Love,

-sly