There are a few stock phrases floating around out there that I’ve lost patience with.
“I’m not a racist, but ….” Let me finish that sentence for you. “I’m not a racist, but I’m going to say something that sounds racist, and would make you think I’m a racist if I hadn’t assured you beforehand that I’m not. Trust me.”
Right. I think it’s a lot more likely you don’t know what “racist” means. But you certainly do know what other people think it means, or you wouldn’t be trying to reassure me in advance that you aren’t one. So no, I don’t trust you, and I don’t especially want to hear your racist statements.
“As a Christian, I have no choice other than ….” Let me finish that sentence for you. “As a Christian, I have no choice other than to support some idea that any sane, compassionate person would think is horrible. But I’m not responsible; please don’t blame me.”
You will never hear me say, “As a Druid, I have no choice other than ….” I own my choices. Right or wrong. I don’t blame them on the Devil, or on my religion. And you know what? Since they’re my choices, I can actually discuss them, and even change my mind. You can’t — as you say, you believe you have no choice. Well, I do blame you, and I really don’t want to hear your tortured theological excuses.
“We need your contributions to help fight ….” Let me unpack that sentence for you. You are saying that the real decisions are bought.
I have no problem with giving the win to the highest bidder, if it’s a matter of auctioning off Marilyn Monroe’s underwear, or the Mona Lisa. When it’s a matter of justice, or basic human decency, this is a kind of extortion. “Pay us, or bad things will happen.”
Although, perhaps it’s just a scam, if a well-meaning one. Consider a legal defense fund for innocent prisoners on death row. Sounds like a good idea? Not really. It’s a bad legal system that routinely imprisons and executes innocents — bad in the war-crimes sense. And you’re saying it’s a good thing to plaster over this war-crime level of injustice with a few very expensive, case-by-case “corrections” to a few percent of the victims of a corrupt and war-crimes-evil legal process. Sounds to me more like a burned crust of bread thrown to a starving conscience, purchased at a premium price. ConscienceCrusts™, only $99,999,999.95 each. Prices are rising daily, so get yours NOW!
What would be good? Correcting the corrupt system, which is (ultimately) merely a matter of changing the laws to protect rather than prosecute the innocent, a process that is also called “legislation.” But that also takes lots of money, because the real decisions are bought. And my desire for protecting the innocent is up against a prisons-for-profit industry that doesn’t care who fills its beds.
Contributing money to organizations that claim to influence legislation is participating in a scam, or an extortion scheme. It won’t help correct a legislative process gone rancid; it will only speed the spoilage. So don’t come to me for money for political causes. I’m not interested.
Well, as a Christian, It grinds my goddamn ass when people say, “as a Christian, I can’t believe in xyz. Like prisms. God made rainbows as a promise not to destroy… so I can’t believe in prisms because that makes us like God.”
Most people use, “as a Christian” as an excuse not to think.
Thank you for your response! Me, too.
I think it runs a lot deeper than an excuse to not think. Part of it is a shibboleth: a kind of secret handshake that members can exchange to identify each other. “Do you believe in the Virgin Birth?” “Oh yes, certainly!” “Ah, then you are one of us!” The more ridiculous the handshake, the less likely that anyone not a member will try to claim it.
But there is something else going on with Evangelicals (the modern Fundamentalists). There’s a kind of Orwellian double-think they engage in on a regular basis. Consider the Divine Love that God the Father showered on Jesus, his Only Son. Consider the Divine Love that Evangelicals model toward GLTBQ folks.
There are others who have paid close attention, and note that a lot of Evangelical and Fundamentalist church services are hypnotic induction sessions, and you can actually observe this in the people who have been regulars. If you meet an exceptionally religious Evangelical on, say, an airplane, get them to talking about religion; it usually isn’t hard. Then break their chain of thought and ask them about something totally mundane: the coffee, their grandkids, where they got that beautiful scarf. Then bring it back to religion. Then go back to the mundane. Every time you switch, observe their “affect” — their emotional engagement — and little non-verbal cues, like where their eyes focus, how fast they breathe, their tone of voice. It’s quite shocking. When they talk about religion, they visibly go into a trance state. When they talk about other things, they snap out of it.
And just for the record: I was once a Christian, I’m close personal friends with a number of Christian priests, and most of my core ethics have been shaped by Christianity. It’s a grand, corrupt old edifice, and I certainly appreciate its strengths. The modern American “Christian” conceit is a whole different thing….