French political theorist Montesquieu observed wryly in 1748: "It is impossible for us to suppose these creatures [enslaved Africans] to be men; because allowing them to be men, a suspicion would follow that we ourselves are not Christians."
The above snippet was buried in an article originally posted in the Washington Post and then reposted and commented on here and there all around the web yesterday. The article was called, Five Myths About Why the South Seceded.
But the quote took me far, far away from the original purpose of the article which was to debunk certain myths about the causes of the civil war. It made me think more about the psychology behind the quote rather than the historical events it referenced. Namely...Denial.
If, back in Motesquieu’s day the status quo was discarded...and enslaved Africans were seen as they truly were....men....then a + b would have to = c. If they were indeed men...and if they continued to be enslaved, mistreated... as if they were somehow lower or less, then what would that do to the whole, "We are Christians" concept? Pretty much shoot it all to hell.
And so...flash forward to the present and homosexuals. Can you see any connection? The Christian right is anti gay. You've heard the drill. It's not normal. It's an abomination. They are lower....less. And if Christians ever stop seeing it....seeing them...that way well....what parallels can be drawn with Montesquieu's quote?
I am a Christian. I am not anti gay. I think the verses in the Old Testament used to condemn committed homosexual relationships are as outdated as the requirement to stone adulterers, the ban on garments of mixed fabric....banishing my daughters to the back shed when they are having their period....or not ordering shrimp the next time we hit Red Lobster for lunch (which is pretty much never since I am not much of a seafood fan)
And....I think the verses in the New Testament that appear to condemn homosexuality only do so if taken at a King James surface glance. If the customs and taboos of the time are taken into account....along with the word meanings in the original language, I think the infamous verses penned by the Apostle Paul are condemning the depraved temple worship popular at the time. Not committed homosexual relationships.
But there are risks in considering that the gay couple down the street might have relationship as legitimate as their own....that homosexuals are not lower or lesser. Any inklings along those lines might be best avoided. Otherwise, what suspicion might follow? What kind of a shadow might that cast on their Christianity? Perhaps better to ignore the truth...and go on believing what they've always believed. But….
When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken, or cease to be honest.
Just something to consider…perhaps something to peer into a bit more closely….to ponder….