Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Same Theory At Work…?

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  I think the verses in the Old Testament used to condemn committed homosexual relationships are as outdated as the requirement to stone adulterers, the ban on garments of mixed fabric....banishing my daughters to the back shed when they are having their period....or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….



Oneperson said...

GREAT post Cindi!!

I've been thinking about denial lately.

I recently read Wikipedia's entry on "denial." I found it a great summary...straightforward cutting through any fog.

Thanks again for a thought-provoking read!
~carol :-)

Rhonda said...

Hi Sis,

Remember back, some years ago? I got into quite a bit of trouble standing up FOR homosexuals--even on a Christian Universalist list.

Amen to all you said here. :) --rhonda

Cindi said...

Hi carol...
nice to hear from you. What is that hokey saying about "denial" not being just a river in Egypt? I'll check out the article on wiki.

Sometimes I think it is not just denial but refusal. If the inconvenience of the new belief is too great, sometimes I think we refuse to hear the truth. If the truth requires that we change our lifestyle, circle of friends etc. then it is oftentimes easier to just go with the flow.

Which brings Carlton Pearson to mind and how changing his beliefs to UR totally turned his world upside down. And during that time of upheaval, those he preached against (homosexuals) were the very ones who ministered to him. I vaguely remember that he ended up with a church who had a lesbian pastor who washed his feet.

Anyway...thanks again for the comment.


Cindi said...

I don't remember specifically the situation but I do know I've seen several debates on Christian UR forums about homosexuality. It is such a hot button topic with so many strong opinions.

I was never steeped in the church's teachings on homosexuality because I became a Christian quite late in life and they never really got their clutches on me. I was drawn to question the status quo right from the beginning.

I specifically remember a situation in Tennessee shortly after I became a Christian. I worked part time in the evenings at Shoney's just for some extra cash. There was a waiter there named Wendell...and he and I became friends. Wendell was obviously gay..outspoken about it. He told me quietly one night that he had AIDS. He had it for ten years at that time. This was fifteen or so years ago and AIDS was not as treatable as it is today so he was doing very very well. He had neuropthy in his legs and some other aches and pains from it, but overall he was doing very well. I loved Wendell.

Wendell was a kindergarten teacher when he was diagnosed. He was in what he thought was a monogomous relationship (that he later found out was anything but) and that's how he contracted AIDS. The doctor who diagnosed him told him he had to resign from his teaching position immediately or he would infect his students (again this was 25 years ago) so he did. Immediately. From that point on he survived by working at odd jobs like being a waiter at a run down Shoneys.

So anyway...they hired a new couple there. Christians. One day in the waitress station...when Wendell wasn't there, the young woman started to talk about how Wendell offended her. That she was a Christian and that it just wasn't right etc. etc. I remember telling her that I was a Christian too and that I loved Wendell...and I forget what else I said. Not even sure why the situation popped into my mind. She stammered around a bit and said that she loved Wendall too. It was in that "love the sinner / hate the sin" kind of way. How freaking arrogant and pompous is that?

But anyway...I have known many gays through the years. More gay men/couples than gay women. I'm sure I've known them, just didn't realize they were gay. And I've even seen people change their views...soften their views about gays. Some, however, can not get past the surface view of scripture and continue to feel it is one of the biggest abominations under the sun...while they continue to gossip about their neighbors...hog out at the Old Country Buffet...ignore the poor...cheat on their taxes...etc. etc.

I'm posting a few links in another post that I came across the day after I made this post...came across by "happenstance." They discuss this very topic. The "gay awakening" in the church. What is that called when something like that happens? Serendipity? You may have seen one of them...I think it was on Huffington Post. I know you read there.

Blessings to you rhonda...


Rhonda said...

Looking forward to it, Sis. :) --rhonda