Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Mike Signorile has part of an interview that he held with "Carla Lewis, who was inside the Tennessee Valley Universalist Unitarian Church when a gunman opened fire little over a week ago." This is that video clip:

In this vein, there is an excellent commentary entitled, "Blood on Their Hands," by my friend, Rev. Chellew-Hodge, on her blog, The Christian Agnostic.

Please read her whole brief article that deals with the unhinged man who open fired at people inside a church, because of his hatred of the liberal movement. This is part of Rev. Chellew-Hodges' article:

"It is their [Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage and Sean Hannity] continued language of violence against so-called liberals that put this man over the edge. He could not find a job and he blamed that on liberals - a group of people that has been effectively out of power for the last 8 years. It's not liberals who have shipped off jobs overseas and sought to destroy the middle class. It has not been liberals who cut off this man's food stamps. Liberals came up with this excellent ideas, and the Republicans who are now in charge, cut him off."

Hate speech, be it under the guise of First Amendment rights or not, not only affects people's attitudes, but can also affect their behaviors. And the unhinged among us, or those who feel the need to scapegoat others in order to blame them for their unhappiness (even if the targets of their hate are completely innocent for what they are being blamed), or because of the rage that is built up due to inundation of hateful messages so that a perceived convenient and helpless minority group can be seen to be "appropriate" targets for that rage, has created a climate of fear and terror among some of the most vulnerable people in society.

As I wrote in my weekly column entitled, "Christianity and Society," that appears in the newspaper, "The Sacramento Valley Mirror," it seems that no vulnerable minority group is safe for rhetorical attacks and condemnation. As I wrote in an article for that column, "Incivility and the Death of a Nation":

Probably the most recent issue to be highlighted as to the devolution of civility and decency in our society is the reported story of Michael Savage, a radio talk show host, who said concerning autistic children the following:

"'…in 99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out.” Savage then asserted that all these “brat[s]” need as a father to tell them to ‘stop acting like a putz’:

'That’s what autism is. What do you mean they scream and they’re silent? They don’t have a father around to tell them, “Don’t act like a moron. You’ll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.”’ Savage concluded, ‘[I]f I behaved like a fool, my father called me a fool. And he said to me, “Don’t behave like a fool.” The worst thing he said — “Don’t behave like a fool. Don’t be anybody’s dummy. Don’t sound like an idiot. Don’t act like a girl. Don’t cry.” That’s what I was raised with. That’s what you should raise your children with. Stop with the sensitivity training. You’re turning your son into a girl, and you’re turning your nation into a nation of losers and beaten men. That’s why we have the politicians we have.’” (Thinkprogress.org, July 17, 2008)

It doesn’t get much lower than this! To both misrepresent and castigate autistic children, and heap even more suffering upon their parents and other loved ones, and to help reinforce a climate of hate even against these helpless victims, is an outrage that is beyond description. If demonizing autistic children is fair game for the airwaves to tolerate in the name of the god of mammon, what other suffering minority groups can fall under the rubric of showing people’s incivility to each other, and the desire to heap suffering upon suffering on them for material and/or psychological and/or social and/or political gain?

And, yes, hate speech can lead to abuse and murder of those perceived to be vulnerable, and "ripe for punishing," for those who take seriously the hate-mongers among us, be they radio talk show hosts or clergy who spew hateful and hate-mongering rhetoric from their pulpits, whether they use sanctimonious rhetoric or not.

There are many limited human beings who love to hate, and feel the need to construct an enemy, any enemy, upon which to vent their rhetorical and/or physical rage.

None of these hate-mongers, and the people who take them seriously, can be seen to have clean hands in the abuse and murders of the constructed enemies that they, themselves, created, or whose creation they more than willingly facilitated!

If a well-known, very highly paid, radio talk show host can create an autistic child as a ripe enemy for condemnation, one shouldn't be at all surprised that LGBT people are the enemy du jour of assorted religious and secular haters that keeps both the cash and the hate flowing in abundance!

As I wrote in the previous post (August 1st), one must not seek accommodation with haters and bullies! Rather, we must expose them for the haters they are and the damage they directly or indirectly cause others!

When a professing Christian clergy person, and other professing Christians, seek to discriminate against LGBT people, and seek to deny them full and equal civil and sacramental rights, they are traitors to Christ and all that He stands for and all that He instructed us to do in his Great Commandments to love God and to love and not judge others!

The Michael Savages of the world, as dangerous as they are, are not nearly as dangerous as the hate-mongering clergy who spew their hateful rhetoric, and encourage discriminatory actions against LGBT people, or any other group for that matter, because these clergy appeal to the Bible and to God to "justify" their hate and discrimination. And, such an appeal is not only factually incorrect, but spits in the very face of God, as any Christian worthy of the name fully knows!
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Rob said...

When people who are suppose to represent Christ, promote hate....they forget just who they are representing.

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi Rob: The tragedy is that most really do think that they are representing Christ, the Prince of Peace! They feel that God is on their side, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

The same held true with the White Supremacists before the civil rights era for African Americans. Believe me, very few pastors or other religious leaders in the U.S. spoke against segregation and Jim Crow laws.

Indeed, many were apologists for those indignities and horrors! The would quote certain selected passages from the Bible that matched their prejudices and, just like homophobes today, felt that God was on their side.

God, working through historical unfolding, will show them that they were wrong, but there will, unfortunately, be a lot of suffering until that day arrives. Best wishes, Jerry.