Saturday, August 11, 2007

One, two, Freddie [Phelps] is coming for you...

I was just reading about a Dallas-area megachurch that is refusing to bury a gay man (and Gulf War veteran) now that they know he was gay:
"We did decline to host the service - not based on hatred, not based on discrimination, but based on principle," [the church's pastor, the Rev. Gary] Simons told The Associated Press. "Had we known it on the day they first spoke about it - yes, we would have declined then. It's not that we didn't love the family."
What, you might ask, does this have to do with the shame of Topeka, Kansas? I am coming to believe that, to an outside observer, any ideology is only as good as its worst practitioner. By that I mean that the merits of a religion, political theory, or other worldview or ideology must be judged by its worst possible application. Marxism might have sounded okay at one time on paper, but then it yielded Lenin, and, well, pretty much every communist shithead to come after him. To use a contemporary, local example, American-style Democracy (at least the way it is described by the Bush administration) may be dipping in global popularity, probably due to widespread cognitive dissonance brought on by the administration's words and actions. We, as Americans, may have a pretty good view of democracy, at least as compared to life in North Korea, since we have lived with it, and generally haven't been waterboarded, for all of our lives. Much of the rest of the world is under no obligation to ignore what America is actually doing in the world and to drink the democracy Kool-Aid Bush/Cheney is serving.

Getting back to my original point (since I at least take it as axiomatic that Bush/Cheney is an undemocratic thug), a common refrain among many Christians is that homosexuality is a sin that should be discouraged as much as possible. Really, the logical application of this belief is to discourage it at every turn--God's retribution would be quite widespread, wouldn't it?. By the same token, of course, all other sins should be equally discouraged, but then there would hardly be any time to find food and shelter. The Dallas megachurch is really just a tamer example of Rev. Freddie's hobby. Rev. Freddie seems to have concluded that the whole world is going to hell and it is his job to constantly remind us of that, and he is doing it in the name of God, Christ, and all Christians, whether they realize/like it or not.

Speaking as a Non-Practicing Atheist and Recovering Christian, I'm hardly in an ideal position to respond to Rev. Freddie, but I will say this: his actions soil the image of Christianity and Christians everywhere, much as Islam is sullied by terror and Hinduism is tarnished by naitonalism in India (don't even get me started on Israel and anti-Semitism). Christians everywhere need to put up or shut up--you support Rev. Freddie, you oppose him, or there is a more--gasp--nuanced view of this whole issue.

I do have something to say directly to Rev. Freddie, though, because I think the bulk of his power comes from the simple fact that he gets so damn much attention (I admit guilt to this as well, obviously):
I know you too well now, Freddie...It's too late...I know the secret now -- this is just a dream, too -- you're not alive -- the whole thing is a dream -- so fuck off! I want my mother and friends again. I take back every bit of energy I ever gave you. You're nothing. You're shit.
Okay, so that's from the speech Nancy gives to Freddie Krueger at the end of Nightmare on Elm Street, but I think the principle is the same.

No comments: