When a lack of anger reveals a lack of love

“Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are Anger and Courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.” — attributed to St. Augustine

Josh Barkey recently highlighted an intriguing quote from Bertrand Russell, warning readers to be suspicious of anger:

If an opinion contrary to your own makes you angry, that is a sign that you are subconsciously aware of having no good reason for thinking as you do. If some one maintains that two and two are five, or that Iceland is on the equator, you feel pity rather than anger, unless you know so little of arithmetic or geography that his opinion shakes your own contrary conviction. … So whenever you find yourself getting angry about a difference of opinion, be on your guard; you will probably find, on examination, that your belief is going beyond what the evidence warrants.

I think Russell is correct here about anger “about a difference of opinion.” Such anger may, indeed, be a sign of some subconscious irrationality.

But most anger is not caused by or directed at “an opinion contrary to your own.” Most anger is a response to and a response against something less abstract and more tangible, actual and factual: Injustice, oppression, harm, cruelty, pain, deprivation, suffering, want, intimidation, bullying, tyranny, evil.

In response to and response against such harms, anger is not irrational, it is obligatory. It is precisely “what the evidence warrants.”

When confronted with injustice, cruelty and harm, a lack of anger “is a sign that you are subconsciously” failing to love those who are suffering from that injustice, cruelty and harm. If you love them, then you ought to be angry — and that anger ought to compel you to act on their behalf.

Let me be clear, I’m not talking about anger as an emotion. This isn’t about how we feel, but about whether or not we respond.

And again, we’re not talking about responding to “opinions contrary to our own,” but about responding to actions that do real harm. Or responding to words that empower and enable and provoke actions that do real harm. Such words and actions should make us angry. And that anger should cause us to act in response to those harmful actions, or to speak up against those hurtful words.

That doesn’t mean we must act or speak angrily, or that we must act or speak in anger. “In your anger, sin not.” But if we fail to act or to speak, then we are failing to love. That failure may be due to apathy, or to fear, or to a host of other reasons, but sometimes it is due to our corresponding failure to get angry.

You got kids? If not, how about a kid sister or a kid brother? No? Then how about a dog, you got a dog? Or a cat? A spouse? Everybody loves someone or something. I’m going to go with kids here, but if you don’t have kids, just think of your little sister or your cat or whoever it is you love.

Say you see somebody hurting your kids — deliberately, cruelly inflicting harm on them. That will make you angry. Such anger is right and proper and just. You will be angry because you love your kids, and that anger and that love will compel you to act on their behalf — to stop this cruel somebody from harming them.

Now, if you saw this happening and you did not get angry or try to put a stop to this cruelty, what do you suppose the rest of us would think? We wouldn’t be congratulating you on your saintly calm demeanor. Nor would we be admiring you as an exemplar of Christian civility.

No, we would be angry with you over your lack of anger. Then, after we acted in your stead to stop the harm being done to your kids, that anger would compel us to confront you with your evident lack of love for your own children.

None of this changes when the victims of this cruel, deliberate harm are someone other than your blood relations.

I bring all this up, of course, because yesterday’s posts here were a bit on the angry side. If my comments on Bryan Fischer or Douglas Wilson came across as angry, that’s because I am angry. Furious, actually. Livid.

These men are saying hateful, harmful things. Yes, in a sense, they are expressing “opinions contrary to my own,” but that is not all they are doing, and those differences of opinion are not the problem here.

The problem is not that Bryan Fischer and I have a difference of opinion over whether or not gay men deserve to die. The problem is that Bryan Fischer says that gay men deserve to die, that his saying this is hurtful and harmful, that his full time job consists of convincing others to believe and to say such hurtful and harmful things, and, most importantly, that he’s a blaspheming lobbyist for an influential political faction shaping policy such that it will tangibly, actually and physically harm, injure, oppress, deprive, disenfranchise, discriminate against and terrorize LGBT people.

Bryan Fischer is doing harm. He’s hurting people. He has victims — real, actual victims.

That ought to make us angry. And that anger ought to compel us to act and to speak up on behalf of those he is harming. If it doesn’t — if we do not get angry and therefore act — we dare not make any claim to love those victims. If Bryan Fischer’s words and political actions do not make us angry, then the best we can say for ourselves is that we hate his victims marginally less than he does.

  • MorganGuyton

    There’s a question of audience. When you’re taking on a bully, are you trying to convert the bully to your perspective or are you trying to galvanize and empower the other kids who are being bullied also? I’m not sure we’re always responsible for speaking in such a way that we
    can convert our enemies instead of galvanizing our allies. But at the same time, part of following the Savior who got His !@#$%^&* lynched is subscribing to the truth that beauty wins over rage in the long run. So it’s not illegitimate to be angry and talk back to power as an act of solidarity with those who are bullied, but can we do so in a way that exudes a more beautiful vision for the world?

    When progressive Christians play gotcha games and lose our integrity and decency, we alienate people who might otherwise be open. Think of your own history. How many of you reading this were at one point a fundamentalist gnashing your teeth in the outer darkness of those who hate God’s mercy? As Paul says, we all start out as “children of wrath.” What did you need to hear to stop being an asshole? Think about that as you consider the tone with which you write even if you’re angry because you love.

  • Isabel C.

    Yeah, this.

    There are a fair number of unexamined assumptions involved with posting something like that on a blog where you know the audience is not entirely Christian.

    I’ve been trying to work on compassion and forgiveness and so forth lately, in my own life, but…there are three things about that:

    1. “Forgiving” someone, for me, doesn’t mean not calling them out, or even not being angry at them. It means accepting the possibility that they can change and be sorry for what they’ve said or done, and *possibly* giving them the benefit of the doubt.  It *certainly* doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take steps to prevent people from actively harming you or others. 

    2. Forgiveness should never come at the expense of the victim.* You don’t tell an abuse victim to forgive his or her abuser. I mean, many people do, but those people are privilege-blinded jerks. 

    3. Forgiveness is your personal decision, not anyone else’s. 

    And honestly? If I told a loved one about being threatened or insulted or harassed and their reaction wasn’t at least a *little* angry on my behalf**, that would throw me. If I’m talking about how this guy was hassling me on the subway and it pissed me off and my best friend’s response is “Well, you know, you really shouldn’t pay attention to those guys,” then…what the hell, best friend?

    I mean, I can look after myself. I’m not in any physical danger. But part of being someone’s loved one is having their back, and “Oh my God, what an asshole! I’m sorry–I hope that dude finds a brown recluse in his shorts,” or whatever is a having-your-back expression. Whereas I’d find “Oh, you don’t need to pay attention to those guys,” to be *way* more patronizing, because…I know that, thank you, and sometimes I *do* need to pay attention to those guys, because they (as MG said) can turn physically threatening, and I am looking for some goddamn solidarity here, not a Yoda lecture.

    *Refraining from vengeance, maybe, because that’s a larger societal thing and etc. Depends on the conversation. 
    **Which, there’s a whole thing about being too angry and making the other person’s experience all about you, also, but let’s assume said loved one is reading my signals fine and not doing that.

  • Emcee, cubed

    There is no way to stop people like Fischer from being an asshole. Or from actually hurting people. Because he knows he is an asshole, and that he is hurting people. He doesn’t care. He does it anyway. He knows what he is saying is a lie. He says it anyway. It is one of numerous lies he tells knowingly, in order to hurt people. And he makes a lot of money doing it. “Considering my tone” isn’t going to change him. “Loving my enemy” isn’t going to change him. And to be fair, my righteous anger isn’t going to change him. However, if a whole lot of people rain down righteous anger on him, it has more of a chance of shutting him up than anything does. But generally, “Oh. please, sir might you stop hurting me?” pretty much never succeeds.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    A few years back, some group of haters protested my niece’s high school because it had a Gay Straight Alliance. A bunch of people on the Internet pledged to donate money to the school’s GSA for every hour the protesters were in front of the school, and someone took to putting up signs thanking the protesters for helping fund their activities… “you’ve raised $N for us so far! Thanks!” and so forth.

    I thought that was friggin brilliant. I cannot imagine any amount of righteous anger rained down on the haters that would have been more effective at demotivating them.

    It also demonstrates a general principle I think is sound: often, it’s more effective to respond to oppression by supporting the oppressed than by chastising the oppressors.

    Not to mention, you know, that the oppressed get supported into the bargain.

    That said, I can absolutely respect someone who believes that, by raining
    righteous anger down on those who behave badly, they can reduce the
    onset of bad behavior, and who therefore rain righteous anger down on
    those who behave badly. I think they’re usually wrong, mind you. But I can
    respect them. They are trying to fix the problem, even if they’ve got
    the wrong solution.

    I have less respect for those who choose to rain righteous anger down on
    those who behave badly whether it fixes the problem or not, simply
    because it’s satisfying to do so.

  • Lori

     

    When progressive Christians play gotcha games 

    And right there you totally lost me. Quoting what someone actually said, in context, and noting it’s obvious implications is not playing “gotcha games”. That frame is a big help to horrible people, but not much use otherwise.

     

    As Paul says, we all start out as “children of wrath.” What did you need
    to hear to stop being an asshole? Think about that as you consider the
    tone with which you write even if you’re angry because you love.  

    Contrary to what Paul had to say, not everyone starts out as an asshole and has to hear something in order to stop.  No one is perfect. Everyone has faults and prejudices and blind spots. Not everyone is an asshole. In fact, I’m pretty sure Paul was making himself feel better about his own assholishness, more than stating an actual truism. That’s understandable coming from a guy whose massive self-righteousness caused him to support a murderous mob and who  remained sort of a dick even after his big conversion, but that doesn’t make it true.

    Also, way to bring the tone argument. Those are always helpful.

  • Lori

     

    A few years back, some group of haters protested my niece’s high school
    because it had a Gay Straight Alliance. A bunch of people on the
    Internet pledged to donate money to the school’s GSA for every hour the
    protesters were in front of the school, and someone took to putting up
    signs thanking the protesters for helping fund their activities…
    “you’ve raised $N for us so far! Thanks!” and so forth.

     I thought that was friggin brilliant. I cannot imagine any amount
    of righteous anger rained down on the haters that would have been more
    effective at demotivating them.  

    What do you suppose motivated people to donate that money?

    I’ll hazard a guess that for many of them it was righteous anger. The fact that someone isn’t screaming in a protestor’s face doesn’t mean s/he isn’t acting from anger. Holding up a sign rubbing it in isn’t exactly totally separate from anger either.

    You’re confusing the means of expression with the emotion. And then saying that expressions you consider friggin brilliant are good and other expressions are bad. There are 2 obvious problems with that and probably a couple less obvious ones that I’m too tired to sort out right now.

     

  • MadGastronomer

    Regardless of what you think, it continues to work pretty well as a preventative for me. For example, I have a Fat Acceptance blog. I make it really, really plain that I don’t tolerate hate, that hate-filled comments will not be published in the thread, but might be published with any and all identifying information I have (email, IP, facebook) on a separate page, and if so is going to be met with nastiness. And when a troll site (notably a fat-hating subreddit and a particularly vile bit of 4chan) link to me, I get a lot less of the hate than other FA blogs I know for the amount of traffic I get.

    It also serves the purpose of letting other people who are hurt by the bigotry know that there are people who will stand against the bigotry, and I assure you, it is very effective at that.

    Regardless of what you think.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    You’re confusing the means of expression with the emotion. And then
    saying that expressions you consider friggin brilliant are good and
    other expressions are bad.

    If everyone else is in agreement that “raining righteous anger down on the haters” includes things like making a ten dollar donation to a school’s GSA, and I’m the only one so easily confused that the latter doesn’t readily come to mind when I think about the former, that’s awesome. I would be delighted to discover that, and would be entirely in agreement with people who believed that that raining righteous anger down on the haters can be effective.

    That’s not especially consistent with my experience of people, but my experience of people is hardly definitive.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    That’s great — I’m glad it’s effective, and I endorse doing things that are effective. (Not that what I think matters, but since you’re responding to me in the first place, I figured I’d mention the fact.)

  • Lori

     

    If everyone else is in agreement that “raining righteous anger down on
    the haters” includes things like making a ten dollar donation to a
    school’s GSA, and I’m the only one so easily confused that the latter
    doesn’t readily come to mind when I think about the former, that’s awesome 

    So I’ll ask again, what do you think motivated people to contribute money to that GSA in a way that was based on what the protesters did, pledging based on protest time, as opposed to sending a flat $X donation? What do you think motivated GSA members to hold up signs announcing how much money the protesters had raised for the group?

  • MadGastronomer

    Seriously, I know this is not the first time someone has told you that the angry approach is, in fact, effective. So maybe telling us that we’re WRONG, and it’s not really effective, is not the best tack to take.

    Indeed, maybe refrain from all the forms of OMG YOU CAN’T DO ACTIVISM LIKE THAT your responses are heavy with. The I KNOW BETTER THAN YOU shit can be done without as well.

    And if you don’t think that donating money in those circumstances is another way of saying Fuck You for a lot of people, then I really don’t think much of your understanding of other people.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Bullies are generally cowards, quick to run from an even fight or one that’s starting to tilt against them.

    Only fight I’ve ever been in was when I was 10 and a boy at least a year older and much bigger was picking on my 5- and 6-year old brothers. Scream, leap, and I don’t remember much beyond that, but I ran him off. The sort of 11 year old bullies who pick on kindergartners aren’t very keen on fights with people who come anywhere near their own size.

  • Boze Herrington

    “Say you see somebody hurting your kids — deliberately, cruelly
    inflicting harm on them. That will make you angry. Such anger is right
    and proper and just. You will be angry because you love your kids, and
    that anger and that love will compel you to act on their behalf — to stop this cruel somebody from harming them.”

    This is the reason I believe in hell.

  • arcseconds

    I don’t think there’s a lot of chance of getting people like Fischer to change their mind about anything.  This belief that he has about AIDS, I don’t really know where that comes from, but it’s certainly not from any concern with evidence and rational argument and suggests he doesn’t have the intellectual humility to learn from us.

    But that’s surely not the only point about arguing with people who are wrong on the internet, nor even the main one.

    Here are some other considerations:

    1) setting community standards for discourse.   If no-one says anything, people get to spout off this harmful crap without any minuses, which means more people will do it, which will result in the ideas being tolerated.  heated opposition might not stop the hardest of hearts, but there’s a lot of people who will keep mum if they think they’ll get an earful.

    The flip side of this is that by responding critically to it, you make it that much easier for the next person to speak out about it.

    With public figures like Wilson and Fischer, there’s even a chance of the outcry forcing their parent organisation to force them to retract, which will make them much less likely to say such things in the future.

    2) the opinions of bystanders.  Fischer may be beyond all help, but not everyone who listens to him is.   If they see the claptrap and don’t see a counter, it’s more likely that they’ll be swayed.  This doesn’t happen always in an entirely rational manner (surprise!): even just having it socially acceptable to say such things brings them into the realm of opinions that it’s possible for a reasonable person to hold, making it much more likely that people will take this sort of idiocy seriously (see (1) above).

    3) solidarity with the people directly affected.  If it’s only vocal LBQT folk that are seen to mind, they’ll get the impression that it’s a cold and lonely world out there.  Much better for them to feel part of a large group of people, including a whole bunch of straight people, who are also outraged.  Best would be if they felt they were a majority, and that it’s a cold and hostile place for people like Fischer!

    Finally, there is still a non-zero chance of this kind of thing helping to change even the original utterer’s mind.  It’s hard to tell what goes into shifting people on these issues, but continual arguments can be part of the story.

    Running through all of this is how much more effective it is if it’s coming from everyone, not just Fischer’s targets.  he’s not likely to shut up, or be shut up, or change his mind if it’s just the vocal LBQT blogs that argue against him.

    I do have a bit of a concern about feeding the troll and giving air-time to loathsome opinions here, though.  In some circumstances it might just be better to ignore them.  But these guys are high profile enough, and opinions not unlike theirs prevalent enough to think that ignoring them probably isn’t the best option.

  • arcseconds

    Oh, forgot what in some ways the most obvious reason for dissing someone like Fischer — just expressing your own anger and irritation at the man!  what’s the point of having a blog if you can’t do that ?

  • nirrti

     “I disagree. A gay is not my kid sister, nor my cat. I actually find the comparison slightly insulting.”

    My kid sister is gay, actually…and that makes me doubly obligated to care about the rights of lbgt people. I don’t have the luxury of seeing gay rights as some abstract concept that doesn’t affect me. I have to worry whether my sister will be attacked, fired, or ostracised for being a lesbian.

    I’m so thankful she doesn’t live down South where I am. It’s a place where people look at me with disgust just for wearing rainbow-colored leg warmers. I can only imagine how these folks would treat her.

  • Kiba

    Say you see somebody hurting your kids — deliberately, cruelly inflicting harm on them. That will make you angry. Such anger is right and proper and just. You will be angry because you love your kids, and that anger and that love will compel you to acton their behalf — to stop this cruel somebody from harming them.

    This may be a bit off topic, and if it is I apologize, but it make me think about this article I just read today. Which I think is just fucking awesome. http://www.azcentral.com/news/azliving/articles/2012/07/13/20120713bikers-against-child-abuse-make-abuse-victims-feel-safe.html?page=1

  • Baby_Raptor

    And now you’re going to pretend that you’re better than we are, and try and lecture us? Get the Fuck out of town. 

  • Jim Roberts

    Muntzer, I’m honestly confused. You believe that gays should allow themselves to be beaten up and that no one should help them because . . . Jesus? Or something?

    Better that a millstone should be tied around my neck than that.

  • Barry_D

    “If an opinion contrary to your own makes you angry, that is a sign that
    you are subconsciously aware of having no good reason for thinking as
    you do. If some one maintains that two and two are five, or that Iceland
    is on the equator, you feel pity rather than anger, unless you know so
    little of arithmetic or geography that his opinion shakes your own
    contrary conviction. … So whenever you find yourself getting angry about
    a difference of opinion, be on your guard; you will probably find, on
    examination, that your belief is going beyond what the evidence
    warrants.”

    I disagree.  One of the reasons to get angry at an opinion is that it’s wrong, dishonest, highly harmful and powerful.   To take the Godwin express, listening to Nazi antisemitism in the mid/late ’30′s in Germany would have been extremely angering, as it became clear that these words would be translated into evil deeds.

    Similarly, the lies told by the right have actual impact on peoples’ lives for the worse.  People are hurt by those lies’ effects, people suffer and people die.

  • MorganGuyton

     A lot of us here are ex-fundamentalists. You’re right that it’s wrong to generalize and assume that everyone shares my experience. My wife grew up blissfully unaware of the world that I was immersed in. I call her a fundamentalism-denier because she always says, “People don’t really believe THAT, do they?”

    For me, I needed to be exposed to something to give me the courage to say, “No, that’s bullshit. God isn’t like that.” I guess it’s not so much that I was an asshole per se, but that I thought I had to prove my loyalty to a mean God. I think that’s where a lot of people are coming from. They’re trying to prove their loyalty because they think that’s what “faith” means.

    I’m not trying to silence anybody or shut anybody down. But there are decisions we can make in terms of how we write that will make a difference in whether our thoughts are instantaneously dismissed or whether they are effective evangelism to people who are trapped in doctrinal works-righteousness.

  • Lori

     

      A lot of us here are ex-fundamentalists. 

    I’m aware. I was raised in a fundamentalist faith and virtually my entire family is still in it.

  • JayemGriffin

    My younger brother is six inches taller than I am, and a good 30 pounds heavier. He’s a high-school-soon-to-be-college athlete, and far, far better at dealing with physical threats than my scrawny self. Why the hell wouldn’t I still get angry at someone who thought it was okay to threaten or, gods forbid, hurt him?

  • Beroli

     

    If everyone else is in agreement that “raining righteous anger down on
    the haters” includes things like making a ten dollar donation to a
    school’s GSA, and I’m the only one so easily confused that the latter
    doesn’t readily come to mind when I think about the former, that’s awesome.
    I would be delighted to discover that, and would be entirely in
    agreement with people who believed that that raining righteous anger
    down on the haters can be effective.

    While I have only your description to go on, it strikes me as unlikely that the “you’ve raised $N for us so far! Thanks!” were being put up in a spirit of genuine belief that the protestors would be thrilled that they had caused the school they were protesting to get money. Rather than, you know, taunting. Angrily taunting, even. Chastising the oppressors.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Beroli:

    it strikes me as unlikely that the “you’ve raised $N for us so far!
    Thanks!” signs were being put up in a spirit of genuine belief that the
    protestors would be thrilled

    Sure, this is unlikely in the extreme… so much so that it’s not really a possibility worth considering. 100% agreed.

    Lori:

    So I’ll ask again, what do you think motivated people to contribute
    money to that GSA in a way that was based on what the protesters did

    A combination of the desire to support that GSA and the desire to show the protesters their tactics won’t work. And, sure, often those things were experienced in anger, and in some cases the donators would not have bothered to donate if they weren’t angry. And often neither of those things were true. Either way, I certainly don’t think the motivation was just the desire to express anger, or even primarily that. There are cheaper and easier ways to express anger.

    MadGastronomer:

    maybe refrain from all the forms of OMG YOU CAN’T DO ACTIVISM LIKE THAT
    your responses are heavy with. The I KNOW BETTER THAN YOU shit can be
    done without as well.

    Fair enough. Moving forward I will try harder to convey the belief that other people are free to do activism however they find effective, and the belief that my own generalizations from lived experience might be either altogether wrong or just not applicable to the context at hand. Certainly both of those  things are true, and I agree with you that it’s good for me to convey them, and it’s clear from your responses (and those of some others) that I don’t convey them reliably.

  • The_L1985

    Ack! Responded to the wrong comment, sorry!

  • The_L1985

    Er, gay is an adjective, not a noun. I believe you mean “a gay person,” but in the absence of a noun, I can’t really be sure.

  • The_L1985

    There’s a difference between being angry at the kid and actually doing something, though. I’d be mad at the kid, regardless of whether my bro could handle himself or not.

  • The_L1985

    Words break no bones–directly. But words are how thoughts become actions.

    Look at the children who were abused and killed by parents who were just following the advice in Michael Pearl’s books on child-rearing, and then tell me words don’t cause harm.

    Look at how Hitler’s rhetoric led to the atrocities of the Third Reich, and then tell me words don’t cause harm.*

    Look at every single teenager who has committed suicide because people wouldn’t stop harassing them for being too “butch” or “girly” (even if they weren’t actually gay), and then fucking tell me that words don’t cause harm.

    Words never happen alone.  They inspire other people to act.  And hateful words lead to hateful deeds.

    * This is not a Godwin; Hitler wouldn’t even have been elected in the first place if he hadn’t been damned good at public speaking.  And guess what he thought of the Jews?

  • The_L1985

     This isn’t about the victims learning to get past what happened to them.

    This is about innocent bystanders not simply accepting bullying as “the way of the world.”

    The people who were mean to you, were mean because THEY were mean people.  To pretend that they weren’t is every bit as bad as pretending that all people are bullies.

  • http://twitter.com/AmethystMarieTM Amethyst Marie

    Do you know that lgbt people start out as children like everyone else? And that many of those children commit suicide due to bullying and social oppression before they reach adulthood? If that’s not worthy of moral outrage, I don’t know what is.

  • Jessica

    Shared on facebook for truthiness.

  • Nequam

    In the wake of the shooting news, I hope our Denver slacktivites are all well.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino
  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Words break no bones–directly. But words are how thoughts become actions.

    Yes, but also, words break hearts and psyches. Obviously they also cause physical violence, but that is not the only or even the main harm they cause. Psychological harm is real harm. 

  • AnonymousSam

    And sadly, the people whom an individual should most be able to trust to provide them with support are the ones most capable of inflicting it. Parents, teachers, significant others…

    Arrgh, which just makes me think about the school that recently refused to allow a branch of the Secular Student Alliance to be set up in a high school. The letter they sent the SSA underscores this entire concept of isolation and willful abuse of trust and bullying.

    A few choice quotes of the letter one of the school officials sent the SSA:

    When beliefs are far from what is considered the norm you should have the expectation that you will be judged.  Also, in any society the few are sometimes required to participate in the activities of the masses if they do not want to be ostracized.

    Educational staff has the responsibility of preparing students to be responsible adults.  We expect all students to be treated with respect.  We are not, however, obligated to protect those who choose to be deviants in society.

    A welcoming environment is what we should not create.  Satan should not be comfortable in God’s world.  You say they should develop their own world view when you really want them to  adopt your world view.  The book they need to read for information is the Bible.  Nontheism should not be spoken of in a tone of acceptance.

    Obviously, I would not want to help students down the wrong path.  A group tried to form at our school.  It was from one of those students that I received this brochure.  Not surprisingly, they could not get a teacher to sponsor the club.  As educators we are dedicated to conveying the truth to students.  If the students are proud of believing there is no God they should not feel like they have to hide it.  They should not feel the need for a safe haven.

    The group that tried to get started here could not find a sponsor because as educators we want to lead students in a positive direction; not lead them to hell.

    This is why solidarity is important. This is why we need people ready to show support for the underdog. Because in the absence of that solidarity, there is isolation, followed by abuse.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    The group that tried to get started here could not find a sponsor because as educators we want to lead students in a positive direction; not lead them to hell.

    I am completely unsurprised that they punctuated incorrectly here. 

    Dear Invisible Pink Unicorn, what willfully ignorant, evil assholes. I wonder how they can breathe with their heads so far up their asses.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    One more reason why it’s good for the more privileged to show solidarity with, and righteous anger on behalf of, marginalized people is because their words will be harder to dismiss.  It’s been noted many times that men who’ll just roll their eyes at a woman calling out misogyny will shut up, and sometimes rethink their habits, when a man does the same thing.  It’s a way of using your privilege for good.

  • hapax

    AnonymousSam — was this a public school in the USA?  Because any official who was fool enough to commit such bigoted and blatantly unconstitutional sentiments to print (oh, please tell me it was done on school letterhead) just handed an open-and-shut case to anyone who cares to file suit.

    Even here in the Bible Belt.

    (Doesn’t mean that it wasn’t also cruel, hurtful, and abuse.  But holy cats, it was STUPID.)

  • AnonymousSam

     Yes, it was in the US. It wasn’t given a return address, but the SSA was able to figure out who had sent it and what school it originated from and they have acted accordingly.

  • MadGastronomer

     

    But there are decisions we can make in terms of how we write that will
    make a difference in whether our thoughts are instantaneously dismissed
    or whether they are effective evangelism to people who are trapped in
    doctrinal works-righteousness.

    You’re assuming that changing those minds is everyone’s goal. It isn’t mine. There are other people better suited to that, and I have better things to be doing. It isn’t all about the fundamentalists and evangelicals. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all about the people who have been hurt, and protecting them.

    You put your focus where you like, and I’ll put my focus where I like, ok?

  • http://profiles.google.com/fader2011 Alex Harman

    You beat me to it: reading that passage made me angry, yes, but there’s also a certain… hungry anticipation that comes with watching a jackwagon like that paint a huge bullseye on his butt and bend over to make it easier to kick.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

     Oh no :( I likewise hope our Denverites are OK :(

    Can’t speak  for all of us, but me and mine are OK. Boulder is about an hour’s drive northwest of the theater in question; had we gone to a midnight showing it wouldn’t have been there.

    But it could have been anyone, anywhere. It just takes one jerk with guns to turn a public event into a tragedy. Today I’m hugging my loved ones and appreciating every evening that I return home alive and well.

    Thanks to you and Nequam for your thoughts.

  • genehubbard2

    single parents face tough questions  our free TALK WITH THE LORD  program inspires daily talks  catch they need your help with first question  our blog helps  g hubbard  po box 2232  ponte vedra FL 32004  http://talkwiththelord.blogspot.com/

  • Jackalope

    ” Forgiveness should never come at the expense of the victim.* You don’t
    tell an abuse victim to forgive his or her abuser. I mean, many people
    do, but those people are privilege-blinded jerks. ”

    I disagree with this, and here’s why. I think many people have a wrong understanding of what forgiveness means; for example, they think that it means reconciliation, or allowing the relationship to go back to what it was before the offending event happened, or something like that.

    When reading the book “Forgiving the Dead Man Walking”, I appreciated the definition of forgiveness that the author gave at the end (for those who aren’t familiar with the book, it is written by one of the rape victims of one of the men who provided the composite for the criminal in “Dead Man Walking”). I don’t remember exactly how she put it, but her basic idea is that those who have been hurt (whether something small or something huge) can’t get around having been hurt, but they can choose not to hold on to their anger. They can say that they will not let that event continue to break and destroy them, and that they will let go of their anger and their right to revenge/retribution. In most cases, if you hang on to your anger and bitterness you don’t hurt the person that victimized you at all; you only hurt yourself. Forgiveness is a way to change that. You can admit  that what the person did was wrong and hurtful and then let go of your hurt while still not excusing what the other person did. I am wrestling with how I write this because I feel like this will sound facile, and that’s not what I mean. I know that this process can be long and painful; I’m currently trying to work through hurts caused by a family member decades ago and am only managing to do it bit by bit. But as I let go, it helps me not to be as hurt by their actions.

    Reconciliation, on the other hand, means rebuilding the relationship. In some cases that may be good and necessary, but in others it is not. I might, when talking with an abuse victim that I knew well and who seemed to be in the right place to hear it, encourage them to forgive and let go so that the past wouldn’t keep traumatizing them. I would not try to get them to reconcile unless that was where they were and it seemed like it was the desire of the other person’s heart as well. And when I say that I mean, for example, someone who was victimized and then a few years later talked to the family member who did it and that family member says, “I’m sorry; I hurt you and I can’t take that back, but I will not do it again.” Who then goes on to not do it again. (This is about the only situation where reconciliation would work; I don’t tend to expect this, but I have seen times when this did happen.) Otherwise, I would tell the victim to break off the relationship with that family member… to avoid the manipulative phone calls… or do whatever else is necessary for self-protection.

    This was all very long and I apologize, but I wanted to make sure I shared. I also thought some of you might appreciate the following post (if you haven’t seen it already): http://www.danoah.com/2011/11/im-christian-unless-youre-gay.html


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