‘I sit on a man’s back, choking him …’

Here’s Leo Tolstoy describing the difference between nice and good:

I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am sorry for him and wish to lighten his load by all means possible … except by getting off his back.

Tolstoy reveals the hypocrisy  — the impossibility — of trying to exert power over someone else while still regarding oneself as a good person. To become a good person — a just or a loving person — in the scenario he describes requires one thing above all else: getting off the man’s back. None of that other business about assuring everyone “that I am sorry for him and wish to lighten his load” matters in the slightest.

But I think Tolstoy also shows us here part of why this is so difficult for the powerful to do. It’s partly that being carried by the labor of others is easier than carrying ourselves, but it’s also the fear that getting off of the man’s back will allow the man to retaliate. Justice demands, before and above anything else, that I get off the man’s back. But I’ve been riding this man and choking him for too long to think of justice as my friend.

I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and therefore justice is to me a terrifying threat. If the world suddenly became a just place, I’d be the first one up against the wall.

In other words, part of the reason that any form of oppression continues is that the oppressor comes to fear the oppressed. That fear, like the guilt the oppressor dimly still feels (“I am sorry for him”) is in some ways quite reasonable. But both of those also, perversely, tend to reinforce the oppressor’s resolve because we humans tend to resent anyone who makes us feel frightened or guilty — to hate those we fear and to hate those we know we have wronged. And that hate makes it easier to continue sitting on the man’s back, choking him and making him carry me.

This fear is related to the inability to imagine any kind of world in which someone isn’t sitting on top of someone else. If I get off this man’s back, then, it must mean that he will get on my back, choking me and making me carry him. It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg question as to whether the fear comes from this failure of imagination or if the failure of imagination comes from the fear. A bit of both, probably, and either way the end result is the same: a firmer determination never to get off the man’s back.

David Shelton sees this chicken-and-egg problem and tries to address both the fear and the failure of imagination straight-on. This is Shelton’s 10th point in a long, helpful post on “How to Not Be Viewed as a Bigot“:

10) Understand that we’re not you.

What does this mean? Simple. We are not interested in squelching your rights like you have done to us for decades. We’re not interested in preventing you from getting married. We’re not going to pass a law that makes it legal for someone to fire you because you’re Christian. We’re certainly not going to make Christianity illegal. Our agenda is, and always has been for you to stop doing these things to us.

Frankly, you’ve been punching us on the face for years. It’s not an infringement on your rights to say “stop punching them in the face.” Never has been, never will be.

“We’re not you” has to be said, but I’m not confident that the people Shelton is addressing will be capable of believing him. “We’re not interested in squelching your rights like you have done to us,” he writes — identifying precisely the thing they fear. He’s trying to reassure them that retaliation isn’t his goal. He doesn’t want to sit on their back, he just wants them to get off of his.

But the problem with the message of “we’re not you,” is that it’s addressed to people who are, in fact, “you” — to people who can only imagine what they would do if they were in his shoes and thus what he would do in their shoes. It’s projection — the shriveled, diseased remnant of the empathy that none of us can ever be wholly rid of.

“Understand that we’re not you.”

So in their stunted imagination, somebody always has to be sitting on someone else’s back — somebody always has to be punching someone else in the face and somebody always has to be getting punched. The overwrought fears Shelton aims to dissuade — hysterical fears of impending “persecution” in which fundamentalist Christians will be fired or jailed — reveal these folks’ inability to imagine a world without such persecution. They have a zero-sum understanding that says if they stop punching someone else’s face, their face will become the target.

They can’t believe Shelton when he says “We’re not interested in squelching your rights,” because in their view he’s doing exactly that. He’s trying to squelch their “right” to sit on his back, their right to choke him and to make him carry them. (Or, as Sarah Moon says in a metaphor that parallels both Tolstoy and Shelton, to squelch their “right” to stomp on his foot.)

Here’s where I’d love to be able to conclude this post by explaining the magic solution to all of this — sharing my dazzling epiphany as to how to convince such people to overcome their fear and expand their imagination to allow the possibility of a world in which no one needs to be choked and ridden, punched or stomped. But I’m afraid that epiphany still eludes me.

All that I can think to recommend is that we keep saying what David Shelton and Sarah Moon are saying — keep insisting that no one has the right to sit on another’s back and that everyone has the right not to be ridden, not to be punched in the face or stomped on the foot. And perhaps to find some ways, some gestures, to reinforce what we are saying and to demonstrate that liberation can mean something more and something better than what they fear — a mere rearrangement of who sits on whose back.

That latter point is at the heart of the film Invictus, which tells the remarkable story of Nelson Mandela’s shrewd and saintly decision to embrace the Springbok rugby team beloved by white South Africans. In Anthony Peckham’s screenplay, based on the actual events, Mandela notes that his former jailers “treasure” their Springboks:

If we take that away, we lose them. We prove that we are what they feared we would be.

He was looking for ways to affirm the passions and the culture of his former oppressors, and thereby to demonstrate, in some small way, that they could believe him when he said, in effect, “Understand that we’re not you.” It was one small way of demonstrating that power need not always mean power over.

Stay in touch with the Slacktivist on Facebook:

Smart people saying smart things (11.27)
White evangelicalism is white nationalism.
The day after
Life is not a game of musical chairs
  • Jessica_R

    On a very related note I’m surprised Fundies and Evangelicals haven’t jumped on the upcoming Ender’s Game movie as the latest culture war fetish. Granted OSC is a Mormon, but that’s mattered less in recent years. I guess they’re staying away because they don’t want another loss to add to their streak. It has been deeply satisfying watching the richly deserved drubbing Card has got for his mealy mouthed plea for “tolerance.” Geeks OUT put it best, “The Bill of Rights protects your freedom of speech but it does not protect your right to a blockbuster opening weekend.” …http://geeksout.org/blogs/jono/geeks-out-responds-orson-scott-card-still-plans-skip-enders-game#sthash.Bi7jUQ0s.dpuf

  • Lori

    NOM is screeching that Card has been “blacklisted” by Hollywood. That’s so offensive I can’t even, but what do you expect from NOM?

    If the haters fail to rally around Card I don’t think it will be because they fear another loss. I think it’s more likely to be because he essentially conceded that the marriage equality fight is lost and because a lot of fundies tend to dislike/distrust the genre he writes.

  • Daniel

    NOM?

  • Becca Stareyes

    National Organization for Marriage. Despite the name, their major work is continuing the ban on same-sex marriages.

  • Daniel

    Thanks.

  • SisterCoyote

    I swear, conservative political groups’ naming scheme reminds me of the adage that the more ‘freedom’ish words are in a country’s name, the more likely it is to be a dictatorship.

    The People’s Free Democratic Republic of Nationsville is probably a totalitarian dictatorship, and the Family and Marriage Children’s Protection Fellowship is probably a fundraising group for brainwashing pray-away-the-gay camps and not-quite-Westboro campaigns.

  • ohiolibrarian

    Either that or an organization for child abusers

  • Isabel C.

    We discussed that at a party recently, actually: how certain words in a username or party group just scream that this person is not worth listening to.

    “‘Freedom’, ‘Family’, ‘Liberty’…um, ‘Tea’….”

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    The People’s Free Democratic Republic of Nationsville is probably a totalitarian dictatorship, and the Family and Marriage Children’s Protection Fellowship is probably a fundraising group for brainwashing pray-away-the-gay camps and not-quite-Westboro campaigns.

    On TV Tropes, this is called “People’s Republic of Tyranny”. The more adjectives about Democracy in a country’s official name, the nastier a dictatorship it is.

  • Lori

    Card is on the board of the National Organization for Marriage. It’s an anti-marriage equality front group for the Catholic Church.

  • Daniel

    So the Catholics have drafted a Mormon to help them? Is this an attempt to make it seem like “It’s not just us!” when the inevitable criticisms are raised? Strange bedfellows… for once that’s not a pun.

  • Lori

    The Church doesn’t publicly own the fact that NOM is their creature. I suspect that having non-Catholics on the board and in other positions in the organization is cover.

  • Daniel

    Ah. I see. So do they have many non-christian members? And how much influence does NOM have? This is the first I’ve heard of it. How closely linked with the official Catholic church policy is it? The gay marriage thing seems to be much less of an issue in the UK so I’m not really familiar with these groups.

  • Lori

    I know that NOM has other non-Catholics on the board, but I don’t know exactly how many. I assume everyone there is Christian of some sort though. The group is right in line with official Catholic policy—marriage is one man, one woman because think of the children. Both NOM and the Church have tried to hide it, but the Church and Church-related groups are NOM’s major source of funds.

    As for how much influence NOM has, they’ve spearheaded anti-marriage efforts in several states. Some of them have been successful, some have not. Their rallies are no longer drawing crowds and most observers think the group is likely in it’s waning days, but the folks who have been making their money off it for years are still hanging in there.

  • Daniel

    Thanks for the information. The more I read of this stuff the more weary it makes me. I’m trying to avoid sounding all right on but I really, really don’t understand the objections to gay marriage. I feel bad if I attribute it to pure homophobia, but I can’t take the arguments at face value- that marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman, and that cannot change. It seems like such a desperate argument that it’s only being used to mask homophobia, or a cynical attempt to wrest power from elected representatives and place it in the hands of religious bodies. NOM sounds like it’s trying to do the latter because of the former. Do they have any deeper or more substantial arguments than “that’s the definition”? And by substantial I mean arguments with evidence rather than conjecture.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Do they have any deeper or more substantial arguments than “that’s the definition”? – Daniel

    FWIW, I suspect that a large chunk of their objection (aside from plain ol’ unexamined squickiness) is that accepting same-sex marriage undermines their fondness for patriarchy. They insist that in a proper marriage the husband has to lead and the wife has to submit – but in a marriage of two men or two women, how can you enforce that rule? And if everybody gets used to seeing same-sex couples openly living their lives, how can opposite sex couples be compelled to stay in their “you lead all the time and you submit all the time” boxes?

  • Daniel

    I see. I’d be worried about that if I was a man. It’s lucky I’m just a compacted mass of scurf held together by left wing ideals and tea.

    I submit in response that the good lord gave us fingers and coins for a reason, and that if the overturning of traditional patriarchy is at the heart of their objections (I think you’re probably right there, by the way) then every gay marriage should include, right before the rings, a “you may now flip the coin” section to decide who gets to be the “man”. They then agree to abide by the coin’s decision until such time as they renew their vows. I know this seems like a ludicrous solution, but I’d also suggest it’s one that fits the ludicrousness of the problem.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Once I manage to stop laughing, I’ll see if I can come up with a suitable reply.

  • Daniel

    I should stress the only thing dependent on the result of the flip is who gets to be in control. It’s just a sad, smutty coincidence that the call they should have to make is either heads or tails.

  • AnonaMiss

    I think we all have some questions about that first paragraph.

    Such as: What kind of tea?

  • Daniel

    If you’re asking by brand, I’m afraid I don’t advertise. If you’re asking by composition- I believe it’s an assam-ceylon blend in something like a 70/30 ratio. I can’t say for sure- it fluctuates depending on what’s available. There is also Darjeeling in trace amounts.

  • AnonaMiss

    So a British tea? I mean obviously Indian by place of growth, but British by design?

    I have to say I’ve never really been a fan of British teas – I prefer my tea to be drinkable plain. And they’re nearly all blends, with the quality control issues that brings – but it sounds like you’ve got a supplier you like enough to keep a secret, so I guess that wouldn’t be an issue for you!

  • Daniel

    Definitely British. I mean, I like a pure darjeeling, Ceylon, Assam, Russian Cravan, Gunpowder and Jasmine every now and again too but you need a day to day no frills tea to keep you together. It built the empire. I’m not being cagey about a supplier- rather following BBC rules and not doing product placement.
    But I don’t like Earl or Lady Grey. Which is a shame, because I consider myself pretty liberal.

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

    Very interesting link! Thank you. (It’s always fun to see other people come to the same conclusions, and to read the argument so clearly expressed.)

  • FearlessSon

    I thought that one of NOM’s board members or some other controlling position had a change of heart about it and left the organization? Or am I thinking of something else?

  • ohiolibrarian

    Thinking of the Exodus guy? Who apologized for thinking he could ‘cure’ gayness?

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Yes, that would be Louis Marinelli:

    Having spent the last five years putting all of my political will, interest and energy into fighting against the spread of same-sex marriage as if it were a contagious disease, I must admit that it is hard for me to put the following text into words let alone utter them with my own voice.

    Whether it is an issue of disbelief, shame or embarrassment, the one thing that is for sure is that I have come to this point after several months of an internal conflict with myself. That conflict gradually tore away at me until recently when I was able to for the first time simply admit to myself that I do in fact support civil marriage equality.

    http://louisjmarinelli.com/politics/i-now-support-full-marriage-equality

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I thought NOM rose out of the Prop 8 fight, which I know was heavily backed by the Mormon church

  • Lori

    The Mormon’s were the source of a very high percentage of the money that pushed Prop 8, but the Catholics threw a lot into the pot as well and the Church is the only significant source of funding for NOM.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    The Mormon’s were the source of a very high percentage of the money that pushed Prop 8, but the Catholics threw a lot into the pot as well and the Church is the only significant source of funding for NOM.

    And don’t forget that unintentional pusher for Prop 8, one Barack Obama. In a classic example of “unintended consequences”, Obama’s name on the ballot in 2008 caused massive black and brown voter turnouts — both from very macho subcultures which are very straitlaced when it comes to the gay issue.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I’m given to understand that “Prop 8 won because of homophobic minorities who turned out to vote for Obama” has been largely debunked as a myth: “black and brown” voters voted in favor of prop 8 at round and about the same rate as everyone else, excepting the one demographic that voted overwhelmingly for prop 8: Old White People.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    So the Catholics have drafted a Mormon to help them?
    So have the Fundagelicals. Remember Glenn Beck?

  • Michael Pullmann

    Wonderful thing about LOLcats is that it has rendered the acronym as ridiculous as the organization itself.

  • Jessica_R

    Good points both. Which makes NOM grandstanding kinda odd, considering that he sits on their board and called their effort “moot” at this point. I guess they don’t want the PR disaster of infighting with him over that. Plus plain old hypocrisy. It’s interesting that Narnia has been given a pass, but sci-fi is one of the last hold outs for Christian Right ire. When you build your whole identity on hating, fearing, and hoping there won’t be a future I guess that’s understandable.

  • Lori

    NOM is in a weird position on this and I suspect that you’re right about them just trying to avoid public infighting.

  • Emcee, cubed

    Since per a previous thread, most actual legal scholars say that the Full Faith and Credit Clause will NOT, in fact, make SSM legal in all 50 states, part of me wonders if this isn’t just “get everyone to think everything is done so they won’t work towards it any more, and we won’t have anyone fighting us in the next battle.” But I may be giving them way too much credit…

  • Daniel

    ” When you build your whole identity on hating, fearing, and hoping there won’t be a future I guess that’s understandable”
    I think it also has something to do with sci-fi’s tendency to imagine societies that function better than our own with no Christianity, and with members that definitely aren’t made in God’s image. There is a very interesting (I think) discussion to be had about the ramifications of extraterrestrial life for the Church if it’s ever discovered- can those alien beings from pre-contact times be saved? Do they have souls? Where do they fit in in the creation story? And what would Jesus’s death mean for them?

  • Alix

    I seem to remember, from way back in Catholic school, that the Catholic Church has at least somewhat addressed the hypothetical of extraterrestrial life. Damned if I can find a good article on it, though.

    IIRC, it boiled down to Jesus’ message being for all intelligent life forms, and just opening up new frontiers in evangelism. I remember mostly just boggling that people apparently took this as a serious question, so I’ve sadly forgotten the finer points.

  • Daniel

    I’m off on one now… what happens if you encounter alien life that is say gelatinous- a species for whom crucifixion wouldn’t actually mean anything? Or a self replicating species where a virgin birth is normal? Or a self replicating gelatinous species where because they are self replicating they already do love thy neighbours as themselves- because they literally are themselves? Sorry. It’s late and I’m tired.

  • Alix

    I don’t know, but damn I want to write those stories. That’d make a great series of comic sci-fi shorts, like anti-Chick Tracts via Lovecraft, or something.

  • Daniel

    I’m imagining an earnest chick evangelist banging on about Christ to a plate of jelly. Throughout the whole tract it says and does literally nothing. Then right after the obligatory John 3:16 panel the jelly self replicates. The evangelist looks crestfallen. His words have had no effect at all. Then Cthulu eats him.

  • Winter

    Mark Twain wrote a story on that theme: Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven. His take is that Jesus as Saviour visited everyone, so the good captain’s insistence that he came from the world saved by Jesus doesn’t help much when he enters by the wrong gate and the overworked angel on duty tries to sort out where he’s from. Twain has an interesting conception of heaven, though mostly by way of mocking the conventional one.

  • Alix

    Ooh, I’ll have to look that up. I hadn’t heard of that story!

  • phantomreader42

    I read Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven in a collection of Mark Twain’s best short stories that I found in a secondhand bookshop. It was followed immediately by The Mysterious Stranger. Bit of mood whiplash there.
    The same collection also had something on the diaries of Adam and Eve.

  • SisterCoyote

    IIRC, one of Ray Bradbury’s stories about priests going to Mars made an attempt at that – it was pretty interesting.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Wait a second, is that the one with the guy who has the faulty translator that doesn’t translate properly, and he thinks he’s chatting with a guy who’s ready to become a new convert but who actually has almost no idea of what the priest is saying?

    Like, one sentence I remember is “What is it, my son?” and all the translator can properly render is “… my son?” which leads the native Martian to wonder why this man who isn’t his father is calling him his son.

  • Lori

    I assume that on self replicating gelatinous species world Jesus would prove himself the Son of the Most High in some other way, by having 2 parents instead of one maybe. I assume he would die for their sins in some other way too. Drying out? IDK, what would gels think was a horrible way to die?

    I don’t think there’s any reason to assume that the self replicating gelatinous folk would know anything about Jesus’ time on Earth, any more than Earthlings were made privy to his time on self replicating gelatinous world.

  • MarkTemporis

    If I want to convert to Gel-Jesus (Gelsus?) I have to wear a little salt shaker around my neck? That’s at least more functional than a crucifix.

    BTW, PERPETUAL LIGHT is a very old SF anthology of religiously themed stories, many of which are pretty great. I read it years ago and remembered it mainly for Robert Silverberg’s “Pope of the Chimps”.

  • Daniel

    No, a packet of silica gel should be worn around the neck. As per the instructions on each bag, Eucharist cannot be taken. Following this logic, every piece of flat pack furniture is like a hotel, and every packet of silica gel is a Gideon’s Bible.

    The Lord thy God is a Gelous God.

  • Null_void

    I weep that I can’t upvote this more than once.

  • Daniel

    “I don’t think there’s any reason to assume that the self replicating
    gelatinous folk would know anything about Jesus’ time on Earth”- I don’t think they would either, but for there to be a consistent universal religion based on what he teaches presumably the two sets of stories would have to coincide. Also, in finding out about his time with the gel people we would know that we were not the most important part of God’s creation, which sort of undermines the basis of Christianity. Sort of.
    At least the trinity would be easy to explain to gel people- Aquafresh.

  • Lori

    Also, in finding out about his time with the gel people we would know that we were not the most important part of God’s creation, which sort of undermines the basis of Christianity.

    Plenty of people would no doubt take it that way and totally freak out, but there’s no reason that it has to be true. Christianity is not based on humans being God’s favorite. It assumes that we’re the only ones on this planet who have souls and therefore the need for salvation and all, but I don’t think there’s anything in the Bible that would cause the whole thing to collapse just because there are other soul-having beings on another planet.

    At least the trinity would be easy to explain to gel people- Aquafresh.

    LOL.

    It would be nice if the Trinity actually made sense to someone.

  • Daniel

    “what would gels think was a horrible way to die?”
    Presumably all at once, simply because someone had taken a dislike to who they were as a species. You know, gelocide.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I should clarify that the Catholics at least do specify that there is only the one Jesus; aliens either didn’t fall, or were graced with some non-Jesus-based-means of reconciliation. Sadly, no space-Jesus.

  • Lori

    Do they mean that in the sense that Jesus was specifically the human incarnation of the Son of God and therefore specific to Earth or do they mean that the Son of God wouldn’t/couldn’t have also had an alien (and therefore not non-Jesus) incarnation?

    If it’s the former, OK. If it’s the latter what is the basis for this belief? I don’t recall ever reading anything in the Bible that would in any meaningful way preclude a non-human incarnation.

  • Daniel

    How about the eminently sensible evangelical right? Surely they have to believe in space Jesus?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I believe the evangelical right would assume any aliens to be abominations who only exist in the first place because they’re too obstinate to accept the truth of the bible — since they’re not mentioned in the bible, they only exist at all out of spite (much like gay people). And this is why we must bomb them immediately, then take all their resources and redistribute them to the wealthiest 1% of americans.

  • FearlessSon

    I believe the evangelical right would assume any aliens to be abominations who only exist in the first place because they’re too obstinate to accept the truth of the bible — since they’re not mentioned in the bible, they only exist at all out of spite (much like gay people). And this is why we must bomb them immediately, then take all their resources and redistribute them to the wealthiest 1% of americans.

    Oh, so like the Imperium of Man?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I will not lie. As I wrote that paragraph, I was thinking “In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.”

  • Brad Ellison

    Ray Bradbury explored some of that territory in “The Fire Balloons.” The first rocketload of Catholic missionaries to reach Mars is led by a priest who theorizes that alien biology will mean the alien beings they encounter will necessitate the existence of alien sins. Asexual beings can’t commit adultery, but we may not be able to imagine what transgressions they might be able to commit that we cannot. And so he leads his team into the wilderness instead of the Human colonies, seeking out the remaining intelligent native life on that planet, a race of glowing blue spheres comprised of pure energy. On making contact with them he learns that they had a Savior of their own, and now live in a state of grace, though they appreciate the thought.

    Really good story.

  • Brad Ellison

    Bradbury wrote another one about an exploratory expedition that touches down on a tranquil world where none of the natives seem even slightly interested in the fact that an alien race just arrived out of the sky looking to make first contact. Turns out, there was a guy there who went around teaching and healing and performing various miracles and opening hearts, and he left yesterday, so by comparison they’re small potatoes.

  • Michael Pullmann

    There’s a joke similar to that, where missionaries land on an alien planet to spread the Gospel and find out Jesus visited there a long time ago and liked it so much he comes back all the time. The punchline is “Why, what’d you guys do?”

  • Daniel

    I’ve not read a lot of Bradbury, I’ll have to look that up. I do love the idea that when a new sentient species is discovered, it is vitally important that sins be invented for them.

  • Hexep

    Episcopalian missionaries.

  • Notasaltine

    To some degree, that has happened already on Earth. The Catholic Church has been, historically, in favor of using locally appropriate metaphors to explain things.

  • Daniel

    What might you use to explain death and rebirth to a species that does not die?

  • Daniel

    Also, another problem- imagine the missionaries got to whatever Marklar had been discovered, only to find out the aliens were already Christian and had been since before 33A.D our time. So Jesus went there first, or at least earlier than he came here. In which case, would we lose our status as God’s favorites?

  • SisterCoyote

    Oh man, I figure as soon as – if ever we do – we manage to discover that there’s life elsewhere in the universe, let alone intelligent life, people will be panicking that we’re not God’s favorites. I have a friend who tried, for years, to try to get me to think about “what it would mean to your religion if it turns out aliens existed!” He could not comprehend that I believe, fully, that God, being omnipotent and all loving, would have as much love and grace for any other life as he does for humanity.

    And meanwhile, I still don’t understand why this is something that scares people. Were there those who believed that if the sky was not the literal realm of heaven, God did not exist?

  • Winter

    Mark Twain’s “Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven” is a short story that touches on the question. Jesus Saved just about every world, and it’s very very important to enter Heaven by the right gate. Saying you’re from “the world our Saviour saved” doesn’t mean much to an angel trying to process a million souls an hour from the far side of the galaxy.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    I suspect that Jesus must have gone other places before he ended up in Judea. See: John 10:16.

  • Daniel

    Ace. I’ve just read that and I really hope he was talking about space. Like The Ballad of Halo Jones, but with a real halo.

  • FearlessSon

    I remember that from “The Priest’s Tale” in Dan Simmon’s Hyperion. He was a Jesuit priest who had a strong scholarly interest in archaeology and history, which is understandable considering this takes place long after Earth is destroyed by a catastrophic accident and humanity had a big interstellar diaspora. The Catholic church is still around, having relocated most of the Vatican from Earth (thanks to anti-grav technology making it easy) before the planet collapsed in on itself.

    There are no intelligent aliens that humanity has run into in this, but strangely there is evidence that extra-terrestrial intelligence did once exist, as many planets have strange artificial structures of unknown purpose. These are things the priest in question is researching. However, he becomes something of a pariah from the church when evidence he uncovers from some of his research leads him to conclude that Christ worship may have been practiced in some form, eons before Christ was actually born on Earth.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Actually, no. The no i’m not kidding they really have one and it is really this official position of the Catholic church is that the fall of Man applies only to humankind, and therefore there is no necessary reason why extraterrestrial intelligences would need Jesus unless they had a fall-like event of their own, which they may or may not have had, and even if they did, it would be jumping to conclusions to assume that God hadn’t provided them their own completely different path to reconciliation.

  • Alix

    … *blink*

    Wow. XD That’ll teach me to rely on half-remembered school memories. Thanks for the correction. That reminds me scarily of Lewis’ Space Trilogy.*

    Scary that that position extends more grace to hypothetical extraterrestrials than to fellow humans. :/ Because, of course, ETs might have other paths to God, but humans only have one.


    *I only ever read the first two, which, from what the internets tell me, is something I should be grateful for.

  • Isabel C.

    Reminds me of Duane’s Young Wizards series as well: every species has its own encounter with the Lone Power (Entropy Guy, sort of Crystal Dragon Satan), each in its own way and with a slightly different choice as a result.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Love that series! I always felt a little sad that the first book’s ending was basically completely retconned. “Yes, you have saved the multiverse! In some paradigm or other. Actually, everyone’s still totally screwed. Yeah.”

  • Isabel C.

    Hee! Yeah, me too. I suspect (having had something of the sort happen with my own work) that she wrote the first book, got it published, and then needed to figure out a way for there to be high-stakes sequels.

    Watsonian-ly, I sort of figured that the first book ending was catalyzing what happened in all of the subsequent ones.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I try and emphasize when something is going to be a process or instantaneous. Although the ending of my current writing sets it up for an eventual lasting resolution, there’s a lot of room between now and then which I intend to address in the sequel. :p

  • Alix

    …I love that series. It’s one of the ones I bring up when people insist all YA stuff is juvenile and unsophisticated, and could never appeal to adults.

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    Re: Lewis’ Space Trilogy:

    The third book, That Hideous Strength, has some excellent ideas and scenes. It also pissed me off more than any other C.S. Lewis book (and I’ve read many of them, both fiction and nonfiction), and reading it usually makes me need to read Till We Have Faces again just to wash the bad taste out of my brain. But THS genuinely does have some good points all the same.

  • Alix

    I may have to give it a shot. I don’t know.

    I remember checking it out once after reading the first two, but all I really remember is trying to start it and feeling like it didn’t really feel like the other two books, though I can’t remember why or if I was even right to have that impression.

  • tatortotcassie

    Yup. That tallies with the response the priest told me when I was in high school and tipping my toes into sci-fi.
    “The Sparrow” and its sequel “Children of God” are so far the best religious/philosophical sci-fi books I’ve read. (Think the author is Mary Russell?)

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

    Mary Doria Russell. I haven’t read her, but one of my co-workers at the old bookstore loved her.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    seem to remember, from way back in Catholic school, that the Catholic Church has at least somewhat addressed the hypothetical of extraterrestrial life. Damned if I can find a good article on it, though.

    The original First Contact Protocol written in a Catholic context was Ratramnus’ 9th Century “Letter regarding the Cynocephali”. (“Cynocephali” — the “dog-headed men” — were one of the Monstrous Races of Medieval travelers’ tales.) Basically, it was written to a missionary travelling to a far land where Cynoecphali were supposed to live, and attempted to figure out from the stories whether they were animals or people. (Ratramnus’ conclusion from the traveler’s accounts were that they were people.) There used to be a good essay on this somewhere on the Web, but I haven’t been able to find it.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    It’s interesting that Narnia has been given a pass, but sci-fi is one of the last hold outs for Christian Right ire. When you build your whole identity on hating, fearing, and hoping there won’t be a future I guess that’s understandable.

    I run with writers who are trying to write F&SF from a Christian viewpoint (not repeat not “Christian(TM) SF”) and encounter flak from both sides. In my experience, the good Christian SF authors usually come from one of the Western-Rite Liturgical Churches — Catholic, Anglican, sometimes Lutheran.
    The Evangelicals (Official Christianese authors) limit SF to Left Behind knockoffs with Altar Call Endings. They have no Future, and what Future they have has all been signed over to The Anticrhist.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Poor, oppressed Orson Scott Card, getting his book turned into a major motion picture and all.

  • Jessica_R

    I know! It’s so grossly unfair, not dropping 10-20 bucks on a ticket is *exactly* like calling for the recriminalization of homosexuality, exactly. I do feel bad for some of the cast, but it’s not like his views were secret when they signed on.

  • Daniel

    Not really- remember, gays deserve it. Poor Orson (Poorson?) is clearly a martyr.

  • danallison

    Of course Harrison Ford gets a pass, like Alec Baldwin, because he’s a “movie star.” How about a new movement — Scapegoat Equality!

  • MikeJ

    What does Harrison Ford need a pass for? He supports marriage equality.

  • Michael Pullmann

    So does Peter David, but people didn’t give him a pass for writing a video game based on one of Card’s novels. (Not the Ender series.)

  • Lori

    Alec Baldwin is more than a bit of an ass, and it has cost him fans and probably jobs as well. The guy has baggage. That said, he’s never called for the criminalization of homosexuality, so he’s not in Card’s league.

    I have no idea why your undies are in a bunch about Harrison Ford. He stars in Ender’s Game, but has publicly stated that he doesn’t agree with Card’s extremist bigotry.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    It’s a desperate attempt to smear you with a charge of hypocrisy for condemning an active, avowed bigot while not condemning people who don’t work for him and don’t share his views for daring to work on a movie based on one of his old books.

    The petulant resorts to fake martyrdom and deflection of responsibility for their own behavior from those on the Right don’t surprise me anymore, but I am still amazed by the specifics from time to time. Not this time, though. That was weak.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Yep, Dawg forbid that an actor take parts that he thinks are cool. Some people got all confused when atheist Ian McKellen was in The Da Vinci Code, and he had to explain that he thought the story was fun and that audiences just might be able to separate fact from fiction.

  • VMink

    Or the hilarious opposition brought up by an all-old-white-man ‘concerned group of the faithful’ when they complained that Heimdall was, in the Thor movie, a person of color. Seriously, that made my nanokalpa.

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

    Srsly. First of all, I don’t recall Heimdall being one of the gods who was noted as having distinctive physical features, unlike, say, Golden-Haired Sif. Second, it’s the Marvel Asgard — word of Jack Kirby is that the skalds in the Marvel universe got some details wrong.

    Also: http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lr7y7qT2oI1qzznfko1_400.jpg

  • FearlessSon

    I remember reading somewhere that the casting choice was done, in part, because they wanted to ensure they distanced themselves from the image of an all-white race of alien ubermen for precisely the reason that neo-nazis revere the Norse pantheon as some symbol of white-superiority.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Poor, oppressed Orson Scott Card, getting his book turned into a major motion picture and all.
    Actually, it took him well over 20 years to find a movie studio and production crew he could trust to do the job right. According to his website, he had to deal with Hollywood shmucks and suits and “I’m an M.B.A.s” and auteurs who wanted to remake Ender’s Game in their own image — one even wanted to make it into a John Travolta star vehicle. (This was long before Zombies or Sparkly Vampires.) I’ve written fiction myself, and some of Card’s non-fiction books on writing have been my best handbooks, so I cut the guy some slack when it comes to this aspect.

  • FearlessSon

    On a very related note I’m surprised Fundies and Evangelicals haven’t jumped on the upcoming Ender’s Game movie as the latest culture war fetish.

    From my perspective, the mass media bits that get religious and/or cultural conservative’s underwear in a twist tends to be rather scattershot and semi-random. The most innocuous thing could set them off, while something else that is trying to flourish red cloth in front of their faces gets completely ignored. If there is a pattern to it, I cannot identify it. The only thing I can really see is when some big commentator or other respected authority figure to them gets wind of something and makes a fuss, which gets others in a fuss too. But I have no idea what draws their attention to one particular thing but not another.

  • ohiolibrarian

    Have they reacted to the 2 recent Rapture comedies?

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    All I have to say about OSC is to quote the following.

    “Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminantly enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message to those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.”

    — Card, 1990

  • Alix

    …over and above the bigotry, what gets me about that quote is that he apparently can’t decouple social norms from laws.

    Which is something I’ve seen pretty frequently among other authoritarian types, so. :/

  • Alix

    (Replying to myself, what.)

    In light of the discussion of boycotts of Card’s film, I wonder if this same attitude is behind the chronic inability of these people to separate a consumer-driven boycott from government censorship. If they really truly see no difference between social disapproval and government actions … well, that explains a lot.

    But I’m never sure how much authoritarian types believe this, and how much they’re bullshitting.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Considering that they have no problem anti-boycotting things by inducing massive crowds to buy meals at Chik-Fil-A, I suspect that the real answer is it’s only bad when someone not in the tribe wants it to happen.

  • FearlessSon

    I remember what RationalWiki said about it:

    Authoritarianism is a very interesting phenomenon. Its adherents don’t necessarily want to “tell you what to do” – as long as, if they disagree with you, someone else in power will tell you what to do.

    This is why they seek to enshrine their particular values into law. That way the people they disapprove of can be punished by their authorities. For example, by outlawing abortion they do not reduce abortions by as much as preventing unwanted pregnancies in the first place, but they can punish those who seek them out with the full force of the law behind them.

  • Alix

    So if I’m reading you right, to authoritarians there either isn’t or (in their minds) shouldn’t be a difference between social and government (or other authoritative) actions. Someone doing something on a private or collective-but-not-governmental level is then, to an authoritarian, basically saying that they want the government/authorities to do the same thing. Boycott thus equals a call to censorship. Hm.

    That explains a great deal, though I now find myself wondering if and how this apparent conflation of societal and governmental action plays into their insistence that things like government assistance can be replaced by private charity. It’s like they conflate the governmental and non-governmental spheres, but only in a punitive sense.

    So apparently people of an authoritarian mindset see the primary role of government as punitive?

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

    Of course such laws wouldn’t be enforced indiscriminately. Rich conservative gays who remain properly in the closet would get a pass, despite any number of scandals. It’s only the shit-disturbers who would have to worry.

    Never mind that inconsistent application of the law is not only a tool of oppression, it serves to weaken the authority of all law.

    I’ve also heard it from some anti-choicers — one who still sometimes comments here, even — that the point isn’t about decreasing the actual number of abortions or putting women’s lives at risk, it’s about sending the proper message.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Of course such laws wouldn’t be enforced indiscriminately. Rich conservative gays who remain properly in the closet would get a pass, despite any number of scandals. It’s only the shit-disturbers who would have to worry.
    Islam is very anti-homosexual (to the point that the main theological debate is which of the three methods recorded in the Koran is the TRUE Godly way to kill them off), yet Sultans and other powerful figures routinely kept harems of boys. (The Turks were especially known for this.) Rank hath its privileges.

  • de_la_Nae

    Ah yes, the old “We just need to keep it to swat down the occasional uppity Negro” defense.

  • de_la_Nae

    It still boggles my mind that the man who wrote ‘Speaker for the Dead’ can hold some of the views he seems to.

  • VMink

    OSC used to actually be fairly agnostic, or at least comfortably tolerant. He was quite famous for the well-received ‘Secular Humanist Revival’ he did on the convention circuit. Then, at some point, he said he had a change of heart asked that there be no copies made of that one-man show, and he would not perform it anymore. I think most people complied (I’ve not been able to find a recording) and then he went off-the-rails irrational.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    http://www.radio4all.net/index.php/program/60671

    Better grab it before some copyright rules lawyer thunders in and starts throwing around DMCA takedowns.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    OSC has also written several non-fiction books on the craft of writing (published by Writer’s Digest), which are some of the best how-to books for newbie fiction writers I have ever come across. The guy can write and he knows his craft. I especially recommend his Characters and Viewpoint.

  • Jurgan

    We may have unjustly put people in secret prisons who weren’t our enemies, but if they didn’t hate us then, they surely do now, so we can’t let them out. This whole “tiger by the tail” problem is very difficult to extricate oneself from.

  • LMM22

    As we’ve learned before.

    Sadly, it occurs to me that the only reason that slavery was resolved was that there were, at the time of the Civil War, genuinely people who were *not* “you” slaveholders.

  • Lori

    Pardon? Are you saying that the Civil War made nice, decent Southerners our enemies?

  • AnonaMiss

    Ze is saying that slavery was only overthrown because there also existed a third person, besides the rider and the ridden-upon.

  • Lori

    Ah.

  • Eric the Red

    Here’s where I’d love to be able to conclude this post by explaining the magic solution to all of this — sharing my dazzling epiphany as to how to convince such people to overcome their fear and expand their imagination to allow the possibility of a world in which no one needs to be choked and ridden, punched or stomped. But I’m afraid that epiphany still eludes me.

    That’s because such a world has not only never existed, but cannot. The only way to stop all human beings from choking, riding, punching and stomping is with the threat of choking, riding, punching and stomping.

  • Alix

    Ha, no. Citation very much needed.

    (What a limited imagination you have…)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Sometimes people really only do learn by getting their little fingies smacked when they do something wrong, though.

  • Alix

    Sometimes, sure. Not as often as some people think, even for small children who can’t yet comprehend reasoned arguments.

    And it seems to me there’s quite a difference between even just threatening someone with subjugation and issuing a warning smack when they won’t stop reaching for the hot stove, though. Among the many other problems, threatening to choke someone to stop them choking others legitimizes the idea of choking people at all.

  • FearlessSon

    Well what is a concern of mine is that, as I value equality, all it takes is someone who goes, “Screw equality, I’m gonna’ be on top!” to try and impose hierarchy, and without some way of effectively deterring them they will.

    Which is why I support putting the rule of law behind equality. Absent its enforcement, someone will try to ruin it, because some people are just not content unless they are imposing their will on someone else.

  • Alix

    Sure, and nowhere did I object to the rule of law or enforcing laws. But there’s a difference between the enforcement of a just law and oppressing or subjugating people, and it strikes me that our dear friend Erik up there can’t see the distinction.

    To run with the metaphor in this post: you don’t enforce a law against choking your neighbor by choking the folks who break that law. That renders the law a hollow mockery, and oppressive. You enforce an anti-choking law by other means – say, a fine, or something that isn’t “you break my nose, I’ll break yours.” Because otherwise you just legitimize the oppressive action (choking, in this case) and restart the whole cycle.

    Or so it seems to me.

    And I do think justice works better in a reparative, not punitive, sense, where the point is to get people to stop by making them pay for the damage they cause, not trying to deter people by indulging in our desire for vengeance. But this is starting to sound like the weregild discussion again, so I’ll stop while I’m ahead. XD

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Well, no, but some people don’t seem to know how to think through “don’t choke your neighbor, that’s a bad thing to do.” So you have to capture them and throw them in jail so they presumably learn not to do it again.

  • Alix

    Again, granted. It’s still not the same as, y’know, turning around and choking them back, which is the error dear Eric makes upthread.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Well, I was speaking more metaphorically than literally; but it’s why Canada has propagation-of-hate-advocacy on the books, for example.

  • Alix

    It’s still worth noting that enforcing anti-bigotry laws isn’t actually oppression, no matter how much bigots like to pretend.

    Stupid question – so hate speech is illegal in Canada? Or openly advocating for hate crimes?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The case of James Keegstra probably best illustrates the basic situation in Canada re: hate propaganda.

    Also, for all that we have laws against hate crimes and that racist or other bigoted motives for commissions of serious crimes can be considered aggravating circumstances, courts seem very reluctant to use them in sentencing people for crimes against QUILTBAG people.

  • Alix

    Thanks for the info.

  • FearlessSon

    You illustrate Fred’s case wonderfully here. Thank you.

  • SisterCoyote

    Is this why you try so hard to keep putting down women?

    Dude, we have no interest on choking or stomping you, I promise. We just want to stop being choked and stomped.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    But what incentive will they have to stop choking or stomping you without someone to choke or stomp them? Think of what kind of position you’re putting these poor men into!

  • AnonaMiss

    Dude, we have no interest on choking or stomping you, I promise.

    With the exception of a few kinksters with questionable tastes in men.

  • Jon Maki

    He’s trying to squelch their “right” to sit on his back, their right to choke him and to make him carry them.

    Further, he’s squelching their “right” to not have it pointed out that they are sitting on his back and choking him.

    After all, we all know it’s so much worse to be accused of sitting on someone’s back and choking him than to actually have someone sitting on your back and choking you.

  • Daniel

    They think they are the sodal ye. They are not the sodal ye.

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

    The what? I tried googling “sodal ye” and got nothing but “soda lye”.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    A fish-like creature traveling the world, preaching the end is coming. It is unable to travel on its own and must ride on the shoulders of someone else.

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

    Ah, thanks.

  • Daniel

    There is a shockingly small amount of internetty stuff about the sodal ye. I keep looking for pictures, but it seems I’m the only one who’s all that bothered about it. It is a super evolved dolphin that rides on the back of a very stupid human host. It’s in Brian Aldiss’ book Hothouse (The Long Afternoon of Earth in the US.)

  • LL

    The thing is, many of these people (and not just the RTCs, but lots of non-religious as well) DO believe that somebody’s gotta be the foot stomping on everyone. Some people really do believe in “the law of the jungle” (as they understand it). They figure, “if I’m not in charge, somebody else will be, and they might do even worse shit, so I might as well be in charge.”

    It isn’t a failure of imagination on these people’s parts, it’s your failure to understand that according to them, there always HAS to be a “benevolent” dictator, telling everyone how to live their lives. Because if there isn’t, we’ll all get gay married and have unmarried sex and be happy and stuff and then we’ll all go to hell. So they (the RTCs) want to run our lives FOR OUR OWN GOOD.

    To these people, the only kind of power to have is power over other people. That’s what power is for.

  • Alix

    My dad was/is like that*. It was the excuse he gave for trying to strangle my brother, who was “defying” him by, y’know, having his own interests and shit. He also used to go on about how easy it’d be to turn the U.S. into a totalitarian dictatorship, and how someone ought to go do that before “those damned traitors” – that is, liberals – did.

    …There’s a reason I don’t associate with him.

    *He supports your parenthetical, too. He’s a very authoritarian atheist. Mom, in a rare moment of snark, said it’s probably ’cause he cannot stand the idea of anyone else being superior to him – that attitude got him fired from a number of jobs, so in his case it’s likely true. Aside from his atheism, he basically marches in lockstep with the RTCs.

    (And yes, I know it’s not true of most atheists.)

  • danallison

    I will concede you one point. Your Democrats actually believe what they say, whereas our Republicans do nothing but lie, pander, and grandstand.

  • Lori

    Yeah, yeah. We know. Conservatism can not fail, it can only be failed.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    I just read through some of your recent comments on other boards and I find the combination of views you espouse unique. Perhaps context renders some of these sarcastic, but it seems that you are anti-gay (because they are infiltrating the church and shredding the Constitution, natch), for gun control, against Biblical literalism, for raising the minimum wage, against mythologizing America and its founders, for second hand smoke, anti-choice, and are predicting an impending race war (although I’m pretty sure that one was sarcasm). Do I have these right? How would you classify yourself politically?

  • Emcee, cubed

    To be fair, I didn’t get necessarily that gays shredded the Constitution, just that it had been shredded, which would make it easier for the gays, who had infiltrated every church with over 150 people, to take over and destroy all the churches. Now why exactly he thinks that a document which specifically restricts the government from interfering in internal church matters would somehow protect the church from being taken over from the inside, I don’t really know. But yeah…

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Well, at least we got a testable prediction: that it will be illegal to teach the Bible in the US within two years. Just like in England and Canada.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    News to me. Last I looked it was still perfectly fine to sell, read, give away, do whatever you like with a Bible in my country. :p

  • chgo_liz

    Check your sarcasm meter.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Check your “:P” meter! :)

  • Guest

    It’s not illegal to teach the Bible in England. It’s also not illegal to be taught about the Bible in England. It is in fact a requirement that all schools have religious education, and it is in the law (for some reason) that every school in the country has a daily prayer. I don’t know why you think it’s illegal to teach the Bible in a country that has an established Church and whose head of state is the leader of that church.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Just to clarify (and I do see now how my comment would read to someone unfamiliar with my views), I was presenting an obviously incorrect statement by another commentor as evidence of that commentor’s lack of credibility, not making the claim myself.

  • alfgifu

    Speaking as someone who was at school in the UK fairly recently: nope. No school prayer.

    Unless things have drastically changed in the past decade, there is either no such law or it is not enforced.

  • Ross Thompson

    For second-hand smoke? What does that mean? I’m imagining cigarette-smoking machines hooked up to every air conditioning unit, so the maximum number of people can gain the benefits…

  • Kubricks_Rube

    It’s more that he’s dismissive of the issue:

    The older people here remember that long before 1964, everyone knew cigarettes were bad for you. All the surgeon general did was create a group you could discriminate against with political correctness, and a new way for people to be self-righteous without actually doing anything.

    and

    Amazing, the power of media suggestion. No one was EVER bothered by “second-hand smoke” prior to 1964.

  • Ross Thompson

    Bah, I prefer my version.

    But: Everyone knew that smoking was bad for you, and no-one was bothered by it? That’s some messed-up people.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Bullshit nobody was. I bet dollars to donuts I could find someone who was srsly allergic and had to go to restaurants during “off” hours so they wouldn’t be inundated with cigarette smoke.

    And hell, let’s look to chapter 7 of the 1954 book The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov, written in a social milieu that far more encouraged smoking than today:

    Baley lit his pipe and tightened its baffle carefully. The Commissioner, like most non-indulgers, was petty about tobacco smoke.

    Right there. BOOM. People knew about non-smokers who didn’t like being near second-hand smoke.

  • Jamoche

    My example’s from 1969, but I can promise I hadn’t heard of “second-hand smoke” at the time: My grandparents said “Mind if I smoke?” – not asked, mind you, because nobody meant it as a question – but I didn’t know that, so I said “yes”. I was 4, so they all laughed – but they didn’t light up, either.

  • Veylon

    I find the Right’s embrace of Orson – like their embrace of Romney – to continue to be baffling. When the heck did Mormons stop being scary heretics and suddenly become A-OK? It doesn’t feel like it was too terribly long ago that Catholics weren’t really Christians either.
    I mean, I can envision Progressives changing their views – progress is right in the name. But these guys build their reputation on never changing their perfect doctrine. How can they do this? I really would like to know.

  • Lori

    When the heck did Mormons stop being scary heretics and suddenly become A-OK?

    When their votes and their money became necessary for keeping power.

  • Veylon

    Yeah, I understand that it’s convenient for the not-believers on top, but how do you sell this to the rank-and-file who’ve been worried about the Mormon Monster waiting to jump out from under their bed all these years? That’s the part that confuses me.

  • Daniel

    Apparently it is possible to serve God and Mormon.
    [strokes chin and looks smug]

    I have very little to contribute except lame puns.

  • Lori

    I think that the tribalism is so well cemented at this point that as long as they have the right positions on the important theological issues (women aren’t fully human, gays are gross, every elected office in the land should be held by Republicans in perpetuity) most Evangelicals aren’t too bothered about the rest. They don’t consider them Real True Christians, but the tribe’s thought leaders have stopped whipping up anti-Mormon and anti-Catholic animus and instead given them the thumbs up.

    That means that the rank & file can now prove their tribal loyalty not by hating those Satan worshipers, but by “open-minded” enough to set aside trivial issues like the status of the Pope and the Book of Mormon to focus on the really important inter-faith work of saving the baybees, stopping the gay agenda and fighting the Islamofascistcommie Lie-berals.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That kind of Memory Hole / War With Eur/East-Asia effect is amazing to witness in a kind of bizarrely horrifying way.

  • Emcee, cubed

    See, here’s the thing. Right now, the Right is realizing that they are losing on a lot of issues that define them. (The biggest one, though hardly the only one, is QUILTBAG rights) Therefore, they need new alliances. Also understand, that should this strange right-wing “paradise” even actually come into being, alliances with the Catholics, the Mormons, etc. will immediately end, and they will again become “not-real-Christians”.

  • fraser

    But now Christian means “believing God’s will is interchangeable with the Republican party platform” so no problem.

  • opsarchangel22

    TAM 2013 – APOSTASY – ULTIMATE SIN

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ErqizZ7IvA

    ..,,,.,,.,,.

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

    Flagged as inappropriate. Also, are you trying to get arrested again, Dennis?

  • opsarchangel22

    i wonder who is in control here?

  • Panda Rosa

    The first thing that sprang to my mind on reading this was the devious Jason Fox, of Amend’s comic strip Foxtrot. God knows why.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    10) Understand that we’re not you.
    What does this mean? Simple. We are not interested in squelching your rights like you have done to us for decades.

    This kind of basic failure of imagination is really one of the most frustrating things about persuading the kinds of people who’ve been Number Ones for so long that the Number Twos, Threes, Fours, etc are not going to suddenly mirror-flip their respective situations after the Number Not-Ones get the same social and cultural and economic advantages the Number Ones have taken for granted all their lives.

    It’s like those kinds of folks among the Number Ones, even as they heatedly deny, longly and loudly, that they have any kind of unearned advantage over the Number Not-Ones, actually maybe have a fleeting guilty realization that they do enjoy such advantages. and they can only imagine that instead of trying to work for a better world for everyone, that the whole of humanity has to work on a tit-for-tat principle in the grandest example of zero-sum thinking ever observed.

  • VMink

    This is something that I see from a large number of social reactionaries I know in my circle of acquaintances and former school-mates. It’s been positively eye-opening, and a little bit sad, to see them weeping about how they’re being called hateful, evil, bigoted, horrible people for not supporting marriage equality. They’re saying they’re being bullied. Seriously. The last I checked, nobody had ever been killed for being heterosexual.

    All I’m seeing on their part is an immense amount of fear, and now that the arc of history is turning against them, they are *terrified* that they’re going t be oppressed and murdered the same way they have to the people they’ve Othered and vilified.

    The part of me that loves to have its schaden freuded is snickering, but that’s not going to make for a lasting resolution to the culture clash going on.

  • David W. Shelton

    Wow, thank you so much for posting the link back to my original post. What warms my heart more than anything here is that you get EXACTLY what I was trying to say. Again, thank you.

  • arcseconds

    Have you been reading Hegel, Fred?