Validating haters is neither moderate nor civil. It’s just hateful.

Ed Stetzer seems like a very nice guy.

I would bet, in fact, that Stetzer — the head number-cruncher for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Lifeway Research — actually is a very nice guy. He’s exactly the sort of mainstream white evangelical who makes you appreciate the fond accuracy of Ned Flanders on The Simpsons. (And I’m not referring there to any similarities in appearance that may or may not strike you.)

Ed. Ned.

I would bet that if you met Stetzer in person he would be unfailingly kind and polite — even if you told him that you were a pro-choice, gay, atheist, jihadist Communist. He’d be no less nice to you for all of that. Unlike some of the fire-breathing culture warriors of the religious right, Stetzer is also smart enough to realize that no one could really be all of those things at the same time. And he’s honest enough not to go around accusing everyone he disagrees with of being all of those things.

I admire that Stetzer is committed to his discipline and won’t betray what it tells him just to score political points. He’s a data-driven pollster and survey researcher, and when his fellow conservatives are misreading or misusing polling data, he doesn’t hesitate to call them on it. (Including, especially, Fox News — whose routine abuse of polling data has been so egregious that they seem to have earned Stetzer’s distrust across the board.)

What I’m saying is that Ed Stetzer is the very picture of the moderate, mainstream white evangelical. When he recently moved his blog over to Christianity Today, I thought, yes, right, ding — that is where he belongs.

Folks like Stetzer and the editors of CT tend to agree with most of the radical policies endorsed by the religious right. They share the same “stance” on abortion, marriage equality and whatever the next litmus test turns out to be. As with the culture warriors, they hold those stances unquestioned and hold them as unquestionable. Those positions are unexamined, and any attempt to examine them is generally regarded as forbidden.

But for the moderate mainstream folks, political battles are never the priority. Their real passion lies elsewhere — with evangelism and church growth. And so while they may share the “stances” of the religious right, they don’t share its emphasis, its priorities, or its immoderate tone. They prefer, instead, to emphasize civility.

I like civility. Civility is good. Yay civility!

It would be a positive thing if these moderate mainstream white evangelicals, these Very Nice People with their emphasis on civility, were able to provide a challenge to the vitriol, dishonesty and power games of the culture warriors.

But unfortunately, that’s not the role they play most of the time. Most of the time their smiling civility doesn’t provide a challenge to the culture warriors, it provides a cover for them.

Consider, for example, the nasty dishonesty of hate-rag Charisma magazine, which serves as an enthusiastic propaganda sheet for publisher Steven Strang’s far-right politics (see for example) and for some decidedly out there theological theories.

One of Strang’s most vicious hatchet-wielders these days is columnist Jennifer LeClaire, who can’t seem to go two weeks without mentioning her belief that LGBT people are tools of Satan who are destroying America and persecuting Real, True Christians like herself. It’s one of the two big themes in LeClaire’s columns — the other one being her own stalwart heroism as an anti-gay spiritual warrior.

No one would ever mistake Jennifer LeClaire for Ned Flanders — or for a member of the moderate mainstream of Very Nice People. Accusing other people of serving Satan’s Agenda to Destroy America and the Church is not nice. Nor is it true. It’s an ugly, nasty, hateful lie.

J.Lec’s nasty lie  is useful for firing up the base, feeding its fears of the Satanic baby-killers and Satanic Gay Menace, and fueling its fires of self-righteousness and resentment. But there are also many people who find her dishonest claims and aggressive incivility a bit off-putting. They might be open to supporting the policies she advocates, but they’re uncomfortable with her intemperate tone.

And that’s where the Very Nice People play their designated role. Now is the time for all Nice Men to come to the aid of their party:

“I saw this in Charisma,” Ed Stetzer wrote last week, “and thought it worth passing on.”

It’s the latest column from Jennifer LeClaire (a Reefer Madness-style denunciation of Sanjay Gupta). The mainstream endorses LeClaire, with a kindly smile.

This is how the smiling, “civil” face of the moderate mainstream validates the snarling, ranting face of the religious right. This, all too often, is the role and the function of this moderate mainstream — and there’s nothing moderate or mainstream about it.

Validating the haters is not civil. Or kind. Validating haters is the very definition of incivility and unkindness.

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

    The Bible had things to say about people who cloak their intentions in “civility”:

    [16] So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.

    Rev. 3:16.

  • J_Enigma32

    Ah, it does indeed.

    But knowing that’d require them to read it first.

  • Random_Lurker

    No it doesn’t. It’s obviously talking about the temperature that beverages should be served at.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    Listen, the Bible isn’t just something you can MAKE UP interpretations about. Do you see the word drink or beverage in there? NO? THEN IT ISN’T ABOUT THAT.

    Of course, this whole thread is Satanic because that wasn’t even quoted from the Real Bible, the King James.

  • Peanutcat

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! I know it’s the internets, sweetie, but anyone with a lick of sense could tell he was making a joke . . . . .

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    Poe’s Law at work.

  • Peanutcat

    Yup.

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

    You literalist, you. ;)

  • Fusina

    Oh, come on. It is obvious that this passage is espousing cannibalism. And you can eat people hot, or you can eat them cold (like fried chicken, don’t you know) but not when they are lukewarm- after all, lukewarm is when all the germs grow best, so there you are.

  • Independent101

    Can you prepare them like fried chicken? Taste like chicken!

  • Fusina

    Hmm. I don’t know. I have heard that humans taste like pork, but have not actually taste tested this. I believe the cannibal name for us is “Long pig”, but have never looked it up to check on whether this is an urban (or whatever) legend.

    Barbecue, anyone?

  • gocart mozart

    You’re reading it too narrowly. It’s about the temperature of all food stuffs be they liquid or solid.

  • Turcano

    Man, what a turn-off.

    (Sorry, but someone had to say it. Or not, I guess.)

  • The_L1985

    I’ve heard that used to argue that you should be afraid of “backsliding,” i.e., the normal doubts that all people have about their deeply-held beliefs (religious or otherwise) as part of a normal life anyway.

  • Fusina

    Ooooh, I hated that term. It is used a lot in Assembly of God Pentecostal circles. One of the many reasons I like the Episcopal Church of North America– I have learned to embrace my doubts and examine them rather than to fear them.

  • Fusina

    And replying to myself, I believe the verse that caused all this is an example of the sarcasm of Jesus.

    Luke 9.62: Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’

    This has been taken to mean that if you have doubts, you are “looking back” and therefore not fit. I like to think that he was saying that we are all in it, even if none of us actually qualifies.

  • Antigone10

    I feel like “backsliding” has a really strong parallel to “abstinence only”, at least for me:

    AO sex-(lack of) education does have have some very small things in it’s favor (depending on your perspective*). One, it delays first sexual activity by 6-18 months. Two, it means that people don’t have to get into the messy business of going “well, it’s going to be different for each person”, and explaining it to you means that I don’t have to reflect in any fashion about how I came to have sex or offer any perspective on my personal life. AO is a hierarchical way to offer advice- Do NOT do it. There is no mutual expression of vulnerability or communication: I, the elder, have gone through with my experiences sight-unseen, you the younger through your lack of experience show me respect and listen to what I say.

    Backsliding is the same thing. When I first started having hard-core doubts about Christianity** it was in my teens like most people. Backsliding was the authoritarian little bit of fear and the social pressure that had me smothering the doubt for a long time. But, when the doubts came out, they didn’t come out in sort of a “I have doubt, can we have a mutual conversation about this” sort of way, it came out in a flaming “THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS GOD AND YOU ARE STUPID FOR BELIEVING IT” extremely defensive, extremely unhealthy sort of way, in the same sort way that AO produces extremely unhealthy sex.*** I’m not saying I would have necessarily stayed Christian had I had people like Fred Clarke in my life in high school, (pretty sure that if there’s a gene or gene cluster for spiritualism I don’t have it,) but I would have at least been way less obnoxious and hurtful and could have recognized that OTHER people clearly are feeling something when they talk about religion and spiritualism and not hurt people by making claims about their sincerity or intelligence when they talk about it.

    So, TLDR- there seem to be a number of churches that ascribe to a authoritarian perspective in a lot areas of life that the natural consequences of are violent rejection by a lot of people of their philosophies.

    *Not my perspective.
    **My first doubts about the supernatural came when I was in kindergarten. If it’s good to be a sheep at church, why is it bad at school? How did we have Adam and Eve AND dinosaurs? If people believed in the Greek gods and goddesses, but we all know that they’re just stories now, how is the Bible not just a story Though, the former really threw me for a loop more than the latter ones. Metaphors are tricksy devils.
    *** “Unhealthy” to me means “without conversations about consent, consequences, and without appropriate prophylactics”

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

    AO sex-(lack of) education does have have some very small things in it’s favor (depending on your perspective*). One, it delays first sexual activity by 6-18 months.

    The last study I read indicated that there was only trivial difference in sexual activity and when it began between a person who had received abstinence-only education and no sex education at all.

  • Antigone10

    That’s what the last study* I read said too, actually, but I was quoting more from the proponents side more than what I know to be true. Because man, they sure like to cite that on my facebook page and in person, so I’m going to assume they believe it, but I get such widely reported numbers which is why I had to use such a large variances.

    It’s not terribly compelling to me, even if it were true, because 6-18 months IS trivial especially if what your actual goal is abstinence until marriage. That would mean you want people to wait years more than the actual delay.

    * My html linking skills are teh suxor, thus the program class I’m enrolled in next month. Here’s the link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1054139X07004260

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

    Given the tendency of a lot of these people to look at failure and think “we just need to do a lot more of this and that’ll be the ticket to success!” I wouldn’t be surprised if they think that 6-18 months (true or not) is a sign they’re on the right track and they just need to double down and hammer in the message even harder.

    “If you have sex before marriage, you will die instantly. Your naughty parts will rot and fall off and God will kill you with lightning. And fire. And locusts. And lightning-spewing fiery locusts. Your parents will disown you and you’ll have to live under a shrub. And kill you with flaming lightning locusts. You’ll fail all your classes in school and have to be sent back to kindergarten, except all the other students will be angry pyromaniac locusts with lightning. At Halloween, you won’t be given candy, excepting perhaps candied locusts that burn your mouth and make you susceptible to static electricity. Seriously, don’t do it. Buzzzzzzz.”

  • http://thisculturalchristian.blogspot.com/ michael mcshea

    Perhaps the kind, saccharine Ned Flanders types of present are like gateway drugs and are gateway enablers of other people’s hates. That market share of religion to support the local temple has gone global and economics dictates more than Jesus any necessary campaign to maintain larger and larger parasitic religious salaries, benefits and bonus plans that are = in most cases directly or indirectly funded by eccentric think tank billionaires with their own private agendas..

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

    The fact that they have a number cruncher makes me sad.

  • John

    I note with uncharitable satisfaction that the first comment at CT chastises LeClaire on her careless journalism.

  • ptjackson

    I’ve read a lot of what Ed has written and I think mostly you are right, he is a nice guy focused on the right things. (with evangelism and church growth. And so while they may share the “stances” of the religious right, they don’t share its emphasis)

    I suspect anyone who lives such a public persona is about to say, link or take a picture that is disagreeable to someone on occasion.

  • David S.

    I think evangelism and church growth are as much a cause of Christianity’s bad image in many people’s eyes as any of the religious right’s political stances. Any group is at its most useless and stupid when its only goal is existence and group growth. I certainly agree with the religious right when they say we need to actively act for a better society; the question of what that is and how we get there is what we disagree on.

  • LL

    I don’t know why people think “civility” in the service of depriving people of rights or just simple dignity is good. It isn’t. It’s just smiling assholishness. It’s like someone high-fiving you, then kicking you in the junk.

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

    Or as Fred said before, “You can’t deny people their rights and be nice about it.”

  • banancat

    Yeah, I almost feel like the civility is a bit manipulative. Like, he wants to shame me for having sex or for being an atheist, and he wants the government to force me to carry a pregnancy to term even if I don’t want to, and he wants to deny my friends the right to get married, but he knows that’s unpopular so he hides with a veneer of civility, and then when I object to his opinions, he has the social upper hand and can frame me as the mean one for being uncivil.

  • smrnda

    This is pretty much what ‘civility’ is really about. A person in a position to inflict harm through deliberate choices of how they’ll use their influence is judged not by their effects on others, but by their ‘tone’.

    It’s like arguing that a murderer is less contemptible for smiling while shooting a guy.

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

    James Dobson says that beating your children into submission is important — but it’s much more so to beat them without ever getting angry, and to hug them afterward.

    So yes, it’s exactly like that.

  • Susan_G1

    James Dobson is not a wise man. He is not worthy of readership. I find his opinions on child rearing barbaric.

    That was said civilly, without fence-sitting, without siding with oppressors, without hating.

    What is wrong with civility?

  • Alix

    If someone is standing on my foot, and I yell at them to get off, the proper response is for them to get off, not to refuse until I ask them nicely.

    Nothing is wrong with civility – in ordinary situations. But civility is not the ultimate virtue, and there are plenty of situations where it isn’t called for. And, bluntly, telling someone to rephrase a point in language you prefer and refusing to listen to them until they speak the way you want them to – that’s rude. It’s, dare I say, uncivil.

    Civility, after all, isn’t just about tone, or using the nice words. It’s also about content, and the goal of a particular statement.

  • Susan_G1

    agreed. a cogent comment, and, dare I say, civil.

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

    Civility is neither good or evil in itself, as with most rhetorical tools. One’s use of civility can present a message that belies what they wish to say, however.

    I have a particular argument about tone arguments you might appreciate. If someone steps on your foot, you are within your rights to ask them to get off — if you’re hurt, you may be forgiven for not being incredibly polite about it.

    Now imagine that the person stepping on your foot sneers and grinds their heel in deeper and says “There’s no sense getting all bent out of shape about this. Would it kill you to ask me nicely? I don’t feel any obligation to listen to you while you’re overreacting like this.”

    This is a tone argument. It suggests that substance is less important than style. It suggests that even if you’re being hurt, deliberately, callously, that you should bow your head and be polite and wait your turn to not be oppressed when your oppressor decides you’re sorry for making them hurt you.
    Sometimes the only appropriate thing to say is “Get off my fucking foot, you asshole.” That’s probably not what Christ meant when he said “turn the other cheek,” but there were a few things said by the good son with which I disagree most ardently. The people who bow their head and await the ax are a people who are later spoken of as heretics whose time passed generations ago.

  • Susan_G1

    I’m unsure of what your last sentence implies.

    I’ve called people assholes, and have no problem doing so when they deserve it, even though it comes mighty close to “raca”. My only point was not civility, though I like that, it was sarcasm. I don’t know how far into sarcasm Fred goes, but I think it’s not a great way to communicate a wrong that’s being done. Here, having such an opinion appears to be a crime worthy of damnation. And, though maybe Fred was not being sarcastic, I am left now not knowing what he feels about either Stetzer (is he like Ned Flanders or not? Is he really nice, or a cow-towing flunkie?) or people who are actually civil. Or something like that.

  • http://talkingtocrows.tumblr.com/ VMtheCoyote

    Here, having such an opinion appears to be a crime worthy of damnation.

    I should point out that only a single person disagreed with you that severely – the rest of the thread was more or less a snowball-effect of your own comments becoming less and less civil, and being responded to in kind.

  • Alix

    Someone really likes er overblown rhetoric, apparently.

  • Susan_G1

    not true.

  • Alix

    Perfectly accurate.

  • Susan_G1

    because you (or a majority) say it does not mean you are correct.

  • Alix

    Because you think it’s incorrect doesn’t mean you’re right.

    Why are you still here?

  • Alix

    The world isn’t split between good and civil and nice folks on one side, and evil and awful and rude folks on the other.

    I am also still very much boggling at the fact that sarcasm is apparently a horrible wrong. Sarcasm is actually quite an effective form of communication.

    From your earlier comments, it seems you think sarcasm is rude. Many people disagree, myself included. Now it seems like you think sarcasm’s wrong because it’s not a direct form of communication, to which I’d say there are plenty of indirect forms of communication that are plenty clear.

    It’s personal taste on your part, and you’re being exceedingly pushy and rude about it. No one is required to agree with you, nor to conform to your standards of communication.

  • Susan_G1

    Sarcasm may be wonderful in your (any many others’) opinion, but I personally do not find it a Godly way to communicate (an opinion which will no doubt be ridiculed further). It may be a funny, a very amusing, way to communicate, but its basis is unkind. I remember my kids telling me how painful sarcasm directed towards them was, at which point, I did a lot of thinking about sarcasm as a form of communication.

    I like Steve Colbert, who relies heavily on sarcasm, but if he was dealing with me, I would much rather he told me where I was wrong than that he make fun of me. And that’s what sarcasm basically is. It’s not wit. Wit is straightforward. Churchill was incredibly witty and funny. But I don’t see sarcasm. He straight out told people what he thought in a very funny way. That’s hard to do. Sarcasm is cheaper. It’s meant to hurt.

  • Alix

    …Sarcasm isn’t necessarily unkind, though. And I’m sorry your kids were hurt by others’ sarcasm (hasn’t everyone had that experience?), but that doesn’t make it an inappropriate form of expression that all must avoid from here on out when speaking anywhere you might see.

    I also still don’t see how sarcasm is more unkind than politely espousing abhorrent positions. Which is what you’re arguing by way of your tone policing.

    Also, Churchill was sarcastic as hell. What Churchill have you been reading?

    He straight out told people what he thought in a very funny way. That’s hard to do. Sarcasm is cheaper. It’s meant to hurt.

    The first part of this? That’s sarcasm – telling things plainly, but in that slightly oblique, twisty, witty way, usually quite dryly. You’re defining sarcasm by its worst examples, and then redefining its best examples as something you like better.

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

    I remember my kids telling me how painful sarcasm directed towards them was

    That’s because sarcasm is a tool.

    And in that case, you were using it in a form of siding with the great against the powerless.

  • Alix

    sarcasm is a tool

    Exactly. Just as civility is only a tool. Each has their proper and improper uses.

  • Susan_G1

    sarcasm is sarcasm. it is hurtful or it is not; it is kind or it is not. I am bifurcating here, but it’s not wrong in one instance and ok the next.

  • Alix

    Sure it is. Lots of things are that way.

    It depends on the kind of sarcasm, what its target is, and how it’s deployed, among other factors.

    Not everything is a black and white issue. Which appears to be another disconnect, here.

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

    Ah, but what about the hacker snarking at the NSA chief to read the US Constitution?

    Sarcasm is hurtful when used as a bullying tactic. But as a riposte against authority it can be a rather amusing method of critique.

  • Alix

    Also, one good reason to use sarcasm is that witticisms like sarcasm tend to stick in the memory. We tend to remember the odd things better than the direct statements.

  • The_L1985

    “it is hurtful or it is not; it is kind or it is not. I am bifurcating here, but it’s not wrong in one instance and ok the next.”

    I hate to bring this into the mix (and I don’t intend for this to go into a sexual-ethics discussion AT ALL), but I would like to point out that many Christians believe that sex is wrong outside of marriage, but holy within it. Before the moment they are pronounced “man and wife*,” sex is wrong for the Christian couple. However, the very next instant, it is right and good.

    So…why would that be the case for sex, but not for a form of speech? I am asking honestly here.

    ———–
    * Or whatever set of nouns best apply. I certainly don’t mean anything against any of the gay Christian couples who also believe that sex must only be engaged in within a marriage. :)

  • Susan_G1

    perhaps I am not giving your analogy the proper respect, but sex is sex. It’s not ‘bad sex’ before marriage and ‘good sex’ after. It’s just sex. The sex itself doesn’t change from bad to good. I guess it’s more like asking me if adultery is sometimes ok and other times not ok. I think the answer depends on the person you’re asking, and whether they have ever been adulterous. My belief is that it’s not ok, even outside of the context of religion. It’s not kind to the people involved. It’s an unnecessary unkindness. Again, in circles perhaps, but some may take me to task for that. My answer would be, if you’re not getting the love you need from marriage, get out of it before you are intentionally that unkind.

    Some would say, some don’t deserve kindness, and that makes it ok. Clearly some don’t deserve kindness, but in my mind, being unkind is still something to be avoided when possible.

    What I interpret as sarcasm towards a person is at it’s core meant to hurt someone. People say that they like it because it cuts to the core, is devastating. These visuals are appropriate. The Greek “sarkasmos” means “to tear flesh, bite the lip in rage, sneer”. It has to do with my ethical framework; I just see it that way. I see a difference between irony, wit, sarcasm?satire, comedy…

    I believe there is something that can be called playful sarcasm, not meant to injure, between friends. An example: Wilde: “I wish I’d said that.” Whistler: “You will, Oscar, you will”. It’s gentle.

    Having said all that (does it answer your question?), I know I was sarcastic myself. I admitted I was wrong. I learned from some of the commenters something about myself that I need to correct, which is that I respond strongly to tone, above content. Someone said something about nice versus healing, and it was true. I had to read the comment twice to get over the tone of the ‘healing’ comment. So, I’m thankful to those who repeatedly pointed that out to me.

  • Alix

    …Wait a minute. So, you’re saying that you either decided that Fred couldn’t possibly really mean Stetzer was nice, and therefore his post must be sarcastic and therefore hostile and belittling, or you decided that Fred’s post was hostile and belittling, and therefore sarcastic and not straightforward.

    …Talk about reading things into a text.

  • The_L1985

    “Sarcasm may be wonderful in your (any many others’) opinion, but I personally do not find it a Godly way to communicate (an opinion which will no doubt be ridiculed further).”

    Not at all. However, just because your views on what is or is not godly prohibit you from being sarcastic, doesn’t mean that other people are going to share your views.

    I don’t worship a deity who says to turn the other cheek. My deities carry weapons, and thus see nothing wrong with the use of rhetorical weapons (like sarcasm) as a means of defense.

    A weapon can be used to defend, or it can be used to attack others in cold blood. Whether you’re using a weapon (real or metaphorical) in a moral or immoral way surely depends on your purpose in wielding it!

  • Susan_G1

    agreed. purpose is paramount.

  • The_L1985

    No. Purpose is important and should be considered. Having “good intentions” doesn’t change the fact that sometimes we do harm people despite our good intentions. Good intentions are an explanation, NOT an excuse.

  • Susan_G1

    I’m sorry, I was not even thinking of my perception of Fred or of my behavior when I answered this. I do not think good intentions are an excuse.

  • Susan_G1

    I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking of my behavior of what I thought of Fred when I answered this. I wasn’t trying to excuse my behavior. My behavior was wrong. I’ve admitted it in another response and I apologized to Lori, with whom my responses were most egregious. I’d like to, here, apologize to others whom I’ve offended as well. I’m sorry for my hypocricy, my rudeness, my sarcasm, my defensiveness, and my tone-bias. Though I can’t say it was a pleasure, I learned (I hope) a lot from the many exchanges, especially that I had a tone bias I was unaware of. Thanks to those who stuck it out trying to get me to see this.

  • The_L1985

    It’s ok. I know from experience how embarrassing it is to suddenly notice something unpleasant about yourself. At least you’re semi-anonymous here! :)

  • Liralen

    Count me along with the others impressed by your apology. I hope you’ll stick around. It’s really a good, very diverse community, if not “nice” sometimes, especially in defense of “good”.

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

    I remember my kids telling me how painful sarcasm directed towards them
    was, at which point, I did a lot of thinking about sarcasm as a form of
    communication.

    I have sympathy for your kids here, because I too have been the recipient of sarcasm used as a vicious weapon and it felt terrible. But the problem wasn’t the sarcasm–it was what the sarcasm was being employed to communicate. The sarcasm wasn’t what made the speech vicious; the sarcasm was simply the rhetorical device employed to convey a vicious message.

    I don’t blame your kids for not being able to tell the difference between a rhetorical device and the use to which it is put. Youth lacks experience and wisdom. Youth is still learning. You, on the other hand, are presumably a grown adult with more nuanced communication skills.

    Seriously, do you see no difference between sarcasm used to hurt, and sarcasm used to make light, humorous, and mutually enjoyable conversation? Two friends walking along on a hot summer day say to each other, “Warm enough out, you think?” “Nah, I’m wishing I brought my sweater,” and you think that, by virtue of the use of sarcastm, it must be meant to hurt?

    A few years back, I managed to slice off the tip of my left middle finger while improperly using a mandolin-style slicer. My attention was divided, and I was doing precisely what I had been warned never to do: holding the potato with my bare hand while slicing it, rather than using the “food-holder” device (if you’ve ever seen one of these things, you’ll know what I’m talking about). It hurt terribly, and where the fingertip healed, it’s visibly scarred and has slightly less sensation. But my takeaway from the incident wasn’t to chuck the kitchen tool in the trash or to avoid making potato chips in the future. My lesson learned was, use the kitchen tool appropriately and with more care.

    So with rhetorical devices.

  • Susan_G1

    I’ve already answered most of your questions in recent comments. If you are interested in what I think (like playful v. hurtful sarcasm), it’s all here.

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

    Your martyrdom is noted and summarily rejected. You spoke condescendingly of a man standing against oppression and were told off by a stranger on the Internet. Do not pretend to have it worse than you do.

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

    You sound like you’re confusing sarcasm with satire.

  • Alix

    More like e’s confusing sarcasm with insults.

    Which, well, of course it can be insulting. But that’s not the only use of sarcasm.

  • Susan_G1

    this is quite possible. I will need to think about this. Is satire a subset of sarcasm (or vice versa)? I think there’s more overlap here than with wit and sarcasm.

  • Alix

    The single best example of satire: The Prince by Machiavelli. It’s such a good satire people take it seriously at face value.

    In other news, satire is weird.

  • AnonaMiss

    I think satire, like much writing, is best-appreciated in the language in which it was written. Therefore I would recommend Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal over The Prince for people who don’t speak Italian.

  • Alix

    Here’s where I confess I haven’t actually gotten ’round to reading A Modest Proposal, although I agree on satire working best in its native language. Subtleties often get missed in translation.

    The Prince, on the other hand, seems to be the favorite book of half my professors. XD

  • Mary

    I got pretty screwed up by that kind of parenting. I wasn’t beaten, but verbally I was constantly told what a horrilbe person I was. And then once my self-esteem was in shreds I got a hug and and “I love you.” as if nothing had happened I figured that what was meant was that my mom had to love me when in reality she hated me. Children can’t take in those kinds of contradictions.

    Maybe she just got some really bad advice from someone like James Dobson.

  • FearlessSon

    Not all the time. To borrow an analogy from Heinlein, society is like interlocking cogs in a machine, and any machine with moving parts in contact will grind and wear out. Civility and politeness are like the lubrication in that machine, letting objects rub together without excessive friction causing each part to heat up and throw their gears.

    But that is just the normal function of civility, assuming two or more persons of equal power just trying to get along without either one making life harder for the other than it has to be. What people who put a civil vernier on hateful crap are doing is taking an interaction that does not fit and trying to make it work by pouring excessive lube on top of it. Even if that means that one gear must get bent and broken to accommodate the other gear they are trying to force in there, like a round peg into a square hole.

  • Alix

    I tend to think that civility, like generosity and a whole host of other “virtues,” is something that one can hold oneself to, but cannot demand from others.

    Civility works at its best, imo, when Person A is holding emself to a standard of civility, not when Person A is insisting that every person B-Z also be judged by A’s own personal standards. Sort of like how you can’t really demand that others be generous without it no longer being generosity on their part to give, you can’t really demand other people be civil without ruining the core of what civility means.

  • FearlessSon

    True.

    There is also a bit of reciprocity at work here. If I am being civil to someone, I would expect them to be civil to me in turn, and think them rude if they were not. However, one cannot separate communication from actions. If someone was speaking nicely to me while slapping me in the face, their actions are uncivil no matter how polite their tone, and I feel no obligation to be civil to them until they cease the uncivil actions.

    So when someone is pushing legislation that seeks to disenfranchise gay people, those gay people are perfectly justified in reacting angrily, no matter how “nice” the words of the people trying to disenfranchise them. Their actions speak so much louder.

  • Alix

    I might expect them to be civil, and think they were rude (or wonder if there were some different sub/cultural standards at work) if they weren’t, but the thing about civility that most people harping on it seem to miss is that it’s uncivil to harp on other people’s perceived rudeness, directly or obliquely by harping on one’s own awesome civility.

    And absolutely, on the actions. Also, one can’t separate civility from the content of speech, either, which is why I maintain that telling someone to drop dead in beautifully polite language is still, well, rude.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I think there are two kinds of people in this civility camp. There are the people like you describe, who use civility as a cover for what they really want — the folks who rules-lawyer and start tone arguments and are scandalized, scandalized by the profanity. But there are also the people who sort are sort of neutral on you being an atheist and (mostly) neutral on your right to control your own body and almost but not quite neutral on same-sex marriage, but who are entrenched in an authoritarian mindset and therefore feel compelled to show fealty to the tribal leaders by default. They latch onto civility not as a cover, but because what the really ultimately want is for the argument to just go away. They don’t like the culture warriors getting all up in arms, and wish that everyone would just calm down, and that the atheists and the feminists and the QUILTBAG folks would just pipe down and stop making a fuss — not that they per se want them to be oppressed, they just don’t like the commotion, and wish everyone would approach it calmly and quietly and maybe we could do things like slowly phase in equality over a couple of decades. No more than a century, promise.

    That group covers a lot of the people who switched from anti- to pro- on same-sex-marriage over the past decade.

    It also covers the sort of ‘people’ who say things like “Now, Mrs. Jones, are you *sure* you didn’t do anything to provoke your husband?”

  • Laurent Weppe

    The “kind, saccharine Ned Flanders types” (I’m so stealing this) are the cowardly enablers of the bullycracy desired by the hateful far-right venom spewers: they treat the bullies like respectable people so that the attention, hostility and potential bloodlust of said bullies will not be focused of their sweet, kind, saccharine beacon.

    Just like throwing insults is often an attempt to establish dominance (Homo Sapiens’ way of beating their chests), craven displays of feigned respect are acts of servility: they are ways to tell the bullies “I fear you more than I despise you, therefore I won’t try to take a stand against you: I’m not a threat, so pleasepleaseplease don’t hurt me

    By doing so, the saccharine ones strenghten the bullies, creating a climate in which even if you know that the hateful bullies are a minority of would-be tyrants, you expect that no one will come to your aid if you end up attracting their ire: it feeds a vicious circle: more and more people become convinced that the bullies cannot be beaten and reduced to harmless impotence, therefore more and more people adopt a submissive public posture toward the bullies, which increase the apparent power of said bullies: rince, repeat and behold the growth in clout of certain heinous ideas.

  • aunursa

    At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized, at a time when some are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently, it’s important for us to make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.

  • banancat

    Quite frankly, if someone believes that my rights should be less than theirs, I don’t need to talk to them in a way that makes feel good. If they’re already wounding me with their views, I have no obligation to heal them.

  • smrnda

    I agree. I think it’s better that people be totally honest. If you force people to lay out their hostilities as honestly as possible, with all the nastiness and hate, then they actually look BAD rather than making a discussion look like it’s between two equally reasonable sides.

  • general_apathy

    And let’s not forget that “wounding”, in this case, apparently means “not giving them validation”. Which honestly, they haven’t earned. If you’re saying something reprehensible, you don’t get points for being cheery about it.

    The whole civility approach is verging on argument to moderation, anyway. “They want death camps, you want civil rights… I want neither, that must be the best option! Isn’t compromise great?”

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Let’s compromise and burn half of the kittens

  • dpolicar

    Is that “every other kitten”, or “half of each kitten”?

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Half of every other kitten.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I am not obligated to be nice to the people oppressing me. That just okays what they’re doing, and encourages them to do it more.

    And, really, what do they need healing from? Head-up-ass syndrome? Call me selfish, but I think restoring my rights and making progress towards healing the damage they’ve done takes priority.

    Keep in mind that they are not hurt in any real, quantifiable way if someone out there in the world decides to marry someone of the same sex, or if a woman decides that she needs an abortion, or if their company plan covers contraception, or if the 10 Commandments aren’t allowed outside courthouses, or if people aren’t forced to pray in schools…Or whatever the newest “persecution” is this week.

  • Omnicrom

    Unfortunately in the end it isn’t how you say it but rather what you say. You can be sweet, and polite, and kind, and thoughtful, and agreeable, but words matter.

    Someone saying “I’m really sorry to say this and I hate to step on anyone’s toes and I don’t mean to offend but I think Gays should be put in prison for the good of the country” is being hateful and wounding with their words. Someone who shouts “I BELIEVE IN EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL NO MATTER WHAT SOME FUCKING BASTARDS SPOUT OUT OF THEIR PIE HOLES!” meanwhile isn’t being polite or urbane but they are fighting to heal the wounds of inequality. Tone matters, but much less than meaning.

  • Madhabmatics

    Also complaints about tone are pretty frequently just complaints about content dressed up. I’ve seen some meek people get savaged for RADICAL ANGER when they couldn’t have been more polite without starting all their sentences with “Sir,”

  • Albanaeon

    I told off someone like that after he started saying how gays shouldn’t have any rights. He of course played the whole “obscenities offend me” card.

    I responded, “You’re mistaking crudity for obscenity. ‘Fuck, shit, piss’ are crudities. You’re trying to deny human rights for people because you think they are icky. That’s obscene.”

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

    Martin Luther King Jr had some words for people who wanted to try and split the difference between taking a pro- and anti- stance on civil rights for blacks.

    Sometimes “the exact middle” is not a good place to be: see, for example, a road.

  • FearlessSon

    I will dissent from the majority opinion here and agree with anursa on this.

    Some have said it is important to lay out all the concerns on the table in a blunt manner, but I do not think that is always the best course. The problem with humans being that, as both social and emotional creatures, our feelings tend to heterodyne, feeding off another another and escalating. Tempers start running high quickly, and we end up talking past one another instead of talking to each other.

    In order for any of this to function though, there has to be some desire to actually come to an agreement. This sometimes involves compromise, sometimes people hold things as too valuable to be negotiable, and sometimes we just have to be willing to agree to disagree and, again, try not to get in each other’s ways about the issues we cannot compromise on.

    If we cannot at least do that, we cannot function as a society.

  • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

    Hi Aunursa –
    I agree with you in general – with an addition to your thought. I agree that we are quick to hate based on very little information. I agree that it is far better (and indeed our obligation) to assume the best intentions in others. There’s much more agreement in the world than we usually uncover through polarized discussion.

    AND, in addition to tone and M.O., substance is important too. Sometimes there are moral issues so big that it is not ok to “agree to disagree”. This is kinda the point of this post.

    This is why I have qualms with the Gay Christian Network and the Marin Foundation. In the interest of making nice, they give moral cover to conservative churches who are emotionally damaging the gay kid in the front pew. That’s just wrong and, I believe, impeding change rather than facilitating it.

    I’m a firm believer that our disagreements need to be grounded in relationships. But it’s important to discuss our disagreements rather than ignore them for the sake of unity.

  • J_Enigma32

    Disagree.

    There are simply some things to which you cannot concede. There are some things that have no middle ground. There are some things that there is only one possible way, and when the other side is wrong, they need to be called out on it, sharply, and painfully.

    Human Rights, for instance. To deny human rights is to make yourself an enemy to humankind.

    I personally refuse to meet anyone from the other side where I stand on most issues. I spent my entire life moving and nobody moved back; I’ve seen what “compromise” with the other side does to otherwise useful legislature. I’m done. I’m not moving anymore. To quote a particular comic book character, I’ve planted myself beside the tree of (human) libert(ies) and now I’m telling the world, “No, you move.”

  • Carstonio

    You’re missing the content. Tone arguments are really about social hierarchy, where people of higher rank are reminding people of lower rank of their place. They place the focus on how something is being said, not what is being said. A misguided focus on appearance might very well be a hallmark of most types of hierarchical societies, like the antebellum South whose pernicious influence is still with us.

    And your point about sharply polarized debate wrongly treats every issue as if there are two legitimate and moral positions. J_Enigma is exactly right that human rights involve a clear right and a clear wrong.

    If someone stands on your foot, insists on a right to do so, and blames you for his or or foot being there, the person is obviously not going to listen to a polite request. The natural impulse is to either yell at the person to get off your goddamned foot or to shove the person off.

  • AnonaMiss

    But sometimes the content is what wounds. When it does, couching it in fluffy packaging doesn’t help. That was the entire point of the post.

  • dpolicar

    Sure, I agree. Healing is important.

    To frame that sentiment in the context of Fred’s post, would you say that Jennifer LeClaire’s column which he references is healing speech, or wounding speech? (I assume it’s this one). How about this one?

  • Susan_G1

    Sarcasm in Christians leaves me untouched. Your tone says more about you than your words do about Ed Stetzer or Jennifer LeClair.

  • Emcee, cubed

    You’re right. His tone says that he is unwilling to validate people who preach hate, whether they do it with loud screaming voices or quiet even tones. His tone says that he is angry that people are using a religion of love (his religion) to bolster othering and exclusion. His tome makes it obvious that he thinks that is wrong, and that siding with the oppressed over the oppressors is the right thing to do.

    In that same vein, your concern over Fred’s “sarcasm” (you keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.) says more about you than about Fred. It mean you don’t really care that the people Fred is talking about are trying to hurt other people. You don’t care that they oppress real people and calling it “being a good Christian”. You don’t care what they say or what they do – thereby condoning it. You side with the oppressor over the oppressed. This is what we now know about you.

    You want to worry about tone? Eat shit, you self-righteous, sanctimonious hypocrite.

  • Susan_G1

    ” Eat shit, you self-righteous, sanctimonious hypocrite.” That says a lot more about you than what you postulated about me. Unfortunately it also says something about Fred’s followers. Love, indeed.

    You don’t know me. I used the word “sarcasm” once. Do you know how to count? Actually, I happen to care a great deal about LGBTs, as two of my nephews and a good friend are gay. I have no respect for haters. They are not Christlike (nor are you). I fight the anti-abortionists with evidence that the best way to decrease abortion is to provide free contraception and education in it’s use, something they won’t touch with a ten-foot pole, but do not hesitate to call women having abortions “murderers”. If they were really committed to reducing abortion, why not start by reducing pregnancies?

    I, someone you don’t know, happen to be all about “anti-oppression”. I have been screaming from the rooftops about SGM and child abuse since before it became fashionable. I care about the condition of our planet. I’m a vegetarian because I don’t believe (personally; I don’t preach it to others) in killing and eating sentient beings. How about you, mc (I doubt you approach anything of the brilliance your name alludes to), do you care about the oppression of pigs? The way they are farmed is incredibly cruel and, I believe, not in keeping with our stewardship of the world. Do you care, or do you not even know where your pork tenderloin (or maybe better suited to you, pulled pork BBQ) comes from?

    I don’t think sarcasm is a Godly way to call someone out. It’s a cheap literary device. When Christ engaged the woman at the well, was He sarcastic? Do you know of any instance when He was sarcastic?

    Oscar Wilde, someone who knew a lot about literary devices (and a man sentenced to two years hard labor for being a sodomite, a sentence thought to be condemning him to death, but he showed them, he survived it), said “Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.” This is a guy known throughout the world for the quality of his writing. Alexander Pope, also something of a great literary thinker, said, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” That would apply to you, mc, for if you had studied Christ’s teachings, you would know He condemned your kind of speech as being worthy of hell.

    Think about that.

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

    I fight the anti-abortionists with evidence that the best way to
    decrease abortion is to provide free contraception and education in it’s
    use, something they won’t touch with a ten-foot pole, but do not
    hesitate to call women having abortions “murderers”. If they were really
    committed to reducing abortion, why not start by reducing pregnancies?

    Oh look, it’s another one of those people who wants to split the difference and occupy the middle of the road of a pro- versus anti- faction on a socially touchy subject. Hint: Being in the middle of a road is not always helpful.

    Half-facetiously, Sam Smith used to call people like you mugwumps, because of the fact that fence-sitters wanted to have their mugs on one side and their rumps on the other.

    EDIT: It is not clear that Susan_G1 personally terms women who have had abortions “murderers” so my reply may be superfluous.

  • Susan_G1

    and what do you do to make the world a better place?

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

    I’m not obliged to join you in a “cred matching” contest. It may be instructive for you to consider this extract from Isaac Asimov’s Inferno:

    The room was full of men and women who had done far less than Kresh, wearing medals and ribbons that would make it seem as if they had done far more, until a chestful of medals didn’t mean anything anymore. Let everyone else wear fruit salad on their chests. People didn’t have to know about every commendation Kresh had ever received. Kresh knew what he had done, and that was enough.

    I’ll also say that it’s singularly curious that instead of defending your particular stance (and BTW, it’s really not that classy to call a woman a murderer for ending her pregnancy), you decided to call me into question.

    While I admit the best defence is a good offence, I would like to point out that loudly proclaiming your own virtue and trashing that of everybody else’s and then using tone arguments is not exactly helping you here.

    EDIT: I have struck off the phrase in question owing to my misinterpretation of an ambiguously worded phrase.

  • Susan_G1

    so, what have you done to make the world a better place, if anything?

  • J_Enigma32

    IN’s not been a tone troll.

    Unlike someone else I “know”…

  • Susan_G1

    you don’t “know” me in any sense of the word.

  • Lori

    We know you as much as you know Fred and the commentors that you’ve been judging.

  • Susan_G1

    how do you know I don’t regularly read this blog?

  • Lori

    I don’t, nor do I care because even if you do, by your implied standards you still don’t “know” the people here any better than we “know” you.

    For example, if you’ve been a regular reader for any length of time and this little bit of pearl-clutching is the thing that caused you to de-lurk, that tells us something about you. I’d wager it’s as much or more as you know about any of us.

  • Susan_G1

    wager all you want. you “know” what you think, and think what you’re superior, when you are not. Except for that biting wit of yours.

  • Lori

    Do I think I’m superior to a person who tone trolls? Yes, I do, but I don’t think that’s saying much. Tone trolling is indicative of a person with nothing substantive or worthwhile to add to a discussion who nevertheless can’t just stay out of it. That’s pretty pathetic, so being superior to that is pretty much the bare minimum intelligent people should expect of themselves.

  • Susan_G1

    um, I notice you are interacting a significant amount with me, so that makes you, what?

  • Lori

    A person who sometimes responds to blog comments made by tone trolls.

  • Susan_G1

    sometimes? or nearly every time?

  • Lori

    Sometimes.

  • Susan_G1

    you did it again. is it so hard to recognize yourself?

  • Alix

    You’re pretty insistent on replying to every comment yourself. This is another case where I wouldn’t throw stones, were I you.

  • Susan_G1

    I am clearly not you; why should I not respond when I am being denigrated?

  • Alix

    …You’re the antagonist in this thread. Is it that hard to recognize yourself?

  • Susan_G1

    interesting that I *am* the antagonist. I don’t like sarcasm, I do fight for good causes, and what does that make me? worthy to eat shit and die?

  • Lori

    Yes, you are the antagonist. Being a tone troll is being the antagonist. Complaining about someone else’s sarcasm and then being sarcastic is being the antagonist. Bragging and implying that anyone who doesn’t brag back is doing less than you are is being the antagonist.

    What does that make you? It makes you the kind of tiresome person who gets on the very last good nerve of people who are being attacked by the kind of folks you’re supporting with your civility policing. That will sometimes result in quite uncivil things being said to you, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re the antagonist. If you don’t like that role then you need to reconsider your hypocritical tone policing in service of ignorant bigots.

  • Susan_G1

    I already said I was the antagonist, and that I found that interesting. This makes this response irrelevant (to me).

  • Lori

    So, you’re not only the antagonist, you’re a chronically unclear poster. Got it.

  • Alix

    Who’s putting words in people’s mouths, again?

    You came here to tone troll. You started this specifically by calling Fred out on being uncivil, in a post where he calls that very notion of civility out as flawed. And you’ve done nothing in the comments but attack every. single. person. who tries to talk to you, apparently because we disagree.

    If you don’t like sarcasm, keep it to yourself. Don’t use it (which you have, repeatedly). Don’t berate people for using a tone you dislike – it’s none of your damn business what tone they use, if they’re sarcastic, whatever. (And I reiterate, the very tone arguments you’re using are themselves uncivil.) If you don’t like it when Fred’s sarcastic, no one’s forcing you to read it.

    And I don’t care how many good causes you fight for. You keep throwing that out as if it gives you some special standing here, some kind of authority. It doesn’t. You’re not a special snowflake who gets to educate us unwashed masses on how to be proper citizens. I don’t give a flying fuck if you spend your weekends curing cancer – it still doesn’t give you the right to dictate how people talk.

    In short: you are not my mother, so kindly piss off.

  • Susan_G1

    and you don’t get to dictate to me what I do. i would not be proud to be your mother, and as you already know I am not, why throw that out?

  • Alix

    Like most trolls, your grasp of common idioms is sorely lacking.

    You have yet to answer the question of why the hell you’re bothering to tone-police a post criticizing that very facetious form of civility you’re struggling to uphold.

    Also, FWIW, Fred’s post isn’t really sarcastic. You just don’t like it. Stop confusing the two.

  • Baby_Raptor

    You’re talking to her. Asking her questions. Deliberately engaging her.

    And then you rag on her for answering you.

    And you say this is somehow indicative of a flaw in *her* character?

  • Susan_G1

    br, she’s telling me to shut up when she herself doesn’t follow her own advice.

  • Lori

    My response had nothing to do with not recognizing myself. I understood what you were trying to say, I was just checking to see if you could spot the problem with your question. Clearly the answer was “no”.

    Here’s a hint: it’s not all about you. You are not the only tone troll to visit this blog. Responding to you, even every single time that you post, would not mean that I respond to tone trolls nearly every time.

    Also, given your demonstrated hypocrisy and apparent lack of self-awareness you probably shouldn’t be getting snippy with other people about them supposedly not recognizing themselves.

  • Susan_G1

    I don’t like being identified as a hypocrite, but you are correct that I was hypocritical and lacked self-awareness of my “tone-bias”. And I was particularly hypocritical with you. I was unkind and sarcastic and judgmental. I apologize for all these things, and whatever other offenses I’m guilty of. Lori, will you please forgive me?

  • Susan_G1

    I posted this 3 hoyrs abo, but it’s not here, so I will repost:

    I don’t like being identified as a hypocrite, but you are correct that I was hypocritical and lacked self-awareness of my “tone-bias”. And I was particularly hypocritical with you. I was unkind and sarcastic and judgmental. I apologize for all these things, and whatever other offenses I’m guilty of. Lori, will you please forgive me?

  • http://talkingtocrows.tumblr.com/ VMtheCoyote

    I obviously can’t forgive you for Lori’s sake – that’s not how things work in any sense of the word – but I would like to say that I’m glad you came back to say this, and I am sorry the thread got so hostile so fast.

  • Susan_G1

    thanks. I’m sorry as well. It was a learning experience.

  • Alix

    Disqus likes to eat comments. It’s one of its most annoying features.

    FWIW, I’m impressed you posted this.

  • Susan_G1

    thanks. I’m sorry about the whole thing. You helped me learn
    about my tone-bias. You were correct, and looking back now, I realize my reactions from the first comment I made were wrong. Thanks for sticking it out with me.

  • Liralen

    Your comments do suggest that you don’t realize that the difference between “nice” and “good” is a common topic here. See for example: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2012/06/11/you-cant-deny-people-their-rights-and-be-nice-about-it/

    Not that being new here is a bad thing. Elevating form over substance is a bit iffy though.

    Also, I thought it was interesting that the wiki for “sarcasm” pointed out that the use of sarcasm differs between cultures. It’s one thing I noticed when I crossed cultural boundaries when I converted to Christianity. A Bible study group discussion about Proverbs focusing on mockery/scorn helped explain that difference (and it was interesting that the terms seem to be used interchangeably in the Bible, especially between translations, when I view the two as being somewhat different, and different still from sarcasm.)

    However, straddling both cultures, I still prefer being told to “eat shit” instead of “I will pray for you” which sometimes have the same meaning. Fred does a great job at being a cultural interpreter – that’s what he does.

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

    I still prefer being told to “eat shit” instead of “I will pray for you” which sometimes have the same meaning.

    And “bless your heart,” which gets dropped in the exact same context as one would spew vulgarities.

  • Alix

    The insincere, snide “I will pray for you”/”Bless your heart” are basically what I was thinking of when I mentioned … somewhere in this monster thread … how people who prioritize being Nice and Sweet and Polite often are the most uncivil. They just practice doing it in such a way that they can never be called out on it.

  • Lori

    When your rhetorical tactic is crap and you’ve been called on it simply repeating that rhetorical tactic doesn’t make your argument any stronger.

    You’ve appointed yourself the tone police. You’ve trotted out the old “I can’t be a bigot because some of my dearest friends/family are gay”. Now you’re bragging. I don’t recall any of those things being fruits of the spirit, but perhaps I’m having a memory lapse.

    Oh, was that too sarcastic for you? That’s OK. I’m not a Christian, and glad not to be, and I don’t care in the slightest if you’re impressed.

  • Susan_G1

    nor do I.

  • Lori

    So, you don’t care if you’re impressed? Why are you here?

    A little tip if you plan to continue to gift us with your charming presence—no one here is going to think you’re smart because you’ve memorized quotes from Oscar Wilde and Alexander Pope. Especially when you clearly don’t understand them.

  • Susan_G1

    ooooooh, biting wit! I’m wilting.

  • Lori

    Are you always this repetitive? You do realize that this is a forum and not a chat, so you can take all the time you need to come up with a rejoinder, right?

  • Susan_G1

    and this is your excuse for a good one?

  • Lori

    No, it was an observation. You aren’t worth the effort of a “good one”.

  • Susan_G1

    oh, good one.

  • AnonaMiss

    …Didn’t you say that you think sarcasm is wrong for a godly person to use?

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

    What that is, is none of your business. As I point out, you are the one who claims the fruit salad of achievement after achievement in “anti-oppression” cred have basically proven you don’t really understand it since you so charmingly refer to women who have had abortions as “murderers”.

    I know what *I* have done or not done, and I don’t need the rest of the world to know it to validate me.

  • Susan_G1

    IM, you might want to read what I said about murderers again, as you have incorrectly attributed it to me twice now.

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

    I fight the anti-abortionists with evidence that the best way to
    decrease abortion is to provide free contraception and education in it’s
    use, something they won’t touch with a ten-foot pole, but do not
    hesitate to call women having abortions “murderers”. If they were really
    committed to reducing abortion, why not start by reducing pregnancies?

    Your wording is ambiguous. It implies you personally use the epithet.

  • Susan_G1

    it is not ambiguous; you simply do not have the grace to admit you’re wrong.

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

    Oh, I have no problem with it – if you are saying you do not use the term then I shall edit my posts forthwith.

  • Susan_G1

    my apologies, you were not mistaken in misconstruing my poor grammar. I never call women who abort “murderers”.

  • Alix

    It’s ambiguous. I’ve read that quoted section three times; the antecedent of “but do not hesitate to call women having abortions ‘murderers'” is unclear because the grammar in that sentence is … really weird.

    It’s okay to admit your grammar’s wonky. Everyone screws up sometimes.

  • Susan_G1

    ok, I reread that and I, too, find that the antecedent of but is questionable. I tend to write in run-on sentences, something I am not particularly proud of. But if I fight the anti-abortionists, why in the world would you think I would call the women who have abortions “murderers’? Isn’t it obvious that I do not agree with them?

  • Alix

    Heh, I used to have an epic run-on problem. Now I’ve overcorrected and tend towards fragments. XD

    I’ve met faaaar too many people who have really flexible definitions of “fighting the anti-abortionists,” including plenty of people who, yes, insist abortion is murder but think certain anti-abortion policies go too far. It isn’t always easy to tell.

  • Susan_G1

    I think this is one of the first forgiving comments I’ve received. Thank you for being not only civil, but gracious.

  • JustoneK

    You’ve been tremendously patient in this thread.

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

    “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”

  • Baby_Raptor

    Not all of Fred’s followers are Christians. Nor do Christians hold the copyright on the concept of love.

    And really, if you’re going to judge an entire group by one person, you’re nowhere near the champion against oppression you make yourself out to be. See again my comment on being shallow.

  • http://talkingtocrows.tumblr.com/ VMtheCoyote

    Eh, I could’ve done without the last sentence, but the rest of what MC said is just about right.

    First off, Your tone says more about you than your words do about Ed Stetzer or Jennifer LeClair.

    What tone? This is actually one of the more straight-forward takedowns, of late. Sometimes Fred uses sarcasm, but this… isn’t a really sarcastic post, at all.

    Second off, Oscar Wilde said a lot of things. Most A lot of them were sarcastic. (Probably) including that one.

  • Susan_G1

    I think most of them were witty.

  • Lori

    “Sarcasm” doesn’t mean “stuff Susan_G1 doesn’t like”.

  • Susan_G1

    oh, more biting wit!

  • Lori

    That? That’s sarcasm. I don’t care, but I’m not the one who popped in here to complain about sarcasm being unimpressive in Christians. Hypocrisy coming from a self-professed Christian. How very shocking.

  • Susan_G1

    shocking to know that Christians are human, too? You are not one of the brightest bulbs on the strand, are you?

  • Alix

    So is sarcasm civil, or not?

    You’re the one insisting others be perfectly civil. Maybe we’d take you seriously if you were holding yourself to your own standard.

  • Susan_G1

    “You’re the one insisting others be perfectly civil”

    and I did this, where? I commented on my beliefs on sarcasm to Fred, and to mc.

  • Lori

    You commented on your beliefs on [sic] sarcasm, but you left out the fact that you think it’s fine when you’re the one employing it.

  • Susan_G1

    i fact, I did not. I don’t think it’s fine for me to use sarcasm and never said that. I used it to answer you, and, actually, am not proud of the double standard.

  • Lori

    Then you might want to stop.

  • Alix

    Frankly, I’m still confused as to how sarcasm is inappropriately uncivil, while politely covering for vile beliefs is apparently perfectly fine.

    It reminds me of the many people I know who are so nice and polite and sweet to your face, even as they lie or say cruel things, but if you call them on it, then you’re the awful one.

    Anyone who treats civility as the highest measure of good, or even just a primary measure of good, is … rather suspect, in my book. Give me honest sarcasm any day.

  • Lori

    I assume that you’re aware that Fred is human, but that didn’t stop you from complaining about him. My humanity didn’t stop you from attacking me. Please explain precisely why being human is an excuse for you, but not for the people you want to attack.

  • Susan_G1

    I did not say a single thing to or about you before you began to insult me. we are all human, you too.

  • Lori

    If we’re all human then why did you feel so free to come here and criticize Fred, while apparently expecting not to be on the receiving end of any critique yourself? Being human is not a license for you to be a blatant hypocrite.

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

    Oh, honestly. That sort of patronizing attiude wins you no friends.

  • Susan_G1

    I am clearly not here to win friends, IN. Do you see that happening?

  • Alix

    I’m not actually sure why you’re here at all.

  • Susan_G1

    well, at least now you know it’s not to win friends.

  • Alix

    That was pretty obvious from the moment you came out swinging. Still doesn’t answer why you’re trolling.

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

    You sound just like those ~brave Christian Fundamentalists~ who think they can mark off notches on their Bibles by how many times they “shake the dust off their feet”.

    Really, come on now. Pretending you’re some kind of lone truth-teller is absurd.

  • Madhabmatics

    wow it’s almost like you are totally okay with dogging on people sarcastically and only complained about sarcasm in the first place because it was against someone you like??? #wow #whoah

  • Susan_G1

    yep, I know. I am pretty bad. sorry.

  • http://talkingtocrows.tumblr.com/ VMtheCoyote

    I honestly do not understand you, and I don’t understand what’s going on in this thread. Yes, many of the things Oscar Wilde said were witty. Many of them were also sarcastic. Sarcasm can be witty!

    But this post was not sarcastic. I am a bit boggled at how you managed to think it was. And I really, really don’t understand how sarcasm is such an evil to you that it needs to be called out like this, and I especially don’t understand why you are, apparently, feeling the need to defend Ed Stetzer or Jennifer LeClair. Somewhere up there, you list a bunch of things you do to make the world a better place, including not hating gays and lesbians (and, presumably, bisexuals). Great! Really.

    But, given that, why do you feel that Fred’s tone, in defense of queer and other folks being attacked by the conservative Christians, is more worthy of critique or attack than people who “civilly” do condone hatred of gays and lesbians?

  • Alix

    It’s “sarcastic” ’cause e doesn’t like it.

    FWIW, it’s a big thing in at least a few subcultures I’ve circled through that sarcasm (never clearly defined) is Bad, while being Clever or Witty is Good.

    …Never mind, as you point out, that there’s significant overlap there.

  • http://talkingtocrows.tumblr.com/ VMtheCoyote

    That is… not a thing I have ever come across, and frankly I’m glad. Sarcasm is kind of awesome sometimes! It goes too far on occasion, yeah, but… geez. It’s just a different form of wit.

  • Alix

    …I rather adore sarcasm. I … am frankly boggled by this whole thread, even knowing that many people equate sarcasm = things i don’t like/incivility = bad in a tautological loop.

    Sarcasm’s often the more civil option, in my book.

  • http://talkingtocrows.tumblr.com/ VMtheCoyote

    Man, you are not alone. I expected this to be one of those threads that slowly turned into long, wordy explanations of why we’re all wankers/they’re a wanker/Fred’s a wanker/we’re all sinners ANYWAY good day sir, not an immediate explosion of one-liner petty insults.

  • Alix

    …The other thing I was just thinking was that good sarcasm is indistinguishable from civility until one’s brain catches up. (So if it’s the tone and form of things that matters, sarcasm must be civil, right?)

    Then again, that’s probably why sarcasm is the highest rhetorical evil to folks obsessed with Civility. It’s the wolf in civil sweaters.

  • http://talkingtocrows.tumblr.com/ VMtheCoyote

    Heh. The wolf in civil sweaters. I’m not sure if that image will still be hilarious in eight hours, but I assume so. A shiny internet to you. :P

  • Alix

    …For some reason, my civilly-sweatered wolf looks like Mr. Rogers.

    This is probably a sign that I need sleep. Too bad my brain’s not cooperating.

  • http://talkingtocrows.tumblr.com/ VMtheCoyote

    …a wolf in Mr. Rogers’ sweater. Yes, okay, I definitely need sleep because I am going to be giggling at that until morning unless I actually take the damn Seroquel and go knock out.

  • Alix

    Don’t forget the house slippers.

  • Susan_G1

    First, I was not defending either Stetzer or LeClair. When Fred goes on and on about how ‘nice’ Stetzer is, when it is clear that he feels Stetzer is practically in league with the devil, that is, indeed, sarcasm. Second, I abhor hatred of gays, and do not condone it in the least. How could all of this be gleaned by a comment I made on Fred’s tone?

    I don’t really understand what’s going on in this thread either, when I comment on Fred, then get accused of all kinds of things I’ve never done, and get told to eat shit. One thing I did not know about Fred’s blog is that there are (a lot of?) atheists who follow Fred. That’s great, but I did not know it. Following my comment on Fred’s tone, the level of hostility I encountered, to me, is over the top.

  • Alix

    …Fred’s not being sarcastic. He’s pointing out that nice, civil people can hold abhorrent positions, and that even if they don’t hold them personally, they often help cover for them.

    I don’t see how you could possibly have actually read the post, given your odd interpretation of it.

  • http://talkingtocrows.tumblr.com/ VMtheCoyote

    I am going to presume good faith and attempt to assume that this is all a big misunderstanding. It appears there has been some miscommunication! Let’s see.

    When Fred goes on and on about how ‘nice’ Stetzer is, when it is clear that he feels Stetzer is practically in league with the devil, that is, indeed, sarcasm.

    Not exactly, no. Fred is drawing a distinction here between “tone” and “content.” The content of Stetzer’s message is abhorrent. The tone is civil, polite, and friendly – in a word, ‘nice.’ So there is a bit of a contrast there, which Fred is trying to highlight.

    You see, it’s very easy for people like Stetzer, who stand up and, “nicely,” say things like “Well, I’ve got nothing against gays, they’re perfectly nice people, but God intended marriage to be between man and woman.” And people can nod and smile and appreciate that he’s at least being NICE about it, right?

    Meanwhile, the people he’s aligning himself with are standing up and shouting “God created marriage for man and woman! Queer folk should repent! We need to keep them out of the schools!” But the scorn and the disdain and the anger falls on them – and not on the people whose content is the same, though it’s couched in nicer tone.

    Make sense?

    ETA: …I don’t know why I keep doing this. Rereading, I basically just repeated everything Fred said with slightly different wording. And misspelled “appreciate” about six different times in the attempt. The POINT IS, this is basically the opposite of sarcasm and I have been awake too many hours.
    ETA2: Also, “eat shit” is an expression, mostly figurative, which generally expresses disgust and disdain with one’s position. You weren’t being “told to eat shit,” it’s figurative. Gross, not my favorite expression, but figuratively a way of telling you that someone considers your opinion utterly terrible/worthless/etc.
    (okay, I’m off, this time for real.)

  • Alix

    It’s also worth noting that the difference between content and tone is why tone-trolling is problematic: it favors the form over the substance. It amounts to saying that the aesthetic concerns of the listener matter more than whatever the speaker is trying to communicate.

    There’s something fundamentally wrong with that view, and it means that the listener is not participating in the act of communication in good faith.

  • Susan_G1

    Yes, that makes sense, and to reread Fred’s post in that light, I may well come away with the conclusion you have clarified for me. But, you see, I did not. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t read it carefully enough. Perhaps it’s because I thought it was sarcastic, and that I felt it would be better for him to say, straight up, what you said. Or that he simply really is disappointed (or angry or rabidly hates) that Stetzer allows LeClair to vent vitriol on his CT blogsite, instead of going on and on about how nice he is. It’s a matter of style, I guess, and I got it wrong.

    But what followed a simple comment, which I am no more or less entitled to post than anyone else, was a maelstrom of hostility. Forgive me if my first reaction was to defend myself against being told to eat shit for being so repugnant.

    What can I say?

  • Alix

    …See, the thing that’s really baffling me here is that Fred was really direct and straightforward in his post. He was using the fact that Stetzer boosts the signal on this more vitriolic person to illustrate how niceness and civility can be used as a smokescreen for more serious problems.

    I really, really don’t see how he could be any clearer.

    Your first comment, by the way, was pretty hostile, and in bad faith. And if this is your reaction to sarcasm in a blog post, and if going off on every commenter is your reaction to someone uncivilly disagreeing with you, you really need to just back off and not comment.

  • Susan_G1

    my first comment about Fred’s post was really hostile and in bad faith? Can you clarify that for me? Because I just don’t see it.

  • Alix

    I clarified below.

  • Emcee, cubed

    No, you got exactly the level of hostility you deserved. You came to attack someone who was standing up for the oppressed. You came in attacking with a nonsensical statement (as everyone else has pointed out, you actually have no idea what sarcasm is). You came in defending hateful people. You came in with an attack that was exactly what Fred was angry about in the original post. You came in to be an obnoxious shit, and then want to get pissy when you are treated like one. Here’s a protip: Don’t act like an ass, and maybe you won’t be treated as one.

  • Susan_G1

    how do you get that I defended hateful people, exactly?

  • Alix

    “Your tone says more about you than your words do about Ed Stetzer or Jennifer LeClair.”

    Protip: tone policing means you care more about how nicely someone phrases something than what they actually say. When somebody says “anti-gay stuff is not okay,” for example, and your response is “but I don’t like your tone, so your argument is compromised!” – that’s siding with the anti-gay folks. That’s providing another form of that civility cover Fred decries in this very blog post.

  • Susan_G1

    After reflection, that’s fair enough.

  • Alix

    FWIW, I can understand strongly disliking sarcasm. There are rhetorical styles I hate, myself.

    But from where I sit, we don’t really have the right to just wander into someone else’s space and tell them how to talk. We’re the guests, and we can freely leave.

    I don’t tend to hang around places where people use excessive chatspeak (for a not so charged example) because it makes my eyes bleed, even though I know some people who write very intelligent posts in that shorthand. It’s their space, their platform, and their choice of style.

  • Susan_G1

    a blogsite is an invitation to the public to interact, is it not? Are there rules for every blogsite, comment only agreeably or don’t comment at all? Why do I not have the right to express my opinion, but you all get to crap to your heart’s delight on me? This I don’t understand.

  • Alix

    Well, sure, it’s an invitation to interact, if it’s public. It’s like … for a half-assed analogy, it’s like I was holding an open party. Everyone who wants to can drop by.

    It’s still my party. I still am, let’s say, choosing the music. And if I’m playing a style you don’t like, it’s my party. You don’t have to stay.

    We’re not “crapping to our heart’s delight” on you. We’re responding to you. You have the right to post – no one’s said you don’t, though we have wondered why you’re posting when you’re so clearly at odds with the blogger’s style. Disagree! I’ve done it. I’ve gotten into epic arguments with people.

    But if you have the right to post, we have the right to respond. That you don’t like the responses you’ve been getting – frankly, it doesn’t really matter. You don’t get to dictate how people interact with you here.

    You’re a(n apparent) stranger who’s come in here acting exceedingly rude. Are we supposed to treat you with kid gloves in return?

    You can also stop the self-aggrandizing rhetoric any time you like. You are not a martyr, here. You are not an injured party. People not being perfectly nice to you on the internet, when you come out swinging, is something you frankly ought to have expected.

  • Susan_G1

    That’s crap. I did not deserve the response I got. Free speech is fine, but that response was out of proportion to my comment.

  • Alix

    Not really.

    If you have the right to come in and start chiding people for their tone, other people have the right to call you on your bullshit.

    You don’t like how one of those responses was phrased. Welcome to the internet.

  • Susan_G1

    And this is where I hugely miscalculated Fred and/or his audience. I ca… forget it.

  • Alix

    You went off when Emcee, cubed ended er post sharply. And again, it’s er tone you focus on, not the content of er actual criticism of you.

    It’s a pattern with you: how people say things matters more to you than what they say. And that tells me nothing nice about you.

  • Alix

    Also, “free speech is fine until someone says something impolite to me” is … a pretty shitty version of free speech.

  • Alix

    …wait. What, to you, is the distinction between sarcasm and wit? Because from where I sit, there’s a huge amount of overlap.

    I’m actually trying to come up with examples of non-sarcastic wit, and all I can think of are puns. (Which, as everyone knows, are the lowest form of humor.)

  • Susan_G1

    Churchill is told at a party, “Sir, if I were your wife, I would poison your coffee.” He replies, “Madam, if I were your husband, I would drink it.” That is wit. He has straightforwardly and very cleverly pointed out how unpleasant that woman was. Look at any of his wit, the line about him being sober while she will still be ugly, any number of his best lines, they are not sarcastic. They are funny, but straightforward.

  • Alix

    …I still see sarcasm. Though I agree it is also very witty.

    I think we have to chalk this one up to ingrained definitional differences, and leave it at that.

  • Susan_G1

    fair enough, but one last try. A feminist asks Churchill what is the essential difference between a man and a woman. “I cannot conceive, Madam, can you?” He was a brilliant wit.

  • Alix

    I don’t disagree he was witty as hell, but I still see sarcasm. XD Like I said, it’s pretty clear we’re operating on completely different – and incompatible – definitions here.

  • MarkTemporis

    OMG! I didn’t think we HAD church ladies on the left!
    http://paleopioneer.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/snl-church-lady.jpg

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

    So… “screaming from the rooftops” is good and a Godly means of activism, but any hint of “sarcasm” makes the message null and void because you don’t like the “tone.”

    Incoherent. Cohere better next time.

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

    From an earlier comment:

    This is pretty much what ‘civility’ is really about. A person in a position to inflict harm through deliberate choices of how they’ll use their influence is judged not by their effects on others, but by their ‘tone’.

    It’s like arguing that a murderer is less contemptible for smiling while shooting a guy.

    So… thank you for validating a hypothesis?

  • Baby_Raptor

    Tone trolling, or are you really so shallow that you feel that someone using words in a way you don’t like gives you the right to insult and dismiss them?

  • Maniraptor

    You may not know much about sarcasm, but the irony here is pretty impressive.

  • Susan_G1

    yeah, it really is, isn’t it? really. I’m embarrassed today.

  • Maniraptor

    Eh, if you can admit when you’ve been silly, even if it takes a bit of time away first, you’re all right by me.

  • Guest

    In regards to Jennifer LeClaire, the axiom “you can’t reason someone out of a position that they didn’t reason themselves into” couldn’t be more accurate.

    Blogger (and friend) Kathy Baldock linked to one of Jennifer’s hyperventilating screeds against homosexuality, and more specifically, how she was a “victim” of “persecution” from the Gay Agenda™. Well, I went to her Heart of the Prophetic page and posted the following response:

    It’s obvious just how pampered evangelical Christians are in the United States when they have to make up persecution complexes in order to feel like they are doing something constructive for the Kingdom of God. Then they post them online to generate an echo chamber to make themselves feel better. If it weren’t so sad, it would be humorous just how self-deluded Jennifer is about speaking her truth… oh, excuse me “God’s” truth… because we all know that all Christians everywhere agree 100% on every interpretation of every Scripture and have no disagreements about theology whatsoever.

    Please. The lack of self-awareness in this article is simply breathtaking.

    Charisma magazine exists to serve a segment of the Christian community that believes that the Holy Spirit is still at work today, and that spiritual gifts like speaking in tongues are still in operation. This magazine was created at a time when a large segment of Christianity did NOT agree with this. At the time, many churches split over this issue. Many churches are *still* split over this issue. Yet, how many of you in this thread believe that because Charles Stanley does not speak in tongues, he must be going to Hell? Do you believe that about a Christian who believes in sprinkling rather than immersion?

    So, because society at large and sizable portions of the Christian community in particular are beginning to re-evaluate Scriptural interpretations in light of greater scientific understanding of, and personal experience with, the GLBT community, Jennifer believes she is being “persecuted” because people are starting to take loud exception to her position, especially when she uses the “I really don’t hate gay people, but they’re out to recruit your children” canard? Do we not remember that the Church got it wrong with Galileo? That it was wrong about slavery? That it was wrong about the Gentiles? That it was wrong about the role of women in the Church? Just a century ago, the idea of a woman writing an article in a Christian publication was still considered controversial.

    When you use ill-informed phrases like “lifestyle” (as if all gay people live the same way… you know, like all straight people do), or the aforementioned “recruitment” accusation, it’s obvious you don’t know any gay people on an intimate friendship level, because you would know better than to say such ignorant things.

    Jennifer, I’m sure you’re a nice person. But don’t confuse being nice with being good. You use the phrase of “throwing a brick at a pack of dogs” as if that’s a good thing. Seriously, Jennifer? Really? No, it’s not a good thing. If you honestly think by saying deliberately provocative words to people, that means you’re a “warrior for Christ,” you really are self-deluded, and deserve all the scorn you receive. Not for your theological positions, but for your lack of empathy and wisdom.

    I sincerely encourage you to actually befriend someone who is gay. That doesn’t mean “friending” them on Facebook. That means spending time with a gay person over dinner *that you cooked for them at your place* and actually *listening* to their life story. That means being humble and willing to learn from others, rather than fearing you will be “tainted” by sin simply by being in someone else’s presence. That means seeing gay people as *people*, not as spiritual projects or the Faceless Other.

    Next time, Jennifer, do your homework first. Flouting your self-absorbed lack of discernment is an embarrassment to not only you, but the Church. Charisma can do better than this.

    Within a day, I was banned from her Facebook page and her Charisma page as well. Jennifer LeClaire is a deeply disturbed woman with a martyr complex.

  • MartiansAteMyCat

    Weird. It deleted the comment, then reposted it as “Guest”. You’re welcome to get rid of it, Fred.

  • JustoneK

    WELCOME TO DISQUS kill it with sheep.

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

    Welcome to the Slacktiblog! On behalf of the community, *holds out tray of tea and biscuits*

    Is that lowtax’s uglycat in your avatar?

  • Baby_Raptor

    Disqus does not play well with others. You get used to it after awhile.

  • MartiansAteMyCat

    In regards to Jennifer LeClaire, the axiom “you can’t reason someone out of a position that they didn’t reason themselves into” couldn’t be more accurate.

    Blogger (and friend) Kathy Baldock linked to one of Jennifer’s hyperventilating screeds against homosexuality, and more specifically, how she was a “victim” of “persecution” from the Gay Agenda™. Well, I went to her Heart of the Prophetic page and posted the following response:

    It’s obvious just how pampered evangelical Christians are in the United States when they have to make up persecution complexes in order to feel like they are doing something constructive for the Kingdom of God. Then they post them online to generate an echo chamber to make themselves feel better. If it weren’t so sad, it would be humorous just how self-deluded Jennifer is about speaking her truth… oh, excuse me God’s truth… because we all know that all Christians everywhere agree 100% on every interpretation of every Scripture and have no disagreements about theology whatsoever.

    Please. The lack of self-awareness in this article is simply breathtaking.

    Charisma magazine exists to serve a segment of the Christian community that believes that the Holy Spirit is still at work today, and that spiritual gifts like speaking in tongues are still in operation. This magazine was created at a time when a large segment of Christianity did NOT agree with this. At the time, many churches split over this issue. Many churches are *still* split over this issue. Yet, how many of you in this thread believe that because Charles Stanley does not speak in tongues, he must be going to Hell? Do you believe that about a Christian who believes in sprinkling rather than immersion?

    So, because society at large and sizable portions of the Christian community in particular are beginning to re-evaluate Scriptural interpretations in light of greater scientific understanding of, and personal experience with, the GLBT community, Jennifer believes she is being “persecuted” because people are starting to take loud exception to her position, especially when she uses the “I really don’t hate gay people, but they’re out to recruit your children” canard? Do we not remember that the Church got it wrong with Galileo? That it was wrong about slavery? That it was wrong about the Gentiles? That it was wrong about the role of women in the Church? Just a century ago, the idea of a woman writing a lead article in a Christian publication was considered controversial.

    When you use ill-informed phrases like “lifestyle” (as if all gay people live the same way… you know, like all straight people do), or the aforementioned “recruitment” accusation, it’s obvious you don’t know any gay people on an intimate friendship level, because you would know better than to say such ignorant things.

    Jennifer, I’m sure you’re a nice person. But don’t confuse being nice with being good. You use the phrase of “throwing a brick at a pack of dogs” as if that’s a good thing. Seriously, Jennifer? Really? No, it’s not a good thing. If you honestly think by saying deliberately provocative words to people, that means you’re a “warrior for Christ,” you really are self-deluded, and deserve all the scorn you receive. Not for your theological positions, but for your lack of empathy and wisdom.

    I sincerely encourage you to actually befriend someone who is gay. That doesn’t mean “friending” them on Facebook. That means spending time with a gay person over dinner that you cooked for them at your place and actually listening to their life story. That means being humble and willing to learn from others, rather than fearing you will be “tainted” by sin simply by being in someone else’s presence. That means seeing gay people as people, not as spiritual projects or the Faceless Other.

    Next time, Jennifer, do your homework first. Flouting your self-absorbed lack of discernment is an embarrassment to not only you, but the Church. Charisma can do better than this.

    Within a day, I was banned from her Facebook page and her Charisma page as well. Jennifer LeClaire is a deeply disturbed woman with a martyr complex.

  • MarkInOhio

    I appreciate what you are trying to do, but I’m sure you realize that people like that are well beyond the reach of reason and have been for some time.

  • Gregory Peterson

    Reminds me of the little conversation I’ve been having. Hey, I’m kind of ADD…that’s how my mind works.

    For some no doubt perverse reason, I’ve been amusing Dr. Michael Brown on the Facebook page for his book, “A Queer Thing Happened to America.” Dr. Brown seems to want to be “nice,” but …
    https://www.facebook.com/AQTBook/posts/621824791185047?comment_id=6677149&reply_comment_id=6682395&offset=0&total_comments=35&notif_t=share_reply

    A Queer Thing Happened to America:
    Glad to see Gregory and Remy enjoying each other’s post. When I spot a new
    argument of substance, I’ll gladly join in.No need to refute mockery and
    already refuted arguments.

    I wrote::

    Given your rather dubious reputation for judging intellectual integrity, refuted by whom?

    A little Knock Knock Joke, then.

    NARTH NARTH

    Who’s there?

    Dr. Michael Brown.

    Some
    things deserve mockery, though defaming minority children as you do
    probably should just be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

    And he gave me what I saw as a challenge.

    A Queer Thing Happened to America: Gregory Peterson,
    somehow, I just spotted this. Please be kind enough as to explain what
    makes my reputation for judging intellectual integrity “dubious”? As for
    NARTH, all clear. You side with highly unbiased groups like both APA’s.
    (Sarcasm intended.)

    And I remembered this Brown column,

    “The Black-Robed Regiment, Then and Now: A Fresh Call to Revolution”
    http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/in-the-line-of-fire/40041-the-black-robed-regiment-then-and-now-a-fresh-call-to-revolution

    David Barton’s eyebrow raising reputation is well known, but Bishop Galloway has, I hope, been largely forgotten. He was indeed a Methodist Bishop…MECS…Southern Methodist….and a prominent “Lost Cause” and segregationist propagandist.

    Me:

    Speaking of Southern Methodist Bishop Galloway and the over-compensating
    hyper-masculinity of his “Lost Cause” propaganda, which apparently
    resonated with your personal insecurities:

    RECASTING
    THE IMAGE OF GOD: FAITH AND IDENTITY IN THE DEEP SOUTH, 1877 -1915. by
    Colin Brett Chappell. It’s a 2011 dissertation at the University of
    Alabama.

    http://acumen.lib.ua.edu/content/u0015/0000001/0000718/u0015_0000001_0000718.pdf

    Chappell points out that the Bishop’s popular vision of “white masculinity” had endangered Black veterans.

  • Monala

    Slightly off topic here: re: the third mini-article in the Ed Selzer link, which is a critique of Time magazine’s recent article about women who choose to remain childless. It carries this gem of a comment [note: “gem” is sarcastic!]: There is no trace of the view that marriage and childbearing together
    involve a worthwhile giving, even a sacrificing for the good of another
    or for anything beyond ourselves.

    I am strongly offended by this statement. I am a married mother, and my brother is an unmarried father. My sister, however, in single and childless. It wasn’t necessarily a choice; marriage didn’t work out for her, she wasn’t going to have a child without a husband, and now she’s past childbearing age. But she is very happy with her life.

    Yes, being childless means she has much more money and free time than my brother or me to travel, take classes, hang out with friends, and just plain do fun adult stuff. But it also means she has more money and free time to respond to the needs of our elderly mother. I have read statistics that it is childless adults (unfortunately, women more often than men) who are the most likely to care for elderly or disabled relatives, and to volunteer in our society. That’s hardly selfish or unsacrificial. Having children is not the only way to be giving.

  • Carstonio

    I’ve heard Selzer’s attitude voiced by others even more explicitly, accusing women who remain single and childless of being motivated by selfishness. I thought that this was simply a belief that people who own wombs have a duty to use them for the public good. But in most cases, some questioning reveals that these folks are worried primarily about white-skinned people being outpopulated by dark-skinned ones.

  • Lori

    The thing that bothers me is that complete refusal of people like Selzer to recognize that having children is not using one’s womb for the public good. Not, even if the womb-haver and the sperm provider are both white [eyeroll]. People have kids for lots of reasons, some good, some bad, but spawning is not a public service. The entire notion is idiotic. The only thing more idiotic is when they justify their crap by saying that if everyone decided not to have kids the human race would die out. There are several layers of stupid there and yet if a discussion about choosing not to have kids goes on for any length of time some genius will inevitably trot it out.

  • Carstonio

    While that’s a excellent dissection of the idiocy of the argument, I’m suggesting that the folks using it define “public good” narrowly or employ it as a euphemism. They’re not stupid, they’re just unskilled at hiding their agenda.

  • Lori

    I’d agree. I’m just inclined to call them on it.

  • codestar7

    Ahh, the Holy…sperm. The actual babies or people produced can fall off a cliff screaming to their death on the craggy rocks in a 1,000 foot fall, but the Holy sperm must be allowed to do it’s Holy work. The entire religiosity and it’s system of worshipers has become so twisted and amoral thy don’t even see it. Trees, meet forest.

  • Guesty McGuest

    Was their context around that quote that said that having children was the only way to be giving? Because the sentence you cited doesn’t say that.

  • Guesty McGuest

    Damn it, there, there!

  • http://www.tommyjonestheband.com RantingTommy

    The problem is the religion that all of the hate and bigotry is based upon. People that perpetuate religious belief support the system that demonizes the “other”.

    If there was a god, there would be no religion.

  • MarkInOhio

    But there’s not, yet there is.

  • http://www.tommyjonestheband.com RantingTommy

    There is not a god so there is still religion.

    If there was a god, religion would not be necessary, as an all powerful being would not require herds of salesmen to convince people he/she/it exists.

  • MarkInOhio

    I do sometimes wonder about “God’s” state of mind. Here he is, an all-powerful, all-knowing deity who single-handedly created the universe and everything in it, yet he spends most of his time cajoling his human creations into not just believing he exists (with no proof, of course) but constantly praising him and worshiping him and falling down in front of him on their knees. What kind of all-powerful deity is so insecure as to need this? And why is he HIDING?

    While we’re at it, why does an ineffable deity have a GENDER? Gender is a concept relating to human sexual reproduction, and seems rather earthbound for a God to have. Does he have male reproductive organs?

    Then this strangely male “God” has a human child (without having sex with some dirty woman, of course) and his child is…… wait for it….. a MALE! Why?

    Then he arranges for his son to be killed so that human sin is forgiven, and….. well, you know the claptrap that follows.

    Do the people who believe all this hooey also believe that the Santa Claus story is true? If not, why not? It’s far less unbelievable than THEIR wacky story.

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

    Not really. Santa Claus disproves himself every year when parents are forced to do his job instead. Religion works through arenas where a lot of subjectivity and ignorance takes place — did you feel the presence of God, or was that stimulation of the temporal lobes? Was that a miracle, or did you just get lucky with something statistically improbable?

    There are a thousand reasons why prayer doesn’t heal amputees and a thousand cases where people insist they survived only because of a miracle, but not one documented case of Santa Claus. One is open to at least a certain degree of doubt, the other not so much (if there is a Santa Claus, he only visits people who never report his existence and he can’t be visiting very many people either, magic or not).

  • codestar7

    I still believe in Santa Claus, and you can’t make me stop. I say its far better than believing in say George Bush, or Dick Cheney, or Ted Cruise. I’ll take Claus over any of those guys any day.

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

    Provided an all-powerful being wanted to be known of. Wouldn’t it be our lucky to get a shy deity?

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

    Because people have never disagreed about factual accounts, right? Certainly never to the point of Othering people.

    By the way, did you hear that the founder of the KKK is getting a new statue in his honor soon?


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