Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fred Clark on Shift in Southern Baptist Dialogue About/With Gays: Difference Between Talking About and Talking To

At Slacktivist, Fred Clark points out that looking carefully at Twitter conversations as the Southern Baptist Convention shifted its tone (though perhaps not its substance) regarding gay folks last week may give us a more accurate representation of what's taking place between the SBC and gay people than media spin does:

But there were fireworks, though, on Twitter. The conference was livestreamed on the Internet and the #ERLC hashtag promoted by conference organizers soon became a fascinating, contentious conversation that included both the anti-gay SBC faithful and the people they’d expected to be talking about but not talking to. That was particularly true during the conference presentations by the many speakers who didn’t seem to get Moore’s memo about a kinder, gentler tone.

"People they'd expected to be talking about but not talking to": that radical shift, in which the mute defined suddenly demand the right to do their own self-defining and demonstrate the capacity to speak and reason as they do so, shifts the game radically for religious groups long intent on defining gay people as the voiceless, threatening other. As Fred points out, when the gays started talking in their own voices, some SBC big-wigs became angry and maintained that "their" conversation had been hijacked. 

He notes,

What I find most interesting in this is the way the SBC seems to be learning — slowly — that some of the things it has been saying about LGBT people can no longer be said once they recognize that it’s being heard by the Other they’re purportedly discussing.  

This idea of talking with the gays rather than talking about them or down towards them: it's novel, isn't it? For communities of faith long accustomed to doing business otherwise . . . .

I wonder when the Catholic church, especially in its American incarnation and above all among its media and academic movers and shakers, will begin to catch up to the recognition that it's minimally just (not to mention, plain good manners) to make this necessary shift.

I find the graphic used at various blog sites, but have been unable to locate its source. If any reader has that information, I'd be grateful for it.

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