Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Ongoing Discussion of Possibility Omar Mateen Was Gay and Self-Hating: "Makes the Attack More About Homophobia, Not Less," "Nor Is This Unique to Islam"

Meditation point 1: we Americans now live in a political-religious-cultural context in which some citizens sincerely claim to believe that the children ripped to death by bullets at Sandy Hook did not die. That this was a big mock-up exercise arranged by the Obama administration to justify taking our guns away. The human lives of those murdered children and the suffering of their families do not matter. They take second place to the racist political need to demonize the nation's first African-American president and the party he represents.

A cousin reminded me of this in a lunchtime conversation yesterday, telling me she meets people who tell her the Sandy Hook massacre did not take place, was theater, was staged by the Kenyan Muslim in the White House to justify taking away our guns. And so it is not in the least surprising, given the propensity of some of us to believe such astonishing, malicious, cruel nonsense, that the Donald knew immediately he could float theories that the same Kenyan Muslim engineered the mass murder in Orlando, and people (straight white men, for the most part) would lap up the garbage he was spewing.

We have come to this, we American people. We have let ourselves come to this point.

Meditation point 2: when I shared on Facebook and Twitter today a link to this Washington Post article about Pastor Roger Jimenez and the sermon he preached in his Baptist church last Sunday, a white supremacist following my Twitter feed immediately responded: "Good!" And so I began my day on Twitter doing something I've had to do with increasing vigor throughout Trump's run for the presidency: block another white supremacist, this one a man whose Twitter page is headed by a photograph of a headline from an old newspaper jubilating about the murder of a large group of black men in the U.S. sometime in the past.

With the bodies in Orlando not even yet identified, Pastor Jimenez told his congregation that if someone asked if he were sad about what happened in Orlando, he'd reply as follows:

"Hey, are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today?" 
"Um, no, I think that’s great. I think that helps society. You know, I think Orlando, Fla., is a little safer tonight." 
The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. The tragedy is — I’m kind of upset that he didn't finish the job!"

We have come to this, we American people. We have let ourselves come to this point.

Meditation point 3: in a discussion at the National Catholic Reporter site yesterday about a statement released by San Diego Catholic bishop Robert McElroy, calling on Catholics to examine their prejudice against LGBT people in light of the mass atrocity in Orlando, a regular contributor to discussions at Bilgrimage, John Hobson, states that he questions his ability to remain connected to a church which preaches but does not practice love.

A regular at the NCR site, one "Purgatrix Ineptiae," who professes to be more orthodox than her fellow Catholics who imagine that the Catholic faith mandates love for LGBTQ people (she flatly denies the existence of LGBTQ human beings, in fact, citing what she calls Catholic orthodoxy as her warrant), issues a vicious taunt to John to leave her Catholic church, stating, "We'll pay the cab fare."*

Miss Ineptiae does not make clear the "we" on behalf of whom she issues this taunt.

When John tells her that she appears anxious to see him go, she then responds,

Can't imagine anybody would be sorry. Except the Episcopalianists, obviously.

This is the very same fellow Catholic who once taunted me at another Catholic discussion site, using a different username, stating that my fat ass (her words, not mine) deserved to be fired by the Catholic college that fired my partner Steve and me because we were a gay couple.

We have come to this, we American Catholics. We have let ourselves come to this point.

Miss Ineptiae has had free rein at one Catholic blog site after another for years now, using an assortment of usernames, to issue vicious taunts to fellow Catholics and fellow human beings who are queer, or people who call for Catholic love for queer human beings. She has had free rein to use one Catholic blog site after another to spread toxic disinformation about fellow human beings and fellow Catholics who are queer, including the lie that sexual orientation does not exist, that people are only heterosexual and deluded to imagine they have any other sexual orientation, that gay men spread disease in the population at large, hate women, are psychologically stunted narcissistic adolescents, and molest children.

And in doing so, she is allowed to claim to speak on behalf of some Catholic "we": "We'll pay the cab fare.

Now three articles I want to bring to your attention about the ongoing discussion of the possibility that the Orlando shooter Omar Mateen may himself have been gay (though twice-married — to women):

Jay Michaelson at Daily Beast on how saying that Mateen may have been gay and self-loathing does not let toxic anti-gay right-wing religion off the hook in this mass atrocity — it does the opposite:

If Mateen turns out to have been repressing his sexuality, that makes the attack more about homophobia, not less. Now what we have is not a gay-hating radical Islamist but a self-hating gay man who found in Islamist ideology a way to express his animus at everyone and everything. 
Nor is this unique to Islam. When Christian fundamentalist Ted Haggard preached vitriolic sermons against homosexuality, it was because of—not despite—his furtive sex dates with a drug-dealing gay masseur. When former senator Larry Craig inveighed against the evils of equality, it was because of—not despite—his own shame around soliciting men for sex in public restrooms. 
That is why study after study has shown that the more homophobic one is, the more likely one is to have repressed homosexual desires. If you're battling your demons in private, you're going to battle them in public too. 
It is also why repressed gay people seek out fundamentalist religion in the first place.

David Gushee at Religion Dispatches on the searching questions that the possibility Mateen was a self-hating gay man (though one twice married — to women) raises for toxic anti-gay right-wing religion:

This intersection of religious authority and forbidden sexuality is a very dangerous one, and it must be navigated by all who are raised in religions that reject same-sex attraction and relationships. It is a problem in multiple religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and leaders in all religious traditions face the urgent responsibility to address it. 
As a privileged married heterosexual and an evangelical Christian ethicist, I finally came to terms a few years ago with how terrible this problem is for LGBT Christians and embarked on a reconsideration process. It led me to a posture of solidarity and moved me to open up my traditionalist lifetime-covenantal-marital sexual ethic to include gay and lesbian unions. This was seen as a grave error by some of my fellow believers. But many LGBT people and their families were desperately grateful. It offered at least one way out of the impasse between traditional religion and sexuality.  . . . 
So, to America’s orthodox religious leaders, I again ask: 
Is the consistent, acute, totally predictable psychological distress caused to these young adults by your understanding of God’s moral rules a relevant consideration for your teaching and pastoring? 
In light of this suffering and what is now known about human sexuality, do you still believe that this is what the God you are trying to serve really requires? 
Might it be that some aspects of your understanding of sexual ethics are revisable rather than the eternal will of God? 
Which of you will take some risks to get a serious conversation going about these issues in your faith community, on behalf of your own most vulnerable young people?

And, finally, Dan Savage in his inimitable (and, be forewarned, typically smut-mouthed way) dismantling the attempt of right-wing political and religious leaders to pin the murder of LGBTQ human beings on the LGBTQ community itself in the person of Omar Mateen — a man twice-married, to women:

A person can be a violently self-loathing closet case and a devout-if-demented "believer." The former all but requires the latter. To blame gayness for the harm done to gay people by a gay person who was harmed by straight people—who was warped by religious hatred and religious homophobia—is, to borrow a phrase, a neat Orwellian trick. 
And the rightwing haters and Christian conservative shitstains who are screaming and yelling about how this guy was gay—and who are attempting to blame gayness, not poisonous religious hatred, for the shooting in Orlando—well, gee. These are the same people who insist gayness is a choice, the same people who insist that being gay is not an immutable characteristic, the same people who insist that gay people can "free" themselves from homosexuality by choosing to be straight. These people are all over the Internet insisting that the shooter, a man who was married to two different women, a man who identified as straight, a man who rejected homosexuality and choose heterosexuality, just like they advise us all to, wasn't really straight and wasn't ever straight. So homosexuality is only an immutable characteristic when it suits them.

These people (they're overwhelmingly straight white men) are now, as Dan Savage says, all over the Internet screaming that Omar Mateen — a man married to two different women, who identified as straight, a man who rejected homosexuality and chose heterosexuality — massacred a slew of LGBTQ people because he was gay. And this is what gay people do.

Never mind that these same straight white men have, as Dan Savage points out, been yelling for a very long time that people choose to be homosexual and can free themselves of homosexuality.

By marrying women, if they happen to be men.

So homosexuality is only an immutable characteristic when it suits them.

We have let ourselves come to this, we Americans, we American Christians.

*12:40 P.M., 15 June: Miss Ineptiae's vicious taunts to John Hobson have now been erased from this thread by the NCR moderators, to whom I am grateful for taking this action.

No comments: