Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Where's Solidarity When You Need It? Letting Off a Bit of Steam

I don't need this.

Today, I shared on Facebook the following statement by Rev. Andrew Foreshew-Cain from a Guardian interview published online today:

Gay people in the church are not going to go away. And the moral question mark over the integrity of the church is not going to go away. It’s only going to become more intense.

Here's how a (former) Facebook friend of mine who is an abuse survivor and activist in the community of survivors, and who has told me — in a public forum — that he's gay, responded to my posting:

Anybody in their right mind wouldn't even go to church knowing what they've done in every diocese in America to the children they need to go down out of business never to be resurrected again we don't need the Catholic church we don't need religion what we need is them to be off the planet Earth now

I replied:

This is an Anglican priest, and he's speaking of the situation of the Anglican church. 

This is the reply I got back:

First of all many churches and schools are shutting down cuz people aren't going and anybody that goes to a Catholic school knowing that he raped and every goddamn diocese and you support them your part of the criminal activity you brain-dead brainwashed people wake up and understand there's no need for any church you can pray to God on the toilet you can pray to God in the car wake up you brainwashed people educate yourselves come on you can do 
Like I said we don't need any church we don't need any religion this is the problem in our world if you or somebody else wants to practice a religion do it in your own home and leave it in your home don't take it out on the streets or preached because none of us want to hear about it we are sick of easily brainwashed people they make us sick 

My response to the preceding rant (and personal attack on me):

Thanks for sharing your perspective. I’m more inclined to build bridges than to attack and insult allies. I respect people of no faith or who are anti-faith and think believers need to listen attentively to them. I expect the same respect in return. Can you please tell me when I have taken my faith out onto the streets and preached it? And since you clearly do not respect me, how about hitting the unfriend button? Thanks. 

Then I thought about the situation and decided that I really, really don't need people around me taking these kinds of grossly unmerited potshots, tearing my spirits down, besmirching my character, and calling themselves social media "friends," so I blocked this gay abuse survivor activist who has ties all over the place to organizations working to combat sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic church. 

His Twitter feed also shows him connected to some really ugly right-wing homophobic Catholics who want to use the abuse situation in the Catholic church as a cudgel with which to beat gay folks.

This comes on the heels of a Twitter exchange several days ago in which someone writing from an account connected to SNAP in Florida — someone purporting to be a SNAP leader in Florida — raked me over the coals after I posted about how the revelation of extensive abuse and cover-up of abuse in the Boys Scouts of America puts the lie to the claim in both Catholic circles and BSA that gay men are primarily responsible for sexual abuse of minors and that barring gay men from these organizations will solve the problem.

Since BSA had barred openly gay Scout leaders until very recently…. So that blaming gay men for the abuse problem in BSA and barring gay men from leadership in BSA clearly did not solve that organization's abuse problem…. Any more than that same homophobic scapegoating tactic has solved the abuse problem in the Catholic church….

The person writing from the SNAP Florida account accused me of trying to deny that homosexuality is a root of abuse of minors. I replied by telling him that sexual orientation is simply not a diagnostic tool to explain or predict sexual abuse of minors, and I strongly suspect that if someone did some kind of study of the BSA leaders who have abused minors and had that abuse covered up, he/she would find that the large majority of them are married men identifying as heterosexual.

The SNAP Florida leader responded with a nasty statement to me that I was "grooming" people by making such statements. I then chose to block him.

I do not need this. I have sought in every way possible to offer support for years now to communities of abuse survivors including SNAP. Groups working to combat abuse of minors in religious settings and to support survivors need to combat toxic homophobia and to refuse to give safe haven to folks promoting gay-bashing "solutions" to this kind of abuse.

My husband Steve and I are walking through a very rough patch right now, about which I'm not at liberty to speak — right now, at least. It's an experience that tempts us to feel our contributions have not been valued, that our talents and gifts have been used to the advantage of others who have no respect for us as human beings, and who never intended to offer us support in exchange for the support we have offered them. As Steve said to me in summing all of this up recently, "It hurts to go through this again, because it's so much like each other time this has been done to us — but we're older now and less able to fight."

I do not need people around me who claim to be gay like me, or people who represent organizations of struggling folks to which I have given support, attacking me in these demeaning, disrespectful, and very personal ways. I understand the anger and lashing out of folks who have been hurt. I feel anger myself and the temptation to lash out.

But this is no way to build productive alliances of people intent on offering healing to the world. I just don't need folks like this tearing at me right now.

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