Screwing for Virginity

Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Gays Are Gross?

Sometimes I think that I have become too tolerant and that I should take more of a hardline stance against sin, but then I read something like this and I'm reminded why I choose to err on the side of tolerance.

My mom reads a blog called Thinklings, and when they are discussing a topic she knows I'd find interesting, she sends me a link. I have since added the link to my favorites, and I check in every once in a while. When I've posted, however, I've been disappointed by the responses. But when I followed a link to this post about the upcoming movie Brokeback Mountain, I had to speak up.

The author predicts that the film will be a box-office failure because of what he calls "the yuck factor." He writes, "For all of our modern cultural 'enlightenment,' and despite the pervasiveness of gay characters and stories all over American media, and regardless of the success of shows like 'Will & Grace' and 'Queer Eye,' by and large Americans -- blue state, red state, Christian and non -- innately find homosexuality repulsive."

This is an insightful and probably accurate insight into modern American sensibilities. But not content to describe the cultural attitudes he observes, the author claims that they are objective universal feelings. "It's part of our makeup. It's biological, it's conscience-born, it's part of the imago dei. It's part of a "moral aesthetic" most everyone bears latent. To be blunt, we know anal sex is gross, and we especially know anal sex between men is repulsive."

I wanted to comment, but the author had disabled comments because he was receiving many personal attacks, so I commented on the blog. This is how the conversation progressed (or degressed, as you will see).

Me: It’s part of the imago dei to find sinners gross?

Response: No. It’s a reflection of the imago dei to find someone shoving something up your butt gross. Comprendes?

Me: These words of Jesus seem especially appropriate here.
“What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’”
Jesus seems much more repulsed by those who judge others with a holier-than-thou mentality than by the homosexuality that was rampant in Rome in the first century.

At this point a homosexual man shared his story, and another blogger told him that his problem was with God.

Me: When God’s representatives on earth act like their sin doesn’t stink, I think it’s safe to say that they are part of the problem. But nice try attempting to deflect the problem onto God.

Response: Buddy, no one here’s done that. If you actually read the Cinema Veritas thread, you’d see that I call myself a “lying, thieving, lustful moron.” I cop to my own sins and say that I expect to find people with same-sex attraction in heaven because if God can let someone like me in, he’s gotta let a whole lot of others in too.
In fact, if you bothered to read that thread, you’d see that out of all of the people talking there, the only who admitted their sin is ME.
You can make this about judgment if you want, about condemnation if you want. That’s so ho-hum.
You’ve registered your perturbation. If you’ve got nothing else, move along.
Btw, in response to that post, I’ve received dozens of insulting comments, deleted lots of profane condemnation of me and accusations against my manhood/sexuality/parents, and now that they’re following me over into my other blogs, I’m having to stay on top of vulgar troll-droppings on Mysterium Tremendum and Shizuka Blog. In one of the blogs from which these folks are coming, they’re discussing in a comment thread how best to flood my e-mail inbox with gay p()rn.
So if you’re looking to talk to people about controlling their anger and judgment and lashing out, I suggest you’re looking in the wrong direction.

Me: I did actually read your post, but I did not muddle through the hundred+ replies, as I’m sure many did not. In the actual post, all you do is point the finger.
I’m not flooding your mailbox with porn or questioning your own sexual orientation or parentage. I’m saying that your post seems to take the culturally formed opinions of you and yours and not only claim they are universals, but to arrogantly equate them with the imago dei while the tone of your post runs completely counter to the attitude of the true embodiment of the imago dei, Jesus Christ, who never accused sinners of being gross. But you seem to think you’re above reproach, so I will, as you said, move along.
And if anything is ho-hum, it’s Christian gay bashing.

I didn't really move along, and since his reply is addressed to me, I apparently wasn't expected to.

Response: Yes, Buddy, as we all know, Jesus never preached against sin.
Every time you comment here it’s on stuff that irks you, about stuff you think you need to correct us on. Sort of a pot/kettle, plank/speck situation, if you ask me. I’ve already acknowledged my own failings and do so often in this space and in my others. I never said I’m speaking from a place of personal perfection. Of the two of us, only one is acting like he’s the one who’s above reproach, and it’s not me.
In any event, thanks for moving on.

I know I can be offensive when addressing smug Christians who think they have everything figured out, and I don't apologize for that. I see it as part of following Christ, who was incredibly offensive when addressing the Pharisees. But I thought I was restrained here, and I don't understand the backlash.

But what I even more don't understand is how someone could, in the name of embodying the imago dei, act in a way that is so un-Christlike and respond so defensively when called on it. I never denied that Jesus preached against sinners, and I never defended homosexuality. But Christ never called homosexuals disgusting or degenerate, and I see no basis for Christians to do so.

So so if I'm a kettle, call me black, and if I have a plank in my eye, point it out, I have always invited it, but don't expect me to be silent when people who claim to be following Christ behave like those he preached against.

6 Comments:

  • At 1:12 PM, December 05, 2005, Blogger Evan said…

    that guy sounds like a mondo tool. he's gross

     
  • At 10:56 PM, December 05, 2005, Blogger Judy said…

    I do have a very sensitive 'yuck-o-meter'.

    I had MAJOR problems after seeing the movie "The Wedding" which I thought would be funny, as it had Carol Burnette in it. Not so much. I found it disturbing.

    But I don't think Jesus had that problem.

    As I see it, the farther we go with Christ, the worse we ALL seem. But, he doesn't flinch from your sin or mine, he TAKES it.

    But, I'm not there yet. I still flinch. Hopefully more so at my own sin than others.

     
  • At 2:09 PM, December 06, 2005, Blogger Buddy said…

    I don't think he's gross; I think he's being honest and describing how many feel about homosexuality. My problem is with people who try to justify their prejudices by claiming they're built in by God. I might sympathize with his views of male anal sex, but if it's truly because of our moral aesthetic that's a reflection of the imago dei, wouldn't other, equally immoral acts cause the same revulsion? Why isn't there such revulsion when it comes to two women having sex? This seems to me convincing evidence that this revulsion is a learned cultural response, not a universal.

    I guess this guy has eyes but cannot see and ears but cannot hear.

     
  • At 8:30 AM, December 07, 2005, Blogger Evan said…

    yeah... that's what i meant.

     
  • At 10:26 AM, December 07, 2005, Blogger Gabe said…

    There is just so much that's wrong with that whole thing, Buddy. It's hard to know where to start.

    First of all, equating homosexuality (even male homosexuality) with anal sex is just plain ignorant. It shows he knows absolutely nothing about those who actually engage in a homosexual lifestyle. Even amongst those in the gay community, the prevalence of anal sex is highly variable (much like the heterosexual community, I might add). According to some statistics I've seen (although, I admit, it is hard to get good stats in this area), it may not even be the PREFERRED mode of sexual expression. Note to heterosexual men: it ain't all about the butt, dimwit.

    Secondly, taking one's own tastes and preferences and universalizing them onto the imago dei makes me sick. On what basis does he claim that even anal sex produces a repulsive response in "most" people? Because he feels such a repulsion, all his buddies say they feel it too, and he once saw some Asian guy on tv say he thought it was yucky, so it must be all over the world? Hey, I don't like it so it must be part of the Moral Aesthetic of the Imago Dei!

    Here's a really crazy idea, how about injecting some actual scientific research into this debate? You know, that process of gaining knowledge that attempts (admittedly not always successfully), to minimize the personal biases and anecdotal experiences that tend to lead us to believe that the sun revolves around the earth and the stars are pinpricks in the fabric of the cosmos. Let's see if Mr. Universal has any actual empirical evidence that revulsion toward anal penetration really is a cross-cultural phenomena. Answer: (sound of crickets chirping). That's what I thought.

    And, third, let's just for the sake of argument say that such revulsion really IS a cross-cultural experience. On what basis does he proclaim this as being due to the Imago Dei? Here's an alternative explanation. Perhaps the "revulsion" isn't really due to the act of anal sex at all. If you observe primates in social contexts, you realize that "mounting" between males is a sign of social dominance and hierarchy. Perhaps what is so repulsive to heterosexual males isn't anal sex, but the social dominance it implies - hence their panicky concerns over masculinity and chest thumping attempts to assert their manliness.

    So, there you have it - revulsion over homosexuality really isn't a product of the Imago Dei, it's part of the evolutionarily-built, genetic hardwiring acquired from our tree-swinging common ancestor (reading posts like this guy's has me questioning whether or not we really aren't just chimpanzees with nuclear weapons).

    Now, I'm not saying that my explanation is true, I'm just saying it makes more sense (and explains more of the evidence) than asserting that there is some vague revulsion to anal sex based on some personalized notion of the Imago Dei. In fact, it explains more, since, as you pointed out Buddy, it would account for why there isn't the same kind of revulsion toward two females engaging in sex (although I admittedly have no hard data, my guess would be that most heterosexual men would actually have quite the opposite reaction to two women).

    Oh, and while we're at it, the "I already admitted I'm a sinner so you can't criticize my position" defense is about the most ridiculous piece of postmodern Christianese logic I've ever heard (and I've been hearing it infuriatingly frequently from Christians lately). I think it should be it's own Christian logical fallacy. We could call it the "but I already told you I'm a jerk" fallacy.

    Sorry. I've just been running into way too many of these tyes of believers lately. I'm a little on edge.

     
  • At 11:56 PM, January 14, 2006, Blogger Buddy said…

    Hey Gabe,

    It's great to have you back. Sorry it took so long for me to realize you were here.

     

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