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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Model of Tolerance

posted by on February 5 at 8:54 AM

In a quick post yesterday I mentioned Joel Connelly’s latest little shout out.

In yesterday’s PI Joel wiggled his tongue up the ass Jim Wallis, a politically liberal political evangelist. Joel seemed particularly impressed that Wallis had the backbone—the courage! the nerve! the audacity!—to order the big, bad “secular left to be more tolerant”. And as Wallis tours the country, selling his new book, Connelly wonders…

Is there a refuge equidistant between anti-gay pastor the Rev. Ken Hutcherson and Christian-bashing Dan Savage of The Stranger?

Hm. Ken Hutcherson is Washington state’s biggest anti-gay demagogue. Anywhere there’s a microphone and three or more state legislators, Hutcherson can be found demanding a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, the repeal of Washington state’s gay rights legislation, the overturning of Washington state’s new domestic partner registry, etc. Hutcherson last made national news for turning up at a Microsoft shareholders’ meeting and demanding the company drop its pro-gay corporate policies—or else! (Or else what? Toads raining down on the Redmond campus? Hordes of locusts in the cafeterias? Firefox with an 85% market share?)

Now columnists at daily papers like to be “fair,” so when they label someone on the right as an extremist—someone like Ken Hutcherson, who is an extremist—they feel obligated to tag someone on the left with the same label. Gotta be impartial, gotta be balanced: So if you’re going to call Ken Hutcherson intolerant better call Dan Savage intolerant too.

Really, Joel? Intolerant? Moi? P’shaw.

I’m perfectly willing to tolerate Ken Hutcherson—and Jim Willis and Pat Robertson and Mike Huckabee and the Nazi Pope. I already tolerate them. Hell, I am the very model of a modern major tolerator. Like everyone on the secular left, I believe these men and their followers should be free to live by their own (dim) lights. You won’t find the secular left pouring into Olympia to demand a state constitutional amendment banning heterosexual marriage or adoptions by fundamentalist Christian couples (although a strong argument could be made—some of those adopted kids are going to be gay, after all). The secular left isn’t threatening Microsoft with Divine’s retribution for providing benefits to the partners of its married heterosexual employees.

Does Joel even understand what tolerance is? A tolerant person doesn’t think everyone is nifty. Tolerance means you’re willing to put up with people you don’t like or disagree with in exchange for being put up with in return. You cut the people you don’t like some slack. You leave them alone. They leave you alone. But a tolerant person is entitled to his opinions—and the right to express them. What Joel is doing—intentionally, I think, because Joel isn’t an idiot (although he plays one in the newspaper)—is conflating dislike with intolerance. I don’t like Ken Hutcherson. I don’t like his religion. But I am willing to put up with both. Hutcherson doesn’t like gay people, or gay marriage, and has no intention of putting up with either. He wants to make it legal to discriminate against gay people and he wants to ban gay marriage. And that’s where Hutcherson tips out of the “dislike” column and lands with a splat in the “intolerant” column. As I wrote in a “Savage Love” column back in 2006:

Joking about Christianity isn’t evidence that I’m intolerant—hell, I’m perfectly willing to tolerate Christians. I have never, for instance, attempted to prevent Christians from marrying each other, or tried to stop them from adopting children, or worked to make it illegal for them to hold certain jobs. I don’t threaten to boycott companies that market their products to Christians, and I don’t organize letter-writing campaigns to complain about Christian characters on television.

It would indeed be hypocritical for me to complain about fundamentalist Christians who’ve done all of the above to gay people if I turned around and did the same thing to Christians—but, again, I’ve done no such thing. Intolerant? Hell, I’m a model of tolerance! Oh sure, I joked about the Virgin Birth because I think it’s silly and sexphobic. And I’m free to say as much, however unpleasant it is for some Christians to hear. Fundamentalist Christians, for their part, are free to think homosexuality is sinful and unnatural, and they’re free to say so, however unpleasant it is for me to hear. But fundamentalists aren’t willing to just speak their piece, Rob. Nope, they seek to persecute people for being gay, and that’s where their low opinion of homosexuality—which, again, they have an absolute right to hold—transubstantiates into intolerance.

Now if this Willis person Joel Connelly rimmed yesterday can convince more evangelical Christians to work on poverty and climate change, hey, that’s great. Bring it on. But evangelicals are going to have to do more than merely broaden their agenda if they hope to make common cause with the likes of me. They’re going to have to drop certain things. They’re going to have to jettison the anti-gay, anti-straight, anti-freedom aspects of their agenda if they’re sincere about wanting to find “common ground.” Sure, sure: We can all work together in perfect harmony on the stuff we all agree on. But evangelicals can’t demand that, seeing as how they’re paying attention to poverty and climate change now, we’re somehow obligated to give them everything they’ve always wanted on reproductive rights and gay rights; a ban and a ban, respectively. (Willis isn’t arguing for this, but other progressive evangelicals are.)

But you know what I won’t tolerate? Being told that, after decades of putting up with their bullying co-religionists, the big, meanies on the secular left have hurt the feelings of progressive, liberal Christians everywhere by finally saying “enough” to the Ken Hutchersons and Mike Huckabees. Hugely powerful Christian leaders from the Nazi Pope on down long ago declared rhetorical and political war on gays and lesbians and on women’s rights. And when liberals and progressives and queers finally emerge from the defensive crouch we assumed out of a misplaced respect for other peoples’ religious beliefs and started to respond with equal vigor, progressive Christians come mewling out of the woodwork. “We’re not all like that,” they whisper in our ears, “and you’re hurting our feelings when you write things like this.”

To liberal Christians and Evangeliacals: We get it. You’re not all Hutchersons. Stop telling us and start telling the Hutchersons and Robertsons and Huckebees and Santorums and Bauers and Nazi Popes—they’re the ones that need to hear it, they’re the ones that have blackened the name of Christians, they’re the reason more and more young people are reluctant to identify as Christian. (not me: I identify as a cultural Catholic—hell I had my kid baptized.)

I’m sick of progressive Christians whispering to me that the religious right doesn’t speak for all Christians—great, fine. But you needed to start screaming it—and not in my face, Rev. Willis. In the faces of Ken Hutcherson, Pat Robertson, Mike Huckebee, Rick Santorum, Gary Bauer, and the Nazi Pope.

If you’re saying it to them, well, you’re obviously not saying it loudly enough. We can’t hear you now.

RSS icon Comments

1
Tolerance means you’re willing to put up with people you don’t like or disagree with in exchange for being put up with in return.

Thank you.

Posted by Mr. Poe | February 5, 2008 9:05 AM
2

Yep.

Posted by COMTE | February 5, 2008 9:06 AM
3

What about wishing Hutch hadn't been allowed to speak at Mount Si? Ed Murray's points make sense to me, yet it seems also that allowing someone free speech doesn't amount to much if you also deny them a venue to speak in.

I guess for me the real problem is that everything said in our schools is supposed to be given a giant stamp of approval as absolute fact. If schools were allowed to be an open marketplace of ideas, most of which are not undisputed, Hutch could speak, Dan could speak, what have you, and it would all be good.

Posted by elenchos | February 5, 2008 9:17 AM
4

Dan wins on word count! 1193 vs. Joel's 843. It's good to be the boss.

Posted by tomasyalba | February 5, 2008 9:18 AM
5

Awesome. Thank you. Can we somehow arrange to have your post printed out and stapled to Joel Connelly's scrotum?

Posted by wile_e_quixote | February 5, 2008 9:20 AM
6

Well said. It's funny, we all sit around scratching our heads wondering why all those peaceful, moderate Muslims don't stand up to the whack-jobs who are giving their religion a bad name, but no-one asks the same question of the Christians here.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | February 5, 2008 9:20 AM
7

good one Dan.

Just a note:
Should it read at the very end

If you're saying it to them, .....

After reading the whole post that kinda stood out for me when I got to the last lines.

Hey I had 2 cups of strong coffee I am tweakin on everything right now.
Thanks

Posted by -B- | February 5, 2008 9:22 AM
8

I understand the point you were trying to make, but please leave Firefox out of this. The last thing on earth I would want to see is the haters on the right taking up a call to action for all "believers" to start using Firefox. I guess I'd have to go to Opera of Safari in that case.

Posted by I Got Nuthin | February 5, 2008 9:22 AM
9

You have to remember: In Connelly's mind, Savage and his gay army are on one side of a war against marriage and religion. Hutcherson and his army of the righteous are on the other side.

Hence opposing viewpoints and the magical balance.

Without saying it, Connelly seems to believe religion, like man-on-woman marriage, only works if it the only sanctioned option available.

Posted by six shooter | February 5, 2008 9:26 AM
10
I’m sick of progressive Christians whispering to me that the religious right doesn’t speak for all Christians—great, fine. But you needed to start screaming it—

I guess it's the prerogative of the oppressed to tell people they dislike what those people "need to do" in order to earn absolution. I imagine that's part of the reason I stopped asking for it when I was about 18 and started embracing my personal racism and internalized homophobia. I need Dan Savage acting as my self-image broker like I need a fucking hole in the head.

And, just as a point of order, progressive Christians do speak out against the right, and they do it publicly. Jim Wallis on the Daily Show? And as long as you feel like dipping into history with the Nazi Pope, let's talk the REVEREND Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

You cherrypick your examples to justify your attitude towards people of faith, Dan. It doesn't make you intolerant, but it does make you a bigot. It's an important civic distinction, but you're still an asshole.

Not that I'm one to talk on that score, obviously.

Posted by Judah | February 5, 2008 9:27 AM
11

very good post dan. but i fear that your stubborn dedication to logic and rational analysis places a language barrier between you and the various religious elements you address. you might as well be speaking chinese.

Posted by douglas | February 5, 2008 9:32 AM
12

Dan...very well said. I am so sick of this so-called balance. The hate on the right is of a different type than the hate on the left.

Posted by Timothy | February 5, 2008 9:33 AM
13

It's too bad that this post probably will be off the page in an hour. The folks in the office seem to be in the midst of a giant pissing match to see who can post the most words about Obama or Hillary.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | February 5, 2008 9:33 AM
14

Stop telling us and start telling the Hutchersons and Robertsons and Huckebees and Santorums and Bauers and Nazi Popes—they’re the ones that need to hear it, they’re the ones that have blackened the name of Christians...

uh, first, i think people tell those they know. (my family is christian.) if i mention something on slog, or to my seattle friends, it is because those are the people i come in contact with. and i tell the bigots i encounter what i think when appropriate. but i have no line of communication to hutch, or bigots in arkansas.

second, when you are a figurehead, your "followers" take your ideas further. and just as we hold a preacher responsible when their followers beat up a homosexual -- even though the preacher never said to do that! -- i think dan has some responsibility for when other sloggers, or other stranger staff members, post that they think raising your child to be a christian is child abuse. saying it's child abuse does mean you want other people to change their behavior to match your beliefs.

other than those two thoughts, great post. it is true that people need to do the uncomfortable thing and let others know when they are wrong. if the "christian voice" in this country can be tempered by the rational members of that group, we will all be better off for it.

Posted by infrequent | February 5, 2008 9:36 AM
15

I'm with @13 - maybe repost it every couple hours using magic Slog master powers? It's a great topic.

Posted by tomasyalba | February 5, 2008 9:36 AM
16

So, I agree with the premise of your post. The basic idea is sound, especially that last part. Us moderate/liberal Christians are not taking care of our own House, and we should. We've got a rude branch of the family that makes the rest of us look like shit.

But, I can't help but notice Connelly doesn't call you intolerant.

He calls you "Christian bashing Dan Savage." It's true, you do, consistently, make harsh statements, mean spirited jokes, and creative names that paint Christianity with a very wide brush. If someone were to do similar things about women, about muslims, about jews, about mexicans, about any group (optional or not) people would say that that person was bashing that group.

Whether or not your jokes/comments show a deeper intolerance is not something I can say. That's between you and yourself. But, that constant stream of comments can be perceived as intolerance. If a person came to the Slog and read the jokes and comments posted here about Christians, I'm sure they would think that this place is not one that welcomes Christians.

Sorry for the rambling.

Posted by Phelix | February 5, 2008 9:38 AM
17

"I am the very model of a modern major tolerator"

Fuck, now I am going to have various Gilbert & Sullivan stuck in my head ALL DAY, you clever, clever gay.

As for the rest of the post: tl;dr.

Posted by Juris | February 5, 2008 9:38 AM
18

@6
Me!! Me! Here I am!! Can anyone hear me?....
In all seriousness though, squeaky wheel gets the grease. Plus I'm not a big attender of Christian youth groups (my religious peers) because it attracts uber-Christians. Ugh how I hate the idiocracy. "Jesus Christ died for our sins-except not yours, cause you're gay and going to hell! And He died because no human being is perfect-except me, because I don't have pre-marital sex!" Ugh ugh ugh.

Also, Dan, the "modern major tolerator" comment made my morning.

Posted by Marty | February 5, 2008 9:38 AM
19

Amen, brother.

(Global replace Willis/Wallis.)

Posted by pox | February 5, 2008 9:38 AM
20

take judah's ad hominem and red herring laced post up above. logic just isn't their game plan, dan.

Posted by douglas | February 5, 2008 9:40 AM
21

Additionally, I think tolerant Christians are trying... the crazies just ain't listening. Partially because they're CRAZY. I mean seriously, how do you convince a crazy person to be rational? All we can do is threaten to burn down the local news stations if they don't put us on with equal air time.

Posted by Marty | February 5, 2008 9:42 AM
22

Elenchos @ 3,

Depriving a known bigot of a public stage is not quite the same.

Giving Hutcherson the stage without any opposition, direct or tacit, is a quiet endorsement. Had there been someone else speaking who spoke on how MLK's message of love and equality needed to move into today's struggles and then listed off some of those fights, then there would be much less of a problem with Hutch being there.

As it stands, having him as the sole guest speaker of the day lends him credibility. It makes him the expert on inequality. When he got up and spoke with the approval of the school, he was granted a position as the authority on injustice, hatred, and inequality. So, when those students later see him on the news protesting gay rights, they're going to think either that he's a raging hypocrite or that he's right, the gays are asking for inequality, they're asking for special rights.

I doubt they'll think the former.

I also doubt a school like Mt. Si would have Dan as their only speaker either. An inner city school might. Of course though, his speaking would be accompanied by a letter sent out to Parents allowing them to pull their children from the assembly, and explaining that the school district does not endorse or support his statements.

Posted by Phelix | February 5, 2008 9:49 AM
23

@14 and 18 - Right on guys. You may not have a national platform, but it's important that you're speaking out in your own local church communities.

Progressive Evangelicals are speaking out, Dan. They don't have much of a national voice yet, but they're also just starting to really assert themselves.

I've spent years trying to coax family and friends out of the bigoted right-wing-fundie mindset, but it takes time to really change people's minds. I finally got through to my mother a little while back, but only after years and years of relentlessly telling her "You don't need to have this attitude in order to be a Christian. You don't have to fear everything you don't understand."

Posted by Hernandez | February 5, 2008 9:50 AM
24
take judah's ad hominem and red herring laced post up above. logic just isn't their game plan, dan.

Do you know what an ad hominem attack is, douglas? It's a logical fallacy that basically goes like this: you're a bad person, therefore your argument is false.

Do I, at any point in my comment, claim Dan's argument is false? No. I claim that one of his premises is false (and I offer examples to support that assertion) and I agree with the thrust of his argument. I also point out that he's an asshole, but I don't state or imply that his being an asshole makes him wrong. Indeed, how could I make such an assertion, given that I concluded the comment by admitting to being an asshole myself.

But, you know, good effort.

Posted by Judah | February 5, 2008 9:54 AM
25

This is why Dan deserves his giant paycheck. This post has definitely made my morning also.

Posted by ray | February 5, 2008 9:59 AM
26

My Christian friend danced in the gay pride parade, but I still, deep down, have a resentment that she doesn't have a giant bumper sticker that says "I'm a giant Christian who likes the gays, so suck it!"

Posted by skweetis | February 5, 2008 9:59 AM
27

Tolerant, pleasant Christians will always have a hard time persuading the crazies because there is no particular foundation in Christianity for tolerance. The religion is a tangled historical mess of irrational and contradictory doctrinal threads that can be used to justify any behavior at all. If some can use it to justify being nice, good for them and their neighbors. The jerks won't be persuaded because they find just as much, and equally valid, justification for not being nice.

People don't change their attitudes and behavior because of religion, they find or create a religion that allows them to do what they want to do anyway. Nice people are nice, jerks are jerks, and they can all blame Jesus with equal validity.

Posted by pox | February 5, 2008 10:01 AM
28

elenchos @3,

In addition to the points made by Phelix @22, Hutcherson hardly lacks for venues to speak in.  His significance in fact comes from having the bully pulpit of his own mega-church.

Posted by lostboy | February 5, 2008 10:07 AM
29

COMMENT DELETED: Off Topic

We remove comments that are off topic, threatening, or commercial in nature, and we do not allow sock-puppetry (impersonating someone else)—or any kind of puppetry, for that matter. We never censor comments based on ideology.

Posted by me | February 5, 2008 10:19 AM
30

I just love the text from that old Savage Love. You should make t-shirts.

Posted by Julie | February 5, 2008 10:20 AM
31

I'm with you Dan.
You can be a kook and believe any crazy thing you want to: aliens in your blood stream, floating giant loaves of bread, native americans are the lost tribe of the israelites etc. Fine. No harm done.
But when you prevent others from having full lives or lives at all because of your nutty beliefs then you cross a line and we should fight against it-tooth and nail.

Posted by poster Girl | February 5, 2008 10:24 AM
32

Actually, progressive christians are constantly speaking out. But we're also often too busy trying to actually do god's work in the world, ie. fight poverty, end war, etc, that we don't have time to descend like some rapid response team every time some fundie does or says something ridiculous and offensive.

(Not that they listen to us anyway. Conservative evangelicals don't really draw distinctions between the secular left and progressive christians, who they think aren't really christians at all. They think we're all going to hell.)

It would help if media outlets, both mainstream and alternative would pay more attention to progressive christians so we'd have more of a platform to speak out against the nutjobs.

Posted by Kevin Erickson | February 5, 2008 10:44 AM
33

I don't know this Conelly dude, but I am familiar with Wallis, and I don't think you know him. Wallis doesn't confuse intolerance with dislike. If you read his organization's magazine, Sojourners, you get the feeling they are a bunch of Christians who are really embarrassed by the right-wing nut jobs, but sincerely believe in tolerance just as you've described it. And I have heard Wallis seriously call out the right wing nut jobs on occasion.

Posted by Mary F. | February 5, 2008 10:58 AM
34

I wasn't taking on Wallis, Mary F., but Connelly.

Posted by Dan Savage | February 5, 2008 11:06 AM
35

Understood, Dan. For what its worth, Kevin has a very good point. Wallis works a pretty high profile but no one from the right acknowleges his existance. Reminds me of the priest who did my wedding vows: He gave one sermon urging acceptance of gays, all hell broke loose, and he was hustled back to the monastary. We had to grovel to the diocese to get special permission for the priest to perform the ceremony and it took a decade for him to get a new parish. Many Christians who speak up for tolerance are so unwelcome by their religion that they eventually pick between being active in "liberal" causes and being active in their religion - myself included, and I chose the former. I kinda admire the Sojourner-types, with their optimistic (and futile) efforts to keep fundies from completely taking over Christianity.

Posted by Mary F. | February 5, 2008 11:29 AM
36

@Dan

I love this: "...identify as a cultural Catholic—hell I had my kid baptized"

As a cultural Catholic myself I always seem to follow something remotely religious with "hell" or likewise.

Posted by drew | February 5, 2008 11:51 AM
37

"I’m sick of progressive Christians whispering to me that the religious right doesn’t speak for all Christians—great, fine. But you needed to start screaming it—and not in my face, Rev. Willis. In the faces of Ken Hutcherson, Pat Robertson, Mike Huckebee, Rick Santorum, Gary Bauer, and the Nazi Pope."

Why bother? THEY'RE not going to listen. I guess some of us liberal Christians are optimistic enough to believe, however, that you might be smart enough to listen. ;)

Anyway, all the liberal Christians I know are too busy working at AIDS Hospices, speaking out against homophobic agendas at school board meetings, and forming PFLAG groups to waste their time shouting at Ken Hutcherson, Pat Robertson, Mike Huckebee, Rick Santorum, Gary Bauer, and the Nazi Pope.

It ain't all about shouting, you know. One might even say that actions speak louder than words.

Posted by Alan | February 5, 2008 11:52 AM
38

Here's why liberal Christians need to shout, Alan: Not to persuade the Hutchersons that they're wrong, not to convert them to a more liberal strain of Christianity, but to convince the rest of us that you EXIST. And so that we see that you're not standing by IN SILENCE while the Hutchersons, et al, run around claiming to speak for ALL Christians.

You can't complain about the impression of Christianity created by the organized, well-funded "Christian" movement if you're not willing to counter it.

Posted by Dan Savage | February 5, 2008 11:59 AM
39

Dan, when a friend of mine introduced me to you a few years ago, he introduced me as "He's a Christian, but one of the good ones." Your response? "That's like saying he's a good Nazi."

Liberal Christians HAVE gone to Olympia to speak out in favor of pro-gay legislation and to counter the efforts of people like Hutcherson. And we will continue to do so, despite being called Nazis by you.

Posted by Seattle Mike | February 5, 2008 12:21 PM
40

If I said that -- and I don't recall saying that, Seattle Mike -- it was meant in jest. I certainly don't think "good Christians" are like "good Nazis." For instance, my mother is a Christian, and a good one, and not a Nazi. But thanks for playing Slog, Seattle Mike.

Posted by Dan Savage | February 5, 2008 12:28 PM
41

I wouldn't say I'm complaining about the impression of Christianity created by the Christianists. I'm complaining about straight and gay liberal allies who actually buy that crap. Aren't we liberals supposed to be the smart ones who can see through that BS? I mean, what is liberal elitism for, if we don't actually put it to good use? :)

Standing by in silence? Now Dan, I like hyperbole as much as the next guy, but that's unfair. For example, I can name dozens and dozens of straight liberal ministers who have risked their jobs and their ordination (and in several cases lost them both) in order to stand with us queers and bless our marriages. Honestly, what do you think is a more potent witness to real people? That minister, standing face to face before an entire congregation blessing a marriage, or some liberal minister shouting at Pat Robertson on FOX News? Now, all of those examples -- and many more in other denominations -- have been all over the MSM, yet you have missed them somehow. Perhaps it's like how, when you're driving, you don't notice how many VW Bugs are on the road until you start playing slug bug. :)

People don't change their minds because someone shouts at them, they change their minds based on personal contact. (After all, Isn't that why we keep telling people to come out?)

In addition, why should we fight that fight on their terms? If don't like all the shouting from folks like Hutcherson, Robertson, Huckebee, Santorum, Bauer, and the Nazi Pope, why would you expect us to engage in it too? I, for one, would rather do something that actually makes a difference in the lives of real people, and has a much greater chance of changing some minds.

Or, to put all that more briefly, as St. Francis probably didn't really say, but he should have if he didn't, "Preach the Gospel always and if necessary use words.” :)

Posted by Alan | February 5, 2008 12:32 PM
42

"Divine's retribution". I'm totally stealing that.

Posted by --MC | February 5, 2008 12:41 PM
43

Tolerance is great and all; but no fatties, please.

Posted by I Heart My Body Image! | February 5, 2008 1:22 PM
44

Oh and another thing: many of us progressive Christians are really wary of the alliance of church and state, so we couch our progressive arguments in more secular terms, even if the moral framework that informs our opinions is rooted in Christian theology. It's a catch-22. If we talk in Christianese, people act like we're being theocrats. If we don't, people get mad that the Christian left is not standing up to shout down the fundies.

I mean look how people flipped out and screamed when Obama put out those really quite benign mailers arguing for his progressive Christian position.

Posted by Kevin Erickson | February 5, 2008 1:49 PM
45

Dan, I'm not sure the difference between a "cultural Catholic" and a liberal Catholic. Given that you've had your kid baptized, I'd say you're actually a liberal Catholic, something akin to Wallis, a liberal, evangelical Protestant. Maybe Connelly got it wrong and your vegan/queer/atheist thing is just a schtick. Under the surface you're as much a Catholic as Joel is an Episcopalian.

Posted by parsonbrorwn | February 5, 2008 2:15 PM
46

The far-right Xtian Taliban wants people like you and me not to exist. They want laws that permit them to openly discriminate against us. What they really want is for the law to allow them some way to GET RID OF US - whether it's by forcing everyone with an alternate lifestyle back in the closet, or stoning us to death, or sending us to gulags. They really want us to not be allowed to exist.

On the other hand, as irritating and depressing as I find the Talibushie hordes, I do not wish legislation to be passed that requires them to be burnt at the stake, or imprisoned, or reeducated. I just don't want them empowered to tell other people how to live or whom they can love.

The old saying about tattooed people vs. non-tattooed people applies here. The difference between a person with a tattoo and a person without is that the person with a tattoo does not care that you don't have one, isn't bothered by that fact, and doesn't feel the right to ask you what you were thinking.

I do not object that fundamentalist Christians believe what they believe; it only impinges on my life when they try to legislate their beliefs into common law; when they try to force me to conform with their instruction manual's directives.

Posted by Geni | February 5, 2008 2:40 PM
47

A cultural Catholic is someone who was raised Catholic, who is pissed off about the Inquisition, sexism, homophobism, and pedophilia, but who doesn't want to give up Catholicism because it is intertwined with memories of family Christmases, whiskey-drinking Irish uncles, boring but beautiful nights at stations of the cross, ritual-laden weddings followed by raucaus receptions, Catholic school debauchery, and maybe a few genuinely holy nun-aunts who embodied the love and humility of Christ. A cultural Catholic still wants to go to Midnight Mass and hear O Holy Night even though she can't stand to listen to the sermon. If you are a liberal Catholic you still believe in the religion (its not the religion that's bad, its just the bishops!), even though the Catholic establishment will call you a bad Catholic or a cafeteria Catholic. If you are a cultural Catholic, you've pretty much accepted that doctrine is fucked, but the trappings are too much a part of your life to excise them.

Posted by Mary F. | February 5, 2008 2:48 PM
48

Bravo Dan. Very well put.

It's a sign of laziness that you were trotted out as an example for the sake of parity.

Posted by rdm24 | February 5, 2008 2:49 PM
49

Love the Pirates of Penzance reference. Clever, indeed.

Posted by Bruce | February 5, 2008 5:17 PM
50

Cool post DAn, I agree with everything.

Still, why do you refer to Benedict XIV only as the Nazi Pope? As a -Lutheran and gay, hence not very Catholicism-friendly - German, I still feel a bit offeneed by that. I mean, you only call him a Nazi because he's German, right? Maybe you should do some studies on national socialism to see that "Nazi" isn't an adjective that should be used to refer to anybody that holds extreme views.

Posted by Suryo | February 6, 2008 6:02 AM

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