A Pagan's Blog

A Pagan's Blog

Laity and Leaders: Sipple, Niasse, Bingham, Beamer…and Rekers

When Sarah Jane Moore attempted to assassinate President
Gerald Ford, her aim was deflected by disabled former Marine Oliver Sipple, and
Ford’s life saved.  Sipple was gay.
Under prevailing Republican bigotry and Democratic hypocrisy, he would not be
allowed to serve his country in uniform.

Faisal Shazhad’s attempted car bomb was first discovered and
the police therefore alerted by Aliou Niasse, a Muslim.   Shahzad’s Muslim identity was
emphasized, but hardly anyone mentioned that the same was true for Niasse. To
do so would mess up the good guys vs bad guys narrative that most reporters
seem to prefer over actually reporting.

Mark Bingham, one of the heroic passengers who attacked the
hijackers of Flight 93, preventing them from flying the airliner into the White
House or Capital at the cost of their lives, was gay.  Another, Todd Beamer, was a serious Christian.   Each acted with bravery and
integrity. Where it counted, each had more in common than where they differed.

As do most people despite different faiths, sexual orientations, or races.   

Unfortunately, leaders of organizations emphasizing these distinctions often maximize
their personal power by  exaggerating differences between their
group and everybody else.  Trusting
their leaders, the rank and file are usually all too easily manipulated. 

As the Catholic hierarchy continually reminds us and recent escapades of George Rekers, an Evangelical enemy of gay people, has reinforced, such
leadership often sets far higher standards of behavior for others than they apply
to themselves. And that is putting it gently.

Comments read comments(9)
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posted May 7, 2010 at 12:28 pm

When we get down to ti, the narrative approach and the world view that it supports is–incorrect and misleading.
Force A does not always oppose, counter, or contradict Force Z.
Sainthood is not all “good.” Demonhood is not all “bad.”
The Cosmos is an interacting furball of mutually opposed co-existence.
Nobody could make this stuff up. But we do things that nobody could make up.
I like to think that Paganism as I know it points us adherents toward all the myriad ways stuff gets interconnected. In principle, at least.
But I gotta say that how Rekers does it is nothing like the way I do it. Maybe it has something to do with energies and currents and alignments of the ground. Or maybe how confused we have to be.

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Hecate Demetersdatter

posted May 7, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Do as we say, not as we do. The C Street Family is quite open about the fact that this is their guiding philosophy.

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Marlon Hartshorn

posted May 7, 2010 at 7:07 pm

I think everybody would have more respect for Rekers if he’d just come out & admit he’s gay & be okay with that. Instead, he will probably live in guilt & shame (the exact wrong solution/approach) unless he can break out of the rigid grip the religious beliefs have on his mind. And these beliefs are nasty & brutal to a person, and cause them to be so mean & hateful you just can’t comprehend it. If you ever try to talk to a gay-hating Christian, you can literally feel the hatred coming out of their energy field. It’s just insane. I don’t call that spiritually evolving. I call that de-volving and worshipping a dark entity indeed. Until these folks who focus so much on hatred learn to create a better god in their mind, they are only dooming themselves. They’re not hurting gays or anyone else, but they are hurting themselves.

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posted May 7, 2010 at 7:27 pm

I did a masters in political science and journalism and studied a fair bit of history and political philosophy, but Gus is the big dog in these fields. What is it about this country and culture of ours which breeds SO MANY brownshirt evangelicals and hypocrites? I have to think some of it derives from our Puritan past, and maybe even from the poisonous disconnect we had to teach ourselves to conduct the horrible enterprise of slavery for 400 years, but what else?
Everywhere in the world has this element, of course, but not like here. Here, and the Middle East are the only places I know of where there are many tens of millions of scary apocalyptic bigots and fundamentalists cultures which celebrate ignorance and violence as virtues. I would say its something inevitable in Abrahamic traditions, but Canada and Australia and Europe are still at least nominally Christian, and none of them have as high a loon ratio as we do. Islam I guess just hasn’t found a way to make peace with modernity.

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posted May 8, 2010 at 8:16 am

Marlon Hartshorn said:
They’re not hurting gays or anyone else, but they are hurting themselves.
Marlon, perhaps you were speaking in some esoteric context, but in the very real, having been attacked and beaten myself for being gay, world, this man has done harm.
Among many, many other direct harms, he gave us the Arkansas law forbidding gays to adopt.
His testimony for the State of Florida was intended to take children away from their gay parents – literally.
He has caused countless suicides among young gays.
Right now, his lawyers together with Republican politicians and other conservative Christians are searching for ways to attack the male prostitute with whom he traveled.
It’s hard to be all other-worldly and “this hurts me more than it does you” about someone who actually used electroshock therapy. Someone who actually wants to strip us of our few civil rights.
I am really glad that this block has tackled this question. Not exactly surprising, but some “Christian” blogs here like Rod Dreher are sitting on it and stifling all discussion…

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Marlon Hartshorn

posted May 9, 2010 at 10:03 am

Hey Panthera! Yeah I thought about that after I posted it, but there’s no way to edit it after you post. I was talking about it from a spiritual point of view of coures, not literal. And you are most definitely correct, and I am right there with you on your feelings about it. I’ve often thought that these gay hating fundamentalist Christians are so irrational and downright dumb, that they would do themselves in eventually and nobody would have to worry about it anymore. But they are affecting our lives profoundly, passing laws to try to stop us from loving each other, to stop us from marrying and being treated equally, and I am deeply offended by these efforts and extremely angered by them. The people behind these laws don’t even seem to have a conscience, and sometimes I forget how nasty people can be. I’m sorry about the misunderstanding, I really didn’t mean the way it sounded; but, as a writer myself, I sometimes make conceptual errors like that! I think with more activism & visibility, we will make a huge difference and will be able to marry soon.

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Marlon Hartshorn

posted May 9, 2010 at 10:09 am

As an aside Panthera: one of the thoughts that came to me as I was writing that sentence was that I think when people die, they realize what their shortcomings were and I think one of the first things people understand is that berating someone for something as simple as their sexuality choices is one of the dumbest things ever. My grandmother died in 1999 and within a month or two I had a channeler online do a channeling with her. She said, through the channel, what I’d told her before she died so I knew it was her. The first thing out of her mouth? “I’m so sorry I judged you for being gay.” I was shocked. She was not in my face about it, but I knew she didn’t like it, and I didn’t see her at all for about 8 years prior to her death. Sometimes I think about things in terms of the larger picture of individuals on a journey who don bodies and discard them when they R done. But yeah, that is very far removed from down-on-the-ground reality of how we are being treated as gays in this country, and even worse in other countries. I think with more spiritual understanding & love, the hate can be overcome. It’s all about fear anyway. I get just as mad as you do about these issues, and my boyfriend sometimes gets upset with me because I get so passionate and start getting really upset for 20 minutes about it. It’s a crazy world we live in.

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posted May 9, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Hey Marlon,
I appreciate that. I’m very sensitive about these things and tend to shoot from the hip. My apologies.
Here, in Europe, I am legally married to the man of my life. We have been together for going on 27 years. The moment we step off the plane in the US, we are legal strangers. As our family situation mandates we spend more and more time in the US, it makes me very angry.
Over the last 20 years or so here in Europe, the conservative Christians have pretty much (not talking about Poland and points further East) decided that hatred and torture and murder were not advancing their religion and just plain let us be.
The usual result: We tend to marry slightly later in life so our relationships tend to be slightly more stable. When we have kids, then by choice, not accident.
Most interesting of all – every single country that treats us as fully human has a higher happiness index than the US.
My best to you.

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Grumpy Old Person

posted May 12, 2010 at 1:51 pm

“I think everybody would have more respect for Rekers if he’d just come out & admit he’s gay & be okay with that.”
Sorry, but the very real harm, both physical AND “spiritual” that Rekers has done – as Panthera pointed out, he has literally destroyed lives and families because of his lies – means that I can NEVER be “okay” with him, even if he ever did come out and admit the truth.
He was paid $120,000 of taxpayer money to spread his venom by a man who would be Governor of Florida. Perhaps if he made restitution to the countless people he has harmed, I’d feel differently.

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