a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.
“Two hangmen” mash-up
Last week we talked about a problem, i.e., the foolish notion that thought-policing might actually be possible. Similarly, the ‘On Point’ program, linked below, describes what I would call an Orwellian rectification: a genocide of identity. Perhaps, rhyming with what Mason Proffit sang:
He was guilty then of thinking a crime much worse than all
This “[UMC] …” series of 3-minute readouts on the present climate within the United Methodist Church [UMC] (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (‘reset’ here) (here) (here), is meant to be generative, not definitive.
First — is this pertinent?
Beginning with a quick anecdote.
I have lived in Kansas the majority of my life. It is a very conservative state, in general. Despite the result of the recent vote to retain abortion rights, I confidently submit that a significant majority of people in Kansas do not believe in abortion. So, what happened?
Well, two key things were revealed in the 59/41% vote.
First, Kansans can display a level-headedness that frequently translates into pragmatism and humility.
Yes. While not agreeing, many Kansans are able to leave ample room for others to believe differently. —Note: The UMC has yet to display Kansans’ wisdom.
Second, voters revealed that, even though they don’t necessarily agree on abortion, probably wouldn’t have one themselves, a majority believes strongly that the decision about abortion belongs with the woman, her doctor, and her support system. Period.
Kansans may not agree that having an abortion is a good idea; however, they do not want the government sticking its nose into a woman’s business on it. The woman knows best what’s right for her own life. It’s an individual rights/personal freedom matter to many/most Kansans.
Among Kansans, we can have strong personal beliefs without imposing those beliefs on everyone. If you don’t believe in abortion, then don’t have one.
Abortions are permitted, not required.
Can the UMC become more like Kansas? There is a way (amend the LGBTQ-prohibitive language by deletion); is there a will?
A provocative title?
Yes, it is.
“Genocide” is a highly charged term that I use figuratively here, e.g., “a genocide of identity.” I mean it in a “federal schools for ‘assimilating’ indigenous American children” kind of way. I mean it in a “‘don’t even think about it n______,’ Jim Crow kind of way.” I do mean for the title to insinuate a kind of terrorism that is meant to discourage and even erase the thought of any possibility.
The historical mythos regarding homosexuals has long catered to the cis-hetero majority in the face of its fears and insecurities. Sadly, that mythos has come to us more as pathos, or even Thanatos. In 1972, in our blissful ignorance, we embraced Thanatos in our LGBTQ-prohibitive language. After fifty years of unintended consequences (i.e., lethal harm), we ought to know better by now. We need to amend the LGBTQ-prohibitive language by deletion!
So, a sobering listen, On Point: “Censorship wars: “Why have several communities voted to defund their public libraries?” Let’s begin this missive with a brief audio-snip:
Obviously, overreaching practices are not limited to the church. Some of the misguided, harmful ideas that the church promotes can (and, arguably, do) serve to animate radicalized bigotry in society — like attacking librarians (and teachers) as “groomers.” In our hyper-sorted, polarized, culture-wars climate, it’s far too easy to get all wound-up about things we really don’t understand.
Do we even realize how our “Christianity” is perceived by folks? Scripture (correctly?) perceived as a violent threat? Oh, yes, here’s a clip:
Obviously, in the culture-war context, the Idaho librarians perceived their Christian neighbors’ actions as threatening. I wonder, did those protestors have any inkling that the religious references they were making were perceived as very threatening? Did they even care?
Weaponized witness? Idaho House Bill 666…
So, “weaponized mythology?” Fighting the anti-Christ? Well, I’ll just let you listen:
And, our prohibitive language also censors LGBTQ folks in a “Jim Crow kind of way … meant to discourage/erase even the thought of any possibility:
From zero to over-the-top in no-time: