a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.
This “[UMC] …” series of 3-minute readouts regarding the United Methodist Church [UMC] (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (‘reset’ here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (here) (last week) is meant to be generative, not definitive. “Compatibilism” is key to “The 95% solution.”
—Note: back to Edward de Bono’s work next week. This week, current events that relate to our project.
Mass shootings often enact hatred. As I write [Nov. 23], no one really knows the shooter’s motive behind the mass murder at Club Q in Colorado Springs. The venue for the shooting surely makes it fair to ask: Was anti-LGBTQ hatred (or LGBTQ-related self-hatred) responsible for animating the shooter’s behavior?
So, for the purposes of our three minutes together this week, we’ll presume that the shooter was animated (at least, in part) by some form of hatred grounded in anti-LGBTQ bigotry. What creates such self- and other-centered hatred?
—Previously, I’ve said that the UMC’s rhetoric is culpable in the harm experienced by LGBTQ persons/communities. This harm flows from our prohibitive ideology/policy. I’ve also said that the harm is an unintended consequence, though it raises John 9.41 considerations.
Mass-murder, an inverted “sacramental”?
In a conversation on the UM clergy Facebook page, the possibility that the UMC might be culpable for anti-LGBTQ hatred was discounted and dismissed by some “Conservative” [“Traditionalist”] voices who were appalled that anyone dare suggest a connection between the anti-LGBTQ messaging of the UMC and the mass-murder enacted upon an LGBTQ community in Colorado Springs. According to them, no one in their right mind would even consider such a connection as valid. Here’s a snip:
So, does some mass-murder comprise an “inverted ‘sacramental’?” Yes, in that mass-murder is the physical enactment of an intangible hatred; the act makes the invisible hatred visible. So, regarding LGBTQ bigotry, there is an inverted-sacramentals hatred-spectrum ranging from micro-aggressions to mass-murder.
Denying the harm that UMC LGBTQ-prohibitive language/policy may do with respect to animating mass-murder scenarios like Pulse and Club Q is understandable, because it’s an extension of the blindness to all the other harm our ideology/policy causes. In a sad irony, “Conservatives” who deny that the UMC has any culpability have configured their perspective such that God is to blame for the harm. “God said,” they say.
Unintended consequences and John 9.41?
Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, “We see”, your sin remains.
Regular readers know that I read John 9 (in part) as a story about epistemology, i.e., second-hand vs. directly-lived experience.
Clearly, anti-LGBTQ hatred gives rise to harm; can the UMC recognize and own (i.e., see) that it is a culpable party in the harm that occurs? As we’ve seen above, the answer is, ‘no,’ some cannot see; they are [willfully?] blind to the relationship between messaging and harm.
“Conservatives” deny doing any harm through our anti-LGBTQ stance, especially in the face of being directly told otherwise.
What we know:
- The persons/communities that are being harmed (i.e., LGBTQ communities) have indicated without equivocation that harm is indeed being done to them. This direct lived-experience concern is often met with “conservatives” washing their hands, claiming, “well, God said so.” —So, God causes the harm, then?
- Because of the testimony of our LGBTQ siblings, coupled with up-to-date scholarship (Biblical and scientific), at least 48% of The People Called United Methodists do see our connection to the harm being done and they have declared it; i.e., the 48% have told the 52% that deniers are apparently blind to the harm our ideology and policy obviously cause LGBTQ persons/communities.
“Conservatives” are told plainly by those who are directly harmed, and those who believe those who are harmed: “you are apparently blind to the harm we’ve done and the harm that we do through UMC policy.” However, “Traditionalists” insist, “No, we see, the UMC has done/does no harm.”
“If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see’, your sin remains.” John 9.41
Don Hand did not intend harm; it’s an unintended consequence of our prohibitive language/policy.
Denying any/all harm short-circuits the grace of unintended consequences.