Cedar Springs, Michigan
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
I'm feeling very left out. Dissed, in fact.
I know I don't command a very large audience; even when I was walking there were only a dozen or two followers, and now that I'm off for the summer I'm writing for myself and a small handful of friends. Okay. That's not what I'm complaining about.
Here's the thing. Today on the AOL home page I read that the Westboro Baptist Church is picketing Justin Bieber's concert in Kansas City tonight. That led me to do a little research. I knew a bit about the Westboro Baptist Church already--a fundamentalist, predestinarian outfit out of Kansas who have become famous as the traveling "God Hates Fags" picketers. They're also the folks who show up at military funerals holding signs saying "God Hates Dead Soldiers," and the like, in order to spread their message that God hates America for being wicked, and that that's why soldiers are dying.
What I didn't know much about was Justin Bieber. I looked him up on Wikipedia, then sampled a few of his songs. As far as I can ascertain, he's a 16-year-old boy from Canada who sings love songs in a girlishly high voice to teenage girls who also, no doubt, have girlishly high voices. In that respect he's pretty ordinary. But according to the Westboro Baptist Church web site, they're protesting him because he "has a platform given to him by God to speak to this world," and a "duty to teach obedience by his actions and words." But instead he teaches sin and rebellion, and worse that that, poses with President Obama, who is the Anti-Christ Beast. The two of them are leading us all to hell.
Okay, okay. Take a deep breath. I know what you're thinking. How could the Westboro Baptist Church condemn a nice, innocuous young man like Justin Bieber--a Canadian, no less!--just because he hung out a little with the Anti-Christ Beast Obama? Does one photo-op have to ruin your whole life? And furthermore, by what superhuman power do they think that Justin, or anyone else, could teach anything to a bunch of teenage girls?
In the AOL home page article they mentioned that Westboro Baptist Church also has condemned Lady Gaga. Here again I was caught flat footed. I did have a vague idea that she is a sort of latter-day Madonna. First, I took advantage of the presence at my house this summer of my 16-year-old grandson, and asked him for more information. He says that it has been widely rumored that Lady Gaga has a penis. Why this should be such a big deal I don't know. I mean, Justin Bieber probably has a penis. Is that a bad thing? Then I checked her out on Google and played a few of her songs, and my original understanding was pretty much confirmed. Lady Gaga might be a bit more postmodern than Madonna was in her time, and has more cultural threads to unravel, but she seems to have nailed the tacky Italian girl look about as well as Madonna ever did (perhaps because both of them are, after all, tacky Italian girls). Westboro Baptist Church's take on Lady Gaga is pretty straightforward, in any case. They call her a "simple slut," which isn't as far off the mark as I would have expected.
Well, I said I have a complaint, and so I do. Here I am, toiling in the Devil's vineyard on a regular basis, and I'm being totally ignored by the Westboro Baptist Church! I deserve some hate, here! Aren't I at least as much of an abomination in the sight of God as some boy singer from Ontario or some cheesy Material Girl wannabe? I like to think I've strayed pretty far from the paths of righteousness. And I have a platform I could be using to teach obedience to the world. But do I? No.
I know it might just be that the folks at Westboro Baptist Church haven't caught on to me yet. Or it might be something else again. When I read their web site I was struck by a couple of things. First, I couldn't take issue at all with their attitude toward the war America is fighting and toward the so-called "heroes" who come back in boxes from our vain and counterproductive military adventures. True, Westboro Baptist Church and I might have reached the same conclusion about the war for different reasons. They believe that America has condemned itself by tolerating homosexuality, worshipping the flag as a false idol, and supporting debauchery and wickedness in all its many forms. I wholeheartedly agree with the bit about the flag worship, but mostly I believe we are trying to fight a war against one idiotic ideology while clothed in the raiment of an equally idiotic ideology of our own. Either way, the Westboro Baptist Church's own words say it better than mine ever could: "When you step out onto the battlefield for a rebellious nation who daily lifts up her finger to flip off God, you are walking into the cross hairs of that raging mad God." Amen, and duck!
Another thing that strikes me is how correct the Westboro Baptist Church is in its belief that the Bible condemns homosexuality. I defy you to find one passage in either the Old or New Testament that states otherwise. But you won't have to look far to find verses that say things like this one, from Leviticus 20:12--"If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death." Or, if you're partial to the more enlightened New Testament, how about this one, from I Corinthians 6:9--"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind."
So what's a girl to do? If, like me, you don't believe there's anything wrong with homosexuality, but your so-called "holy book" tells you otherwise, there's really only one thing to do. Shitcan the holy book, and for that matter, all the rest of the holy books in the world that lead people down twisted paths toward hatred and destruction of one another. Don't try to pull items out of context and ignore inconvenient things to make the scripture make sense to you. And don't try to turn your religion into a kinder, gentler version of its true self. That's a complete waste of time.
There. If all that doesn't earn me some hate, I don't know what will.