My Paralysis in the Face of Hate Speech

I had a conversation with a friend recently that I think one of the best ways for GLBTQ people to gain rights is to start treating their existence and access to rights as a foregone conclusion. Of course they should have all the same rights, advantages, whatever as any other person, I said, and the more those people quibble, the more the opposition mounts against them.

I was absolutely wrong.

I have been embroiled in a case of what I think is clear hate speech on Facebook. I encourage everyone to check out this link in which a person I know claims that GLBTQ rights should not be something that the United States exports through foreign policy (I think the U.S. should).

Make sure that you read all of the comments. I am going to quote the following point in its entirety so you understand the full context that he is speaking in. I want to make it clear for all the people getting here through random Googling that this IS NOT my opinion, but rather a quotation from a particularly bigoted person. He says:

While I do not advocate murder or the murder of a homosexual, I do believe two things, one that murder and killing are distinct in that murder is the unjust taking of a just life, and killing is the just taking of an unjust life. The Bible says that should not commit murder, and that is clear. However, the Bible makes it very clear that the State and society are meant to enforce the laws of God, dissuade evil, and promote good. This comes from Romans and 1st Peter. Romans 13:4 “for [the state is] a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.” 1Peter 2:13-5 “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.”

These versus make it clear that it is the duty of the State to uphold the commands of God and do what is right and just, not what is immoral and unjust, meaning that such actions by the State cannot and should not be tolerated. I do not believe that violence is the best or only way to achieve the ends the State is ordered to achieve. Instead I do not know why we could not ban homosexuality, support that instead of its legalization around the world, and provide institutions and education to help those who are suffering from their vice. The Bible makes it clear that evil must be stopped, and gives two options. Exodus 22, 18 “Wrongdoers you shall not suffer to live,” and I Corinthians 5:13, “Put away the evil one from among yourselves.” I believe we can not allow evil to live amongst us by loving the sinner, hating the sin, and thus working to remove the sin thus from them and society. No reason we must kill them or throw them in prison, but the Bible is commanding that if positive reinforcement does not work, then negative must be used (though not killing, which is something I agree we should not do).

The Bible further makes it clear that society cannot in anyway support homosexuality as it is one of the worst sins that man can commit and also infects, as tolerance of all sin does, the rest of society as leaven corrupts the whole loaf of bread. For more on how the Bible actually says that homosexuality is wrong and can’t be promoted read Romans I, the whole thing, it’s a page.

1 Peter makes another point that is most fitting to my earlier discussion of how this liberal society uses its freedom to ignore the truth and put off controversial matters as inconveniences. I Peter 2:15-7 “For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. 16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.”

I think this is absolutely insane, to be clear, but what I want to talk about is my absolute horror in the face of this. Distinctly, it is the kind of horror that Cavarero writes about. I am absolutely paralyzed in the face of it. I have so many arguments, so many things that I want to say, but beyond all that, I feel a turning in the core of my being. It turns its face away, it hides from the reality of what this person is trying to do, the hate project.

And then I think, this is why we need to have the argument, the debate, the final proof. We have to refute these arguments. And it is hard, and it is also why I come here to write about it rather than respond continually on Facebook. This needs to be out. People need to know about this kind of thing. People need to see it.


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9 Responses to My Paralysis in the Face of Hate Speech

  1. Lindsay says:

    I am glad you posted this. It’s vile, and it makes my stomach turn. But people need to see the truth that is out there – that there really are people who truly hate others because they are homosexual. In order to gain our rights, LGBT individuals need to face these people head-on and say, you are irrational and filled with hate. But I will keep fighting.

  2. Colin Downes says:

    From my perspective, there’s no argument or debate to be had with this sort of position. The value system and underlying epistemological assumptions informing that quote are just too radically disjointed from where I’m at. We’d have no common ground to argue from.

    I mean, the man explicitly endorses a theocratic police state. You don’t argue with that kind of politics, you extirpate it from the public square.

    • kunzelman says:

      That is sort of why I feel horrified–I would never, ever silence speech of any kind, but in a world where you actually have to debate out whether the State has a right to kill moral dissidents, what the fuck do you do?

  3. I think your reaction here is similar to mine whenever I get FB trolled by someone who firmly, firmly believes that rape could be prevented if women just carried handguns. It is the worst.

  4. KJC says:

    I don’t know if this individual can be reasoned with. But perhaps you can redirect them in a way that makes their extreme positions even easier to ridicule (even to those who are not GLBTQ supporters). Premarital sex happens a good bit. Apparently, having premarital sex and then marrying a different fellow also gets you a death sentence just as adultery does:

    “If a man takes a wife and, after lying with her, dislikes her and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,” then the girl’s father and mother shall bring proof that she was a virgin to the town elders at the gate. The girl’s father will say to the elders, “I gave my daughter in marriage to this man, but he dislikes her. Now he has slandered her and said, ‘I did not find your daughter to be a virgin.’ But here is the proof of my daughter’s virginity.” Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town, and the elders shall take the man and punish him. They shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver[a] and give them to the girl’s father, because this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives.

    If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you. If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel.”

    If the death sentence/damnation includes: non-virgins, tattooed folk, shrimp and pork eaters, and GLBTQ then maybe there will be no one left for this zealot to hang with. We can all be under sentences of death together until someone makes and wins the argument that christianity is supposed to be about love and not hate.

  5. Dustin says:

    The fact that the post in question began with:
    “While I do not advocate murder or the murder of a homosexual
    made my stomach turn.

    As I’ve told you before, the problem is ghosts.

    In all seriousness: I understand the feeling you are talking about. I don’t think debate is the solution, though. People that genuinely think this way aren’t to be debated with; they are to be told, simply, that their views are disgusting and inhumane.

    There are some political viewpoints that, while distasteful and wrong, are at least motivated by the pursuit of the good – e.g., the laizee faire capitalist that genuinely believes that deregulation of the markets would help people more than hurt them. As long as I believe they are arguing in good faith (and don’t actually want to crush the poor and other minorities,) I see nothing wrong with engaging with them. Advocating genocide is another matter; this isn’t merely a fallacious policy – this is saying that some groups of people should die.

  6. PatrickJ says:

    No, the arguments are very easy to refute. But it is impossible to convince the hater of homosexuals because, as has been said, their epistemological assumptions are so different from a somewhat rational mind. I’ve encountered people I’ve disagreed with before, on big things like theology, human rights, the justice of war, etc., but I’ve always had to let it go because I knew I could never convince them otherwise. And that’s the frustration I feel. We have to argue about this because it concerns human lives; and yet, arguing does no good if one side is irrational.

  7. Ack… I might be out of my depth here, but having stumbled upon your blog via your post on “Rise of Planet of the Apes”, I find myself engaged with your various thoughts.

    As a Christian who certainly does NOT believe that homosexuals should be murdered by the state by virtue of their sexual choices, I would say this…

    First, I agree with everyone else who has said that most of the time, such haters cannot be persuaded. I also believe that it’s important (most times) to say something to refute these negative ideas, lest others consider them or accept them.

    So your replies to such comments would be more for the sake of others who may see them (in which case, it’s probably not worth responding to individuals in a private forum — just trash hate emails and such that come your way and say a prayer for their enlightenment).

    Next, I’d say that it helps to respond to people who have chosen a religious worldview within the context of their professed religion. As KJC mentioned above, anyone clinging to the Old Testament Jewish commandments would be somewhat refuted by pointing out that homosexuality isn’t the only sin requiring the death sentence.

    However, I’d go even further. The person spouting the idea that transgressors of the bible commands ought to receive the bible punishments may think they are safe — because they may not be tattooed, they may never have slept with anyone other than their spouse (rare these days, but possible), they may not have committed any of the specific death-penalty sins. HOWEVER, if they profess “Christianity”, then they ought to believe that Jesus was the final word when it comes to the bible.

    In which case, you can pull out what Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-28 — He clearly makes the point that although the Old Testament rules were that you sinned if you slept with someone not your spouse, the truth is that if you even LOOK at her with lust then you have committed adultery in your heart.

    At which point, no man on the planet is free from guilt. Let’s just be real, folks. (And if you are attracted to men, you’re still guilty, because it’s someone who isn’t your “wife”. Heh.)

    Sure, now he’s guilty, but how does this help? Now we just need to wipe out the entire population of the world to satisfy some blood-thirsty God outlined in this guy’s bible.

    Except for this: The whole point of Jesus’ life was to give humanity a message. The same message the angels shouted on that first Christmas night when he was born (not in December, but that’s besides the point): “Don’t be afraid! I’m bringing good news for everyone. A Savior for the whole world was just born. Peace on earth! Goodwill toward all mankind!” (loosely paraphrased from Luke 2)

    The message is that nobody is perfect. But God loves us anyway. He created us with freedom of choice. Sure, he wants us to live in a way that fulfills the design he had in mind when he created us — but he never intended to hold our failures against us. From the very day that mankind chose to turn away and find their own path, God said, “Someday a child will be born of a woman, and he’ll set things right.”

    Okay, okay — now it sounds like I’m preaching, and that’s not my point. I guess you could say that my point is that you can meet a so-called Christian with some of his own medicine and say, “Hey, I’m not perfect, but neither are you. Your very thoughts are enough to get you the death sentence by the old rules of your religion. And even the new rules say that without the blood of Jesus, you’re just as doomed as I would be in ancient Israel under the law of Moses. So give me a break.”

    That’s probably about as close as you can get to a dialogue with someone committed to a religious worldview — understand their religion and speak to them in its terms. Of course, not every religion is as friendly as Jesus-based Christianity (yeah, by that I mean that not every Christian actually follows Jesus as the prime example, a ton of them are mired in the Old Testament and the Jewish laws). I’m pretty sure Islam is a violent religion where “death to the infidel” is pretty much the last word.

    My personal belief is that there’s a Creator who had a plan for the human body how to exercise it sexually, and for the human heart and how to exercise it emotionally. I think marriage between man and woman and the family unit that results from that union is integral to that plan and to healthy society. I’m interested in fulfilling that design.

    But as someone who understands how it feels to be attracted to both sexes, I don’t have the sorts of phobias or pass the kind of judgments that others do.

    I think hate is terribly destructive to all concerned and wish that more people who say they believe in the bible would meet their Maker and get a clue. Hmm — not “meet their Maker” as in “they should just die” (ha!) but that they should have an encounter with the living Creator Spirit who they say that they worship and let him show them what love really is.

    Thanks for letting me voice my opinion. I understand if it’s from a totally different worldview than yours, and just want to participate in an open dialogue. 🙂

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