Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Why preaching hate matters

Castor beans (from USDA via Wikipedia)

Dan Savage reports at the Stranger (Seattle):
Eleven gay bars in Seattle received letters today addressed to the "Owner/Manager" from someone claiming to be in the possession of ricin, a deadly poison. "Your establishment has been targeted," the letter begins. "I have in my possession approximately 67 grams of ricin with which I will indiscriminately target at least five of your clients."
I worked for a decade in biotechnology (as an accountant, not a scientist). We actually used ricin (the powerful toxin derived from castor beans) in attempts to create drugs that would target cancerous cells and kill them. A lethal dose of ricin is about the size of a grain of salt (Wikipedia). There is no antidote.

I have never forgotten the level of documentation involved in transporting or possessing something so dangerous. Some of that documentation passed through my hands when I worked in accounts payable.

Anyone who would even threaten this, much less act on it, has to be consumed with a festering hate. We learn hatred. So where would this domestic terrorist learn such hatred?

Anyone care to speculate?

I obviously have my own ideas.

[Caution: this is not a parody; it is the Westboro Baptist Church singing "God hates the world." Not for the squeamish. UPDATE: I should strengthen this warning. This can really sour your day; offered for informational purposes only. Have an antidote ready - a lovely walk outdoors if weather permits, or some time with a loved on, a purring cat or adoring dog, some time to bask in God's love.]

This is why Prop 8, its implications, and its sequelae are so important.

* * *

(Lest I be misunderstood, I do not think Rick Warren is even remotely as sick and hateful as this crowd. The world is repulsed by Phelps and his gang and does not take them seriously. But that makes Warren and those like him far more of a threat, because he is "likeable" - more so than the Bavarian troglodyte in the shoes of the fisherman - and still spreads the belief that same-sex affection is disordered and needs healing. Though I would, and do, vehemently disagree, I do not question his right to preach that in his church. I consider it bad theology and bad science and harmful to others - thus pretty much a combination of willful ignorance and immoral speech. But it's allowed. Taking it into the public forum to deny civil rights to a segment of the citizenry is also allowed, though an act of injustice and oppression which the citizenry has every right to denounce. We can certainly call bigotry and oppression what they are. He errs in labeling the protests as Christophobic. Jesus said nothing about sexual orientation - and had a lot of critical things to say about family, for that matter. Our argument is not with Jesus. It's not even with the Bible, but with certain interpretations of it, especially interpretations by folks who see nothing wrong with eating shellfish or wearing blended fabrics, or who don't consistently stone their teenage daughters when they get knocked up because their parents won't teach them contraception. There is way too much inconsistency in hermeneutics there. End of rantlet.)
--the BB

1 comment:

FranIAm said...

Your juxtapositioning of how Phelps is necessary to make Warren likeable is one of the truest things I have read.

I got about 48 seconds into the video. I am sickened.