Smelling Roses, Disaster & Theology
Let us now smell some roses and thank whomever we thank for not being there in the Tornadoes which did sweep through the South and wreck death, mayhem and destruction upon those poor people there.
Ah. Sad. 176 dead so far, RIP. And I saw it coming because we had quite a bit of howling and tree bending here – heading in their direction, and just picking up energy. Fortunately Baton Rouge is on the very far edge of the tornado strike zone that covers a good portion of the Midwest and the South. We rarely get hit; but sometimes, yes. Tornadoes, which seem so normal to us Americans are, in fact, very uniquely American. As much as apple pie and the Stars and Stripes.
Indeed, some 95% of the world’s tornadoes happen right here in the USA. Right in Tornado Alley. There’s really a few alleys, but hey, that’s nitpicking. The rest of the world, lead by Bangladesh of all places, gets the other 5%. Of course, sometimes, horrific natural events are said to be caused by God’s wrath. This has been true since virgins were thrown into volcanoes to appease the Gods; or the Aztecs yanked hearts out of 20,000 to 40,000 at a time. Recently, often, the wrath is laid on the hands of gay folks. It’s said we should be thrown into volcanoes – get this, for not being virgins! How that will appease the Gods is not said.
That is, many a preacher says very quickly after such events – see, gays are treated nicely, God did send the tornado (hurricane, earthquake, flood, tsunami … pick one.) He says it with a straight face, too. Why, the earthquake that reduced Christchurch New Zealand to a pile of rubble killing hundreds and now quickly forgotten by anyone off of New Zealand’s islands was said to have been God’s wrath because 900 gay men snow skiers came to enjoy the mountains in the area. Why God did not smote the cities where these men came from I do not know. Naught is said on this.
But I think – what gay folks or the acceptance thereof could there have been in Tuscaloosa that caused God to send down the whirlwinds and just flatten the place? And divers other cities, towns and burbs all across the region too were hit, why? After all, there’s only “The Icon” right there in downtown – 15 blocks from 15th Street which seems to have taken the brunt of the twister. One bar; but still – The Icon! Can you imagine? Why, religious imagery right there in the name of a gay bar. The horrors. Or it could be for some other thing, Hollywood icons, maybe. I don’t know. Anyway, will some party there be blamed now? But still, Alabama is not exactly a hot bed of the gay culture or lifestyle, such as it is. Oh, I’m sure all the church organists in Tuscaloosa, and the florists who are men, and the hair dressers but not the barbers, I’m sure they’re all gay, just like everywhere else. Still, Tuscaloosa is not a gay haven by anyone’s measure. Not really intolerant though. I’ve been there, I’ve never heard a nasty word about us. The Icon hasn’t been bothered, like, forever.
Or, can we turn this? You know, don’t blame the gays, but something, or better, someone else? Sure we can. Look: God sent down the tornadoes on Alabama because the people there are not nice to their gay sons and daughters. There, that can be said, right? Just as looney as the other way ’round, maybe. But hey, why not? For the equality of it all. Indeed, since we’re called pagans and heathens, often, and told we can’t be Christians or Jews whatsoever – and nature is worshiped by pagans and heathens, you know, for it’s where the Gods are, right? Well, then, I suppose one could argue that the pagan gays did call upon the Gods for the Gotterdammerung – the battle of the Gods for those unfamiliar with Wagner – and the pagan God did come and smote some Christians and a few church buildings while He was at it.
But is that rational? Wouldn’t it just be completely nuts? Sure it would. It’s even a creepy fantasy in a way, of a horror flick sort. Who would want to call down destruction on another person? Who would want God to smite someone? Who would call for fire and brimstone to rain down on people just because they did something someone else doesn’t like?
Well, obviously, dictators do. Ghaddafi in Libya has proclaimed himself a God-like being – and he’s written himself some Scripture and given it to all the people. He has put up graven images of himself and his picture everywhere else. He’s quite convinced he is the new Messiah to solve the world’s ills. And so he’s raining some fire and brimstone down on the heretics.
But closer to home, that some Christians, and which one fellow blogger calls Christianists, to separate them from rational beings, are out against the heretics is quite disconcerting. If only because I’m the one called the heretic. And now I see at www.goodasyou.org yesterday that NOM is working its wonders of preaching the gay heresy to the Republican Party. Which might well be the downfall of the institution. Too much theocracy bodes ill for any political party.
The ill named National Organization For Marriage – wouldn’t it be NOFM instead of NOM since they are “FOR” something? So much “for” it for themselves, sometimes, and if divorce isn’t the right way to go, that they are “against” it for other people. People they deem to be “heretics.” That’s the basic line of all the NO GAYS movement. They are calling us heretics, and preaching a theology that is their own, and trying to rile up the entire nation against a tiny bunch, so they can feel better about themselves. Quite a trip. Westboro Baptist Church is of this sort. They went to Branden Mississippi the other day to rile up the heteros against us – the heteros of that town were having nothing to do with it – slashed the tires of Westboro folks, blocked in their vehicles at a motel, and apparently beat the hell out of one or two at a local convenience store. How convenient. No one, of course, saw a thing. Not a witness to be found.
Meanwhile, I’m reading John Boswell’s “Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality – Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century.” And what the scholar did discover is that no one really had a problem with gay folks whatsoever in Christian Europe before the 14th Century. Nope, we were just a tiny subset meandering around trying to make a living – and no one gave a damn. According to Mr. Boswell, there wasn’t one law anywhere against gay folks or gay sex at all until the late 1200s in all of Europe. Now, that’s quite an assertion – but here’s a man who has footnotes taking up half his book. And let’s look at just one footnote, chosen somewhat randomly:
On page 150 is note 56 >> “E. g. De bono conjugali 16.18 (PL, 40:385: “What food is to health of a man, that sex is to the health of the race, and neither is without some carnal pleasure. But if this is moderate and directed by the restraint of temperance only to the natural use, it cannot be [called] lust.” Augustine later repudiated this statement (Retractions 22.2); cf, Contra Julianum 4.14.67 (P, 44:771 ) and the discussion in Noonan pp. 127-31” >> looks like the man did research a bit.
And on and on it goes, note after note, often more note and source than text. In Latina and Greek too, just to make sure no one could question the man. NOM should learn something of citing sources like Boswell, instead of just making stuff up.
And he wrote “Same Sex Unions in Premodern Europe” too – and at least a third of that book is given over to translations of commitment ceremonies between two guys that were held in churches back in the day. He’s quite the scholar.
And well, the NOMsters ought to get a hold of these two books, so they can return to the roots of the religion they profess to espouse – love by any name is fine. And this late Medieval attitude that NOM has adopted was all about the money. Particularly when young Philip of France, newly King, found out he was broke and his father had left too much debt. Alas, for Philip, he couldn’t just go sell some treasury bonds on the open market, but had to get some real money.
So he whipped up a little anti-Gay and anti-Jew fervor and went after the Knights Templar first – and on Friday the 13th of October 1307 did arrest all the “sodomites” – employing this word to mean “gay” for about the first time since the city was destroyed – it never really meant “gay” – but “inhospitable.” And well, the Knights Templar had the gold and castles and Philip needed them. So he blamed Jews and Gays and went hog wild. And when he was done with the Knights, Jews and Gays he went after the Pope himself. And then for the next several hundred years there were two popes – one in Italy, rarely in Rome, always on the run – and the other safely in France at Avignon.
And what the NOMsters are doing is the same thing that Philip did – stirring up nastiness for greed. And this Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown make a living off of castigating gay folks. Fortunately we won’t have our assets seized and us tortured and burned at the stake. Maybe just imprisoned and cure forced upon us.
It’s going to be an interesting political season for the presidency as some concentrate on the “gay problem” in this nation. Who would have ever thought we’d be so special as to be the lynchpin of society? Let’s hope God really doesn’t send down wrath, or NOM and company are going to get it. For as you can see, I’m a “Threat” to society because I tend the rose garden in the house of the old man I’m helping. Oh, the horrors. Sniff.
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