Friday, November 23, 2007

Don't hate the player, hate the Bible!

There's a particularly annoying position that's starting to rear its ugly head with respect to neo-Nazi Jessica Beaumont and her public position that gays deserve to be killed when she explicitly quotes Leviticus 20:13:

If a man lies with man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Take it away, Adam C:

their blood will be on their own heads.

I didn't miss this bit, but it is a quotation; it's not her own words.

Now, perhaps I'm reading Adam incorrectly, but it seems that he's suggesting that you can't accuse Beaumont of preaching hate since she's not personally taking that position, it's the Bible that's taking that position, and Beaumont is simply quoting it approvingly, which isn't the same thing, so Beaumont gets a pass.

In a word, fuck that.

This is the same kind of sleazy evasion that Christians have been using for years, to not have to take responsibility for their bigotry and racism: "Hey, I have nothing against Negroes, but it's the Bible that tells me that they're mud people and inferior. I'm just following Scripture."

Quite simply, the above is nothing more than moral cowardice -- people who want to promote offensive beliefs but don't have the guts to admit that they believe them personally, so they pawn it all off on a reading of Scripture, which allows them to behave as if their hands are still clean. And it doesn't end there.

The same kind of rhetorical douchebaggery can be found in the Wankersphere when someone finds an online article promoting "X", links to said article promoting "X", effusively praises article promoting "X", encourages readers to go read article promoting "X", but when article promoting "X" is exposed as utter rubbish, the aforementioned wanker disavows any responsibility for it, saying, "Hey, I never said 'X', I just linked to 'X', don't blame me!"

It's the kind of rhetorical douchebaggery that you can find, say, here, where The Politic's Aaron "Spanky" Unruh is all over the claim that "gay marriage is hazardous to your health," where Spanky reproduces that ridiculous claim, and also links to the article in question.

But after your humble scribe (uh, that would be me) took Spanky outside and kicked him around the back 40 for a few hours, you'll notice Spanky's furious backpedaling and disavowal of any responsibility:

But here’s the deal. I provide the link, you go read if you like, “refute” whatever you like, and leave me alone. How hard is this? And if you don’t like the articles I link, then treat the presence of my name at the top of posts as a warning: “Oops, my feelings are about to be hurt, had better not read.”

Yes, there's a profile in courage and integrity, that Spanky. He'll link to it, he'll promote it, he'll enourage his readers to read it, but he sure as fuck won't take responsibility for it if it turns out to be nothing but putrid, pseudo-scientific bigotry from beginning to end.

And that's what you find with neo-Nazi Christians like Beaumont and her supporters: "Hey, I'm not suggesting gays should be killed, I just want to make sure everyone reads this really, really, really cool passage from Leviticus, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I'm sayin'?"

Yes, Jessica, we know exactly what you're saying; we're just disappointed that you don't have the spine to take personal ownership of it but prefer to dump the blame all over the Old Testament. And if Adam wants to hang his argument on that kind of rhetorical hair-splitting, I think he's in for a rough ride, debate-wise.

... yet another Blogging Tory who needs a session or two in remedial English:

However, provided she doesn’t advocate violence towards the people she hates (and she didn’t), ...

Because "They must be put to death" is apparently a metaphor or something.

One can only wonder how many other Blogging Tories are going to fling themselves under this particular bus. Perhaps we should be keeping a list.


thwap said...

So, they're either gutless, hypocritical cowards, or they're really as stupid as they say they are.

Remember when Elmer Fudd apologized for shooting Bugs Bunny? "I didn't mean to hurt you when I killed you."

That's what they're sounding like right now.

CC said...


You offer us those two choices as if they are mutually exclusive. Let me be the first to disabuse you of that notion.

Phyl said...

One reason for dragging in any quotation is to support your position (otherwise why would you bother? what would be the point?).

So anyone who drags in that quote from Leviticus -- except to hack it to pieces as it deserves -- is advocating the murder of gay people.

It's obvious to anyone who THINKS.

Ti-Guy said...

In the report of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, Warman vs Beaumont, I came across this:

"[63] Mr. Fromm submitted that it is not uncommon to hear some of these terms used in public today. Ms. Beaumont testified that she usually spoke this way amongst her peers. For instance, in her everyday conversations, she often refers to Indians as "chugs" (a term used in Message 11) and she sees nothing wrong with that. She acknowledged that it is a derogatory term but she would only use it when speaking to her friends, and not it in the presence of an Aboriginal person."

...and it really did illustrate the point CC made earlier; these so-called defenders of freedom of expression really are cowards, who are too weak and afraid to express their opinions in venues where they can expect to be challenged.

Chet Scoville said...

Anyway, since when do Nazis not advocate violence towards the people they hate?

I can't believe that I'm still capable of being surprised by the modern right, but the fact that they've actually picked a self-described Nazi as their cause du jour -- seriously, the mind just boggles.

Adam C said...

I don't know how many times I have to say this. I am not contesting that Beaumont was spreading hate. What I don't believe is that she was advocating or inciting violence.

There is a critical difference there - in the Criminal Code, and certainly to me. If you want to give me a "rough ride" in the debate, then someone is going to have to take the position that

any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination

is a justifiable restriction of free speech. Or else you're going to have to demonstrate that quoting a 2000+ year old writer with no immediacy or other violent context is some kind of incitement.

Phyl said...

I repeat -- the only reason one would even choose precisely a quotation advocating killing gay people -- unless one is going to rip it to shreds -- is because it supports one's own argument.

If she was NOT advocating violence against gays, she could have chosen Romans 1:27 instead: "Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due." That doesn't advocate murder. (Though countless fundies use it as a gleeful vision of AIDS as their deity's punishment.)

Funny how NONE of these people can quote a verse about gay people without indicating their approval of some kind of wretched fate for those gay people, isn't it?

Red Tory said...

"JR"... There's another one that Ross & Patels should be "outing" as part of their Code of Ethical Blogging right?

Dr.Dawg said...

The devil cites Scripture for his purpose, as Shakespeare said. As I note over at my place, I'd get short shrift from the authorities if I threatened to burn down some conservative's house, and then claimed I was only quoting the Bible: "We will burn your house around you with fire!" [Judges 12:1]. And the cons wouldn't exactly be going to bat for me when I got charged for uttering threats, either.

As for Kate, Suffer not a witch to live, I say. But I hasten to add that I'm merely citing Exodus 22:18.

Adam C said...

Dawg, in the first example you noted at your place it would depend much on the rest of your e-mail; otherwise you would have a strong defense that you were speaking metaphorically. In your second example you are "exhorting an angry crowd" outside someone's house - there's a lot of immediacy there.

If I write a blog post complaining about how much I hate lawyers, then end with Shakespeare's famous quote from Henry V, am I inciting violence?

Ti-Guy said...

If I write a blog post complaining about how much I hate lawyers, then end with Shakespeare's famous quote from Henry V, am I inciting violence?

Well, give it a shot. If no one hauls you before the CHRC, you'll at least know that no one really thought it was significant enough to be concerned.

Adam C said...

Heh. Hey, Ti-Guy, are you from Canada? Inciting violence is a criminal offense, not a CHRA tort...