Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Backpedaling Furiously

Remember when I told my mother to fuck off?


Okay, I see now that I went overboard in my rhetoric yesterday. I stand by my consistent statements that intelligent design does not belong in a science curriculum. I will also continue to press skeptics to consider that intelligent design is not crackpot mythology, or at least concede that their skepticism is no more scientifically valid than my faith. Or, at the very least, convince them that I.D. is not Creationism.

Whether you believe God is the driving force behind evolution or not does not change the facts that need to be taught.

It's not easy being in my position. By advocating intelligent design, I know that I'm throwing my hat in the same ring with a lot of crazies.

I am also well aware that the ideologues currently hijacking our government, aided by a credulous media eager for outrageous talking heads to increase ratings, have created a negative image of Christianity in the minds of many Americans. From televangelist sex-scandals and "God is going to call me home" pledge drives, to an evangelical President whose priorities include slashing programs that aid the poor to pay for tax cuts for the ultra rich while lying his way into a bloody conflict, to the Terri Schiavo morass...well, the list sadly goes on.

Nowhere is mistrust of people of faith more prevalent, or more understandable, than in the gay community. From severe mental distress inflicted during adolescence by well-meaning but misguided and misinformed parents, to conversion therapy, right on down the line to violence and murder, gay people have suffered tremendously.

Most of the blame lies with conservative evangelicals who have chosen to make their version of sexual morality the cornerstone of their faith and the top of their legislative agenda. But liberals and secular types have succombed to a double standard: though the liberal mantra is inclusive and respectful of the individual, somehow it's okay to lump "Christians" all together and say things about them they'd never say about other groups. Again, conservative Christians have done more than their fair share of damaging the reputation of the faith, but I'm not sure secularists are aware of their own hypocrisy.

For example, here are some charming comments left on the Washington Monthly blog on this very issue:

I have an idea. Let's teach kids both theories about Christmas. They can learn the Christ child/manger theory, and then they can learn the Santa Claus theory, and we can let them decide which theory they like better and want to believe in. I don't see why competing ideas should be kept out of the classroom.

To Christian Nuts everywhere:Why don't you wait for a divine miracle to make all public schools teach Christianity and leave science teaching to teachers?

If anything has been responsible for a lot of evil in the world, it is Christianity. How many people have been killed supposedly in the name of Christ? And I am not even talking about the Crusades, the pogroms, the Inquisition, the colonization of the Americas or similar incidents. Just think about the Reformation. There is plenty of evil to go around right there.

It's difficult for me to read things like this and I don't appreciate being lumped in with folks like James Dobson or Jerry Falwell or George Bush. Or the Inquisition. One of my goals is to get mistrustful secular types to see that Christian thought is diverse, and that Christianity can be a beautiful, empowering, comforting faith -- and to recognize that they already agree with much of Christ's message.

So yesterday I decided to be clever and lay a little trap in my blog. I thought, "Oh, won't it be delightful to set the secularists up for a dig at their intelligence based on their belief systems and let them see how it feels!"

Oh yes, Jesus would have been proud. Oops.

Instead of the anticipated bigoted, hypocritcal response I had envisioned, I ended up insulting a good friend who has only ever responded to my beliefs and opinions with objectivity and respect.

For that, I am deeply sorry.


Anthony said...

Admitting to a mistake can take some courage, particularly when it's on such a sensitive issue. Good friends, in my experience, are very much accepting of each other's foibles, so I trust you can patch things up.

Anonymous said...

I hope your friend can forgive you as quickly as your mother did. Anyone who really knows you well knows you care deeply about your friends and relationships and a comment which is typically out of character for you should be considered carefully before ruining a friendship.