Michael Cobb’s God Hates Fags: The Rhetoric of Religious Violence –The Changing Tide within Churches, The Vatican, and Looking Forward
I avoid using the “F” word as much as possible, and repeating it in every post while discussing Michael Cobb’s book has been a challenge. But as Cobb would likely say—as evidenced throughout his well-developed arguments—there are times when avoiding certain words can be dangerous. Since the “F” word is used against us so often, it’s easy to steel ourselves, try and ignore it. But we can’t pretend it’s not being said, as much as we might want to.
There are a number of useful points to take away from God Hates Fags: The Rhetoric of Religious Violence. In my previous six posts, I’ve addressed most of them. But, as he wraps up his book, he asserts two important things. First, we can be more than the rhetoric, the names foisted on us (183). Here, he’s suggesting we find ways to rise above all the hateful language—and the accompanying behavior and attitudes. He also cautions that we need to pay attention to hate as well as hate’s language (183).
If left unchecked, this negativity will fester, and although he doesn’t make this point explicitly, it’s worth saying: we need to come together as a community to stamp out this hate. But, like any fight, we need allies, and, thankfully, there seem to be people willing to help—and do so publicly.
Recently, at a Southern Baptists conference in Nashville, one of the key messages delivered told the gathered pastors: hold the line on gays and stand up for heterosexual marriage. After all, gay relationships are sinful. They are a real challenge to us on Biblical authority. So this is nothing new (and still troubling). Yet, the speaker urged people to “be humble and compassionate.” Thankfully, one of these people went so far as to admit that trying to “change” gays is wrong, that gay children should not be shunned, gay bullying should be condemned, and we need to “repent our anti-gay rhetoric.”
And of course, there are the collection of remarks made by Pope Francis, who has not only remarked “Who am I to judge Gay people?” but has also made attempts to compel the Church to be more welcoming to gay people in general. This stance has, of course, been met with unfortunate skepticism. But it is a positive start.
I’d like to think that this blog project is also helping—in my own small way. In reading the Bible and continuing to engage with the content through subsequent books, I’ve engaged religious individuals by taking the time to read about their ideas. It’s important to try and understand people, even if you don’t agree with them.
Next up for the Bible Blog Project: I tackle Reza Aslan’s Zealot. I’ve been curious about this academic’s examination of Jesus ever since I saw his now-famous appearance on Fox News. If you haven’t seen this clip, I highly recommend it, for this is fairly telling of how an “expert” on religion (the host of the show) exercises ignorance and bigotry without even noticing what she’s really saying.
I will begin my discussion here in the new year.