Friday, May 4, 2012

You've got to be taught.

The other night I was watching the movie Going My Way, which stars Bing Crosby as the hip, piano playing priest, Father Charles O’Malley. There he was, taking his ghetto kids to baseball games, pulling them off the street and forming an all-boys choir, all while saving an ailing St. Dominic’s parish from foreclosure by simply stalling the banker who held the mortgage until he could produce a hit record to pay it off. And when a fire destroys the church shortly before Christmas, Father O was not dismayed. He simply erected a makeshift chapel. His indomitable spirit was an inspiration to everyone in the movie. In the end, he is called away to rescue yet another ailing parish and leaves quietly and humbly during the Christmas Eve ceremony, but not until he sees the reunion of elderly Father Fitzgibbon and his mother, who have been separated for forty years. Every time I watch it, I think to myself, wouldn’t it be nice if that’s the way life really was?

Meanwhile, back in reality, there is Sean Harris, pastor of the Barean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, who, in last Sunday’s sermon, told his congregation that effeminate boys should be punched by their fathers and sent outside to dig ditches to make them more manly. He also suggested that if boys show signs of “limp wristedness” fathers should “Crack that wrist”. In other words, beat your kid straight.

Harris had some good, Christ-like advice for female children too. For them, he suggested that while it was alright for girls to play sports as long as they did it for the glory of God (Jesus apparently loved field hockey), girls should “girl up” afterwards and wear dresses, be pretty like a girl and “smell” like a girl, whatever that means. I’m sure he has done extensive research into how girls should smell or he wouldn’t have made such an idiotic statement, although I’m not really sure why girl-smell is important to Sean Harris when it comes to salvation. To the best of my knowledge, even though there was a seemingly wayward girl in Going My Way, Father O’Malley never smelled her in an effort to put her on the right path in life.

The impetus behind Harris’ zealous tirade was that this week, North Carolinians are voting on a bill, which if passed, would alter their state constitution and define marriage as between one man and one woman . His goal was to rile up the faithful, grab a voter registration card on the way out of the church, and register that day so they will never again have to worry about homosexuals coming in and defiling the sanctity of marriage. For that you can read the life and times of John Edwards or New Gingrich.

Ostensibly, Harris’ did the old chestnuts in his sermon; gays are an abomination, Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, how God designed you to be a man or a woman and to question or alter gender was a horrible thing, etc. But I went and listened to the entire sermon, all 55 fire and brimstone minutes of it; I strongly urge that you do the same. And while the anti-gay rhetoric was as usual, repugnant, there was another overt message that was even more stunning to me; at one point, he began urging his congregants to begin cranking out babies because the Muslims were beating the Christians in that race. He actually fears that Muslims will take over the world with their sheer numbers! So his argument wasn’t so much that gay folk can’t be good parents, it’s that man on man sex can’t result in reproduction. Talk about social engineering!

Of course, Sean didn’t really spend too much time on lesbians and I suspect that was for two reasons. First, his view of how society should be structured is blatantly patriarchal. Women need to be pretty and attractive and barefoot and pregnant.  Secondly, women can reproduce, but only by a man. He doesn’t think much of artificial insemination or two moms. No, there must be a man present in the child’s life because who else is going to dole out the punches? No comment from him on those straight couples that need it to have a baby.

Sean was emphatic that everyone needs to be married and cranking out kids. He was also pretty bellicose in pushing his belief that there was no reason for divorce. “Work it out!” he screamed. Tell that to the woman whose getting beat up on a daily basis by her man or whose kids are being abused by the same.

I could go on and on about Sean Harris’ ‘sermon’, but let me wrap it up here. After it went viral on YouTube, he recanted his call to beat and punch effeminate male children on Michelangelo Signorile’s Sirius Radio talk show.

“I had no idea the video would be chopped and posted in the blogosphere in such a manner in which the entirety isn’t understood”, he said. Again, I reiterate; go to the Barean Baptist Church website and listen for yourself. I think the context is quite clear. And that brings me to the second part of this entry, which deals with the results of Sean Harris’ Godly advice.

On June 4, 2012, CeCe McDonald, a black, transgendered woman will be sentenced to three years and five months in prison for the death of Dean Schmitz, a white man, reports the Huffington Post.

Mr. Schmitz was apparently doing the work of the Lord on June 5 of last year when Ms. McDonald, who was transitioning at the time, had the audacity to walk past the bar in Minneapolis where Mr. Schmitz and some other patrons attempted to “masculinize” her by throwing a glass at her face, taunting her and her friends with epithets such as “faggots,”  “niggers” and “chicks with dicks”. Feeling threatened by Schmitz and company, Ms. McDonald defended herself and stabbed Mr. Schmitz to death.

What’s tragic about this story is that one man is dead, and a woman who by all accounts was just in the wrong place at the wrong time is now going to jail, all because of the type of hate that many churches all across America are disseminating through their congregations. And that, “Pastor” Harris, is what your kind of preaching does. Issuing a retraction may be good for covering your ass from lawsuits and DYFS investigations, but I’m guessing that you and your kind put out hate-filled speech like this regularly. The shame of it is that you do it in the name of Jesus.

So, we’ve gone from Father O’Malley’s loving care to the dirt of Sean Harris’ plan for ‘social cleansing’ in just a few short paragraphs. And since I love movies so much, I’d like to leave you with some lyrics from South Pacific.  I can’t think of a better way to address the Sean Harrises of this world.

You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made
And people whose skin is a different shade
You’ve got to be carefully taught

You’ve got to b e taught before it’s too late
Before you are six or seven or eight
To hate all the people your relatives hate
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

That’s it. Everybody hug, everybody eat. Abbondanza!

1 comment:

  1. There are a lot of scary people out there preaching hate...