Wednesday, January 28, 2009

But Names Can Never Hurt Me?

Growing up I remember being called names -- we've all experienced it. Though, in recent years there has been more of an effort in the schools to deal with this directly. When I was Project Coordinator for the No Place for Hate campaign in Santa Barbara we offered schools resources that helped students understand the issues at hand. And we weren't the only group offering such support services.

What I find interesting is the vehemence with which groups like Focus on the Family oppose anti-bullying education and hate crimes laws. I understand that they oppose homosexuality -- it's quite clear -- but why oppose efforts to reduce the level of hate crimes and bring civility to our communities. Why oppose "No Name Calling Week" in our schools? Surely they're not for children calling others names. Yeah, I know, "sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me." Well, the truth is that names do hurt. They oppose it because they see beneath it a pro-gay agenda. Well, so what? Why do you need to have the right to call someone a fag? Does it empower you? Do you think you are being prophetic?
I simply don't get it!

Candace Chellew-Hodge: gets it:

For this event to focus especially on the words that are most often hurled like weapons at gays and lesbians is the final insult. They'd support this kind of week if they could still call a "fag" a "fag." To them, that's not an insult—it's a tool to shame a miserable sinner into conversion and they won't have it being yanked from their "Black and Decker Save-a-Queer-for-Christ" tool kit.


But these names dig deep and rip at self-esteem. Chellew-Hedge continues:

Believe me, there are plenty of scarred gay and lesbian people walking this earth—and groups like FoF want to keep it that way. Apparently people with low self-esteem are more susceptible to being sucked into a brand of religion that offers easy answers to life's hard questions.

Certainly, Jesus wasn't above name-calling. The Pharisees came in for his wrath and he called them "vipers" and "hypocrites." But, Jesus' name-calling was reserved for the religiously powerful who constantly bullied the least of these.


Yes, Jesus did call certain people names, but they generally were powerful folk, the kind that need to be pulled down a rung. But other children, that's just not cool! Remember Jesus also said:

21 ‘You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not murder”; and “whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.” 22But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, “You fool”, you will be liable to the hell of fire. (Matthew 5:21-22 NRSV)

4 comments:

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

Bob,

Funny you should use this quote from Matthew, because I was thinking about discussing it in my earlier conversation with Anonymous in "Obama Talks to the Muslim World," if Anon had confessed to being a Christian. However, Anon declined to continue the conversation so the opportunity was missed.

The point is that this teaching has broad application. We have many neighbors to whom we owe respect and courtesy if not love and forgiveness, no matter how painfully we disagree with them. And every time we act in disregard of this teaching, we tarnish the Christian mission, we embarrass our Creator, and we diminish ourselves, all without achieving any objective of which God would be proud.

John

Gary said...

Cornwall,

Your level of Biblical understanding is just pathetic. But typical for an infidel.

You are a sodomite enabler. God condemns homosexuality, but you disagree with God and have set yourself against Him by promoting homosexuals. God's judgment of you for your wickedness is certain.

Anonymous said...

http://www.debrajmsmith.com/PeterLaBarberaInterview022309.html