But Names Can Never Hurt Me?
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.
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)