Social media is raging about Phil Robertson and his right to his religious views.Calling something a religious belief doesn’t make it immune to criticism.
“The appointment of this race of men to servitude and slavery was a judicial act of God, or, in other words, was a divine judgment.” – Origin and History of the Negro Race- Josiah Priest (1853)
Snark (according to Urban Dictionary): verbal ingenuineness that is brief, subtle, yet quite stabbing. snark is often marked by deep creativity & use of psychological attack. It employs coldbloodedness and is best served unprovoked. Snark can contain hidden complimentary meaning under a mean face, but it hurts more than it strengthens.
I mentioned it in my last post, but I want to be clear; I want you to start a fight.
Chances are, you encounter something you disagree with every day. You probably see it on Facebook or Twitter or whichever is your social media fix of choice. You probably keep scrolling. Perhaps, you write something on that person’s wall but the comments drive you away.
At this moment, I’m thinking of the discussion of Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty. He made some very problematic statements and if your criticism of those statements becomes too forceful, then you’re “attacking his beliefs.”
The problem is this: bigotry is bigotry. Calling it “religious beliefs” is just a way to de-fang you. So, I’m advocating for everything in moderation, including moderation.
Sometimes, you’ve got to shout. Sometimes, you’ve got to piss somebody off. Get in somebody’s face and call him/her out. You went to elementary school, you played on playgrounds, and you met a bully or two there. There comes a time when you’ve got to raise your voice because polite discourse has failed.
Now, I don’t think anger changes anyone’s mind. What I do believe is this: anger can silence someone for fear of reprisal. In instances of bigotry and intolerance, silence seems alright.
I’m not advocating ad hominem attacks; attacking someone on a personal level is almost never a useful method. I’m talking about criticizing belief systems. Some like to hide behind their beliefs as if they’re unchangeable, unassailable rights. They’re not.
If I believe that everyone who drives a SMART car is a terrible driver, that doesn’t give me the right to demand those cars be outlawed. A belief and an action are two different things. Fight hateful actions, and don’t be scared by the word ‘belief’.
Editor’s Note: There are caring, considerate, compassionate (alliterate much?) people from every faith. I’ve met many of them. For these people, religious belief is not a bludgeon to force everyone into one way of thinking. For them, belief is a personal connection with someone larger than themselves, and that is just alright with me.
Photo— Flickr/ Stephen Luke
Further Reading: Consequences of Free Speech