Of Violence and Idiots

This week saw a first in the sports world – a male athlete going public with his homosexuality.   And as expected, there has been side drama.  Of interest to me was when a sports commentator went public with his belief that active homosexual practice is not consistent with the Biblical definition of a Christian.  Cue the predictable.

Without commenting (right now) on the whole homosexuality issue or Biblical Christianity (both bantered at length on this blog), can I just comment on one response to Chris Broussard (the commentator)?  Eric Goldschein, the managing editor at sportsgrid.com took the opportunity to “applaud Chris Broussard for exercising his right to be an idiot.” And the reason for labeling Chris an idiot?  Well, “For thousands of years, religious doctrines around the world have been used as the basis for discriminating against and subjugating people.”  He goes on.

As we look back in the history of this country and the world over, we see that many people have used…arguments and justifications [based on Biblical interpretations] to refuse to accept other groups of people that make them, for whatever reason, uncomfortable. This is a terrible, hurtful, shameful viewpoint, one that will not be vindicated in the history books. 

Point taken.  Bibilical interpretation has been used to defend wicked discrimination and subjugation in history.   So…Chris is an idiot for bringing Biblical interpretation to bear on the issue of homosexuality and the events of this historic occasion.   Since the Bible has been used to endorse violence, lets leave it out of the discussion.

But there’s a problem.  The Bible isn’t the only tool in the shed of the violent.   Yeah the Bible as been used to endorse war and discrimination, but so has fear, revenge, faulty justice, oil and territories, plus a whole host of rational and secular ideologies like evolutionary science or 20th century communism.  So yeah, violent Christians have a knack for using the Bible to support their warfare.  Violent racists have had a knack for using science and fear-mongering to support theirs.  The gluttonous have used oil, land, beer, spices, etc.  A simple study of history would show that the problem is not so much with the tools as it is with the ones who wield them.  In other words, perhaps its not the Bible or science or oil that makes people violent.  Perhaps its that we by nature are violent people, that violence is our default response to fear, loss of power and privilege, discomfort etc (anybody pay attention to the civil wars happening around the globe, our own political circus this past year, or even the staggering statistics of wounded and ruined relationships in our families?).  Violence is endemic to the human condition…to my condition!  And anyone who disagrees with me is an idiot and should be cast out of the intellectual marketplace, rarrrrrr!!!

To me, Goldschein’s whole basis for calling Broussard an idiot is an attempt to avoid that reality.  Its an exercise in blame-shifting:  blame shifting on par with my kids when they follow the example of the youngest in errant behavior, blame shifting such as when I yell and name-call and blame it on those who’ve transgressed the laws of my comfort system.

So all I’m asking is, should we maybe first wrestle with our violent nature, our lust for war, before callously blaming and discrediting whatever tools our hands latch on to in justifying that nature?  Or even more, should we really be so quick to label and name-call those trying to find a solution to violence outside the collective opinions of a violent culture?

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