In the wake of the tragic events of Orlando there has been the usual pointing of fingers at religion in general as the root cause of all anti-gay violence and hate.
Most of us are not surprised by these general and ignorant attacks. We have been hearing it long enough — though we are often not very good in responding.
I was sickened by the killings in an Orlando nightclub, victimizing people whose greatest crime was to dance and have a good time. So the idea that what I believe is associated with such carnage is despicable and wrong.
Note this article from the CBC’s Neil MacDonald. It is of a type. It uses some of the same arguments employed by the late Christopher Hitchens. You take a line or two out of the Old Testament and use that to prove how awful religion is when it comes to gay people.
Mr. MacDonald wrote last week, “Islam may be more overt about its homophobia than the other major religions — anyone who’s worked in the Middle East has heard some fool in high office declaring that there are no gays in Islam, and therefore no AIDS — but the fact is, conservative iterations of all the monotheistic faiths are deeply and actively and systemically anti-gay.”
“The sacred monotheistic texts contain prohibitions that would by just about any legal definition be considered hate speech in the modern secular world.”
“The Old Testament Book of Leviticus 20:13 states: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.”
Not sure about you but I can’t remember the last time I saw a group of Christians stoning someone to death. Perhaps I live in the wrong neighbourhood.
I want to be clear that I am not a CBC basher. They do many things well. But their coverage of religion and such social issues as euthanasia makes me want to smash my car radio and replace it with an eight-track tape player.
In fairness, Mr. MacDonald also quotes from Islamic texts to make his point. But my objection is taking what today is a problem in Islam and somehow linking Christianity and Judaism to the same cart.
Perhaps Mr. MacDonald imagines that every Sunday frothing Catholic priests scream from the pulpits about the message of Leviticus. Maybe Mr. MacDonald knows something we don’t but I’d be willing to bet his “analysis” is more a reflection of his own prejudice than anything that even comes close to scholarship or reality.
The use of this example is intellectually dishonest. The Bible is prophecy, poetry, metaphor and revelation. Taken as a whole, from Genesis through the Gospels to Revelation, it is also the history of God’s people that also points to the eternal future. It goes from the rough judgment of the old Jewish law to Christ’s message of redemption and salvation. There is also the clear message, never understood by our myriad critics, that we are all sinners and all in need of help. It does not prioritize sin. In fact I think it’s safe to say there are no mortal sins considered better or worse than any other.
The main thing I have heard from our Church about our gay brothers and sisters is that they should be loved. No, the Church does not support gay marriage but that is far different than stoning or even refusing jobs to someone because of their sexual orientation.
I have no doubt that Mr. MacDonald is a smart man and perhaps a good man. But he’s stuck in the same fog of religion-as-a-cliché, something rampant at the CBC.
A few years ago on Christmas the CBC decided not to focus on the birth of Jesus but on Wicca.
This past Good Friday instead of say looking at the resurrection in today’s secular culture, or something as such, the CBC interviewed Gretta Vosper, the United Church of Canada’s dreary atheist minister. No, I’m not kidding. I wrote about her about eight years ago and it’s only recently that the UCC has decided maybe it’s time for Rev. Vosper to get a new title.
Then there was Wendy Mesley’s recent interview with Michael Coren. Please watch for yourself. It’s as if Ms. Mesley was welcoming Mr. Coren back from some dark, barbaric cult into the real world in which all the smart set know that the Church is an antiquated albatross on secular society.
There is another problem that many critics of religion have failed to acknowledge. Most terror incidents starting back with 9/11 have come out of Islam. Even Bill Maher, the ultra-liberal, smug TV talk show host who is hostile to all religion, said that terrorism is not a religion problem but an Islamic problem.
He went further by questioning why our leaders can be weepy eyed over Orlando and yet not seem to care about propping up regimes in which being gay can earn you the death penalty.
That is not to blame every Muslim. That would be the worst kind of bigotry. But there is no doubt that there is something in the mother’s milk of Islam that seems to feed an ungodly number of fanatics. Some will argue that there have been attacks in the U.S. that are inspired by right wing Christians. The murder of British MP Jo Cox may turn out to be such an example. We should not ignore those who may turn to fanaticism in our own faith but compared with what is coming out of Islam our issues are contained.
The CBC is paid for with taxpayer dollars …our dollars. And should be held to a higher standard of fairness. So don’t let these attacks on our faith go without reaction. Write to the CBC, write to your MP or anyone else you think might have some influence on the national broadcaster. But don’t let it slide. All this propaganda eventually starts to have the ring of truth.
Charles Lewis is a regular contributor to The Catholic Register and a board member of the Catholic Civil Rights League. He has been writing for 36 years. He was also the religion reporter for the National Post until January 2014.
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