The Texas Rangers is the only Major League Baseball (MB) team that is not hosting a Pride Night celebration this season. Given Texas’ deepening bigotry and hate-fueled culture, that is not surprising. But, wait. Is criticizing the sin of silence legitimate? Does the absence of speech constitute a fierce, unprovoked attack? Context, again, may help answer those questions. Martin Luther King, Jr. is quoted as saying, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps perpetuate it.” That statement can be used as a tool to defend one’s positions, regardless of the positions one takes. Its use to defend the Texas Rangers’ silence might suggest the Rangers’ decision not to host Pride Night celebrations is equivalent to silent protest. But its use to condemn the team for its silence might suggest the team is passively accepting the evil of homophobia. Context, yes But context within a framework of underlying philosophy; each of two sides of an argument can use the same “event” to support its position. Only but unraveling all the beliefs underlying an argument is it possible to come to a reasonable conclusion about what is “true.” But a reasonable conclusion can be fundamentally false. Depending on the context of one’s assertions. I sometimes hate being able to understand (but not necessarily agree with) the rationales underlying opposing points of view.
Speaking of which, Garrison Keillor regularly uses/used reference to Unitarian Universalists in his comedy routines. Usually, I found his jokes involving UUs funny and appropriately irreverent. But sometimes I was relatively certain I detected in his “humor” a deep contempt for Unitarian Universalism. I try to overlook—or, at least, not to judge—that contempt because to do otherwise would be extremely hypocritical of me; as I find various other religions and religious practices contemptible.
When I give serious thought to matters religious, I find that I hold ALL religions contemptible, to one extent or another. And that includes Unitarian Universalism. I believe UUs sometimes speak out of two sides of our mouths—lambasting other religions for their practices or their beliefs or their disdain for Unitarian Universalism while condemning others for doing the same in targeting our own. Either we are tolerant or we are not; either we acknowledge that no one—ourselves included—has all the answers or we acknowledge our sense of certainty in condemning others who claim they do.
In my ever-evolving point of view, religions would best keep their underlying philosophies to themselves and would judge themselves and others only by their actions. Even that, though, would leave us at loggerheads. Because, of course, our philosophies guide our actions, despite sometimes seeming to do precisely the opposite. Ach!
Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.
~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~
I find myself at odds with others’ certainty that our church’s glass door was smashed by someone who hates our beliefs. While I acknowledge the possibility that is true, I do not claim certainty; either that hatred or simple vandalism was responsible. I do not see the value in making unverifiable assumptions about the motives behind the act. Regardless of what prompted it, our reactions probably will be the same: install cameras and other “defensive” technologies and post notices that visitors are under surveillance. It matters little what motivates an attack; it matters far more that preventive and/or reactive measures are taken. Taking the position that we are defending ourselves against a hate crime would tend to galvanize us in ways I think are not useful; in fact, bracing ourselves against non-existent acts of “hatred” expends energy in ways that could be better expended. My thoughts, in passing.
While religious tolerance is surely better than religious war, tolerance is not without its liabilities. Our fear of provoking religious hatred has rendered us incapable of criticizing ideas that are now patently absurd and increasingly maladaptive.
~ Sam Harris ~
I wonder whether my constantly evolving stance on religion, coupled with the steadfastness of the intensity of my religious doubt, makes me unsuitable to head a conglomeration of disparate questioners. I see all sides, yet I am firmly attached to none. Maybe doubt is not the best qualification for leadership.