Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Random Thoughts on Related Events

1. The Stanford rape case, the source of internet outrage for a week, is related to the mass shooting at the Orlando gay nightclub, Pulse, news of the next week that supplanted the Stanford rage. Both are examples of a patriarchy that teaches real men grab their twenty minutes of action where they can and not from another man. It's a masculine ideal that is seen as less than wholly to blame for rape and hate crimes because in one way or another the victims of the crime had it coming.

2. Everyone's a tough manly man until they're faced with a prison term or they see two men kissing. Then everyone's delicate sensibilities are shattered to where they can't cook steaks anymore or they have to go shoot up a night club or something.

3. If prison is too damaging a place for a rapist, perhaps it's time to look at our prison system.

4. Was the Pulse shooter (I don't like giving these people fame, others want to name them---I don't know which is the better notion) a deeply closeted and conflicted gay man? I see mixed reports on how his visits to Pulse prior to his rampage might be interpreted. The point is: study after study has shown that the men who are most vocally against homosexuality are also turned on by erotic images of other men. I'd say that well over half of gay men raised in a strict religious setting that condemned homosexuality could tell you stories of internalized homophobia. I grew up in a relatively liberal form of Christianity and I have plenty of tales to tell. I have no surprise to offer at the news that this shooter was at least fascinated by Pulse for some time.

5. These are random thoughts and I have many more. I haven't time for them all this week. Suffice to say, for now, that I do not see these two events as separate. Excuses, justifications, commentary that begins with "this won't be a popular opinion but . . . " are rampant after both. Both events focus an awful lot on the perpetrators and not in ways that say, "how do we be better humans, how do we raise up better men?" but in ways that say, "what they did was understandable and the victims could have avoided their fate if . . . " Rape culture, gun culture, toxic masculinity . . . We have such a hard time talking about these. We have a such a hard time acknowledging these.

But my last random thought that is related to all of this is: Fear is the enemy. Paranoia is the enemy. Jesus taught us this. The Prodigal Son story is all about that. Mr. Rogers' story about about looking for the helpers is all about this. We can't give into the utter bullshit of rape culture and gun culture and toxic masculinity. If we do, we're going to end up being the religious folk who won't help, we're going to start shooting the Samaritan who will take care of us at our lowest, bloodiest point.

When we are feeling our rage and fear and whatever else and are still able to say, That other over there, the one not like me and who, on the surface, scares me a little---that one is also made in the Image of God, then we have some hope for humanity.

But we have to put down the guns. We have to set aside our gender norms. We have to not only look for the helpers but be the helpers.

We have to realize we're the Samaritan, despised and avoided, to someone and we have to help.

Right now, we need help dismantling rape culture, gun culture, and toxic masculinity.

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