Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Presiding Bishop Curry Carries His Straw man/woman/person to the Bathroom... Bill

The Episcopal church's Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, wrote about North Carolina’s bathroom bill and "The Living Church" published it last week.

Curry basically has a straw man/woman/person argument that somehow those of us who feel the way we do are doing so out of fear, and he drags in so many non-sequiturs in building his case that the whole thing falls apart.

Let's dissect this.
"We all know that some things in holy Scripture can be confusing, hard to understand, or open to various ways of understanding."
This does not exactly instill confidence. When the leader of one's organization starts off a letter by saying that our foundational documents are confusing, be he is instead creating doubt.
"But some essential teachings are clear and incontrovertible. Jesus tells us to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves, and he tells us over and over again not to be afraid (Matt. 10:31, Mark 5:36, Luke 8:50, John 14:27)."
Oh yeah, he also said that in Matthew 19:4-6,  “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?  So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
That sounds pretty clear and incontrovertible to me.
"There’s no confusion about what Jesus is telling us, but it often requires courage to embody it in the real world. Again and again, we become afraid, and mired in that fear, we turn against Jesus and one another."
The only confusion is in what Curry and Jennings are telling us, and just in case you missed it, you've just been served up a dose of strawman pie, The straw person is "Fear".
Chew on the "fear" angle as you read the rest of Curry and Jennings' letter.

"This age-old cycle of fear and hatred plays out again and again in our broken world, in sickening and shocking events like the massacre targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Orlando, but also in the rules we make and the laws we pass. Most recently, we’ve seen fear at work in North Carolina, a state dear to both of our hearts, where a law called the 'Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act' has decimated the civil rights and God-given dignity of transgender people and, by extension, drastically curtailed protections against discrimination for women, people of color, and many others."
"Decimated civil rights and God-given dignity"?  It should be a civil right to be able to pee or to change one's clothes without having to worry about some pervert sneaking a peek.
"We are thankful for the prayerful and pastoral public leadership of the North Carolina bishops on this law, which is known as House Bill 2."
Thanks loads... let's get back to building that strawman,

"North Carolina is not the only place where fear has gotten the better of us. Lawmakers in other jurisdictions have also threatened to introduce legislation that would have us believe that protecting the rights of transgender people — even a right as basic as going to the bathroom — somehow puts the rest of us at risk."
Next time I drive through a state with an open restroom policy, I ain't stopping. I'm not afraid, its just that I think that folks with boy parts should use the Boy's room, and folks with girl parts should use the Girl's room.

Next, Curry and Jennings play the slavery card,

"This is not the first time that the segregation of bathrooms and public facilities has been used to discriminate unjustly against minority groups. And just as in our painful racial past, it is even being claimed that the “bathroom bills,” as they are sometimes called, ensure the safety of women and children — the same reason so often given to justify Jim Crow racial segregation."
If you agree with me that the slavery argument is a bit of  stretch, then try the fear card again,

"But we believe that, as the New Testament says, 'perfect love casts out fear.' On June 10, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church stood against fear and for God’s love by passing a resolution that reaffirms the Episcopal Church’s support of local, state, and federal laws that prevent discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression and voices our opposition to all legislation that seeks to deny the God-given dignity, the legal equality, and the civil rights of transgender people."
I suspect that almost anything you can imagine might be included as a civil right under the Curry/Jennings administration.
"The need is urgent, because laws like the one in North Carolina prey on some of the most vulnerable people in our communities — some of the very same people who were targeted in the Orlando attack."
Here they are using the recent mass murders at a gay night club in Orlando by a self-proclaimed jihadist to gin up fear! And I thought fear was the very thing we were supposed to cast out!
"In a 2011 survey, 78 percent of transgender people said that they had been bullied or harassed in childhood; 41 percent said they had attempted suicide; 35 percent had been assaulted, and 12 percent had suffered a sexual assault. Almost half of transgender people who responded to the survey said they had suffered job discrimination, and almost a fifth had lost housing or been denied health care due to their gender identity or expression."
And how many were pissed off because they couldn't find a place to pee? This whole thing seems like a non-issue to me.

"In keeping with Executive Council’s resolution, we are sending a letter to the governor and members of the North Carolina General Assembly calling on them to repeal the 'Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act.' When legislation that discriminates against transgender people arises in other places, we will also voice our opposition and ask Episcopalians to join us. We will also support legislation, like a bill recently passed in the Massachusetts state legislature, that prevents discrimination of all kinds based on gender identity or gender expression."
They have bought into the "gender identity" meme.

"As Christians, we bear a particular responsibility to speak out in these situations, because attempts to deny transgender people their dignity and humanity as children of God are too often being made in the name of God."
Oh, so now we are denying their humanity too! This is how progressives/church liberals/etc through their "arguments" paint a picture in which those who disagree can be portrayed as not only (insert appropriate prefix)-phobic, or Jim Crow racist bigots, but also "inhumane".
 "This way of fear is not the way of Jesus Christ, and at these times, we have the opportunity to demonstrate our belief that Christianity is not a way of judgment, but a way of following Jesus in casting out fear."
Wait a second Bishop! Didn't you just judge all of those who hold an opinion differing from yours? Didn't you just create a bogey-man/woman/person that your followers will fear?

"In the face of the violence and injustice we see all around us, what can we do? We can start by choosing to get to know one another. TransEpiscopal, an organization of transgender Episcopalians and their allies, has posted on [its] website a video called Voices of Witness: Out of the Box that can help you get to know some transgender Episcopalians and hear their stories. Integrity USA, which produced the video, and the Chicago Consultation are two other organizations working for the full inclusion of LGBT people in the church. Their websites also have online materials that you can use to learn more about the stories of transgender Christians and our church’s long journey to understand that they are children of God and created in God’s image."
If these folks were really opposed to violence and injustice, they would be holding sit-ins and handing out Bibles outside of Islamic centers and mosques.

"When we are born anew through baptism, we promise to respect the dignity of every human being. Today, transgender people and, indeed, the entire LGBT community, need us to keep that promise. By doing so, we can bear witness to the world that Jesus has shown us another way — the way of love."

Echoes of that old 1979 BCP Baptismal Covenant where people pledge to respect the dignity of every human being. The meaning of "dignity" has become so perverted that today when any of our selfish desires is denied, it amounts to an attack on our dignity. If a man says he is a woman and you say "No, you are a man", you guilty of not respecting his dignity.

I suppose to tell a bishop and a deacon that they are taking a strawman/strawperson to the bathroom is disrespectful too.

I just wonder which bathroom the straw person would choose to use?

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