Thank you for blogging

No, the dog didn’t eat my homework. But there is a nearly endless list of reasons why I haven’t shown up here since November—the holidays, car mishaps, freak floods, and several creative endeavor deadlines, to name a few. If I were young and hooked up to my iDevice, I would have blogged all about the stuff I just told you kept me from blogging. I’m not young and I don’t have an iDevice; I feel lucky just to have gotten through it all and still be here to tell you why I didn’t blog about it.

In the midst of all those events, however, there were many times I yelled at the TV machine, shook my fist at the heavens (or the ceiling when it was raining too hard to confront the heavens directly), or just pounded the nearest hard surface. What is going on all around us and in spite of the best efforts of intelligent, fair-minded people is phenomenal and incredible and downright stupefying: the outrageous lies from the right, the billions of dollars swamping our elections, and the prodigious efforts of Republicans to return us to the Middle Ages. This is only a partial and very brief list of the goings-on going on that make me want to gnash my teeth.

One of the main reasons I signed on to become a contributor to this blog was to have a place where I could rant. Instead of pounding the nearest hard surface, I told myself, I could pound the keyboard. But since I wasn’t managing to make my way to the keyboard (at least not to blog), I took note when someone else—a writer and fellow film lover named Paul Turner—said he couldn’t take anymore of the rhetoric he’d been hearing and had to blog about it.

Paul is one of my favorite people in Corvallis, Oregon, where he runs the Darkside Cinema. Thanks to him, Corvallis has independent films, art films, documentaries, and all sorts of odd cinematic offerings not normally available (as in: almost never) at the multiplex. His ironic sense of humor enlivens conversation and is evident even in the name of  his cinema (It was across the street from the Whiteside Theatre, and what’s the opposite of the Whiteside? The Darkside, of course.).

Patrons who sign onto the mailing list get an email from Paul once a week in which he tells us all about the current slate of films showing at the Darkside. Sometimes at the end he’ll include “Other Stuff” (which is the name of his blog). Last week he said “….occasionally, I get a little annoyed. Lately, I’ve been trying to keep my peace about some of the rhetoric being bandied about on the various media. Well now I’m failing. Since this rant had nothing to do with the theater, I put it on my blog.” I followed the link to Other Stuff, and read his post about his “….most hated aphorism,  “Hate the sin, love the sinner.”

“My sensitivity to this phrase comes in no small part from raising a lesbian stepdaughter. When she was in her early teens I noticed she was not developing emotionally like her two sisters. She wasn’t ahead or behind—more like she was developing parallel to them….What became obvious to me was that my step-kid was not “choosing” to be different. She desperately wanted to know why she was somewhat off-off center compared to the other kids in her adolescent experiences. Most gay people with whom I’ve spoken about their sexuality have said that they, too, had wondered why they were so different—until they discovered others who were different like they were….This child who I raised is….one of the kindest people I have ever known, is often funnier than is prudent, has an esthetic sense that would make anyone smile, and happens to be a lesbian. So to “hate the sin” that is the homosexuality with which my stepdaughter identifies, is to hate my stepdaughter. My child, who has done nothing in this life to be hated for and has grown into a fine young woman, is targeted by this phrase.
“Hate the sin, love the sinner” is passive-aggressive camouflage, providing a cozy, thought-free place to hide rather than coming right out and saying your belief system chooses to hate people like my kid. I write “chooses” because the references used to back up hating my daughter’s sin are surgically excised from scripture—conveniently ignorning the surrounding “sins” that are inconvenient to avoid in everyday life.

….Most of those who have risen above the self-loathing that “Hate the sin, love the sinner” perpetuates will not let on that you are doing the equivalent of getting right up in their face and telling them to die in a fire. Most will show you the grace and courtesy you are not affording them—because they know you do not understand that homosexuals are your sons and daughters, and fathers and mothers—that some of those who preach intolerance the loudest are supressing their own homosexuality….I find their presence centering because they have lived through everything from attempts on their lives to the constant soft-core pornography, of which “hate the sin, love the sinner” is no small part. And they have done it without needing to tell those who hate them to die in a fire.”

All I can say is: Thank you for blogging, Paul.

You can read the whole post here. It’s well worth your time.

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