Monday, November 19, 2007

Where is the Joy?

Over at Fallacy Findings, Jane know has an outstanding post. You should read it, and you should read her often, as she is one the most insightful people on the planet.

She touches on a lot of things in this post, but the one I want to focus is this:

Why are the anti-gay crusaders, supposedly with God on their side, so angry and joyless?

I understand the mind of fundamentalist because I've been there.

I wasted two to four years of my life, years that could have, should have, been the best years of my life under the spell of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Now, Jehovah's Witnesses are a bit different than the AFA's brand because they are not politically active, but the mindset is the same.

It's not that they can't feel joy, because they certainly can. But the only joy that they can experience is by doing things that they feel glorify their God. And I can appreciate that; I remember well the exhilarating thrill of heartfelt worship.

And if that is as far as they took it, I would have no objection, and I would do nothing the diminish their joy. But that is not as far as they take it because ultimately, their philosophy is based on fear; fear of the Lord.

So when Jane says:

"Our anti-gay opponents are so concerned that the U.S. is going to hell in a handbasket, they are so pessimistic about human nature, I feel they often don't stop to see what they really do have. And oftentimes, that is (or, as we are led to believe) wonderful, loving spouses and children.

If they are so happy with their own lives, why are they so set on attacking other people? Why are they focused on turning gay people into the "enemy of Christianity?" Why, if they are so happy and loving, do they need to scapegoat other groups of people who have nothing to do with their lives or their problems?"

Ultimately, they believe that if we, as a nation, do not glorify the Lord in everything we do, then God will, at best, lift His veil of protection from this nation. At worst, He will destroy us, as he did Sodom and Gomorrah. This is a sincerely held belief.

And deep in the bowels of their Christian Nation mindset, lies a very ugly truth to which they are blind. The nation which they believe God so richly blessed, beginning, in their warped view of history in 1620, was a nation that practiced slavery, denied political rights to all but land-owning white, Christian men. A nation whose marriage laws placed women under the cloud of coverture. And yet it is that nation that they believe God has blessed, and it is the 21st century nation of relative peace and unprecedented prosperity that they fear has angered God.

So, yes indeed, they are suffering.


John Hosty said...

John, this is an excellent report on your observations. I have asked myself several times why they seemed so joyless while following Christ, and why they are so angry.

As for the nation having it's origions in 1620, I'm surprised that you didn't include how the people of that time also went into hysteria and killed a bunch of their neighbors because they thought they were witches. We both come from Salem, and that is one of the things I think of first when injustice comes to mind.

I'm begining to wonder if there is a psychological need in many that call for a "them" mentality to fear and take their aggression out on. My extended talks with the radical right leave me with the same impressions that I get from the KKK. There are a radical few who will never grow out of their hate, or learn how to accept people as equals, but they are not the majority. Most are ignorantly indifferent about civil rights until the situation somehow gets before them. Then they listen to whomever speaks, and that is why we must also speak, lest we allow the likes of Fred Phelps and others to go unopposed.

John and Aaron Toleos are examples of how once the light goes on it never fades. All we need to do is continue turning those lights on by giving people something to think about and to talk about.

John said...

I just didn't think of the Salem Witch trials when I wrote this, but you right, of course.

The reason 1620 (as opposed to 1776 or 1787 or 1865) is important is that the fundamentalists see a continuity between the obvious theocratic nature of the Mayflower Compact and the Declaration of Independence.

That is a false reading reading of history.

The Mayflower Compact established a British Colony.

The Declaration of Independence repudiated that.

Jane Know said...

John, I appreciate your article, and your extremely high compliments of me.

Thank you.

I also like hearing about your perspective as a former Jehovah's Witness.

Speaking of the Salem Witchcraft trials, it appears that "Fitz" of "that one anti-gay blog" has now resorted to accusing his opponents of being "Marxist." Fannie wrote a blog about it today, if you haven't been over there yet.

John said...

Jane, it funny you should mention Fitz Marxist smear. I just thinking about that.

As I have mentioned numerous times on KTN, these people suffer from a massive disconnect to which they are blind.

Notice the Opiners attempts to smear Fanny as a Marxist. Why? What is wrong with Marxism/Leninism/Socialism/Communism.?

Listen carefully to the critiques of these systems and the disconnect becomes clear.

Communism is held in disdain because it attempts to plan a economy from the top. A central planner, a politburo, is appointed to decide which goods and services are most NEEDED AND DESIRABLE FOR SOCIETY and then the politburo attempts to fix the supply and demand to meet the needs of said society. However, like it or not, NEED is subjective.

"Every advocate of Central Planning sees him/herself as the Central Planner"

Amusing anecdote:

The Soviet Politburo observed correctly that bread is a necessity; footballs are not. So the central planners fixed the price of bread at a price that everyone could afford and fixed the price of footballs high enough to discourage their purchase. The end result was a critical shortage of bread. Why? Because kids started buying loaves of stale bread and used them for footballs.

The experiment with central planning has failed, because as Adam Smith correct noted in 1776, a society is best served by individuals all pursuing their own best interests. And the "Invisible Hand" that Smith discussed is the only efficient way to set the price and ultimately the correct supply and demand for any product or service.

Is Capitalism good; is it fair? Does it not leave some people out? Does it not create dysfunction for the poor, the uneducated, the uninitiated?

Ah, they will say; it is not a perfect world, but society is still better off when people are free to decide for themselves the best use of the fruits of their labor.

The government (John Howard notwithstanding) should not be in the business of deciding which goods and services are best for society at large.


They are adamant that in the social realm, if left to its own devices, the "Invisible Hand" will spend all its time jerking off.

You will never get them to see that society is best served by individuals all choosing the arrangement that best works for them.

Bottom line, in their view, I am presumed smart enough to be entrusted with how I spend my money, but I need Big Brother to decide who I should be allowed to sleep with.

John said...

Oops, I forgot to credit KipEsquire with the quote, "Every advocate of Central Planning sees him/herself as the Central Planner"

His Blog is here:

John said...
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