Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Anglican Scotist Compares Greg Griffith to UU Church Shooter and Nazis

(UPDATE: I now have the link working to this post at Anglican Scotist. You can see it on his website here.)

The Anglican Scotist has written a reflection on the UU Church Shooter in Tennessee that links to some comments from the Stand Firm website from last year regarding the meeting with PB Schori that left Bishop Steenson shaking and crying as a result of threats, bullying and intimidation.

I read the Stand Firm thread as responding to threats with a refusal to be intimidated. I read "I’m already reaching for my pistol…" as an offer to protect Bishop Steenson. However, Anglican Scotist reads the same thread as threatening violence and derived
from Johst's play Schlageter performed for Hitler's birthday in '33:
Wenn ich Kultur höre ... entsichere ich meinen Browning, or: "Whenever I hear 'culture'... I remove the safety from my Browning (tr. at link above).."

In his post Anglican Scotist calls the Bible "an especially violent book, and in particular a book explicitly promoting violence against gays." This seems to be in line with the Soul Force Talking Points I have discussed previously here and here and here. (Hmmm, I see in that third "here" I was dealing with this same issue on an Anglican Scotist thread.)

I am having trouble linking to the post, so I will reprint it in full below:
Some Reflections on UU Church Shooting
by The Anglican Scotist

As Lambeth '08 grinds on and on toward its--so it seems--rather disenchanted but eminently reasonable outcome, little signs percolate to the surface of the news cycle from the mission field. I am not referring to Archbishop Williams' scapegoating Bishop Robinson--I think it is quite apparent that scapegoating him has not worked, and will work even less to secure anything like unity with catharsis in the future. Too many people left and right know better by now, and excluding him presents the Communion to much of the globe as a pathetic parody of itself

I. ....the newspaper in one hand

One of these signs--it seems to me--is a recent mass shooting at a church in TN. It turns out the shooting at a Unitarian Universalist church was not a random, murderous mass shooting, but a hate crime, where the accused gunman acted specifically out a hatred for Liberals and Gays; he identified himself as a "Confederate" and a "believer" in "the Old South". The NYT wrote:

A man who the police say entered a Unitarian church in Knoxville during Sunday services and shot 8 people, killing two, was motivated by a hatred for liberals and homosexuals, Chief Sterling P. Owen IV of the Knoxville Police Department said Monday.

He was shooting up a childrens' play; he planned to keep firing his shotgun until the police took him down. The man is not exactly a poster boy for John Calhoun's malevolent iteration of Jeffersonian agarianism--feeding on shit like "Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder" by Michael Savage, "Let Freedom Ring" by Sean Hannity, and "The O'Reilly Factor," by Bill O'Reilly, he managed to blame liberals and gays for his being unemployed. It probably did not strike him as noteworthy that any unemployment benefits he enjoyed he owed to the efforts of the political left.


His situation is worth pondering for a moment. He connected (A)his being unemployed with (B)liberals and gays, and then he connected (B) with (C): the UU church--apparently oblivious to the glaring cognitive dissonance implied in those connections. Yet these connections do not seem random; they seem rather to be commonplaces this poor sop picked up from our common culture ready-made when he sought a "reason" why he was without a job. "Common culture" is loose, but the term has to be loose given its a wide extension: print media, TV, movies, the internet, water-cooler conversation, etc.

Oh--perhaps there are people offended by the use of "church" for Unitarian Universalism; I've been in the company of many Christians who use "Universalist" as a term of abuse when they use it at all, an epithet of disdain--presumably for the UU take on the Trinity and Incarnation--like this anonymous poster who wrote (on 7/28):

"There is no problem defending the orthodox position if, like myself, you are reasonably orthodox. Nor do North American Anglicans who are in fact unitarians and deists seem to have trouble defending their positions, at least in their opinion...."

Instances could be multiplied; I have in mind comments like these made in 9/07, comments which reflect what seems to be a certain type of violent mindset on the right, in the context of conflict between Schori and Episcopalian conservatives:

"He was really upset by this –in tears and shaking- and it included deposition, law suits, not allowing him to resign. . . We were quite angry on hearing this and wondered if they realized they were talking to a NM – TX bishop. Their cities may have a lot of urban gang problems; but, they don’t realize most of us have guns, know how to use them and nobody’s gonna mess with our bishops!"


"It is sad that we have to feel the need to defend ourselves, almost to the point of doing that one thing most of us who have done it, pray we never have; to take up arms to defend our way of life. That is what the reference to Small band of paratroppers was."


"I’m already reaching for my pistol…"
followed by:
"Agreed. However, “reachin’ for my pistol” is an old expression I use around here. No threat is being made."

Interestingly, the saying is misattributed to Goering and Streicher, but is actually taken from Johst's play Schlageter performed for Hitler's birthday in '33:

Wenn ich Kultur höre ... entsichere ich meinen Browning, or: Whenever I hear 'culture'... I remove the safety from my Browning (tr. at link above).

One could reach outside the narrow band of our troubles to refer to such things as Coulter's fun-and-games call for murdering a Justice:

"We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee," Coulter said. "That's just a joke, for you in the media"--

an instance of what David Neiwert at Orcinus has felicitously called an ideology of "eliminationism". Christians, Christians who make a big deal out of how they are following a Christ versus Culture model a la Barth's Bremen Declaration, have absolutely no business playing with our secular culture's tolerance of violence and the cultivation of domestic terrorism.


One might ask: are these violent sentiments worth protecting? Should lambeth provide any shelter in its institutional arrangements for such sentiments?

This TN incident would not be the first time gays were targeted--recall that the Holocaust targeted gays. And what will we say about Leviticus 20:13?

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.

Some Christians, including one of GAFCON's major backers, Howard Ahmanson seems to think--still--that stoning gays is permitted; indeed, homosexuality is criminal, and even a crime for which one can be executed, in a number of GAFCON and GAFCON-sympathetic provinces.

Is it OK to live by 20:13 now--is its being OK a matter relative to culture? Was it ever OK to live by 20:13? When "biblical authority" comes up , Lev 20:13 should come up. Lev 20:13 is not alone for brutality in Scripture.

Consider the conquest of Canaan, e.g. the command at Numbers 31:17--even male babies and children carried in the womb are to be slaughtered on divine command. God commands the death of babies in numerous instances, e.g. most famously the mass murder at Exodus 12:29, and the command at I Sam 15:3--which Saul gets in big trouble for disobeying inter alia; God promises to tear pregnant women and their unborn infants apart at Hosea 13:16; God commands the deaths of the infants and childern of Ai in Joshua 8...had enough?

The Bible shows--reveals--to us who God is, the character of God, and we are meant to love God. With that in mind, these savage passages--which only partially represent the blood-soaked pages of Holy Scripture--provide a test for any set of hermeneutical principles with which one might approach Scripture, and especially for their consistency.

Anyhow, my point in closing is twofold: (1)Lambeth should not provide any shelter at all for violent sentiments against gays, or for sentiments tolerating violence; (2)Christians are people of an especially violent book, and in particular a book explicitly promoting violence against gays. In view of (1) and (2) it seems Christians--even those at Lambeth--bear a special burden for disengaging their religious practice from the culture of violence that targets gays. One hopes our bishops will remember this.


The Underground Pewster said...

I cannot find the posting on the Anglican Scotist page. Perhaps it was taken down.

Perpetua said...

Hi Underground Pewster,
You are right. He must have taken it down. It was posted right after his post Mean Lambeth Quotes

Perpetua said...

Hi Underground Pewster,
The post is now up again at The Anglican Scotist's blog and I have updated my post to include a link.

Minicapt said...

Now you can appreciate one of the derivations of "dunce".


Perpetua said...

Hi Minicapt,
Now I feel like I am a dunce. Please explain.

Minicapt said...

John Dun Scotus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duns_Scotus

"Later philosophers in the sixteenth century were less complimentary about his work, and accused him of sophistry. This led to his name, "dunce" (which developed from the name "Dunse" given to his followers in the 1500s) to become synonymous for "somebody who is incapable of scholarship", as is expressed for example in the (now defunct) use of the "dunce cap"."

I am being rude toward the AngScotist ...


Perpetua said...

And the Anglican Scotist was being quite rude to Greg Griffith and the people who leave comments at Stand Firm.

And as to his use of the Nazis, well, Godwin's Law is usually applied so that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically "lost" whatever debate was in progress. So, does this mean the whole Anglican Scotist blogsite is finished and Anglican Scotist loses?

Robert said...

minicapt, thanks for the etymology! As well as I remember from class, JDS was significant in his motion toward a higher view of carnal reason ("humanism") and the revival of Neo-Platonism; both of which, without being sorted out by Scripture, lead to chaos. Yep, guess he's named it right! Here on "Perpetua's" pages, maybe we should pray the Lord give him some eye-opening dreams!