Bigotry By Any Name

Yesterday, someone on Facebook blocked me. That, in and of itself, does nothing to me after the 2 second initial, hmmmmmmm or WOAH depending on who it is that blocked me.  I have blocked a number of people on Facebook myself and for reasons as numerous as the people I myself have blocked.

On one end of the spectrum was the swindler who divested us, Einsteins, of our hard earned millions who was ugly as hell in the literal sense as well so that a friend called her Jun a.k.a Bulaklak ng City Jail the first time he saw her awesome countenance– the face of someone who had forfeited her right to walk among free and decent men and women as far as I (and the few hundreds she’d stolen from) was concerned. And on the other end of the spectrum was someone I loved so much it hurt to have this person within breathing cyberspace. And in between these two opposite extremes of love and hate, the variable gradations— my own personal Facebook Pantone if you will. A smattering of bigots and Marcos loyalists gone wild. Trolls with highly unimaginative names.

Well, this guy who blocked me posted a You Tube Video of this preacher who denounced homosexuality as an abomination. And I listened when I have, for a very long time, stopped giving bigots my time. Went as far as 5 minutes of the almost 10 minute clip! I listened because the guy who posted is someone quite dear to me (he is a family member, by the way, so I know we’ll ride this out. If we don’t, ah well.)–when I usually would not give this kind of posts the time of day. I have learned to choose my battles. There is only so much one can do in this lifetime and I have learned that there will be no dialogue if the person sitting across you in the discussion table is a bigot.

So I wrote my comment, basically said, ‘Nothing about what this man is saying makes sense to me. I could shoot a million holes in so much of what he’s said. What he is is a hateful bigot.’ I can’t, obviously quote myself verbatim now–now that I have no reference except my memory-challenged brain but I let it rip.

You may cloak your bigotry with nice, noble words like ‘faith’ and ‘what God wants’ but in the end, this is all it really is, ugly, hateful, destructive, hurtful bigotry. And if this your God, he is all yours. I want no part of him, I said.

And to his like-minded, bible-quoting amigo on the same thread, I bible-quoted back at him provisions of the bible that I hope he had not ignored: I hope he didn’t eat shrimps, shave his head/face, didn’t remarry after a divorce (if I’m not mistaken, the said amigo was a repeat offender in this category), didn’t have premarital sex, didn’t allow women to speak in their church, didn’t eat a ham sandwich, didn’t plant certain crops side by side, hadn’t ever touched a football because it was made of pig’s skin, etc etc..And, I told him, you’d better have that full crop of unshaved hair on you when I see you because if you don’t, all you are to me is a hypocritical bigot who conveniently quotes from the bible when it suits him.

Whew. I tell ya. These moralistic, legalistic stance is too hard on my system. So much to remember! So much crap to remember. So much sweating the small stuff. And it’s all small,crappy stuff too.

Can you see it in your minds’ eye? Me battling these two sanctimonious bigots who had no idea, no clue at all that they were sanctimonious bigots. Amigo pontificated, ‘I can see that religion has hurt you. Further bible quotes. But you cannot change what God said.'(And how’s your hair today, amigo? Did wife #3 remind you not to get a haircut while she served you a shrimp and ham sandwich? Here, have a football. Bigot.).’ And, to me, the kicker,a smug pharisaical “I only wish you goodwill, Lorraine.’ –which I know is fundie shorthand for  “Oh you poor misguided confused scrappy sinner, let me give you a benediction from my perfumed hand. “

To which I replied, ‘I wish you more than goodwill,dude. I wish you something more. It is obvious your religion has not hurt you as I think it ought to. It is obvious that your religion has not gone far deep enough into your soul. And so I wish you something so much better than goodwill. I wish you a compassionate heart. May it cause you to question all you’ve been taught when you see the pain and hurt and anguish of those around you. I wish you the gospel Jesus who partied with prostitutes and broke bread with adulterers, who surrounded himself with those who society had judged as unclean, unfit company for polite society. Who was inclusive where you are exclusive. I wish you the Epicurean gospel Jesus who turned water into wine–and not just the piss ass variety wine but just the finest. I wish you a full soulful life–not this soul dead, moralistic, legalistic, anxious life of this Jesus you preach that the gospel Jesus himself hated and fought against.” Something to that effect.

So if you have the temerity to post bigoted stuff on cyberspace, you are asking for it. You’d better make sure you have the courage, the intelligence, the fortitude to withstand the kind of public discourse/backlash that bigotry begs for.  Which, by necessity, is scathing and seething and damning to you and all the illusions you hold dear –the little lies you tell yourself so you get to sleep better at night. That I am a decent person, a good one, in fact. A Christian (Boy, I tell you, the mileage of this label. Talo pa nito Valium magpatulog sa mga di dapat nakakatulog. If I ever learn how to bottle this, I would be at the top of that Forbes Most Wealthiest List in a jiffy.). Someone who feeds the hungry. Hates corrupt politicians.

Well, yes, you may be all that Mr. Good Decent Christian who feeds the hungry and hates corrupt politicians. But you are also a bigot. Whatever. No one’s perfect. We all have our shadows. I bet my shadow’s a bible-quoting fundamentalist who says one thing and does another. Ah well. We all have our own personal private Idahos.

But move that private Idaho into the vast arena of cyberspace and you’d better be able to take it on the chin. Because you are giving it. In spades. And so you better be able to take it. In spades as well. Because when you share your private demon of bigotry with the world, what it is, my dear, is a red flag waving in the air and a neon sign that screams, “Call me out on this! PLEASE. I BEG YOU!”. Because calling out all that sanctimonious preachy treacle for the ignorant bigotry that it is is not just a moral duty, it is a civic duty as well.

History is on the side of those who fight for equal rights. History is on the side of reason and logic. History, finally, is on the side of compassion. 

Yep, so wave your red banner of bigotry but steel yourself for the mirror that will be shoved at your face. Take a good look at the man on the mirror, bigot.

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