Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Conservative Right & Hate

We are seeing an explosion of attacks and harassment directed at us from the right. The latest happened right here in Connecticut where a woman harassed another woman in the bathroom because she thought the other woman was a man.
3 reasons conservative Christians will lose the transgender debate
Religious News Service
By Jonathan Merritt
May 14, 2016

When LGBT rights first became a national issue following the Stonewall Riot of 1969, conservative Christians responded with a disastrous campaign against gay and lesbian causes. Christian leaders cited pseudo-science claiming homosexuality was a “choice,” or worse, a mental disorder. Preachers regularly promoted the idea that AIDS was God’s judgment on LGBT people. And money began to flow into “ex-gay” Christian ministries that promised to make LGBT people straight, but ended up making them suicidal instead.

When it comes to conservative Christianity, it seems the more things change, the more things stay the same. A national debate on transgender rights has rapidly progressed in America, and predictably, conservative Christians have once again elbowed their way to the front lines. Christian leaders make speeches, tortors preach sermons, and political activists make cable news network appearances–each armed with rhetoric intended to incite panic and stir up fear.

Sadly, their messages are just as disconnected from reality as their response to the LGBT rights movement decades ago. By recycling old tactics, conservative Christians are poised to lose the transgender debate in America.
So what are the three things that will defeat the rightwing conservatives?
– They focus on ideology while ignoring people:
Christians’ poor framework here is identical to the way they fought the gay marriage battle. They spoke of “God’s law” and “historic institutions” while progressives told stories about loving couples who couldn’t provide health insurance for their same-sex spouse or pass along their shared possessions as inheritance. Rather than consider their Bible’s calls to protect and defend the least of these, conservative Christians attacked some of society’s most vulnerable members. This made Christians appear uncompassionate and shifted public opinion to the left. Once again, conservatives fail to remember that if your political position lacks a face, people will assume your political position lacks a soul.

– They prooftext from scripture while ignoring science: Christian discussions about transgender issues often skip over science and use scripture to prooftext their positions. Moore writes that the Obama letter violates “one of the most basic facts of science and life: that there are two sexes.” But he then moves swiftly away from science to Bible verses like Genesis 1:27 to argue, “God created us as human, and within humanity as male and female.” This attempts to give readers the impression that Moore’s views have a scientific basis when they do not.
The scientific research on gender is growing even more problematic for these Christians over time. Recent research conducted in Europe demonstrates that transgender people have significantly different brain patterns than cis-gender people. MRI scans of female-to-male transgender people, for example, resembles male brain function even though they were born biologically female. Conservative Christians argue that if a person is born a certain way then God intends them to remain that way (only applied to gender identity, of course). But Christian theology asserts that God created our minds as well as our bodies. How does one choose between the two when they do not align?

– They rely on fear while ignoring facts: Conservative Christians often rely on bombast to create a feeling of panic and urgency on culture war issues. They will often talk as if the future existence of Western society–or every society–depends on the matter. Moore, for example, didn’t just argue that the Obama Administration’s position “won’t work.” He went on to say it would dismantle our notion of gender and could destroy “people and neighborhoods and nations and culture.”
Meanwhile these laws and backlash is taking its toll on trans people, especially the young who are still trying to find their way through the gender maze.

In another article this one in RawStory about how parents are coping with all the hate.
How these parents with a transgender son learned to deal with conservative hate
By Valerie Tarico
12 May 2016

Religious Right politicians hoping to exploit transphobia may be up against one of the most powerful forces in the world: parental love.

Jo and Jon Ivester don’t exactly have kind words for North Carolina Governor McCrory and religious right legislators who called an all-day session to push state sanctioned discrimination against transgender people.
Recently the Anti-Defamation League of Austin gave Jo and Jon a humanitarian award for work they have done over the past 25 years to promote greater harmony and cooperation in the community. Trained as an engineer, Jo works today as a writer and an advocate for civil rights. Jon, a retired high-tech executive, has served as board chair for the Red Cross of Central Texas and for BalletAustin. Their lives carry forward the passion for racial and economic justice that defined Jo’s childhood in Mississippi.
Jon and Jo perceive North Carolina’s recent anti-trans “bathroom bill” and others like it as mean-spirited opportunism—politicians playing with ignorance and fear, preying on some of the most vulnerable members of society for political gain. But the whole anti-trans political strategy relies on exploiting unfamiliarity with what transgender actually is. That’s why the Ivesters are determined to tell their family’s story to whoever will listen.
Love will win out, people are beginning to see what lies behind the conservative push for these bathroom and “religious freedom” laws, they are seeing them as an effort to divide America and create hate. Eventfully love will win out, but it will leave a trail depression and suicides in its wake.

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