Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Whack Upside the Head

It seems to me that my now-former pastor is getting pretty picky-choosy when it comes to her multiculturalism. After all, most of these same alternative cultures, in their perceived macho-ness and primitivity, regard not just gays but WOMEN as second-class citizens!

Does she, also, intend to "take one for the team" if it is demanded of her? Or is that merely to be expected of the gays? And really, why do I even bother to ask such questions?

Honestly, what part of the Golden Rule do these cafeteria Christian multiculturalists not understand? As soon as anyone in the Church gets an edge up on anybody else, they try to turn it to their advantage. This particular woman pastor has managed to get in the door, and she slams it in our faces.

It may seem that I'm obsessing over the matter here, but issues like multiculturalism (what it should mean, and what it must never mean), as well as what it means to be liberal and progressive in America post-September 11 of 2001, are the meat and potatoes of this Blog.

Multiculturalism is definitely an important value for progressivism. But it can never be our most important one. Were it to trump all the others, it would also destroy them. Especially in the hands of Western cultural chauvinists who credit their own culture (quite shortsightedly) for having singlehandedly invented inclusiveness and broad-mindedness. When they decide to go slummin' and condescend to the "savages" that live outside their exalted ring of light, they are all too likely to project their own benighted views onto others and use their "multiculturalism" as a handy excuse to be hateful.

I suspect that this pastor never really cared very much for gays in the first place. She may have regarded her congregation's commitment to including us as a bother. She obviously considers it a hindrance to ministering to those Latinos of whom she thinks so highly, she's never even bothered to get to know.

I cannot too highly recommend Bruce Bawer's recent book, While Europe Slept. It broods on just these issues, in an international context and specifically concerning the influx of Muslim immigrants into Europe. I'm grateful to God that "He" led me to it before all the nonsense started at my former church. Indeed, it helped me to make sense out of an attitude that might otherwise have flummoxed me.

Many people are talking, right now, about what multiculturalism really means. I'm very glad we're having this discussion. And I can only hope and pray that it will lead to the realization that the best qualities of humanity are the province of no one particular culture.

Don't women and gays -- who exist in every culture in the world -- have the right to partake of all the goodies of enlightened humanity, too?

Given our track-record over the past several years, we in millenial America would do well to be a little more humble about attributing these qualities exclusively to ourselves. And a lot more open to recognizing them when they show up in places we can't imagine finding them.

There's no excuse for respect to be such a scarce commodity. In this world that God so loves, there ought to be enough of it for everybody.


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