Feet First

“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler

Email Dr. Alice

    follow me on Twitter
    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
    Sunday, March 04, 2007
    Why I Think Elizabeth Keaton is Totally, Utterly Wrong

    Short lazy post: First read this. And then read this.

    Longer version: let me start with an excerpt from Elizabeth's post.

    My name is Elizabeth Kaeton, and I am a racist, in recovery. I hear some of you giggling nervously. You know me as someone who is passionate about justice. Some of you know I was a young teen on the Mall in Washington, D.C. when Dr. King gave his famous, "I Have a Dream" speech. (I had told a "white lie" (ahem!) to my parents who were opposed to the Civil Rights Movement, thinking it a Communist plot, that I was spending the weekend with a girlfriend - which I was - just not at her home, but with her on a bus with nuns from our church who wanted us to be there.) I have worked long and hard on my racism, and I have come a long, long way. Or, so I thought.

    Oh, sigh. Let me just write the rest of the post from there. Or, rather, not: I'm sure most of you could do it for me.

    This post illustrates what I think is so very wrong with many Christian denominations today. Not because I think that concern with racism, poverty, homophobia, fill-in-the-blank isn't valid. But because the concern is applied with a blunt overloaded trowel by a plasterer wearing a blindfold. "We're all to blame! No matter how much we're doing, how much we claim to care, we're all to blame!"

    Well, gee. How helpful is that? Not very, may I state. Not very helpful at all. Why take action on any cause, if it doesn't matter what we do?

    Now allow me to quote Jeff from the above-linked post:

    To borrow a bit of Shamanic’s pompous and self-serving phrasing, I have—as a straight person --a deeply held notion that the desire to find homophobia where it does not in fact exist should be decidedly unfashionable in the world today. Because that feeling of “joy” Shamanic felt when she found what s/he implies were the appropriate denunciations of Coulter on rightwing sites?—that is triggered by the caricaturish belief that [people] are, by default, homophobic, and that until they prove themselves otherwise (by a willingness to denounce someone else’s speech), they are to be regarded as morally suspect.

    Which of course bespeaks a rather crass bias of its own—but one that Shamantic has conveniently forgiven herself for, if only obliquely, when she writes, “[a]nyone who tells you they aren’t racist, or sexist, or homophobic, or suspicious of the guy down the street is lying. The best we can hope to become is aware of our own compulsions toward these and make the decision that they will not impede us.”

    This is, of course, total nonsense—as there is absolutely no reason whatever to suggest that those who disclaim racism, sexism, or homophobia are necessarily hiding racism, sexism, and homophobia behind false denials.

    That states it better than I ever could. TEC's recent prediliction to strain at gnats and swallow camels is not doing it any favors. To put it another way: when I see Episcopalians tearing their hair out over "homophobia" in the church today and, simultaneously, welcoming those who publicly preach about the necessity of stoning gays to death or burying them alive in a pit, the phrase "cognitive dissonance" cannot but come to mind. Dude, who do you think your enemies really are? If you think it's me, you're in for a very rude awakening.