Thursday, March 30, 2006

Biblical Literalists vs. Miami Herald Columnist

Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald responds in a open letter to Donna Reddick, a business technology teacher at Miami Sunset High School. Reddick used the school's broadcast announcement system to compare me and the gay youth in that school to the rapists found in the Sodom and Gomorrah story. Nice. Pitt's biggest problem is with what a friend of mine calls Reddick's "selective literalism."

Here is a link to the Philadelphia Inquirer who picked up the article:

...Put simply, I've had it up to here with the moral hypocrisy and intellectual constipation of Bible literalists.

By which I mean people like you, who dress up their homophobia in Scripture, insisting with sanctimonious sincerity that it's not homophobia at all, but just a pious determination to live according to what the Bible says. And never mind that the Bible also says it is "disgraceful" for a woman to speak out in church (1 Corinthians 14:34-36) and that if she has any questions, she should wait till she gets home and ask her husband. Never mind that the Bible says the penalty for going to work on Sunday (Exodus 35:1-3) is death. Never mind that the Bible says the man who rapes a virgin should buy her from her father (Deuteronomy 22:28-29) and marry her.

I'm going to speculate that you don't observe or support those commands. Which says to me that yours is a literalism of convenience, a literalism that is literal only so long as it allows you to condemn what you'd be condemning anyway and takes no skin off your personal backside. As such, your claim that God sanctions your homophobia is the moral equivalent of Flip Wilson's old claim that the devil made him do it.

You resemble many of your and my co-religionists, whose faith so often expresses itself in an obsessive focus on one or two hot-button issues - and seemingly nowhere else. They're so panicked at the thought that somebody might accidentally treat gay people like people. They run around Chicken Little-like, screaming, "Th' homosex'shals is comin'! Th' homosex'shals is comin'!" Meantime, people are ignorant in Appalachia, strung out in Miami, starving in Niger, sex slaves in India, mass murdered in Darfur. Where is the Christian outrage about that?

Just once, I'd like to read a headline that said a Christian group was boycotting to feed the hungry. Or marching to house the homeless. Or pushing Congress to provide the poor with health care worthy of the name.

Instead, they fixate on keeping the gays in their place. Which makes me question their priorities. And their compassion. And their faith.

"Intellectual constipation" kind of says it all, but the rest of the article rings true as well.


Anonymous Marc McAleavey said...

Pitts is so right on many levels and Ms. Donna Reddick is so wrong on all levels. By the way, you can e-mail this teacher directly at (remember, words are powerful!).

7:46 AM  
Anonymous David said...

For all of us who stumble over a reply (because we just can't believe people are so ignorant)this would be a good item to print and memorize when faced with "well-intentioned" Christians who want to save our souls.

9:01 AM  

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