God, Guns and Gays...
Been Freeping (for those of you who don't know what that is, a regular poster to FreeRepublic is a Freeper) lately, and have come under attack by "conservatives" on the site for my views on God, Guns and Gays (the triumverate of the politically-concerned, gap-toothed, shotgun-toting redneck).
I had the sheer AUDACITY to state that I do not believe that Jesus was the Son of God, but rather an enlightened man who sought to make his faith more accessible to the masses of Jews excluded from the Temple in Jerusalem in his day. Furthermore, I had the sheer gall to suggest that perhaps the reason the Romans crucified Jesus was because they saw his crimes as political ones (the Romans reserved crucifixion for traitors and enemies of the state, because it was painful and public), that is, stirring up religious dissent in such a way as to cause civil unrest. if there was one thing you could say about the Romans, it's that they didn't care what you worshipped, but start rioting and interfering with the collection of taxes and suddenly your religion attracted their attention.
On another post (or it could have been the same one, I'm not sure) I stated that I didn't particularly care whether anyone was gay or not. It simply wasn't my business, and I have better things to do than to peek into people's bedrooms. The response (all of it negative) was overwhelming. It was also crude, rude, obnoxious and bordering on insane. Didn't I know that homosexuality was an affront to God and that homos have to be stopped before they take over the planet?
Anyway, these...ahem..sins... earned me censure from those that didn't agree. Fine, I can deal with that; the purpose of FreeRepublic is to post your ideas an dgenerate debate, and I have no problem with reasonable debate. It's also earned me a cyber-stalker (who calls himself, get this, Godebert. Appropos, is it not?), because not only did I defame Christianity, I had the cojones to make a case for Rudy Giuliani as a candidate for some public office, and questioned the right of the people to own a Cruise missile or Napalm. I was immediately castigated for being a "fag-lover" (because, you know, Rudy appeared in drag as a gag once) and a "gun-grabber" for daring to suggest that the government has a right to restrict the sales and use of weaponry.
Now whenever you find yourself on FreeRepublic (or any politically-oriented website) you have to bear two things in mind: first, it takes all kinds. The internet is an interesting pplace in that regard, and very often, you will find reasonable, intelligent people mixing with the hoi polloi because there is a commonality of views. The second thing you have to bear in mind is that most people can't even spell "debate", let alone define it, because their tiny minds only work one way. In their world, the most intelligent man in the world is one who agrees with you completely.
FreeRepublic bills itself as a place where "conservatives" can share and discuss their views. It does not deign to apply a filter to most of this speech (unless it's grossly offensive), nor does it exlude that which does not pass muster according to "conservative" orthodoxy, if doing so would limit debate on a critical issue of the day. Posters are free to post whatever comment or articles they wish,so long as a reasonable person wouldn't consider it offensive. In general, FR is one of the most fair, most FREE political sites I've ever visited.
That having been said, there is a trend of late in which debate is being hijacked by the most extreme elements of the right, people who call themselves "Conservative" because Nazi or Fascist have, you know, bad connotations. You will find that most of the folks who fall into this category own a copy of the constitution (but don't read it, or if they do, don't understand English), and believe that if you quote a passage from scripture, this ends all argument. Naturally, if you persist, they have a whole list of names to call you; RINO (republican-in-name-only), fag-lover, "liberal" (conveniently forgetting that the republican party IS a liberal party, in historical terms), "gun-grabber", Rockefeller-winger (or variants), and of, course, Communist. They typically finish their diatribes by posting "you've been outed" or "you're busted", and then report you to the Moderators (who, to their credit, have taken no action against me).
This type of stuff goes on because these people wish to actually restrict Free Speech (much like John McCain) or, at the least, be protected from speech they find uncomfortable (because it goes against Scripture or makes them have to think). There is no debate. There is no exchange of ideas or information. There cannot be anything resembling argument if it directly stands in contrast to their religion or their selective reading of the Constitution. Yet, these are the same folks who will scream, laugh or cry at the most obvious examples of Political Correctness when it's the political left who has engaged in them, but cannot grasp the concept that they might also be guilty of the same thing. I believe that's on page 14 of Dr. Goebbel's "Berlitz-in-the-Bunker" School of Propaganda Handbook: when an affront or attrocity is committed by the "enemy", it is to be denounced as a crime of the most heinous sort. When "our" side does it, it is an act of heroism.
Now, I don't particularly have anything against Christians, just those that cannot divorce their religion from their politics (aren't we fighting in the Middle East to do just that?). Or those who are arrogant enough to suggest that salvation is reserved for them only (because they can recite Psalms or their minister told them so), and can't but help rubbing that in people's faces. They remind me every bit of Dana Carvey's "Church Lady" and her "Superiority Dance". Worst of all, is someone who is so in thrall to religious dogma that they simply cannot (or will not) tie their own shoes without divine intercession.
I used to pooh-pooh the democratic (small 'd' intentional) party's contention that there was a whacko religious fringe out there, waiting for thei ropportunity to turn America into a theocratic police state, where abortionists and gays will be frog-marched to the ovens, and we'll have to stop everything we're doing and pray 72 times day. I used to laugh at the notion, thinking to myself, "Hey, this America. These things just don't happen here.". Take a look at what calles themselves "Conservative" these days, and you can see that, perhaps, the dems have a point. At any rate, some of my fellow "republicans" are making such arguments easier to prove every day with their own words and actions.