Saturday, July 03, 2010

THE MEANING OF A MURDER

REFLECTING ON A REAL MURDER- that I know about--nearby--I decide to go to the scene and let it speak to me. It happened in this state. Wyoming
In this city
Down this road
So I settle in just across the way.
And begin reflecting on this young man---Matthew Shepard--the victim.
Lured to this spot--Nov 26, 2004---robbed for his money, then MURDERED FOR HIS GAYNESS. This last fact attracted worldwide attention. News media from around the globe flooded the town for the story. Thousands of protest marchers converged to express their outrage. The task I've set for myself is to discover whether Laramie town is homophobic and to reflect on the deeper meaning of this brutality.
I tracked down the (then)Sheriff of Laramie---and found him playing the part of a sheriff in the annual Territorial Prison Festival. His name is Gary Puls (pronounced Pulse) and his new job is Asst. Supt of Wyoming Territorial Prison here. He was super-nice--gave me a tour of the grounds---answered my questions about the Shephard killing--and offered me a job. (no thanks)
I already knew that the killers were caught, convicted and sentenced to life. I asked what it was like to be at the center of world news focus. Unbelievably stressful he said---blood pressure through the roof. Was there any sympathy in Laramie for the killers? Absolutely none!
I checked that last statement out---asking all over town, people's opinion on the killing---these two guys crawled from beneath the car to tell me that they and the town were horrified. It's true--I found no homophobia in Laramie. The protesters who showed up found themselves preaching to the choir. Locals joined in to send a message to the world: homophobia is irrational hate and we will not tolerate it.
I took a day off to find MY PEOPLE---the Unitarians---and go hiking with them around Turtle Mountain. I'll reveal shortly why I choose to identify with them.

RANDY PHILOPHIZES: Millions are accomplices to this murder. Everyone who believes the Bible to be the word of God had a hand in the killing--and in every other act of homophobic persecution. Romans 1:26/27 (and a host of similar verses) declares homosexuality a sin and an abomination. And based on Biblical teaching, generations of Gays, Lesbians etc have been persecuted. Christianity is responsible for the CLIMATE OF OPINION that metastasises in certain minds like these killers. The Bible is just dead wrong on this issue and the Western world is slowly coming to realize it. We know now that homosexuality is and has always been a natural part of human and animal life. Not unlike red hair or left handedness. We're not sure of the details--just of the fact.

THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM IS THIS:----BELIEF IN REVELATION ITSELF!!!---- Believing that there is a God---AND THAT HE WRITES ( OR INSPIRES THE WRITING OF) AUTHORITATIVE BOOKS.------ I SAY THIS TO ALL WHO BELIEVE THERE MUST BE A GOD: --WHY NOT JUST BELIEVE IN GOD AND REJECT THE NOTION THAT HE WRITES OR INSPIRES THE WRITING OF "HOLY BOOKS". (i.e. reject the notion of revelation) Believe that God leaves it to us to create and perfect ethics--- Just as he leaves it to us to invent technology, art, culture. Believing this ---will take away the worst effects of religion. And then--choose to live by real faith:--trusting your own deepest intuition. (that is approximately the Unitarian position--the only church I know that rejects all infallible revelations)
BELIEVE WITH THOMAS JEFFERSON AND MANY OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS THAT GOD LEAVES THE JOB OF ETHICS TO US.-------- THAT WAY,--WE-,-ALL OF US--PARTICIPATE IN AND ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PERSONAL AND COLLECTIVE CODE THAT WE LIVE BY---A CODE THAT IS NOT YET PERFECTED--one that moves forward as we become more sensitive to the feelings and needs of others. THIS IS A LOFTIER VIEW OF LIFE---AS CREATIVE RESPONSIVENESS RATHER THAN THE CHRISTIAN VIEW OF LIFE AS OBEDIANCE TO GODS WILL.
The global clash of ignorant armies largely represent "Holy Book" conflicts---There are 27 of them that claim to be inspired by god. Around the world children are infected with MIND VIRUSES of doctrines and wierd ethics that constrict their lives, impose needless guilt and fear.
MOST OF US HAVE BEEN INDOCTRINATED WITH SOME SORT OF MIND VIRUS---YET, I SAY EVERY ONE OF US IS RESPONSIBLE FOR QUESTIONING THEIR INDOCTRINATION ----SHUCKING THE CRAZY STUFF--AND BUILDING AN EHIC APPROPRIATE TO OURSELVES. (Have you REALLY questioned yours?)




















18 comments:

rg coleman said...

Randy, I always love visiting your opinionated blog. With your permission I'd like to add your site to my "links you'll like page" - just let me know if that's ok!

Randy said...

Be my guest RG---high compliment.

Boonie said...

I wish you wouldn't use so many upper case letters in your essays. It makes your essay look like one of those religious tracts that lie around in the laundromats.

Let's say that religious people and homophobes are as evil as you say. What explains their remarkable inefficiency in killing their victims? How many have there been?

It's ironic that you would write this essay a day before the holiday that celebrates American Nationalism and Imperialism. Globally "our" version of these ism-s and other people's version have chosen quite a few more victims than the homophobic murderers you were inveighing against.

Dixxe's Doodles said...

IT is "religious doctrine" that has brought up the wrath of Randy..and has in my mind made religions of the world a pit fall that has entrapped and enslaved the minds of many -but each has Free Will to make a choice, and the other has the free will to discount the choices made.
I know the social problems of this world will not be corrected anytime soon-not in our lifetime or the life times of our children and their children....therefore we will each have to continue to do what we can, and lead by example-
You have opened 2 cans of worms here, Religion and Sexual orientation neither of which is ever going to be eaten without choking-there is no right or wrong-its a CHOICE both ways...you cant make choices for people...that is what you are forgetting, the choice to be gay, and the choice to belong to a religion BOTH are individual rights of choice....

Right now my battle is against the Corporate Coup of America, --now thats one battle we all should be fighting and its also a matter of choice!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post, Randy. And I agree. All of us are steeped in fact, fiction, myth, and prejudice. Each of us must sort through it and arrive at a place of good stewardship towards ourself, others, and creation at large.

Many of the great teachers wrote nothing on paper (Budha, Jesus, etc..) to be distributed to the masses. I think because they knew. That the writings themself would be worshipped instead of the idea of truth that was conveyed/shared.

john

Anonymous said...

Those Rose colored glasses that Randy is looking through can't hide the hate and phobia present everywhere. I will email you a story that you may find interesting.

Later

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, an act of evil committed by evil men and you manage to blame Christians for it. All Christians.
I say Christians because you only mentioned the bible even though other religions are even harsher on sexual orientation.

We are all responsible for OUR choices and actions, it's not OUR belief system, it's not OUR laws IT'S US.

You Randy are responsible for YOUR actions and blaming the evil acts of two men on millions because of YOUR belief in what 'you think' they believe is just wrong.
You have some great insight into the world around us and (it seems) a HUGE hate of religions people.

This post of mine is not about religion it's about prejudice. The victim of that prejudice might be homosexual or religious but the prejudice is the same.

Anonymous said...

I am heartened your investigation revealed the murder is not condoned in Laramie. It is almost impossible not to conflate sexuality and religion since most religions do just that.
So...a grand social movement need only to convince religion to accept homosexuals and they can go on conflating. It seems to me that this is happening.
Bushman

Rick Brentlinger said...

"The truth is rarely pure and never simple." -Oscar Wilde

Two drug-abusing redneck drunks killed Matthew Shepard, not Christians.

The American legal system based on the Judeo-Christian ethic of the Bible brought the murderers to justice.

The truth of the Christian Gospel is a Person - Jesus Christ - before it becomes our personal propositional truth.

We don’t construct the Gospel’s Truth or make it up. The Truth of the Gospel reveals Himself to us in the Bible.

Walt said...

As a Christian, I would agree with Randy's underlying notion that many crimes have been committed and much evil perpetuated in the name of God.

I would also argue that Rick's statement that "We don’t construct the Gospel’s Truth or make it up. The Truth of the Gospel reveals Himself to us in the Bible." Is at best misguided and simply wrong because it forgets the simple fact that the Bible was written by and translated by men, some of whom, no doubt, had agendas of their own to further.

The Bible also says that we cannot know the mind of God, yet we use the Bible time and again to argue what God wants or means or intends. I believe in God, but I am coming to believe that there are multiple paths to finding God. your way and my way may not be the same, but that does not make one of them wrong. I also believe there are lessons to be learned from the Bible ("do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and "love thy neighbor as thyself" are two good lessons), but I do not believe the Bible can be presumed to be the know-all be-all of God's will, intent, or desire, when the book itself says we cannot fully know these things. So why do so many professed Christians proclaim otherwise.

Randy said...

Ah Walt--how refreshing--I think I could live in peace with Christians such as you. You do understand that you are in the extreme minority when you DE-DIVINITIZE the bible--regard it as a man-made book reporting HUMAN thoughts and impressions of the (alleged) divine. Christians such as yourself are no obstruction to the natural evolution of ethics. Were I to engage you in person I would enjoy hearing your take on the question of Revelation itself.

Walt said...

It has been a long time since I have read any of Revelation, but I have always considered it allegorical and showing us the evil that lurks within all of us if we choose to act on it. I am actually more partial to A Poet's Bible, in which a poet and Biblical scholar goes back to the original Hebrew and Greek and re-translates several books of the Bible in order to reveal the true poetry of the book.

As far as Revelation in the sense of God revealing God's self to us, I believe God is revealed to us every day - in a sunrise, in a single flower, in the gentle kiss of a spring breeze, in the touch of a small child's hand.

I am inclined to believe that every faith has truth, just not necessarily The Truth. I also believe that faith and spirituality are (or at least should be) bigger and more important than one's professed religion, even though we often refer to our chosen religion as our professed faith.

Faith and spirituality are the electricity that help drive us; religion is merely an outlet.

Jim said...

==========
For anyone pretending to have ANY knowledge of the gay community, you seriously need to soften up your foundation long enough to get one fact right: folks do NOT 'choose' to be gay any more than you yourself have chosen YOUR particular sexual orientation (whatever it might be . . . and I really could NOT care any less). Human sexuality is 10,000 shades of gray. There is no black. There is no white. Only simple minds who insist on certainty in an uncertain world persist in maintaining otherwise.
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The one moron who did as much to promote this MYTH of "praying away gay" as anyone recently returned from a 10-day trip to Europe with a lover he hired online at rentboy.com. It was a brief blip on the media radar but apparently his godly solution works on everyone except him. Let it be known there is no doubt in rentboy's mind that his hypocrite employer is gay to the core.
==========
In all my 56 years I've never gotten a glimpse for one second into HOW it came to be that what consenting adults do behind closed doors EVER became anyone else's damn business. Free your mind; your ass will follow.
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Randy said...

Thanks Jim--well said.

Jim said...

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It also occurs to me that homophobes killing someone because of their reputed sexual orientation is a uniquely MALE phenomen. When was the last time you read about two hetero females killing a lesbian?
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It's pretty well a forgone conclusion by now that gay bashers are usually young men uncertain about their OWN sexuality. Their violence against innocents is their peculiar psychopathic way of "proving" to the world they are NOT gay (as if any thinking person could manage to give a flip one way or another). When a person's sexual orientation STOPS being anyone else's concern, these pointless killings and woundings will also stop. I believe Randy is onto something here. If you make the sexual orientation of a complete stranger YOUR business? Then you are complicit in the death of Matthew Shepard. Some of his blood remains on your hands.
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Steve said...

Not so fast there Jim ...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1293588/Lesbian-couples-savage-assault-leaves-man-dead.html

Jim said...

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I didn't mean to infer that lesbians have NO capacity for violence. Without doubt there are thousands of them in prison for violent crimes. A lifetime of repression and blatant discrimination is enough to make anyone volatile and reactive. But, again, "When was the last time you read about two hetero females killing a lesbian?" (And more to the point "because of her sexual preference?")
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Gay bashing by young males who are insecure is all too common; lesbian bashing by young hetero females is virtually unheard of.
==========

Steve said...

no worries Jim. I wasn't saying you were wrong so much as it was just a news story I caught recently that loosely had anything to do with this topic.

I hear what you're saying but then women aren't the ones on the front lines either. Men are and have been the defenders. Historically speaking. They have the penchant for violence or more to the point ... action. Be it violent or otherwise. I can't pretend to get into the mind of someone who would want to kill someone because they happen to want to play for the other team. That being said, I also don't know what it is to be denied marriage. Although I've dated some women where I wish that was the case :-P.

All this aside. Randy is a bit overdue in his updates. Not that he follows a schedule or has to. I just noticed that he'd been diligent in posted once a week and hasn't. I assume he's been out there taking in new adventures and will post about them soon.

Steve