Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Imagination Officially Staggered

Although I usually refrain from "commenting on comments" on this blog, every once in awhile something rises to the occasion of worthy exception to the rule ... and this morning is one of those.

The Chris Hedges' piece on the vandalism of the Equality Ride bus in Iowa ...

... posted here yesterday brought the following two comments:

Craig Goodrich said... Well, it certainly was thoughtful of these mindless, vicious vandals to very carefully write only on the windows, so removal of the graffiti wouldn't damage the bus. Particularly when spraying that way is so much more difficult than simply squirting the side of the bus; you have to use a ladder or stool. Which means, if you're a dumb noisy lowlife homophobic radical-Christian-right vandal, you have to be, uncharacteristically, very quiet and careful about guards -- since this is happening right next to a large hotel.Amazingly resourceful, these radical-Christian-right- homphobic rednecks.

The Pilgrim said ... I looked at the pictures of the bus. There is absolutely no permanent damage to the vehicle, especially the paint surface. The window writing is done with those large markers that used car dealers use to put prices on the windshields of their vehicles, and are very popular with cars full of cheerleaders and pep squad members on their way to state basketball tournaments. They come off easily with soap and water. Awfully considerate of those midwest homophobes. . . .

So evidently defacing a bus with graphic homophobic graffiti is OK as long as it will WASH OFF????? Ergo my officially staggered imagination ... which engendered this response from yours truly:

I've got a pretty vivid imagination which is increasingly immune to being staggered by the arrogant ignorance of those who presume to stand for "traditional family values" and then condone or encourage the kind of hate-filled demonstration exhibited by the Equality Ride bus vandals.

So, gentlemen, my hat is off to you this morning as your venturing once again into the land of "I can't believe Christian people would treat each other so" has given us yet another example of why there is no "season" or "pause" long enough to mend the rent in the fabric of the Communion that your absolutism has wrought.


Anonymous said...

Amen, Susan+!

Color me equally staggered.

Anonymous said...

I think their point, albeit rather ineptly and snidely made, was that the Soulforce folks did the vandalism themselves so as to attract sympathy. I'm sure their (il)logic ran something along the lines of: "no real Christian would deface others' property; GLBT are by definition not real Christians; ergo, they must have defaced the bus themselves." Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Why all of the synthetic outrage, folks? It's not as if this hasn't been done before.

Can anyone explain to me what motivation gay-hating, right-wing fanatics would have to minimize the damage to the bus? It's almost as if the perpetrators were attempting to make sure that those who rented the bus wouldn't lose their deposit. Now who would have a motive for that?....hmmm....


Unknown said...

.. albeit rather ineptly and snidely made ...

Well, I dunno, seems it was ept enough that RevSusan misunderstood...

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Why do I feel like channeling Joseph Welch?:

"Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

And I think I know the answer to the question...

Anonymous said...

When I served in Upper SC, vandals consistently destroyed a sign at a local black church about joining the NAACP. I fail to see any relevant moral difference. In both instances, the violence is palpable.

I also think this points to a flaw in the PB's reasoning about anxiety. Asserting personal boundaries, in the face of violence, is self-definition and non-violent action at its best, not anxiety.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

After reading these remarks and putting them together with ones I've read over at T19, SFiF, MCJ, etc., I've come to believe these things to be self-evident and absolutely, positively true:

Bigotry lowers your IQ.

The longer you're a bigot, the lower your IQ.

Anonymous said...

Where is the police report, and where are the newspaper articles?

A google search of the Quad cities area in general and Sioux City in particular shows a stunning lack of coverage, and compounds the number of dissonant facts in this story.

1: Where is the police report? Three cars of young people continuously circled a major hotel in the middle of Sioux Center, shouting epithets and slurs and nobody called the police?

2. There are also no stories in the Quad city newspapers. Other stories concerning Soul Force have been carried by the local papers, but not this one.

Terroristic threatening, vandalism and destruction of private property, and no police report or newspaper comment.

I am amazed.

Anonymous said...

I think their point, albeit rather ineptly and snidely made, was that the Soulforce folks did the vandalism themselves so as to attract sympathy.

Well, a point so *subtly* made, that I didn't get it, until you explained, Julie (Thanks. I guess.)

Having participated in a SoulForce demonstration myself, I'm almost regretful that the protesters I was with, showed very little of the innovation that the Freedom Riders are accused of having!

Having thought about this some more, I guess I'm more offended that anyone would think that 1) Fairies can't spell "fairy", or 2) we don't know bloody well that faggot-bashers can spell "fairy", also! (though words like "inclusive" and "tolerance" and also "prejudice" might be beyond their ken).

I mean, honestly: "It's almost as if the perpetrators were attempting to make sure that those who rented the bus wouldn't lose their deposit. Now who would have a motive for that?"

I'm gobsmacked, at this level of bigoted distrust: "the Soulforce folks did the vandalism themselves". Just speechless. Imagination even MORE staggered, than in your original interpretation, Susan.

Lord have mercy!

MarkBrunson said...

Well, Jeffersonian, you've produced a piece by a Log Cabin Republican trying to vindicate Republicanism. There's very little there that could be taken implicitly to clear adherents of conservative christianity, and nothing overtly stated about anything other than political groups. There's no real evidence for his assertions -- not even actual anecdotal evidence just hearsay.

Why the synthetic "proof," Jeffersonian?

MarkBrunson said...

I was amazed, as well, pilgrim, when I googled "Soulforce Sioux City vandalism" and pulled - first thing - an online report in the Sioux City Journal.

Not surprisingly, though, most of the comments deriding the report and its "atheism" comes from right-wing christians.

Anonymous said...

"Bigotry lowers your IQ.

The longer you're a bigot, the lower your IQ."

Nice polemics, Elizabeth. If you're losing with the facts, drag out the ad hominems, eh?

Anonymous said...

Why the synthetic "proof," Jeffersonian?

I think you misread my post. The Advocate column I posted wasn't to "prove" that the Soul Force people did this themselves, it was to disprove the notion here, which up to that point seemed to be unquestioned and unquestionable, that such a thing was impossible. Clearly it is possible and, given the circumstantial evidence, I think even probable.

One would think that, after the debacle that the hard Left made of the Duke "rape" case, that it would be a bit more circumspect in pointing the bony finger of accusation at the Usual Suspects. But one would be wrong, no?


Anonymous said...

Just to clear up what seems to be a frequent misunderstanding of Iowa geography -- the bus was defaced in Sioux Center, IA not Sioux City, IA. Sioux Center is a small town in the far NW corner of Iowa. It has only a weekly newspaper and gets very little coverage of any kind in any dailies in the state.

Most of my relatives live in Sioux County (where Sioux Center is located). It is an extremely conservative, Calvinist area of the state, populated primarily by descendents of immigrants from Holland. (I'm such a descendent as well, but my apple has rolled pretty far from this tree.)

There is a new, fledgling Episcopal congregation which is forming just 12 miles down the road from Sioux Center, in Orange City (the county seat of Sioux County). Pray for the hearty souls of Church of the Savior!

Linda in Iowa

Jeff Martinhauk said...

Double-posted from my blog:

I am not an apologist. I do not see any need to rationalize my theology against yours, nor to justify my point of view to your point of view simply because you are straight and accept orthodoxy in a different manner than me.

Suffice it to say that I see tradition and scripture very differently than you do.

I think the burden is on the other side. If a crime is reported, why do you have such a need to prove that the crime did not occur? In fact, what do you have to benefit from trying to prove that the crime was staged? Only that you may remain comfortable in your exclusionary beliefs and actions.

I have no reason to doubt the folks at Soulforce, nor have you given any. The fact that you wish the crime was more serious than it was is not a reason to doubt the reality of the crime. It is only an indication of your wish to deny the crime, and of the lengths that you will go to in order to deny it.

This was not benign; the damage was real. If you think the damage done here was physical and material, you are a very troubled soul indeed. This was a crime done to the soul; to the spirit of those working for the Gospel. The victims know that, we in the GLBT community know it, and the perpetrators knew it. It didn’t matter what physical damage they did because it was inconsequential. It is this very discussion that is the real damage– the fact that people like you would even question that the physical damage is more important than the damage to the people involved.

The attitude that this is about physical damage to the bus is like to those, who when African Americans faced vandalism, violence, and discrimination in the civil rights movement, faced responses such as “just get over it - there was no real damage done.” Similarly during the arguments during slavery about whether or not to give the Gospel to African slaves, the “dilemma” of whether or not to let them have it because many believed they did not have souls. Ridiculous now, of course, as it was then. As ridiculous as the belief that this is about damage done to a bus. This is not about physical damage. This is about the peaceable kingdom of God, and the human sin of resistance to accept that forward movement.


Anonymous said...

Yes, one can hypothesize lots of things. Maybe the mayor and police chief turned up in the middle of the night to vandalize the bus, so as to get face time on the 5 PM local news for a law-and-order speech.

The motivation for limiting the physical damage to the bus is that in many states vandalism under a certain damage limit is a misdemeanor, vandalism over a certain dollar amount is a felony. The limit is often on the order of $500.00 to $1,000.00. A paint job on a bus would certainly exceed the limit. (I don't know specifically about Iowa law - anyone at the Iowa bar, please correct if needed). One can come back easily from a youthful misdemeanor, but just try getting employed as more than a janitor with a felony conviction.

As for "bigotry lowers IQ" cracks, well, there are a lot of exceedingly hostile blogcomments that have many misspelled words per message. "Feary" - honestly!


Anonymous said...

Mark said. . .
"I was amazed, as well, pilgrim, when I googled "Soulforce Sioux City vandalism" and pulled - first thing - an online report in the Sioux City Journal."

Thanks. Don't know how I missed it. I was focussed on quad cities?

Seems that the markers used to write on the windows are the same as the colors of one of the two local high schools. And the local Bible College that the bus riders were visiting apologised, even though they felt they had nothing to do with the vandalism, and sent their maintenance people over to clean the vehicle.

Then they had the group on campus, set up interviews and dialogue with students, and treated the riders magnaminously, in a Christian manner. The school officials said they saw it as an opportunity to evangelize.

All in all, it worked out well.

The minimal cost of vandalism rationale works for me, although it just doesn't sound like something a wired up group of high school students would take cognizance of.