Intolerant of Intolerance

We have raps. [We in this case is Twin Oaks.]  We tell people who are intolerant that they will not be accepted here.  The way i say it is something like this:

If you tell racist or sexist or homophobic jokes or slurs during your visitor period, we will certainly reject you.  We don’t need to make a judgment on your choices, we just know that it wont work for you to live here with us.  We are intolerant of intolerance.

Clementine pointed out that i was exhibiting exactly the type of intolerance we frown on here with my last post.  Except it is acceptable because it is fundamentalist Christians who are advocating for the Rapture, so it is somehow PC.

This topic is rich.  In part because it points out an obvious double standard.  Yet i maintain a radical golden rule perspective.  If i was saying “The world is about to end, people who believe what i believe will be saved, the rest of you will be left behind to suffer without us righteous folks to guide you.  And there is nothing you can do about it now.”  I would want someone to say to me “you are crazy, what i busted and selfish meme.  Go back to the drawing board.”

About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

11 responses to “Intolerant of Intolerance”

  1. Karen says :

    I agree, Intolerance, will NOT be Tolerated!!!!!!!!!

  2. raven0us says :

    “what a busted and selfish meme” ha.

  3. robino says :

    Good. I like it as a principle or guideline and I am sure it helps new people understanding.

    But.

    Can I make sexist jokes or even racist jokes when they are about me and my own box? Or homofobic jokes while I am a homosexual myself? 😉 Like, can I make jokes about the general stupidity of males? And does sexism work both ways?

    Or what if I make sarcastic jokes about homosexuals they themselves like but straight people think they are offensive?

  4. paxus says :

    Dearest Robin:

    You have caught one of our (and a general cultural) exemption. I can make jokes or disparaging comments about privileged, over-educated, white males and do with some regularity. Your own group is fair game.

    No your second point, making (for example) gay jokes my gay friends find funny but my straight friends find offense, is much more dicey. The safe environment for this would be if only your gay friends were around and you were actually insightful about these jokes.

    It gets to the tricky piece about what your intent is with the joke. If it is a form of hate speech than it is problematic, if it is guised appreciation or understanding (like the lesbian second date jokes) then it is a different thing.

    Our intolerance is more nuanced than i describe really.

  5. Clementine says :

    Alright, I’m gunna comment. But only because I was called out by name!

    The line that really got me from your last post, my dearest Pax, was the one about looting Christian bookstores for furniture rather than books. I mean, sure, lots of folks who believe in the rapture also believe in people like us burning in hell and suffering eternal damnation and the whole bit. But to suggest that there is nothing useful in the entirety of Christian literature is closed-minded and selfish in the extreme. Even if you don’t believe the stuff, which is totally fine, you have to understand that many, many people with whom you share your world actually do. To suggest that there is nothing of value in their history and culture says to me that you don’t give a shit about understanding who they are, or about gaining a deeper perspective on the way the world works, the way that your neighbors behave, and why. Even if you’re willing to be that isolated from the greater world in your personal life, it doesn’t seem to me to be a great stance for an activist. As we’ve talked about, for me, truly powerful activism is often about building connections between people. Meeting them where they’re at and helping to move them, and yourself, to something better. When you put blinders on to huge portions of the population by saying that all of their books–we’re talking about thousands and thousands of years of literature, here–aren’t even worth stealing–then you pretty much shut yourself down to that kind of understanding, even where it exits.

    And, ya know, I find fundamentalist Christians an easy target to make fun of, too. And, I’ll admit, I’ve indulged in my share of that over the past few days. But you weren’t just poking fun at the fundamentalist ones. You were dismissing all of them, as if any culture can be defined entirely by its extremists. Is that fair?

    So, yeah, snarky rant over, comment posted. As you requested.

    Sending you love from two doors down!

    Clementine

  6. paxus says :

    Dearest Clem:

    Excellent points. i will make you a deal. When you come back from your time in California, we can go to the Xian book store of your choice and spend an hour or two looking thru the books earnestly and see which ones we think are interesting.

    i’ll bring an open mind and some cash.

    Paxus sadly on the other side of campus

  7. Kenna J Josephene says :

    I am opposed to Christianity, and I don’t mind saying so. First of all, being Christian is not a way you’re born, like being gay or female; it’s a choice. And, its fundamental tenet is that there is One True God. Throughout history, ANY time there has been worship of the One True God, there has been violence and oppression against the out-group. Christianity is a religion of hatred and violence masquerading as goodness and virtue.

  8. jeff winder says :

    disclaimer – nothing I am about to say has the slightest relevance to relating to anyone who is advocating for the Rapture.

    i sincerely tried for several years during my mid to late 20’s to make a christian spirituality work for me. in the end it became clear that it was not just the association with oppressive institutions that wasn’t working. I just didn’t resonate with the entire mythology and worldview of it.

    during that time, i did a lot of reading, some of which was fairly interesting, on alternative interpretations of the bible based on various versions of the premise that mistranslation, lack of historical context and active subversion by powermongers have caused most of christianity to miss the point. That was probably only interesting because it related so directly to my personal journey at the time, but still it has enhanced my understanding and ability to relate to christians as an organizer.

    the article below (pasted a sample paragraph if you don’t want to read the whole thing) might offer some support for the point of view that Clementine offers. I read it because the title reminded me of a conversation I had with a queer, poly Christian woman while on an organizing trip to North Carolina a couple of months ago. In her organizing work in rural NC, she is quite courageously open about the her sexuality and her alternative family and parenting arrangement. She is preparing to enter seminary now and intends to become a christian minister. She was a delight to talk to and her sincerity and joyful way of being in the world will make it really hard for people to write her off. She is going to shake things up wherever she lands.

    I think any rhetoric that paints all christians with the same brush closes off opportunities to meet and love someone like her, and the post above sounds too close to the rhetoric that justifies the war on terror and racial profiling of muslims.

    http://www.jesusradicals.com/a-holy-queering-rewilding-civilized-sexualities/

    Queer theology is an emerging field in Christian scholarship that seeks to share wisdom from the spiritual experiences of those who are sexually marginalized, in order to renew all our sexualities. The radical, superabundant love at the heart of the Christian story is mighty queer in the way that it challenges “natural” boundaries. (For a good primer in queer theology, see the new book Radical Love by Patrick Cheng.) For example, the incarnated Jesus destroyed the human/divine binary, just as the risen Christ dissolved the boundary between life and death. In his ministry, the historical Jesus deliberately transgressed social boundaries, relating intimately with people who were of the “wrong” sexuality and/or gender, in order to enter freely into relationships of love. If sexuality is energy for relationship, for abundant life (John 10:10), then Jesus resisted the societal controls that exist to channel this energy into economic and power arrangements, as these are foreign to the human heart’s purpose: to be wild and free (Gal. 5:1).

  9. Cerwydwyn says :

    As much as I hate to begin a comment with country music lyrics, I’m going to as a prelude to a bunch of randomly connected thoughts.
    Something in the paragraph Jeff posted reminded me of the song by Miranda Lambert, lyrics something like this: “I hear Jesus he drank wine and I bet we’d get along just fine, he cured the sick and healed the blind and I bet he’d understand a hard life.” As a historical figure, Jesus was one of the very first activists.
    I met a lovely woman in NE NC who lives on a farm modeled after Polyface. She calls herself A Follower of Jesus. She turns from the definition ‘Christian’ because of the negativity associated with that term. Yet, she is IMO one of the people who should define Christianity-kind, accepting, loving of all.
    As a veteran of Christian school and a survivor of Rapture propaganda videos, let me tell you that if I had been a child in a fundamentalist family I would be totally screwed up right now. Those videos and stories were terrifying. This, to me, is the worst part of what didn’t happen–those little confused children. Ever watch Jesus Camp? Aggressive, frightening, threatening indoctrination. That was sort of like the school I went to and so many of our fundamentalist neighbor’s kids have had the holy shit scared out of them. How will this effect them?
    We all have to make judgments based on the parameters of the box we live in. Even if we’re trying to get out of that box.
    [contextual aside] I grew up white, wealthy, in the American South. Racism was a way of life. Not overt, hateful racism in my family but the simple assumption that white people are better, smarter. It has taken me a long time to shed those robes and still I have to make a conscious effort when I see black people in certain contexts. (Homeless; drunken; shouting into my car window when I’m sitting at a stop light.) When these things happen it takes a real effort to think like I would if this were a white or Asian person. It’s becoming more and more automatic but I’m not there yet.
    We all make this type of judgment. Rich, traditional, Christian often = bad in alternative society. These judgments are what keep us alive. What if I opened the window for the guy shouting at me at a stop light, would he tell that his friend fainted in the park over there? Would he reach in and try and grab my purse? Would he just keep on shouting? (All of these have happened to me in the past. Live and learn.)
    So when I read some sort of judgment, claim for being intolerant of intolerance it just seems natural to assume that we’re speaking of certain types of intolerance. I’ve met one person who seems tolerant of almost everything and she is a rare gem who lives alone on a mountain without plumbing or electricity. Maybe that solitude helps.
    In the end, if we’re evolving, working our way toward being more tolerant of even the things that make our skin crawl, we’re doing something good.

  10. ted says :

    I would think that if the rapture HAD happened the books written by the people who predicted it would be the most valuable/helpful.

    Might be other predictive tidbits we should be aware of?

    And bookstores always have terrible furniture, it’s all particleboard with faux finishes…

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