Suicidal? Have some Jesus!

Consider it a kind of litmus test: How do you react to a highly visible outbreak of suicide among teenagers, which is almost directly linked to anti-gay bullying? Perhaps with sympathy? Understanding? The recognition that this might just be a serious problem that needs to be addressed? The realization that something should be done about the bullying that’s driving kids to suicide, and the intolerant attitudes that enable this harassment?

Or something else?

Mike Adams of Townhall.com provides an object lesson in how to fail at constructing a coherent argument, while blithely insulting those who have taken their own lives, all in the name of a fake god. It’s hard enough to untangle whatever point he was trying to make by listing eight “suicides” of Christian homophobes who were rebuked for their Bible bigotry, which he then immediately demolishes by revealing that they’re all alive and well. And yet apparently that was his point all along:

These eight cases are all true except for one thing: The Christians who were bullied by gays and gay activists are all still alive. Not a single one has committed suicide. That is because they have centered their lives around Jesus Christ, rather than their sexual identity. And no amount of bullying can change my mind about that.

Here we have a perfect example of someone who just doesn’t get it. You might expect that Christians of all people would reject the kind of false moral equivalence that views fighting for acceptance and tolerance, versus spewing the mythologically-derived hatred that inspires people to take their own lives, as just two sides of the same coin. You’d be wrong, though. To people like Mike Adams, there is no difference between fostering a climate of hate based on ancient delusions, and being told to stop doing that. It’s somehow just another form of bullying when you have to quit bullying people – if you can’t bully others anymore, that means you’re being bullied yourself. It’s all the same thing: abuse and respect, damnation and love, prejudice and equality.

Yes, we’ve heard all this before: the deceptive argument from the intolerant that tolerance must, for the sake of consistency, permit acts of intolerance, or else become the same intolerance it so deplores. What they seem to have missed is that allowing intolerance to run wild does nothing to further tolerance at all, and actually works against it. It’s hardly an act of tolerance to let intolerance proliferate, when this only serves to diminish tolerance overall. “Tolerating” intolerance is itself encouraging of intolerance.

It must have taken some serious willful ignorance to avoid realizing that his surprise revelation undermines everything preceding it. This supposed anti-Christian “bullying” (of having one’s intolerance refuted) is equated in severity to the anti-gay bullying that drove teenagers to kill themselves – except, wait a minute, none of these Christians killed themselves after all! That makes it rather difficult to pretend the exact same thing is going on here. The reason these actual suicides are significant is because they demonstrate that anti-gay bullying can be so traumatic, people have literally chosen to die because of it. Opposition to Christian intolerance, as Mike Adams freely admits, has not driven anyone to that point. Nobody is killing themselves due to being smacked down for their bigotry. Consequently, it’s hard to see why that’s supposed to be such a big deal, or really a matter of concern at all.

Adams’ conclusion – the argumentative equivalent of a Gainax ending – is almost too confusing to be insulting. Almost. What makes him so sure that identifying as gay causes one to commit suicide? What is it about living openly and honestly that’s supposed to make you kill yourself? This is nothing more than blaming the victims for no clear reason whatsoever, rather than the harassment they experienced at the hands of homophobes who he would surely rush to defend. No, it’s certainly not a problem that they were bullied for being gay, even to the point of suicide – it’s their own fault for being so gay!

And really, is Christianity meant to serve as some kind of suicide prevention tactic? Does he actually think Christians never kill themselves, based on his own intentional selection of 8 Christians who aren’t dead? That’s hardly persuasive evidence of anything but his own biases. 76% of the country is Christian – do all the suicides happen to fall in the other 24%? Likewise, do all the gays fall in that 24%, too? “Gay” and “Christian” aren’t mutually exclusive, after all. How is Christianity, especially Adams’ hateful conception of it, supposed to help gay Christians who are still being bullied for being gay?

The entire notion of Christianity as a deterrent to suicide is disgusting. For someone who’s on the verge of killing themselves and genuinely feels there’s nothing left to live for, all Christianity can offer is the negative incentive of hellfire. It means telling someone whose life has become too painful to continue living that it’s only going to get worse: not only is their current existence unbearable, but if they choose to end it, they’re just going to be tortured forever instead. How is that supposed to help anyone who finds themselves in this situation? Not only are you threatening someone who desperately wants to end their pain with yet more unending pain, you’re just telling them a lie about an imaginary afterlife to try and convince them otherwise. It means you don’t even respect them enough to be honest with them. You’re trying to wrest control away from them, urging them to incorporate your known falsehood into their belief system so that they’ll act on it. You’re taking it out of their hands entirely, rather than at least allowing them to make that decision for themselves – literally a matter of life and death – based on actual facts. There are plenty of reasons not to kill yourself, but doesn’t someone who’s reached that point still deserve the truth?

Everything Mike Adams has said here is simply twisting the knife after these kids have already killed themselves: “Haha! Should’ve been more Christian, faggots!” It’s like he doesn’t even care enough to take this seriously instead of joking about it and using their corpses as a platform to preach even more of the bigotry that helped kill them.

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Suicidal? Have some Jesus!
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16 thoughts on “Suicidal? Have some Jesus!

  1. meh
    1

    “It’s like he doesn’t even care enough to take this seriously instead of joking about it and using their corpses as a platform to preach even more of the bigotry that helped kill them.”

    What’s more sad is that this was totally expected. I mean, I saw all this shit coming from a mile away. I’ve been taught this concept my entire life. Someone who commits suicide OBVIOUSLY didn’t truly have Jesus in their life, or they would have “had more hope, and a reason for living”. Its circular reasoning at its finest.

  2. 2

    Let’s look at being openly Christian and how it pertains to society:
    1. You can practice freely out in public.
    2. You can practice and not be consistently insulted.
    3. You can take your practices home and still have peace since it is considered “normal”.
    4. You are generally not criticized and judged by other surrounding peers who live differently.

    Let’s now look at being openly gay and how it pertains to society:
    1. You can’t freely express yourself out in public unless you want to be forcefully removed from the premise.
    2. You can’t freely express yourself without getting consistent insults, and even harassment or threats.
    3. Coming out to your household is a nightmare scenario for a reason.
    4. You can receive death threats, attempts on your life, attempts on and to your property, consistent harassment, and even forced attempts to change who you are.

    These Christians that were being teased could just walk away peacefully and not have to drag the teasing all the way home, into their lifestyles, and to the point where they literally have to force themselves to be who they were not meant to be. The greatest “evil” is not loving another human no matter the gender, it’s instilling hatred into others for your own personal disgust or gains.

  3. 3

    Yes, we’ve heard all this before: the deceptive argument from the intolerant that tolerance must, for the sake of consistency, permit acts of intolerance, or else become the same intolerance it so deplores. What they seem to have missed is that allowing intolerance to run wild does nothing to further tolerance at all, and actually works against it. It’s hardly an act of tolerance to let intolerance proliferate, when this only serves to diminish tolerance overall. “Tolerating” intolerance is itself encouraging of intolerance.

    Yes, exactly – I’m surprised I haven’t heard this pointed out more often, considering the utter ubiquity of this completely stupid argument, both in the right-wing press and in articles written by liberals who want to appear “balanced”. The thing is, all historical attempts to accomodate intolerance have failed – it’s not an agenda with strictly-set goals that will put down tools once they’re achieved. It’s a mindset, and a nasty, paranoid one at that, which takes and takes and takes and takes.

    Ironically, it was a conservative commentator who understood this best of all – “A little extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice.” I imagine William F Buckley had a different definition of liberty to me, but the sentiment holds up, I think. You can’t be “balanced” when dealing with the unbalanced; if the price of a free, tolerant society is that we’re occasionally a bit mean to neo-Nazis, that’s cool by me.

    (Great blog, by the way! And to think, I’d never have found out about you if Insane Clown Posse didn’t hate you. Now that, bro, is a fuckin’ miracle)

  4. 4

    “It means you don’t even respect them enough to be honest with them.”
    For some reason this really hit home with me.
    However, does it account for the possibility of Christians who truly believe, who think they are being honest?

    /agree with Der Bruno Stroszek. Great blog, very thought-provoking ;]

  5. 5

    This was a great blog to read,I hope a new one comes soon.I’ve been a victim of anti-gay bullying in Zinnia’s new chatroom.As soon as people there find out I like Zinnia a lot,I have to deal with insults, by these chatroom freeloaders who aren’t even fans of Zinnia in the first place. I try very hard to be on my best behavior while in the chatroom,these people are angry straights who have nowhere else to go.Maybe my name is just asking for chatroom abuse (Zinnia_Chaser).I don’t let it get me down I just roll with the smartass remarks,I should just change my screen name while I’m there.

  6. 6

    Asher Brown, the gay middle-school kid who committed suicide in Texas, lived a couple of miles from where I grew up. I had dinner with my parents last week- my parents are very conservative Christians- and the main topic was Asher Brown and bullying; they are both horrified. My dad thinks the kids are worse these days. I think Dad’s sympathy with Asher is really encouraging.

  7. 7

    Very provocative. You deconstructed Christianity to the point that it is revealed as the hate spreading, life denying, and intolerance inducing system of false virtues that it truly is. It disempowers the pure-hearted and strong and allows the weak and spite filled to remain complacent in their own weakness.

  8. 9

    “Yes, we’ve heard all this before: the deceptive argument from the intolerant that tolerance must, for the sake of consistency, permit acts of intolerance, or else become the same intolerance it so deplores. What they seem to have missed is that allowing intolerance to run wild does nothing to further tolerance at all, and actually works against it. It’s hardly an act of tolerance to let intolerance proliferate, when this only serves to diminish tolerance overall. “Tolerating” intolerance is itself encouraging of intolerance.”

    The act of tolerating intolerance is an amazing and wonderful thing. You seem to forget that in your eyes you are in the moral right, and people should tolerate you and not tolerate people that don’t like you. However, it wasn’t all that long ago that being gay was the moral wrong, and people shouldn’t tolerate gays and should tolerate hating gays. What fostered this reversal? Tolerance. Freedom of speech is a pure form of tolerance, where you can tolerate intolerance because what we tolerate and find intolerable are moral judgments that are subject to change.

    All goverment systems are based on of those two basic ideals “Tolerance” or “intolerance” the bill of rights are based on “Tolerance” these are your ideals. They belong to you, we wll tolerate anything you do under them, and damned be he who tries to disabuse you of that notion.

    Laws work based on intolerance. These are things you cannot do. If you do them, we will punish you. When a large enough ‘moral’ majority gets together they create laws that don’t tolerate all kinds of things. I beleive there are still anti sodomy laws on the books in america in several places. The nazi’s intolerated the hell out of gays and jews and everyone else. Crime against humanity, or perfectly leagal? A history re-written by the winner says crime against humanity. To take a line from eddie izzard “… killed people in his own country and we’re sort of find with that. See Hitler started killing people in other peoples countries; stupid man.”

    I’ve been watching the “it gets better campaign” and i do wonder if the focus isn’t just a little off. Being bullied in school isn’t just a ‘gay’ thing, everyone gets it. i wasn’t gay and i got bullied to hell and back. Columbine’s trench coat mafia were bullied, and did something about it, they weren’t gay. Most of the people shooting up schools are victims of bullying lashing out at their oppressors, and i haven’t heard of one being gay yet. (Not that it should matter, but hey, with this media, it would get play i’m sure.)

    So maybe we should be trying to separate kids from the primordial meat grinder of the school system where you get stuffed in lockers and getting punched in the face means the attacker and the defender both get punished because the person who got punched in the face did something to deserve it obviously. Maybe we should let kids settle their differences somehow, in a way that satisfies everyone, hell maybe in a way that even makes them want to learn more? Our school system is archaic and the actions of children in it are extremely simple and base. It’s not hard to figure out, and tieing the hands of everyone involved just makes things worse, because now the children have a system and they can game a system.

    1. 9.1

      “What fostered this reversal? Tolerance.”

      I don’t see how you can legitimately use the progress from homophobia to acceptance as evidence in favor of tolerance while seemingly implying that tolerance should mean remaining open to the reversal of that very same progress. If, because of excessive tolerance, we once again transitioned from acceptance back to homophobia, then wouldn’t you recognize that was actually a bad thing?

      “Being bullied in school isn’t just a ‘gay’ thing, everyone gets it.”

      But being bullied in school for being gay (even if you actually aren’t) is indeed a distinct thing. It’s a specific kind of bullying which is known to be highly prevalent, and that’s why it’s specifically being addressed. Obviously, the present general efforts against bullying have not been effective in many ways here.

      I agree that there very well may be a fundamental, underlying issue with the structure of school systems that’s feeding into the problem of bullying.

      1. The progress made in a tolerant society has deemed being gay moral. However, if you shift your paradigm to a biological perspective is being gay moral? Your evolutionary path ends with you. You do not reproduce, you only use resources that could be used to further reproducing members of your species. From this perspective it can easily be viewed that being gay is being wrong or immoral. Societal views change and the morals that they are based on then demand change.

        Just because being gay is widely accepted in America, doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot more issues that need to be discussed on both sides of the line. Gay marriage for one, needs to be discussed openly and rationally. There are many other issues that also need to be tolerated at the moment that have nothing to do with gays. I am extremely loath to call any change “good” or “bad”. I am willing to call closing the door to change because you might not like what it does a bad thing. Tolerance is something that often fosters change, for better or worse. Tolerance doesn’t work if you can pick and choose what to tolerate and what you can’t tolerate.

        Ultimately, i feel that, If you oppress your oppressors you become no better than them. By tolerating their existence, and constantly fighting their ideals that you are wrong, you validate your arguments, your rights, and your existence.

        “if, because of excessive tolerance, we once again transitioned from acceptance back to homophobia, then wouldn’t you recognize that was actually a bad thing?”

        If the world were to turn it’s back on a tolerant society and return to the days of intolerance it would be an extremely sad day. It would be the opposite of everything i think is good and wonderful in a tolerant society.

        1. Actually you can nix most of that first paragraph. Standing alone like that’s it’s just offensive, I apologize, I’ve reworked my argument several times and that just kinda got left there.

        2. “However, if you shift your paradigm to a biological perspective is being gay moral? Your evolutionary path ends with you.”

          The science of biology and evolution is descriptive of reality and how it works. It does not prescribe morality or a philosophy of what we ought to do or how we should be obligated to behave.

          “You do not reproduce, you only use resources that could be used to further reproducing members of your species. From this perspective it can easily be viewed that being gay is being wrong or immoral.”

          Then the issue is not one of being gay. By your own standard, the issue would be one of not reproducing. Ergo, anyone who’s straight and simply doesn’t reproduce would similarly be “immoral”. Anyone who’s straight and cares for adopted kids that aren’t their direct offspring? “Wrong.” Now, gay people who do happen to reproduce – perhaps by serving as sperm donors for their lesbian friends? By this criterion, you still wouldn’t be able to declare them immoral or wrong. I question the notion that one is committing some kind of moral harm by simply not producing offspring, as if that were some requirement we were all obligated to fulfill.

          “Tolerance doesn’t work if you can pick and choose what to tolerate and what you can’t tolerate.”

          If you mean this in the sense of mere caprice and whimsy, backed up with no reasoning for it, I would agree. However, a consistent position that details why some things ought to be tolerated and others ought not be can indeed be valid. Some things are tolerable and should be tolerated, but others should not be. The tolerance of some things does not require tolerating all things. Likewise, if we don’t tolerate some things, that doesn’t mean we’re intolerant of everything, either.

          “Ultimately, i feel that, If you oppress your oppressors you become no better than them. By tolerating their existence, and constantly fighting their ideals that you are wrong, you validate your arguments, your rights, and your existence.”

          I think preventing oppressors from oppressing people is an even better example of this. It means tolerance is important enough that you will act to defend it. Allowing intolerance to spread, allowing people to be oppressed, simply to demonstrate how “tolerant” you are, accomplishes nothing useful. It would just be letting people’s lives be much worse for the sake of making yourself feel good about how tolerant you are. I don’t really care for that. I’d rather demonstrate a bit of intolerance if it’s necessary for the preservation of wider tolerance. And I think most tolerant people would understand why this is the best choice to make.

          “If the world were to turn it’s back on a tolerant society and return to the days of intolerance it would be an extremely sad day.”

          Then I do hope you see that there can be limits to tolerance, when an excess of it would permit a greater loss of tolerance overall.

          1. “The science of biology and evolution is descriptive of reality and how it works. It does not prescribe morality or a philosophy of what we ought to do or how we should be obligated to behave.”

            I feel like my first part of this, which was a request for a paradigm shift, wasn’t quite done. Biology and evolution are man made constructs. They serve a single purpose and that is to help humans understand and learn in a concrete manner. Biology studies how organisms work, evolution studies their change over time. as my 8th grade biology teacher put it “Sex. Biology is about sex. The end goal is sex, the purpose is sex, everything in biology comes down to sex.” Where biology ends, evolution takes over, what is the result of biology being left to it’s own devices? Being gay doesn’t result in offspring, which is counterpoint to biology. As for any moral implications. If biology were to have a moral it would be “Reproduction is good.”

            “Then the issue is not one of being gay. By your own standard, the issue would be one of not reproducing. Ergo, anyone who’s straight and simply doesn’t reproduce would similarly be “immoral”. Anyone who’s straight and cares for adopted kids that aren’t their direct offspring? “Wrong.” Now, gay people who do happen to reproduce – perhaps by serving as sperm donors for their lesbian friends? By this criterion, you still wouldn’t be able to declare them immoral or wrong. I question the notion that one is committing some kind of moral harm by simply not producing offspring, as if that were some requirement we were all obligated to fulfill.”

            Most of what you get into here i had originally addressed, as i said in my reply to my own post, this paragraph was a fragment of an earlier argument i abandoned because it didn’t blend into what i was trying to say. The basic gist of the argument was humans social structures change and evolve over time. Our views on being gay change with our needs. In a purely animalistic society anyone that cannot reproduce is a waste of space and resources. They live purely for the sake of living, this branches off into “whats the point of life?” debates. However, from the standpoint of evolution and continued adaptation of the species, they contribute nothing. Any changes that the individual has inherited from their parents will not be passed on.

            In a society a non-reproductive individual can continue to participate in several meaningful manners to the members of society that can reproduce, there by contributing useful things to the evolution of the species. This can be adoption, protection, care, feeding for children, anything really. The ultimate form of this is artificial insemination.

            “However, a consistent position that details why some things ought to be tolerated and others ought not be can indeed be valid.”

            People by nature are inconsistent. Each of us has a different way of viewing things, who gets to choose what gets to be tolerated and what doesn’t? Even if we can decide on what is and isn’t tolerated, we then have to fix this list in stone and never change it. Why bother being tolerant at that point? Why discuss morals? We have them already. I think the ideal that humans can be consistent in our position as to what we tolerate and don’t tolerate is pure hubris.

            “Then I do hope you see that there can be limits to tolerance, when an excess of it would permit a greater loss of tolerance overall.”

            I understand that we live in a real world as opposed to an idealistic world, where anything can be executed in it’s ideal. True tolerance in society is much like true communism in a society. Both ideals are probably doomed to failure. We can still try though, tolerate as much as we can, and leave intolerance for things we can ‘all’ agree on.

  9. 10

    I think that mentality is the basic monkey with a hammer trying to get the square peg in a round whole.
    there is no hope for a great deal of bigots, they live comfortably with their heads up their asses.
    religion is a great excuse for them – pass the blame on to an imaginary boss and take credit in one breath.
    why be honest when it’s (seemingly) easier to appear to be right?
    a piece of philosophy I heard when I was a teenager has stuck with me my whole life, “do not walk behind me for I will not lead, do not walk in front of me for I will not follow, but walk beside me for I will be your friend”.
    those words of advice have gotten me into a great deal of conflict and trouble. – not only does it demand respect on both sides of an issue, but it forces the asshats from their comfortable place to see the world as it is.
    perhaps from their perspective we are the bullies?
    how sad would we feel if they killed them selves? – not very much I have to admit.

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