The State of Hate

WARNING: I avoid political and religious rants. I’m far too opinionated and in the past I’ve managed to say some very offensive things. Well there very well may be offensive things in this post, consider yourselves warned.

Sunday Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed while attending church. Dr. Tiller is well known for providing late term abortions. Earlier this year he was tried for illegally performing these operations and acquitted of all charges. Tiller has long been a target of anti-abortion activists and has been shot before. This is hardly an isolated case, abortion Dr.’s are often shot and are always at risk. This always sickens me but this time it really hit me because it happened in the city I live in. That’s not what really set me off though. What set me off was the response.

The thing that set me off most about the response was the lack of any outrage, at least locally. The response nationwide has been one of shock and outrage, but locally, on the street, people seem to have barely noticed. So many people in this city just accepted his death and went about their lives. Some of them even thought it was a just death, though thankfully no one I know spoke up about those feelings if they have them. I realize this ambivalence may seem like a minor thing, it may seem like people who are desensitized to violence and I’m sure that’s true for some people. The thing is I know for some of those people, it’s about hate. There are far more people who think he got what he deserved than will admit it.

These are people who stand behind their religion and say an eye for an eye. After all, that’s what the bible says right? The old testament does say this, although I personally believe it’s misinterpreted, I believe it’s meant to keep the one who’s wronged from seeking a price higher than what they paid. I believe only an eye for an eye would be a better translation. That’s a religious debate I’ll avoid, let’s just say it means what the extremists think it means. Christians are supposed to believe in the new testament as well as the old testament. In the book of Matthew Jesus says

    You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. If anyone strikes you on     the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Now that seems pretty clear to me. In fact many of the same people who condone deaths such as this also lambast the death penalty. Apparently it’s different if you’re really angry at someone.

So what we have are hypocrites. People who say they believe in the word of Christ, who say abortion is a sin, who say murder is wrong. Yet somehow they justify these deaths. I’m not just talking about the people doing the killing, but the people who publicly or privately think they got what they deserved. Here’s the bottom line, I’m not religious, I think the bible is a tool of the church designed to control. I don’t believe in Jesus Christ (well I believe he was a real person, but I don’t believe he’s the son of God). I don’t believe in a Christian God (I’m an agnostic, I believe it’s the height of hubris to think you know all the answers, that goes for atheists too). What I do believe in is not judging others . Now of course like anyone else who says that I’m a hypocrite, I mean we all judge, it’s human nature. The key though is it’s not our place to act on those judgments.

If these people set me off can you imagine how I felt when Fred Phelps and his group of hate mongers got involved? For those of you who don’t know “Reverend” Phelps is the leader of a group of complete psychos here in Kansas (based in Topeka). They are anti-gay, anti-government, anti-Catholic and if you ask me, based on the bible, anti-Christ. These are wonderful people who protest at soldiers funerals, soldiers who have done nothing more than die for their country. They carry signs saying things like “Thank God for Dead Soldiers”. Basically these are the worst kind of human beings imaginable and they are a product of this shitty state I live in. A state where hate is the norm and everyone assumes if you live here you think like they do. I mean I know I’m in the bible belt, but elsewhere in the bible belt people at least have the tact not to assume you’re an anti-gay racist who thinks everyone but white God fearing Christians belong in other countries.

Phelps and his gaggle of harpies and shrews protested at a candle light vigil held for Dr. Tiller. Apparently people aren’t allowed to grieve for someone Phelps and fiends (that is not a typo) hate. So, here’s what we have in Kansas. We have a minority of people who believe live and let live. Who believe in pro choice, gay rights and being kind to their fellow man. Those people have to hide who they are or spend every day assaulted by people who know they’re wrong. If you do hide who you are then these bible thumping, ignorant, backwoods Neanderthals assume you think the way they do and make sure you know how they feel, while they grin and wink, just knowing you feel the same way.

Sadly I learned nothing new from this incident. I was simply reminded that I live in a state where hate is the norm, it’s encouraged and it’s expected. I live in a place where employers encourage you to vote for the candidates they like which will progress their agendas and they don’t do it subtly and they make sure that you understand it’s not ok to disagree. I work in a place where if I do talk politics with someone at work I either have to shut up and nod or keep my voice down so I don’t get attacked for just how wrong I am. I live in a state where an agnostic has read more of the bible than most of Christians he knows and understands the lessons it teaches far better than they do.