Monday, June 22, 2020

Matt Schlapp Misses the Point

I'm screen-capping the Twitter post for this one on the off-chance that Schlapp will understand where he went wrong here, but the picture of his post above reads: "Statues of Jesus are next. It won't end. Pray for the USA." This is apparently in response to the recent protests having resulted in the toppling and removal of statues honoring Confederate figures, slaveowners, and other figures that honor persons or events representing racism and colonialism.  It's three short sentences, but it packs in a lot of how conservatives can get the thrust of what's happening quite wrong.

The roots of abolition, both of slavery and of the injustice system, are long, and intricately tied with religion, with people who passionately believed that "whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me." I don't know if Schlapp's education somehow missed that the Great Awakening in the US encouraged abolitionism, and that evangelicals, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Catholics and Quakers were moved to speak against slavery, just as many of their descendants today speak out about social justice.  After all:

a man who preached about loving one's neighbor as oneself, was apprehended for his activism, scourged, and then hung from a wooden beam by the state authorities, is not the image of the transgressor. Jesus of Nazareth was railroaded. Jesus of Nazareth was abused by Rome's cops. Jesus died because Pilate washed his hands of the whole thing when, maybe, he could have stood up to a multitude wanting to do evil. 

But the point is, the mob Schlapp is concerned about isn't the "godless (probably Commies)" he seems to think they are. Sure, there's a weird current of thought amongst the far right, your Birchers and them, that the civil rights movement is dictated from the Kremlin and that Black people don't have the agency to be quite deservedly pissed at the treatment they have experienced. The civil rights movement of the 20th century was anything but godless. But the idea that there's a slippery slope from "Fuck General Lee" to "Fuck Jesus Christ and the ass and her foal he rode in on" is without any reason. For what it's worth, if you think an actual feeling human being needs, for example, to be paid by Soros or whoever, to be stricken with horror at the idea of a human being, lying on the ground and without defense, with the very breath he needs to live denied him by a knee--a knee! of a person wearing the uniform of a civil servant for nine damn minutes, then fuck you and your civilly anesthetized ass. 

But for another thing, if I had it in my heart to pray, and held the philosopher from Galilee in my mind, I'd pray we answer the fucking question: are all men and women created equal here, or what? Wasn't that what our US of A Founding Fathers were trying to say, even if they weren't about to really put their slave-holding money where their mouths were when they wrote the Declaration of Independence?  Do we value the life of a Breonna Taylor, of George Floyd, of Tamir Rice, of Walter Scott, of Sean Bell, of Sandra Bland, of Tony McDade, of Ahmaud Arbery, and so on, more than we do the fictions that let us keep thinking this country was built with clean hands?  And doesn't letting it go on leave us all in the position of Pilate--washing our hands of what we could have done, but had not the will to do? 

I'm not a Christian, but if Schlapp believes that statues of Jesus would topple, who does he think that image is for? Because I know very well who the statues of Confederate generals are for, and I don't care if they fall one little bit. 

Jesus should be safe in this movement. Schlapp's preconceptions are not. And is that not a reason to pray and tremble? (Nah, I think he'll stick with his mouthful of pitch that defiles. He is accustomed to the taste.)



1 comment:

Ten Bears said...

Well, they are graven images.

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