27 March 2007

Viewing Anti-Christian Anger Through an Anti-Oppression Lens -- Greta Christina's Defense of the "Blasphemy Challenge"

Greta Christina is a San Francisco area writer who blogs about sexuality, atheism, politics and many other subjects.

She has written a defense of the "Blasphemy Challenge" on her blog after she took the challenge herself.

Part of her defense mentions the anger in the Blasphemy Challenge video clips. Greta touches on anti-oppression issues surrounding the unearned power and privilege that Christianity has in our society:
"And you know what? I'm proud and happy to stand up with the angry, pissy, juvenile ones, too. I see them, and my heart just breaks. I know that when you hear someone say something like "The Holy Spirit rapes children," what you hear is a terrible thing being said about your faith. But what I hear (although to be fair, I haven't seen that particular video and am just going on your description of it) is someone who, I'm betting, had an appalling religious upbringing, one in which they were taught cruel, traumatic, bigoted, and flat-out untrue things, and told that to even question them would send them to be burned and tortured in Hell… and who's only now coming to realize just how fucked up that was, and just how full of rage they are about it. (Or if they didn't go through that themselves, they know and love someone who did.) You see the insult -- I see the anger, the frustration, the trauma, the feeling of helplessness. And while I wish those people would express their rage in a better way than namecalling and insults, and while I hope they can move on from that eventually, my heart goes out to them. I get that this is where they need to be right now, and I want to stand with them and tell them that they're not alone.

Now, maybe that's not fair. Maybe it's not fair to be sympathetic with atheists who are angry about religion, and yet expect religious believers to get over their anger about atheists. But I feel the same way about women's anger towards men versus men's anger towards women; queer folks' anger towards straight people versus straight peoples' anger towards queers. The difference is in which group has the power. And in this case, it's not atheists."
This is very close to an article on my blog from March 2005 titled "Christian and Non-Christian Unitarian Universalists -- Anti-Oppression Implications."

I wrote about the negative attitudes expressed towards Unitarian Universalist (UU) Christians who belong to predominantly non-Christian UU congregations:
"UU [Unitarian Universalist] Christians need to remember that they are walking in the door of a church wearing a garment of 'power and privilege' that was not freely accepted but rather forced on them by our wider North American culture. UU Christians joining a predominantly non-Christian UU congregation are (unknowingly?) engaging in anti-oppression work by giving up unearned power and privilege granted to them by the wider culture. This is the theological equivalent of an adult advisor working with youth where the advisor gives up some of the unearned privilege that comes with being an adult."
Using this anti-oppression perspective allows us to understand why some Unitarian Universalists are strongly critical of Jesus, the Bible, and God but seem to be OK with non-Christian religious expression in their UU congregations.

1 comment:

Lizard Eater said...

Great stuff here. I think I'm going to memorize the sentence "UU Christians joining a predominantly non-Christian UU congregation are (unknowingly?) engaging in anti-oppression work by giving up unearned power and privilege granted to them by the wider culture."

In fact, I think it will be perfect thing to put in the UU 101 class I've been asked to create. Crediting you, of course.