When Your Voice Grows Tired
If there’s anything that the Trump era has provided a case study in, it is the potential that the oppressors can be so VERY busy in their evil plans that even a relatively passionate opposition can grow exhausted in their efforts to stomp out every fire, to resist every devious plan, to spot every underhanded scheme and call out for attention to it.
Even as I write this, the Republicans are engaged in their third (fourth? Depends on how you count them) attempt to not just do away with so-called “ObamaCare” but to go beyond even that notion and gut Medicaid as we know it which will create chaos and literally lead to unneeded deaths. Many again are rallying in passionate opposition but observers note that as yet (they have a bit over a week to meet a deadline to vote on this bill)the switchboards are not melting down in the same way as they have done on previous occasions. The sheer persistence of the monnied interests (literally, the billionaires are the only people in the country who like this bill) wear down the opposition even when we are keenly aware they are going to keep coming.
And so it is with the Pharisees irrational obsession with attacking trans people at every turn. No sooner does the Department of Education seek to abandon trans students to the mercies of every local school board feeling the heat of Traditionalist manipulators like ADF, then the Department of Justice switches sides on every court case relevant to trans rights, than the president himself props up his bona fides with the Pharisees (as if they were ever in doubt) by giving Tony Perkins a gift wrapped boon – attempting to ban trans people from military service altogether. Moreover on a parallel track he’s attempting, with success due to the spinelessness of Republican senators, to pack the courts with looney-tunes right wing nutters who are often picked right out of those same Pharisee organizations that have been attacking us for years (today’s case in point: Jeff Mateer).
It gets exhausting even for me to continually write about the same fights which may or may not appear in different arenas but amount to the same thing – the persistent campaign among the leaders of millions of Traditionalists to deny trans people our right to even exist openly in society. My expectation is that in the arc of history, they are going to lose – but it requires our alert opposition to make that happen and it’s just so repetitive. And it’s seemingly literally everywhere. You may recall that I wrote extensively a couple of weeks ago in opposition to the Nashville Statement. Let me tell you a more personal story related to that moment.
One of the lead authors of the statement was a SBC pastor named Andrew T. Walker. He has also written a book (read Kathy Baldock’s review on Amazon for an extensive breakdown) attempting to justify his bigotry by mangling the Bible(A novel concept I know!) which I am neither shocked or disappointed by it’s not the first or the last that will emerge from my former denomination. However, there’s another reason I mention it.
Back in the latter days of my time in organized religion, for more than a decade in facct, my favorite Bible teacher by a very wide margin was a Presbyterian named Steve Brown who was the voice of a radio program called “Key Life.” He spoke of concepts like “radical grace” and “shocking freedom” in Christ (indeed, he may well have plowed the ground for my being willing to accept myself in the face of the doctrine I’d been brainwashed by my whole life) and he justified those teaching with sound Biblical exposition. He was, in religious terms, my hero. Plus he had a wonderful self-deprecating sense of humor, was a compelling speaker and a fascinating writer. In a former life he’d been a DJ (an occupation that had been my lifelong dream at the time) and so, long before podcasts were really a thing, he was hosting an irreverent Saturday night talk show with humor, the kind of off the cuff chatting that’s widespread now, and always a great interview with people like Tony Campolo. For a while, Key Life hosted a forum on their website which, if it still exists out there somewhere you can find my old persona holding forth in arrogant, right wing fashion sometimes against…people like me.
I was, in those days, a lot more passionately Pharisee than I would dare let you see, but that term I would never have applied to Steve. Even after removing myself from the toxicity of the church, one of the old touchstones I would occasionally check in on was to see what Steve was up to. Imagine then my heartbreak when I discovered that on a recent edition of that Saturday night show (now podcast I think) Steve not only interviewed but boisterously endorsed Walker and praised his book.
I can’t even, sometimes. Oh I went to their Facebook page and their site and passionately argued that Walker’s legalism as the antithesis of the freedom Steve had preached for decades but…they don’t care. If they noticed it was only long enough to delete the comments. One of Steve’s favorite sayings is “never learn too much about your heroes.”
I’m so tired sometimes – and it’s only been nine months. But the thing that motivates me is, my (and people like me) exhaustion is precisely what the Pharisees are counting on. So I will persist. I hope you do too.
Photo by: Andy Rogers