The prudent thing to do is not to answer emails from people too far gone into zealotry. That's safest, as you never have to regret a reply you didn't make. And they disappear faster if you don't respond. Were I sharing beekeeping tips, I might do that.
But I write about issues I care about, and when readers offer these harsh opinions, I feel compelled to answer some of them. Call it a hopefulness. People are rational and they will yield to reason, eventually. Or maybe I just get tired of ignoring something vile and feel the need to send up some return fire.
I won't bore you with even a selection of the emails I received yesterday replying my column talking about gay marriage with Archbishop Blase Cupich. Processing them is my job, not yours.
Well, okay, just one, so you can gauge the tone. This from Mike Feehan, under the subject heading, "You are an Obama lover/liberal so GO FIGURE, YOU AND YOUR TYPE support homo marriage...BOY, WHAT A SHOCKER.....YOU think the fraud in the WH is some kind of Christian as well....WHAT A JOKE YOU ARE...."
"Why don't you open your O.T. Jewish Bible and see what Holy God has to say about homo marriage?? Let me guess, you also support a woman's right to CHOOSE (CHILD SLAUGHTER/ABORTION, RIGHT??? Obama a Christian??? ARE, ARE, ARE YOU KIDDING ME???"
That actually is one of the more comical, less disturbing emails, in the way that he drags Obama into it, and in that he avoids rolling in the sexual practices that so fascinate/repel these people. I easily ignored it.
But two exchanges, I did get drawn into. I'll warn you, they go on a bit. But future historians might wonder the intellect behind the last ditch efforts to suppress the rights of gays, and this I think is a fairly accurate snapshot of the average revanchist, circa May, 2015.
No. 1 begins:
Keep dreaming. As liberal as Cupich may be, there is absolutely no way he will ever endorse so-called homosexual "marriage". And, by the way, yes indeed, you are obsessed with this issue as are many of your Jew friends in the media. It's not your fault. It is just the way your ticket has been punched - to be revolutionary for the sole purpose of being revolutionary. You see things as needing to be wrecked. Two thousand years ago in Jerusalem, you shouted "give us Barabbas" and now you are shouting "let men marry men and women marry women". Same bullshit, same rejection of the Logos - the natural, moral order to the universe. Just different words.
I'm always shocked that these people sign their names. I replied:
Thanks for writing. I won't waste words on such a stone heart.
"Thanks for writing.
There. Fixed it for ya.
"Bold truth"? I couldn't resist:
Don't be silly. Hatred is not bold. It's cowardly and lazy and repulsive. "Jew friends in the media"? Really? I have a hard time believing that such people exist. Aren't you embarrassed to say that, Michael?
I used his name at the end because I have a theory that doing so reaches toward whatever
humanity is within a person. It didn't work. He wrote:
Oh, please. Jews dominate the media and you know this to be true. Jews are overwhelmingly liberal and you know this to be true. Jews have dominated revolutionary thought for thousands of years. Just look at the Frankfurt School and its influence on American academia the past 100 years. Whether it be anthropology (Max Boaz), psychology (Freud), human sexuality (Kinsey), philosophy (Marcuse/Fromm), Marxism (Marx), mass execution (Einstein/Oppenheimer/Trotsky) etc., it pretty much came from the Jews and it is all revolutionary. Look at the board members at the ACLU and SPLC. Mostly Jews. Look what they promote: disordered gender theory, homosexuality, pornography, child sexuality, abortion, etc. And again, all revolutionary.
Why would you take issue? I would think you would be proud.
I could wrote this carefully, realizing we were straying onto fraught ground:
Don't project your bigotries onto others. Jews tend to be sympathetic with the oppressed, being oppressed themselves. And Jews tend to have to live by their wits, being denied easy access to trades by the prejudice rolling off you in waves. I can see that you are proud.
Let me ask you this? Are you hoping to convince me? Or just abuse me? Because I certainly have no hope of convincing you. I'm just curious, like a doctor confronting a disease of particular interest to him. So if Jews are dominated revolutionary thought, which might have some validity, then which group dominates hidebound, rigid, narrow, ossified thought? Any clue? Take your time.
Thanks for writing.
He ignored this, and went on a tangent.
Tell me, Neil, whats wrong with screwing your sister? Explain this one to me. The progressive LGBTQIA community demands us to believe that gender is an accidental construct of social customs - subjective and flexible - but ones sexuality - either normal or homosexual - is genetic and hard-wired in our brains at conception birth when we are brought home from the hospital.
How does one come to believe such a laughably incoherent argument?
It struck me that now it was truly time to stop. So I sent this as a parting thought,
and it worked, since he didn't reply.
As Louis Armstrong said when somebody asked him to explain jazz, "If you have to ask, you'll never know."
Thanks for writing.
That's plenty for one day. But I'm including a second one because it shows what I'm aiming at. Here's No. 2:
Obsessing is putting it mildly. The gay population is a little over 2%. Out of those about 1% are pushing to change the definition of marriage. How does a group so small keep itself constantly on the front page? Answer.. People like you!
So the civil rights of 2 percent of Americans don't concern you? And you mock people who do care? That's just sad. If a toddler fell down a well, the rescue would be on the front page of every newspaper in America for a week, and you'd never stand up and say, "It's just one baby!" (Or maybe you would; I try not to pretend like I can read the minds of people). The U.S. Marines are an even smaller group than gay people, and I care about them too. If you would just ignore our brave American Marines, just because there aren't "enough" of them to matter, in your book,well, then I want nothing to do with you. Thanks for writing.
I thought that would silence him, but he came back.
You don't change what's been a standard in our lifetime and previous lifetimes because of less than 2% of the population marriage is between a man and a woman if they would like to have a civil union God bless them no need to change anything. I am sick and tired of having these kind of issues force down my throat.
I missed the above, in the crush of similar emails, and so he tried another sortie.
And I was not talking about Marines or toddlers! Typical liberal response to confuse the issue and not stay on point. My apologies for being harsh but I am very passionate about what is going on in our world today. You have every right to think and support the issues as you see fit. I just do not want a government/judicial mandate on the definition of marriage.
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I don't know about you, but I was ready for this to end. Still, one more reply.
So help me to understand the point. "You don't change what has been a standard in our lifetime." Do you use that logic with any other realm of life? With medicine? With cars? With racial justice? Or do you just adopt that when dealing with people you want oppressed? I brought up the Marines because you said there just weren't enough gays to care about what happens to them, and I was trying to point out how flawed and arbitrary that thinking is. The point is you are being harsh—not to me, my interest in your reasoning is purely academic. But to your fellow American citizens whose rights you would trample. The fact that you are passionate in wanting to harm American citizens is not an excuse. So is al Qaeda. So is ISIS. And the government is not mandating these changes, your fellow citizens are, at the ballot box and through the legislature and the courts. It just seems strange to see someone rejecting the outcome of the Democratic system based on ... what? Tradition? Your own personal bias and fear? I have biases and fears too. I just don't expect the country to conform to them. Do you really think that because people were bigoted in the past, that excuses you now? Because times have changed. Don't hate me for telling you.
Thanks for writing.
Then the miracle. He wrote:
Spirited discussion. Thanks for replying.And I wrote:
Indeed. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me.
Perhaps this is naive of me, but I consider that last little burst of parting civility a kind of victory. Because that is what is deciding this gay marriage issue. People trot out their fucked-up religious dogma and, in the face of counterargument, yield a little, or at least are polite, and that's a start. Bigotry isn't routed in epic battles, it's nibbled away, like water eating at rock. The Supreme Court won't decide this issue. It was decided already, in a million living rooms and street corners. The Supreme Court either will recognize that, or, like my correspondents today, refuse to recognize it.